Friday, December 28, 2007

Random Thoughts for the Last Friday of the Year

1. Swiss-Cheese Bread.
What is the point?  You can't make sandwiches with it...unless you want the jelly dripping out, what fun.  It makes me seriously wonder why I go out of my way to favor the "smaller" bakery (which equals HIGHER price) if the quality is going to be just as, um unpredictable as the big (CHEAPER) boys?  Frustrating... The hole goes through almost the entire loaf, urgh.

2. Dressing for Success.
What do you think the assistant tells his wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband that he actually does?  It is Friday, casual friday which can become Dilbert-frightening, especially at the end of the year on a short week where I've seen more casual than usual, he's dressed to the nines!  In my head I've already come up with a story invovling treachery and hope.  But still, today of all days when even the suits are wearing so much denim you'd think it was still the 80s, lordy, that is just too much.

3. On that note:
I used to make some serious fun of a friend of mine when he used to match his light blue denim shorts/pants with, you guessed it, a light blue t-shirt.  Black pants went with a, right, black shirt.  Wearing things that "matched" or "went together" meant exactly that, down to the same dye-lot if possible.  What is it about boys and where they get that idea?  Cuz as I sat here thinking that the aninimity factor is crumbling hard as I relay this story I stopped and said, well, not really, as I think EVERY SINGLE GUY I've ever been friends with, and maybe even including my brothers had some time with me and showing how "this" shirt might go with "those" pants, even if they aren't exactly the same shade of slate grey.

4.Cuz I can't let a topic lie once I've started to overthink it...
I think the whole clothes thing might be due to some "color-blind" issue.  Really!  They say men are more likely to be color-blind than women, right?  Just earlier this summer a couple of friends came up to visit and Andy and he took a "color-blind" test online.  Andy already knows he is color-blind, and yet, poor soul, I'll still ask him if an outfit "looks right."  But it brought out a revelation or seven to our friend.  So it makes sense in the "better-safe-than-orange-and-puce" world to pick two colors that "match" in the strictest sense of the word, right?  Work with me here.

5.I HATE Being Sick
So did you hear about the possible snow hitting Seattle sometime yesterday?  Never happened near me.  The pressure system never dropped low enough and the magic of great big bodies of water kept it freezing cold and wet, but no white.  IN MY HEAD, however, the pressure system did a number on my sinuses.  Holy mother of all that is wintery grey and dismally wet, my head feels like it's about to explode and I really don't feel like taking the maximum allowed number of ibuprophen gel caps in a 24 hour period.  Last night as I was falling asleep on the couch--too much advil does make me sleepy...hmm mayhaps my blood is too thin?--my eyelids felt as if they were wee little balloons hitting against the glass of my spectacles.  (Glass of my glasses just sounded dumb.  And really, how often do we get to say "spectacles" now-a-days, eh?)  What's worse is that I wake up okay, feeling good, "can-do" attitude, the whole deal.  By about oh, I dunno 10AM I WANT TO DIE.

--with apologies to T.S. Elliot...
This is the way the year will end,
This is the way the year will end,
Not with a bang, but a whimper....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

There is nothing like rolling into work at 8-almost 30 and finding you are the third car there.

I'd feel all bitter and put out, except, I got a whole bunch done!

I'd also feel nostalgic about the whole "xmas/holdiay/winter break" I got as a teacher, except, yeah, I always found myself going in, if not yesterday, then definitely today to get caught up or (gasp!) get a chapter ahead of the game.

And it's Thursday already!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

To Good Friends and Bad Xmas Specials...

BIG SIGH.

It is Wednesday, I am still here. There's still left-over posole AND tamales AND egg nog cake (right L?) in the fridge and wow, I honestly didn't expect any good comments or emails after my last post.

I had no idea I was voicing the frustrations of strangers galore, thank you for the acknowledgments and the reinforcement. Hear that Universe? I am not alone!

I feel a wee bit odd to be one of the only people out there who can blast it all out in the open instead of bottling it all up. I blame it on the holidays, you really can cut the stress with a knife in some places...take the grocery store last Thursday... I think if more people were able to vent and not be afraid of the consequences? (Cuz really, I'd rather face the consequences than go on blood pressure medication any day.) We'd probably have fewer naked people getting killed on I-5 when they start hitting cars with their belts and attacking state troopers. I can't make this stuff up, really.

But take heart, we're in the home stretch. What?!? Right. most of you are done, hurray! I call it all over with come the morning of January 6th when I will much on "Three Kings" cake and hazzah, all go bye bye until next season.

So did you all catch "Christmas Comes to Pac-Land?" Apparently I'd blocked that atrocity out of my conscious thoughts, quite happily, mind, for all these years! This was created in the era of "bringing to life" video game characters, I get, this, but Pac Man and familia? And the threat of being "chomped?" Pac Man eats everything, I got that, I mean, that's the point of the game, but the whole ghosts threatening to "chomp" you? I don't remember the ghosts eating anyone, I kinda thought they sucked your pac-energy or something, but no, they chomp and leave you a crumbled mess, ewww.

And speaking of ingredients for nightmares, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was brimming with them. Not the obvious ones: Abominable, ice flows, getting beat up by punk reindeer. I'm taking about evil Hermey the Elf/wanna be dentist. Talk about the foundation for the Little Shop of Horrors! HE PULLS OUT ALL OF ABOMINABLE's TEETH! Or how about the "Island of Unwanted Toys?" How easy it would be to threaten young children with sending them to the "Island of Unwanted Kids" if they won't let you watch the show! Not that I did. The only ones under the age of 30 at J & L's would be their kitties, who are warm and sit on your feet, aaaahhhh. I need me a foot warmer.

Okay, time for work and stuff. I'm hoping everyone took today off, that would be a wonderful xmas gift for me.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Can it Be Wednesday Already? Please?!?

This is my disclaimer for the following: If you are easily offended, or delve far too quickly into the world of depression, or really can't remember that this blog is indeed about me and my feelings and my reactions and I give a shit what you think about it or me, find something else to read.

I'm writing this post to help get all of this out of me, it has nothing to do with you.


The problem with holidays is that too many memories are formed around them and feelings and stress levels and everything are at an all-time high. This is why spending this particular holiday in Mexico where the point is being around family and the highlight is midnight mass, or at a Jewish friend's house who used it as an excuse for a huge meal for good friends, has always been more my liking.

Unfortunately those are also the reasons I would really much rather skip today, tonight and all of tomorrow and just be sitting in front of my computer doing data entry like it was any other day. Cuz when you're dealing with all the craziness of my past? And especially these past few months? Yup, today has been much too hard already, and yes folks, it's not even noon yet.

This morning I could not sleep in. Simply could not. My body said, "Hello! It's Monday! GET UP!" at about 4 AM and I thanked it for remembering it was a weekday but lo and behold, it is xmas eve and I can sleep in! Really!

My subconscious had other plans; as for the next 2 hours it barraged me with horrible nightmares, culminating in the one that finally made me get out of bed--one where my XDH (Demon Husband in this case) was at my door demanding that I let him and his "Fill-in-the-blank for woman who leaves her husband to sleep with mine and oh yeah she has 2 small children and when his mom comes to visit them she high-tails it out of town with her kids because my XMIL is too horrid a person to be around her and her kids) "girlfriend" come in and stay at my place because Andy has invited them and what the hell am I still doing here as I am not allowed to even be in the same breathing space as "her mentioned above" (I'd give her a name, but that would mean that I A) Care enough, and B)Would bring my PG rating down to something fierce).

Yes, I know that obviously in the land of Nod I have many unresolved issues. This is ME we're talking about, remember?

So I get up and I wonder if I can really make it today. Cuz you know that friend I mentioned not too long ago that passed on? Right. I'm still not over that one. I mean, last Wednesday when we all went out to celebrate a friend's birthday and they started gabbing on about the wine, I nearly lost it.

I equate wine knowledge far too much with him. As I do most holidays as I spent far too many years helping with Turkey day preparations in his wee little cabin and big family style xmas dinners. Cuz when you're not Catholic you can spend hours and hours and hours on the food and not worry about wrapping paper and tinsel and trees and Santa Claus and all that other stuff that made everyone miss their families. He also hosted an awesome Easter dinner.

And the last xmas I spent at his house we made tamales, and by god if we didn't end up finally sitting down to eat until almost 2 AM and stayed up far to late watching all these conspiracy theory DVDs and how will I make it through tonight? (I love you L, and I hope you forgive me if I start crying in your tamales.)

With that in mind I fire up the old mini to check the USPS website cuz there just has to be word on that damned package right? -- no information as yet, thankyouverymuch, when I get to read the comment my brother left on my site. OOookaaay. Thanks. Berate me on my website, today, of all days. Thanks. I mean, you couldn't email me? You had to post a comment? WTF?!?

I know, I'm over-reacting. It's what I do. I really really can't help it. Today of all days! And yes, I'm ranting about it on the blog for all the world to see, cuz when I read the comment, I lost it. I could not hold it together any more. But I emailed an explanation, an apology, and edited my blog. Then another apology as it seemed I apologized for the wrong thing, and yes, I lost it again. I did mention emotions running kinda on the high side?

All before 8 AM.

After 8 AM the anger started filtering through.

I hate being an adult, having to remember to keep calm, to breathe, to look at the other person's side lest I really lose it and overreact over something so small, so insignificant when compared to everything else going on... Everyone is living in their own megalomanaiacal universe. It really is all about me, me, me. And how dare you offend my sensibilities! How dare you die and leave me to feel shitty?!? How dare the world be all commercialism and presents? Why the fuck isn't that box delivered yet?

But anger is tiring. It's just blame-storming and all I want to do is crawl into bed and make it all go away. Is it telling that one of the thoughts that keeps me going at this point in time is that I must outlive my parents, after that, all bets are off.

If I have shocked or offended you with this post, you really should have taken my disclaimer to heart. I am leaving town in just a few minutes and so I ask that if you feel the need to tell me what a dumb ass I am, just email me. I will get back to all on Wednesday or so.

And yes, believe it or not, I feel much better now.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Lack of Faith Disturbs Many...

I am trying so very hard to not be both too cynical or disappointed, but it is most difficult. See this:
I keep telling myself that it is not the last vestige of their existence. That their physical selves are in actuality still whining their way South and that there will be post on Monday and that my family will indeed get their gifts and goodies.

Cuz no, Virginia, the package has still not reached my folks in LA. Yep, mailed it on MONDAY. The website, and the read-out at the PO said WEDNESDAY. Hello? IT IS SATURDAY now. Priority Mail, Delivery Confirmation, AND Insurance. It's that last one I think that has screwed me. I have never ever ever used insurance for any package I've sent LA. Even the 18 sent from Hawai'i in '04.

Murphy is not my friend.

I would really rather not have to cash in the insurance. Please oh please all that is holy and unexplainable in the universe, I am begging here, do not make it so I get to see what it's like to fight the postal system for a hundred bucks! I'd really rather my family got their gifts. Really. Even if it's not until next Friday.

ETA: I'm told the "website" and PO read-out at the counter were both "estimates." If I cross my fingers any tighter I won't be able to type anymore...

My mother has become rather positive in her um "mature" years. She honestly thinks Monday will be the day (!--her emphasis). I'm ready to light a candle over here. I really wish I could be as sure as she is, unfortunately I also have a very active, dark, and NEGATIVE imagination. I blame reading Animal Farm when I was nine years old. A fairy story indeed.

Anyhow, yup, those are the hand-made stockings. I spent over three weeks of my life on them. Three very long weeks that I will never see again. But instead of dwelling on that thought, or maybe the one about some POS that has the stockings hanging in his house and/or sold the gifts for xmas meth, I will delve into some details about the stockings for you:

The dark, dreary one is for my wanna-be-a-goth little brother; best described as "very unique" by my SIL. Personally I just think he's a big weirdo, like his older sister. Long nails and black nail polish indeed. I almost gave him satanic jewelry and black eye-liner, but really, my parents had to deal with all of my shenanigans 18 years ago, why put them through it yet again? Besides, all he'd really have to do is find the box filled with things from my teen years and he'll be in wanna-be-goth heaven. I love my lil' bro, really I do, but um, I at least have the translucent skin that never required the white powder make-up. My LB? Well, um, let's just say he did not get that trait. Let's also just say that people NEVER asked my parents if he really was theirs or had they stolen him from the white folks up the street.

I thought it apropos that it be right next to my niece's OH-SO-PINK stocking. Yes, those are "princess" patches that I made myself. (I did say three weeks?) Double-faced interfacing is a god-send. Tracking down princess fabric and waiting in a line longer than anything the Apple Stores have ever seen was not the best task for one such as me when all I needed was a strip that contained the 4 princesses. (Snow White and um, Ariel maybe? are on the other side, yes, with more bells, I really liked the bells.) Instead of pulling out the scissors in my bag, though, I waited and bought way more fabric than I needed, cuz you know, with my luck? If I'd only gotten exactly what I needed bad bad things would have happened and the patches would have flailed hard core. Instead? Perfect first time around. (PS, if you get that glue stuff on whatever you're ironing on? Use the same trick as what you would for candle wax, iron a piece of paper bag over the goop, and presto, no more icky-glue stuff on your favorite towel.)

In blue was going to be a Thomas stocking for my nephew, only, I could not find the fabric. So sad. And I am not so creative as to go wild with the felt and make one from scratch...I leave that to the experts. Besides, there was, hee hee, Christmas Pooh to be had (I am twelve)! Also double-sided and yeah, more bells!

Older brother and SIL get the mixie-matchie pair. I almost really mixie-matched them by sewing the wrong pieces together...but thanks to the fact that my scissoring skills are not what they once were, one was a teensie bit bigger than the other, so the mistake/idea was shot down pretty quickly.

Okay, I'll end it here.

I'm listening to Cheech & Chong's "Santa Claus and His Ole' Lady" and all I can wonder is how all the terror laws would have changed the lyrics...but we're practicing thinking positively, so instead I'll leave you with a little Bing Crosby:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Father's Daughter

-OR-
The Christmas Spirit is Strong in this One...Not!

So you know that scene in "El Norte" when the old man is telling the young Indian guy the secrets of how to not be accused of NOT being Mexican if the INS/Police catches you? (I'm feeling an odd sense of deja vu here, did I already spout this maybe same time last year? I am far too lazy to check so I'll solder-on instead, tee hee.) Where was I?

Oh yeah, so when my dad watched this bit of the movie he got very angry. The old guy pretty much told the young guy to swear up a storm. Cuz those Messicans swear just about every other word! (And my dad, oh my dad, got so mad he swore up a storm right then and there WHILE DENYING that what that old man had just said had any *#!$-ing truth to it...hee hee.)

Why do I dredge this memory up again?

Picture it, Scicily 1921...I mean, Wallingford Post Office 2007...
I go to that post office for one reason and one reason only: They have not 1, but 3 parking "lots." (Wee little things, but we take what we can get around here.) But all is lost if you turn at the wrong time and/or a white suburban decides to ruin your evening, or bring out the Mexican in me...

$&%!-ing xmas spirit!

Really, I could not believe how mad I was.

The entrance into the first two itty bitty parking lots are down a skinny little street that is barely wide enough for the two way traffic when there aren't cars parked on either side. But we who have lived in Seattle (and any small towns with skinny roads due to the 15 feet of snowbanks 9 months out of the year) are becoming experts at the "one-at-a-time" "see-the-space, be-the-space" maneuvering that happens down these mean little streets.

So, after having fought tooth and nail to get out of work early, and then more fighting, dodging and weaving to even get as far as that little street near the post office, I turn to find my way blocked by cars cars cars. That's okay, I think, we're all going to the same place anyway, right? There is no other reason to turn down this wee little street unless you intend to go to the post office and/or drop off your mail in the mail boxes. We're all good.

Um, wrong again.

The cars in front of me wanted to go to the post office, as did the CARS going in the opposite way. But the HUGE, WHITE, SUBURBAN? No no no no no. She wanted to just pass on through. This would not have been a problem if we had not been the ones partnered to do the "little street shuffle." See, I wanted to turn RIGHT INTO THE DRIVEWAY where she had decided was the perfect spot to slip out of the way in and LET ME PASS.

Okay, so if I hadn't had my turn signal on, I could have let this one go. Understandable mistake on my part, etc. But I did just mention I HAD MY TURN SIGNAL ON? There was only one place I could turn into...her driver's side door - that oh so convenient driveway.

So I just sit there, wondering how to work this...and I look at her and point to myself and then to the driveway in that "Me, Jane, need go there" way.

She responds with, "Me, dumbass, need go where you are, please pass" hand gesture.

We were close enough so that she saw me frown, because she frowned and repeated that "go ahead and pass" thing, only, not so nicely.

I shook my head and repeated where I needed to go.

She began laying on her horn and pointing for me to get out of the way.

I lost it.

I don't remember how many different languages and ancestors I channeled, but every ounce of my Mexican nature (a la that whole swearing thing) burst forth (cuz really, if I honked? With my cute little Toyota horn that goes "eep eep" -- against her Suburban horn? So not worth the embarrassment. But remember how close we were? The look on her face even before I showed her the very obvious hand gesture that I was not pleased before I gave up and moved on, was so worth the scary left turn and extra couple u-turns so I could try again with her far far away.

AAAaaaauuummm.

Right. So that little bit of fun made my waiting in line for forever seem not so bad. I mean, really now, everyone INSIDE the post office was once again, all just trying to do the same thing and mail off packages and not piss off the postal workers.

We were all so deliriously happy to be there and not at home frantically trying to finish--or worse, still shopping for gifts that need to be mailed that we were in our own little euphoria.

Had this not been the case I might have used my metal DPNs to show the smelly couple behind me what personal space really means. Cuz really people, I don't care how much smoking has killed YOUR sense of smell, mine works, far too well and I really don't want you to keep pushing your legs against my bag, it's not going to make me move any close to the person in front of me!

Did I mention xmas spirit? Right. Wake me when it's over, I am so very burned out about it all.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

....And We're Back!

My mom and I seem to be playing a game involving the USPS, I'm calling it, "This Ole' Box."

Mom received a package in what she considered a sturdy box. So sturdy that 'hey, this would work to mail off something to Seattle' (from LA). I got it, and before I'd even finished unpacking the box thought, 'hey, this would be perfect to mail off my nephew's birthday gift.' Back to LA before the priority stickers had a chance to get dusty. That is the game at it's most competitive. I mean, really, we'd have to take the "ole" out of the game title if the boxes took so little time to make the rounds.

Tonight, however, I have a more descriptive and fitting entry for the game.

I put the finishing touches on a box that was originally mailed from Hawai'i to LA filled with some light fragile things as I sent it priority (everything else was parcel post and nothing says deteriorated box like 6 weeks from Hawai'i to LA) back in 2004.

Of course mom kept the box and put it aside for later use. By me, again, from LA to Kings Beach, CA about mid 2005.

I take after my mom far too well, because not only was it around to move from Kings Beach to Seattle, WA, but was used for the move from the farthest reaches of North Seattle down to my current locale, just north of downtown.

Well, tomorrow night the box begins the return trip home, its 2 year circumnavigation of the Western United States to end in LA, well, that is, unless she's made a friend in Hawai'i, then, oh yes, the circle would be complete.

Whatever, all I know is that it's filled to the brim with xmas gifts and taped within an inch of its cardboard. What with the storm brewing outside, this might be a rough trek for our seasoned traveler. We wish him fair winds and calm seas....oh wait, sorry, lost myself there.

Right, I'm hefting that 12.5" X12.25" X9" box off to the post office in hopes that it won't cost more than a Jackson to get down to LA. Is it me or did they change the dimensions of what is considered a "small" vs "large" box on the USPS website? I know their boxes have shrunk a bit, which is why I had to dig deep to find a box that would fit my required dimensions.

NOTE TO SELF: Take a tape measure when you go shopping next year.

***
The contents of that box are what have kept me busy for the better part of the last three, maybe four, weeks. There is not one stitch of knitting in it. There are, however, hundreds of stitches of the other sort. I will post the picture soon, promise, but the thought of lugging the camera over here and fiddling with photoshop is just too much (nope, not my camera, still Andy's...but soon, oh so very soon) after all the wrapping and packing and box hunting and re-packing that transpired today.

It's very freeing, to be "done." I just wish I'd finished last week...I am a stress monkey and my doctor was worried.

NOTE TO SELF THE SECOND: DO NOT SCHEDULE YOUR YEARLY DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT ON THE LAST DAY OF CLOSING OUT THE MONTH DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE HOLIDAY MADNESS! Your blood pressure will be too high! You will be agitated! You will talk too much cuz you know your BP is too high! RELAX! DO NOT STAY UP MAKING STOCKINGS THE NIGHT BEFORE! Crafting is not supposed to make your life MORE complicated! It's what you do to chill out!

And as such, there is still some clean up before I can guilt-lessly go nighty-night, but I just had to share that feeling of aaaaaahhhhh as I put the last piece of tape on that box (which then had to be removed, along with a whole bunch of its mates as I forgot to pack a crucial gift in the box...aaaarrrrgh.....Never, ever easy...).

Oh, and as a PS/PSA of sorts: Babes, peeps, and countrymen? I am THIS close to ditching xmas cards all together this year. It's not cuz I don't love you, but I think my next free day will be December 23rd and I'm really tired of sending "New Year's Cards" with xmas trees on them...so instead of feeling defeated, I am liberating myself of that bit of guilt all together. Let's just pretend I'm in Mexico/out of country again, 'kay?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We're Floating In Space...

This post brought to you by the letter X and the number 12,000,000.

As in, that's how many little pieces of paper I have to enter, pay, and then file before we close the month...

Is it telling that my iPod battery died during the lyric:
"Do you realize that everyone you know, someday, will die..." (The Postal Service)

Or that last night at 6:30 PM everyone with the word "Associate" or below in their working titles was still working away as hard as if it was still 3PM as the lyric "Never comprehending the race had long gone by..." from "I'll Stop the World & Melt With You" (Modern English) was blasting away in my ears (as I, in vain) pretended that it was 3PM as well.

I am very grateful that I can sit and listen to my music (via ear buds of course) as I wade through the sea of paper before me, but I really need to change the play list. My songs are sad and morbid for working late into the night or being here far too early in the morning (yey overtime).

So the big downside to all this extra work time?

I have not even started with the xmas shopping...I am so dropping the ball here....hello malls that open until far too late into the night...cuz yep, that'll probably be me, maybe even tonight, scurrying around trying in vane to find a short-sleeved woman's polo-style shirt (with the three buttons, mija) in a petite.

You know what? NO SUCH GARMENT EXISTS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST IN WINTER!

sigh.

Ahem, okay, back to work...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nikolaus Day!

There is something calming and palindromic about St. Nick's day and "Little Christmas"/"12th Night"/the Epiphany both falling on 6's and exactly one month apart...ahhh the numbers....(okay, both are "eve'd on the 5th, really)

Today marks my Official Start to the "Holiday Season." Cuz one month? I can do one month. Tonight I start cutting out patterns and wrapping some gifts. Today I start worrying about having enough xmas cards and tee hee, enough stamps to mail them all...(Yet another year I wish all of my family and friends were as geeky as me and I could get away with eCards...) Tonight I begin the search for my mom's gift...which seemed a simple request at the time...

More to come...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Well, At Least She Didn't Call Me Elderly

I am obviously in a weird place in my life.

I have finally stopped flinching (but still pretend I can't hear them if someone is calling me from afar or behind me) at "ma'am."

I don't even bother with joking/getting excited about the "carding" thing. They want to see my ID because they probably just got cited and everyone in an over 21 establishment needs to be carrying some sort of ID, get over it lady, they do not think you are too young, no matter what story the waitress pulls.

Today though, a double-whammy:

Today I found out that the fellow I'm assisting is younger than me, by a wide enough margin that when he talks to me in Spanish he will use the "Ud." form. (It's a, um, case/style of speaking that is used to speak to say an older person, your boss, your parents/grandparents, people you don't know well/are only acquainted with. In English it would be the thee/the thing of olde.)

I can honestly say I had not noticed it until today when he made the mistake of using "vas" (the tu/informal instead of "va") and then quickly apologized because in the country he comes from, they don't really use the "Ud." form and that's when it came out that he'd been using the more formal speech with me cuz he knew that it was mostly a Mexican/Spanish thing and he was so very sorry and he does really respect his elders (oh yes he did); I felt so very old and I could have cried...I think the look on my face said it all as he kinda just went quiet and then said he was going to go help the other assistant, or something...(I'm six years older, BTW, I guess in young' un years that may as well be 50.)

Well, after that I felt no guilt whatsoever leaving work early enough to hit el banco.

I need a new bank. Not so much the global conglomerate that is rhymes-with-bells-cargo, but the physical branch that is closest to my house. I swear to all that is green and makes rich people go, no one in that branch is over 25. Also, maybe that branch attracts one too many "winners." They have that plate-glass thing that banks that were held up one too many times in the early 90s were required to put in, so instead of having a private conversation with your teller, your business gets blasted across the room because somehow the tellers think you can't hear them, and, like the woman in front of me, the patrons scream what they need at full volume. Very disconcerting.

The opposite of this is that the tellers think that you can't hear their private conversations. So I got to hear the teller to the right of mine wale about his inability to stay up yet another minute. And my teller explaining as she got my money, that the lovely coffee shop across the way only sold espresso and he would be far too wired for all of them if he did that.

I smiled and remarked about the propensity of PNWers and their addiction to the magical bean. Shocked I could hear her, she agreed and said, "It's even worse when people my age stay up all night partying and think they can work a full shift the next day." We both looked over at the teller at that point and he was all, "Why you lookin' at me!"

"We'll grow out of that, though, right?" She said smiling handing me my cash. (Did I mention she was about 22? With too much eye make-up and product in her hair?)

Until that point in time I had no idea that "smiling with only your mouth" was something that happened in real life, because people, I felt myself doing it. But the moment passed and I took my money. I'd asked for an odd assortment of bill values and I actually apologized for the weirdness of it, but she said, "Oh, this is nothing. The elderly ladies that come in usually have a very specific list of how much of what they want to have and are very insistent about it."

Ahem, how nice. At least, in her eyes, I'm still not a part of that category, yet. Except, yeah, it's 6 PM and I am so going to bed cuz I am no bank-tellering-all-night-partier. Instead I am one-day-closer-to-middle-age and it's not going to be pretty...besides, I think I've caught the latest "field-office-virus" from my wonderful co-workers...

(SIGH.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Dark of Night...

ETA:Quick grammar sweep, nothing new...
Time and talking and a little crying do a body good, do not let people tell you that crying won't help! God, how I hated that phrase as a kid.

I'm here to say, "I am a cry baby and proud of it!"

I'd shout it from the rooftops, but it is wet and muggy like Hilo got transplanted to Seattle or something. I was fighting the urge to just go out sans rain jacket today as I ran into the same problem I faced my entire time in Hawai'i: get sopping wet from the rain, or sopping wet from the sweat of wearing too many non-breathable fabrics meant to keep the rain off.

Of course this is all relative now...it's only about 55 degrees out there...yet, somehow, after living in Winter-is-10-months-long Kings Beach, CA, that's almost balmy! I'm sure in another year I'll have become acclimated to the mild-in-comparison weather that Seattle supposedly has...what with global warming and all.

I mean, we had our snow, was that just the day before yesterday? And now we are having a tropical storm. Nothing like nutty weather to keep you on your toes! And nothing like this weekend to be sitting around reading blogs, knitting and maybe catching up on some TV (I love having access to episodes on the internet...no wonder the writers are P.O.'d about not getting any cuts from that aspect of the shows! There may not be a zillion commercials, but there are ads, and I am so with you guys! (um, yes, I know the WGA does not read my blog, but you just never know).)

If the weather ever breaks again, and/or Seattle does not get washed away AND we get a break in the weather, I will update, with pictures even, on the status of my knitting-frenzy projects.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coping With Loss

Everyone deals with losing loved ones, family members, and friends in a different way. I remind myself of this constantly around deaths and holidays...and break-ups really.

By the time my X no longer wanted us to be an 'us,' he was such a different person than the guy I married that I started thinking of my X as having died, and the new X as his twin brother who hated me and was an asshole and I should be wary. If I fell into my story well enough, I could almost see the physical differences of those twins. (I taught in Castroville, CA. Not only is it the "Artichoke Capital of the World," it is over-run with twins! One year I had 5 sets among the 60 kids I taught. I had to be able to distinguish via the most minor of details, 8% of my students, or fail them as an adult--7th graders, remember? Who knew such an experience would come in handy one day?)

When someone older dies, it's kinda easier, and kinda not. I am ashamed to admit it, but heck, why not, I've given out so many other secrets to the internets, I am still angry at my 92-year-old grandfather dying on me when I was 18. Isn't that awful? I have let go of so many things in my life, and yet, that's one of the reasons the holidays are rather bitter-sweet for me, as that's when he passed on. It's not like he was 25 and full of a future that never happened! But why couldn't he be there for my future?!?

My dad is one of the youngest of his family. He just turned 62. My big family-tree sized view of my family shines a light on the fact that the majority of the aunts and uncles are older. Living to see their 70s, 80s and 90s is not an odd thing. But in my selfish world, that makes losing them harder as they have been a part of my life for so long. Even if it's just to be part of the line of gossip of what awful thing "la hija de Pello" is doing now!

Recently, the oldest of my dad's sister's left us. It makes me wonder if I am a masochist, living way the hell out here away from people who I could cry with and reminisce. Yeah, I'm a crier. And it's the "ugly cry" I'm talking about. But I wasn't around any of my family or friends who would understand, and scaring them was not my goal. It was much easier to set it aside and move on. Distance from the event is great for avoidance, until it comes up behind you and bites you in the ass.

That's kinda how I feel this morning. Last night I got word that a friend I'd been losing touch with was found dead in his house. As I told the friend whose awful luck it was to spread the news, this is not something that happens to boring people like us. No one knows any details and I feel like I've been dropped into the middle of a soap opera. Which helps, because then I can laugh (maniacally of course) about the absurdity instead of falling into even more despair. What helps a little is the fact that Andy & Co. (not sure if the crew is ready for me to shout out to them on the www) all knew him too. Unfortunately the "bad" side effect is that it is much easier for that ugly cry to bare it's um, horrific head. Which, as the first line way up at the top of this post states, might not mesh well with how everyone else will be dealing. I mean, hi, I'm spouting it out to the world here! I'm obviously not a quiet mourner!

I feel very harry-potter/jk-rolling/think of england here...I know I can get through all this because I've done it (far too often now) before. In the shower I made my laundry list and I started bawling (little cry). I've already coped/semi-coped/faked myself out about coping over the death of 10 people I knew/loved/was related to/considered myself a close friend of. (I have a separate list for the other kinds of losses...) I began typing the list out here and found it too morbid even for me. I keep thinking that all of that experience under my belt should make it easier, right? Right?

Please.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Wings That Worked..."

Turkey Day round up:
There was turkey and stuffings and potatoes and champagne and something like- but not, cognac and bree and crab cakes and kitties and a dog and a baby. Not all in one place, not all in that order.

There was much fun had by all.

It is so very hard to go back to working 10 hour days after having four whole days off, but I managed, somehow. Ah yes, mainly by constantly reminding myself two basic things:
1) overtime makes the bills sting less
2) my job is far too easy to be complaining about it

And here it is a Tuesday and I'm blogging! I blame it on "Stumbling over Chaos's" Chris.

See, she's having a blog anniversary thingie right now, name your superpower and be entered into her raffle. What was most amusing was seeing how many "Heroes" fans there are out there. When I sat down to think about what I'd like to have for a super power, I totally think of the Justice League/Super Friends conglomerate. Is that another generational thing? What comes to mind when I say, "Conjunction Junction?"

Ahem, anyway, what I decided was that of all the superman/woman powers out there, what I really needed was something to combat the superpower that has already glommed onto me: the ability to find all the rough/sharp/protuberant edges of a room. Not to, you know, point them out to parents so that their small children don't hurt themselves, oh no. I find them and slam/slice/bang/boom onto/off of them like nobody's business! I am nothing if not thorough in such endeavors.

I want to be like Batman, slick and sly and have all the cool toys...and a mansion, fast car, money to burn...uhhh, where was I? Oh yeah, I guess he doesn't really have super anything...maybe a super brain? He is kinda smart. What I came up with though is that really, I need...No. I NEED to figure out how to add a little more grace into my life. Like River Tam, in Firefly/Serenity. Like Wonder Woman dodging bullets, like Neo bending away from punches. Okay super speed wouldn't be too bad either. But grace? That would be more than enough to get me started.

Need I really tell you that today was one of my less graceful?

I think it stems from distraction. I kinda forget where things are until another part of my body, um, finds them again. Like the edge of my desk that the back of my head found when I was digging out my lunch bag as I listened to my older brother's voicemail. Or the steering column of my car when I went to get out, my knee reminded me it was there, you know, in case I forgot. I should also thank my shin for reminding me where the edge of the coffee table was as I rushed around gathering the mail.

I also have spontaneously clumsy moments. Like my muscles decide to NOT hold onto the cup of coffee anymore, or the bowl of cereal, or my bag, or my pen. I drop things for no explainable reason. They literally slip through like water. I count that as my bonus power. You know like Superman has super strength AND x-ray vision? Hiro Nakamura can bend time AND space. River Tam is super graceful AND psychotic.

Oh for wings that worked...I used to be a fencer. I never once lumbered down the strip or fell. I think it must be a concentration thing. I mean, I was kinda focused on NOT getting hit and dealing with a meter-long piece of metal. It is amazing how you can get your body to move so as to avoid getting smacked, poked, or jabbed by a weapon.

Hmmmmm

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Twas the Wednesday before Thanksgiving...

So....another list, tee hee.

1) I love free stuff, of all sorts! Useful free stuff is like a bonus. I just snagged what are to become this years xmas cards! FREE! They were in the "supply" room with a "free" stickie on them!!

2) And an extra rad bonus? I totally missed the deadline for ordering a work calendar for next year. I mean, really, duh! But hellooo, I had my choice of all sorts of conservancy/wildlife/painters of America/etc. and so forth! Free!

3) I have come to the conclusion that if you tell me to be somewhere at a particular time, I am preeety good at almost being there on-time. I might be 15 minutes early or 20 minutes late, but really, who (except for Andy) is really counting? Yet, if I say I will leave at 7:00 AM to go somewhere, I am out the door at 7 AM, or 6 PM or whatever time I have decided upon in my head. Now the trick is going to be to figure out how to judge how LONG it will take me to get somewhere so I can show up on-time on that end...it never ends does it?

4) Growing up I had turkey and ham once a year every year. Yes, on Thanksgiving and Christmas respectively. It's what my mom was told you served your family. Man did I find it strange. It's like having Chinese food in Italy. I mean, well, you have my mom who is an awesome cook, when she makes her award-winning (in my mind and heart here people) mexican meals. Yum! I am craving her enchiladas as I type. American food and my mom? Not really something that meshed well in those early years. And then there's my dad... Nothing is stranger than having the whole turkey-day spread: bird, potatoes, cranberry sauce (only once, and yes, from the can), green beans, et. al., the tortilla warmer--filled with, yes, that's right, corn tortillas, and the tired-looking tupperware filled with hot salsa, yes, really. Why? Well, that's what my dad requires on the table to eat ANYTHING. Oh the memories of my dad pouring chile over his turkey dinner and tearing away at it with his corn tortilla. I kid you not.

5) "If You Care" products. I must dig out a picture. I think their main ad campaign centers around guilt. I was just sleepy enough this morning to read the label of my coffee filters. I thought at first that "If You Care" was a slogan or some-such thing. I was wrong. I'm not sure if I should be angry, offended, or "right-on"-ing them, but they made it on my list this week as they kinda freaked me out this morning.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's Not a Meme...Just Wednesday

And/or the most random of random lists that has been building since I'm obviously not posting enough:

I. On Six-Degrees of Separation:
I live over 1,000 miles from where I was raised (and no, I would not walk 500 miles, nor 500 more to be the one that knocks upon my mo-om's door, but yes, I do indeed have that little ditty stuck in my head and as the words are so inane I've obviously already changed them to fit my needs, hee hee). Yesterday in the lunch room, not only did I meet someone who grew up not 10 minutes from my house, but actually went to the same "family" of high schools as my Alma mater; my "brother" school, no less. 'member, I'm a product of an all-girls catholic edumication...shiver. Now, what would have made it just plain nuts is for us to be in the same department, not as such, no.

When you're a product of the kind of education that supports a school of 300 people? It's so very rare to find a random person who can high-five me about such a past. The only time I thought it was just too much coincidence for words was back on the Big Island when I attended an elementary/middle/high school "team" kind of conference where we met the counterparts at the other levels of education in our teaching area. We did one of those silly get-to-know yous that involved telling people where you went to high school. Hawai'i is technically one big school district, so this doesn't seem as bizarre when you end up going to one of like 10 high schools across the state. I ended up paired up with a lady who, yes, graduated from my very same high school 11 years before I did. She knew my mother back when...it was "turn your tummy" creepy. How did we both end up 3,000 miles away from, um "home?" Wait, what made it super creepy actually was that she was breaking her contract as she was in the middle of a messy divorce...one month before I went through the same thing.

II. On the Whole "Work" Thing
Being the second car to arrive in the parking lot at work makes me feel very lonely at 7 AM.

Driving to work before the sun rises feels just as crummy as driving home after it has set. When both of these occasions meet in one day...urgh...I must keep reminding myself that the overtime is worth it. Really.

III. Michael-Douglas-Falling-Down-Mad
I'd never watched it before last night! Yes, of course I used the phrase before, early and often. Didn't we all when that movie first came out? Or maybe it was just me and my weird-o circle of friends. Whatever. I'd seen the previews and read the review, pretty easy to figure out what the movie was going to be about right?
Guy flips as he's going home + baseball bat + L.A. = Fun for the whole family!

So not what I expected. "Michael-Douglas-Falling-Down-Mad" also implies mad in its various connotations. I had forgotten how crazy LA was in the 80s/90s/now. My, am I mellow in comparison. Stop laughing.

IV. Family
My niece is a little girl! Okay, what I mean is, the last time I saw her she was barely putting words together and speaking to her over the telephone was an exercise in trying to figure out baby-speak combined with her insistence that one whispered over the phone. No idea where that came from...but amusing nonetheless. Last night when I called to wish my dad a happy old-man's day---I mean birthday, she wanted to TALK to me. Like, real sentences! Like telling me about how her brother was asleep and that her parents would be home later and that's why she's at granmas and...and...super-freaking out about how she's like not a baby anymore. And speaking of such...

V. Babies
No, not mine. Don't even go there. A friend from college just had one though. This is going to sound odd if you are from Washington State...but being "old enough" to have friends starting families is odd. Why the premise? One of my many observations of my new plodding grounds is that people tend to marry and reproduce rather young 'round these parts. It feels like everyone is married/partnered/etc./et.al. and has been for a really long time and maybe already has one or two little ones around and did I mention they're in their 20s?

My peeps? We must have, um, blossomed late or something. When I got married at 23 my friends all looked at me like I needed therapy. Well, I probably did, but I was "first"(Phil, am I imagining I got hitched just before you, or just after?) and there was no "second" until years later when friends already older than I were tying all sorts of knots and it's just telling and no surprise now, I guess, that as I'm approaching my mid thirties my cohorts have reached the reproduction stage. (Okay, again, Phil, I think you might be the exception, as your kids have some years under their belts now...but I blame your having been exposed to too much Orange County as a child.)

Yes, I know, it sounds like we're all bacteria on petri dishes...with all the world views out there, it could theoretically be one of them. I mean, really, remember the MIB marbles?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Movie PSA: Idiocracy

Watch this movie, period.

Okay, yeah, I know, you want reasons and stuff. I'm down with that.

What seems like years ago, the first 6 minutes of Idiocracy was "leaked" on YouTube. Or so I thought. The conspiracy theorist in my head now thinks the crisp and clear 6 minutes (which I can't find anymore) was from the producers of the film, trying in their own subversive way to "outfox" (wink, wink) their distribution company who DID NOT MARKET THE FILM! No previews, no releases to movie critics, nada.

The bottom of the wiki-entry does not help quell the rumor-mongers in my head either. Scroll down to "Release Issues" as the synopsis is actually a play-by-play spoiler. If they got "good" reception at screenings, why only release to 130 theaters? Why shoot themselves in the foot? You must watch it to find out.

On the top-most level, this movie is another toilet-humor-beevus&butthead style flick. It will make the masses laugh out loud. I hate those kinds of movies. They make me feel like my brain is leaking out of my ears. However, if you listen to the narrator, and really pay attention to everything that's going on in the screen? OMG you want to cry with just how easily the utter ridiculousness of the plot line could actually come about.

There is major speculation as to why they tried to bury the film, aside from the whole use of swear words and changing the friendly current-day chain stores into big-brothers and brothels as well as the movie making big fun of the mega-corporation that was releasing the film. Did I mention the screenings all happened in the UK?

What sticks with me is the sense that this is one of those "he can see"/"the sleeper has awakened" movies that the 80s prepared us all for. It's like, "Hello America, this is your future if you keep going at the current rate!"

So, watch the film. Spread the word. Don't let the future name their children after snack foods.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Taking on the "Way Back Machine" Challenge

KitKatKnit is having a contest that was just too good to skip, but maybe a little kismet-ish too:

Basically you go back to one year ago today and post about what you were knitting back then.

As you all know, I am not the most daily of bloggers. I call it my sine-wave blogging cycle. There are times I will regale you with daily musings, then a week goes by and I'm all "move along, nothing to see here." So the little voice that makes me partake of contests to begin with said, "If yee posted on the 8th, do it!" (Yep, my voice was being extra weird this morning.)

Low and behold, I did indeed post on November 8, 2006. (ETA, oopsie, thanks, Bezzie in my head it made sense... :))

I had just finished my father's scarf, and was barely making his birthday deadline...and had begun my constant winter companion:



Which became:


Pattern: One Row Hand Spun Scarf

OMG! That is snow!!! In Seattle! At the END of November...let's see if history repeats itself :).

To clarify about the fine print regarding the contest? Cartoon what? I just remember eating far too sugary cereal and watching the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show ("Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!"). Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman, were not as funny to me then as say 'Fractured Fairy Tales.' But what can I say, I was um, young and stuff. Maybe it was the speed of the narration...English is my second language after all.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

WIP-ing it up for the Masses

-or-

Do I Need an Intervention?
**Be forewarned: Picture Heavy and no I don't know how to do the "jump" thing.**

So Andy and I were talking about creativity in our lives and whether or not I should just up and become a computer programmer. This is what happens when we both stay home on a Saturday night.

I was struck down by the mother of all sinus infections beginning about Thursday with the stabbing pain in my right eyeball and culminating in Saturday morning's lack of equilibrium. Seriously, I rolled out of bed and I thought I was drunk cuz my head just kinda kept on going and I could focus on nothing...not even the floor, much less the stabbing pain behind both my eyes. I hadn't felt like this since I was in the midst of sailing away from hurricane Kenna off the coast of Mazatlan. Yeah, try having no balance or sense of where the floor is when you're on a 32 foot sailboat in uber-choppy waters! FUN TIMES!

Right, the gist of the conversation had us wondering if there were enough things going on in our lives to stave off both boredom and senility. Let's face it, my new job? Not exactly rocket science, but I do love solving the little problems and issues that come up when reconciling accounts. It does indeed, "float my boat." Andy was in the middle of fiddling with a robot he's trying to program. Yes, Andy is a computer programmer/software guy for work. For fun? He designs and writes programs. That is his creative outlet. Me? I, um, yeah, I tend NOT to do anything even remotely associated with accounting, no. When not reading, I knit.

And that's where maybe I might need some help. This morning when I woke up with only a wee little headache, I was ecstatic. When I found I could look at the little picture on the camera without wanting to vomit, I began to chronicle what I affectionately call my knitting promiscuity:

This bag contains all of my current projects. As I could not focus enough to knit yesterday, I gathered all of my errant projects together to scare myself, I mean, see just how "creative" I'm being currently.

I really did used to be so very good and only have one project going at a time. I did, really. Scarf by scarf, hat by hat, then I met my match:
This is the oldest WIP (Work in Progress) in my collection. I have no base of comparison but believe me, it's STILL not long enough. And no, no end in sight as there is yet another ball of debbie bliss wool/cotton in my stash, so I can't even just end it because I'm all out of yarn. Let me just say that basket weave makes my brain want to eat itself. But as the blog as my witness, I will work five rows every time I sit down put in any measurable knitting time.

Like Birdsong, as soon as the season is over, I put things away and pick up the next new shiny thing...
On a whim, I knit my niece and nephew's fat-man stockings last year. I thought I could do better, seeing as they were kinda holey and maybe doubling all of the yarn would help, so I practiced on one that I didn't have a person for. I got as far as midway down the leg and then it was January so I put it away. I actually got to where it is now by taking it out about the end of August and making it my "computer time" knit. But now it needs finishing, and doubling the yarn made it kinda stiff, and the froofy white is kinda angora-ish and makes me sneeze...I'm not sure what will happen with this one. Moving on:
Yes, I tried my hand at Monkey Socks...back when I went to Italy. It was my "bedtime" knitting. I also had my mom's Horcrux socks with me...which were my bus knitting. Obviously I was more into the bus knitting than staying up to do one more row...

I've lost the love here. The pattern was not going to fit my stumpy legs so I tried to do some maths and add a repeat instead of oh, I don't know, maybe going up a needle size, and then that required getting rid of some stitches and now I think maybe the foot is actually too wide and...and...yeah, I think I might rip this one. (Andy thinks I'm insane, so close to being done with it and I'm ready to make it into just yarn again...my mom would probably agree, but my tia Raquel? The one who taught me to knit? Yeah, she knows what I'm talkin' 'bout. Besides, unless I lose a foot between now and ripping it? There is a WHOLE OTHER SOCK that I'd have to suffer through...no thank you.)

Speaking of almost being done:
If these were for me? I'd be decreasing for the toe by now. Sadly, these are Lev's socks, and his feet are about 4 inches longer than mine. Yes, this will be a pair, as Lev has no love for matching socks, he is my lone-sock yarn ball hero. I just wish his feet were smaller.

So yeah, instead of casting on for say, my nephew, I cast on for Andy's size 13's:
Cuz, you know, if you make socks for one of them, the other starts piping up about cold feet...and yes, I've already gotten word that somebody might need a hat soon, since you know, I just made someone else TWO hats in a row...children, I swear!

So what do I do instead:
Pretty socks for mom. Cuz my mom's feet? A very petite size 5, thankyouverymuch. And if I made a hat for her? Sheesh, I'd have to check out some baby-hat books! I have mentioned my mom is tiny?

These are the "Ripples Socks" By Anni Design for Sockamania. Yes, I joined. These are the first pair I've tried out since really and truly, aside from the Jayne Hat of last post, I have not had time to look at my knitting since I started applying for a real job. I leave with with an artsy shot that I may just have to cross post over at the Sockamania blog, but I might be bloggered out for now:
Yes, doing both at the same time. I've learned my monkey-lesson.


If you've read this far! Wow, thanks! This is a long post even for me, but I figured the pictures would entertain a little :).

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FO: Jayne Says...

-or-
The Anatomy of a Photo Shoot: The Jayne Hat

"Man walks down the street in a hat like that, you know he's not afraid of anything."
-Wash, "The Message" Firefly

So I finally finished something. And boy is it a winner! Andy was so excited he wouldn't even let me take his picture:
He grabbed the camera from me (it is his camera after all) and decided self-portraits would be the best route:

Andy: Should I be smiling or growling or what?
Me: Nice smirk. Do you have to use me as the tripod?

Andy: Yes. Okay, how about this:
Me: Ummm a bit gassy looking, actually.

Andy: (Laughing.)
Me: Hmm, post-gassy self-satisfied face? If that isn't Jayne Cobb, I don't know who it could be.

Andy: Okay, now:
Me and Andy both: This one is screaming, "Something smells bad."

Of course I warned Andy I'd be posting them all. How could I not!

Specs:
Pattern: I ended up reading several Jayne Hat patterns and then adjusting it to my own wicked Vanna-White-LionBrand ways. See, I tried following the pattern I'd originally linked to a few posts ago, but it was far too large, maybe even for my brother! Instead I did something like (cuz did I take notes? ha ha ha, funny) this:
  • Doubling up the yarn (I knit from both ends) CO 52 stitches on size US 11s double-pointed needles (like knitting with 1st Grade pencils!) with the "rust" color.
  • Rib (k1p1) for 5 rounds
  • Knit straight (gayly forward, I am 12) for about 3.25 inches.
  • I switched to "mustard" and knit for a while, constantly bothering Andy to try the damned thing on to figure out when to start decreasing.
  • Then I decreased one stitch per needle every other round until I had about 8 or 10 stitches. Gather and pull through.
  • Put the thing on Andy to figure out where his ears are, then mark out about 14 stitches each for the flaps. The space between the flaps is bigger in front than in the back as I'd like him to be able to see if he really does use this for snowboarding.
  • I picked up and knit the stitches that were just above the ribbing using the "brick" color.
  • Knitting back and forth now, I figured out how to attach the flap to the edge of the cast on to strengthen the flaps a bit.
  • Then knit to just above his jaw line and decreased pretty fast...two each row until there were 4 stitches, then bound off and left an uber-long tail that I made some fancy knots with.
The strings are longer than a real Jayne Hat for the simple reason that they needed to be long enough to actually tie. (Again, in case he does use this puppy for snowboarding.)

So I mentioned the needles, but for posterity: US 11 double-pointed. Possibly the largest needles I've ever used, aside from actually using real pencils, maybe.

The yarn: Vanna White's LionBrand collection. I tried so very hard not to lose the ball-bands just for you! See how much I love you all: Rust (135), Brick (133), and Mustard (158) all for less than $3 a ball!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dressing Room PSA

Yesterday: (And I apologize if it gives anyone the heebie-creepies...)

When you go to say, Victoria's Secret to try on, say, a bra? Take note of two things:

1) Is this a VS where the color scheme is gloss black and matte white? If so, are the dressing room frames painted in glossy black? If so, can you see the person who is trying on undergarments via aforementioned glossy blackness (ETA:) that perfectly reflects the person in the fitting room when you are standing in the doorway to the room waiting your turn? As I found out yesterday, that same glossy fabulousness is the way the VS helpers check to see if the room is occupied or not, especially when the line is rather long for trying things on.

That wasn't actually the creepy bit, cuz, yeah, hello, we're all women here, we all have boobs, whatever. However:

2) Is there a guy "waiting for his friend" sitting in the dressing room area in that chair usually reserved for bored teen-aged daughters/elderly shop-mates/bored husbands keeping control of toddlers, etc. who is maybe stealing glances up at the glossy black door frames? No, I don't think he was checking to see if the room was empty either.

I got directed to a dressing room far over in a corner and was just thinking if I should mention something to the VS worker when she scurried away to deal with one of the too many people shopping that day. I'd put down my bag and taken off my sweater, looking warily up at the frame and thinking about the guy when I heard the commotion:

Older sounding female voice: "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!"
Male voice: "Um, waiting for my friend."
OSFV: "WHO IS THIS GUY'S FRIEND?!?"
-crickets-
OSFV: "WHERE Are you goi-..." fades to lots of female voices.

I'm not a regular VS shopper when it comes to buying bras. I've been a die-hard $9.00-on-sale-at-Sears kinda girl since that padding and push-ups stuff became king (queen?). I don't really need any more help at making my girls look bigger. But every once in a while I like to see what the fashion is. And somewhere deep in my tom-boy nature a real girl lives and it's nice to have nice underthings, at least one, you know, for special occasions. Besides, I'd gotten an email saying they'd once again, finally, came out with a full-coverage bra. Lemme just say that diction is a beautiful thing in advertising. Just because the new cup covers more than their current styles do, does not make it "full" coverage in my antiquated sense of the word.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share about the creepy VS fitting room door frames, and what trouble they can cause.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"I Learned to Drive in LA"

I am simply amazed at the varied reactions I get when I mention the above. It swings from the reverent looks young Catholic school kids give to visiting Bishops, to annoyed teens looking at their parents like they are the biggest dweebs in the multi-verse.

Whatever the case, it seemed that the group I went to lunch with yesterday was more of the former than the latter group. I mentioned the two almost accidents I'd gotten into in the last two days and I seriously felt that all that defensive driving (and posturing, must remember the posturing) early on in my training kept me from limping to work in a demolished vehicle, yes, knocking on wood and lighting candles about it.

WEDNESDAY MORNING:
I live in a building with a mini parking garage. I think I've shared the tidbit that I consider it "mini" because the spaces are actually TOO SMALL for even the non-SUV cars? Right. Well the path in and out is really only big enough for 1.5 cars to fit side by side. Great planning I tell ya. To spice it up, the first 1.25 of our two level garage is reserved for the businesses housed on the first level of the building. Mostly lawyers.

Doesn't this sound good?

Right, so as I am grandma-ing my way out of my mini space and crawling along the path out to the exit, this Mercedes barrels in and starts honking at me. I'd come to a stop and they were screeching to one (concrete floors) and yeah, had been going to fast. Slipping into reverse I eased back to give them room. I do the jazz hands asking "WTF?" And she looked at me like, what are YOU doing here!? As if the tenants of the building are scum compared to the people who work in the law office. She could not keep going forward, and you know what? There was no where for me to go, because by that time another car was waiting to go out. More jazz hands...really, I so wanted to pull a "finger" but it reminded me far too much of LA driving and my dad and traffic on the 10...urgh...so I pointed out one of many Law Office parking spots she could take so neighbor-guy and I could get on with our lives.

Only after she had parked and I was out of there did I realize I was almost hit head-on. What a way to start a Wednesday.

Statistically speaking, the rest of the week should be wonderful.

THURSDAY:
I like my neighborhood, the major streets are far enough away from one another that you can easily and safely drive the speed limit without needing to deal with people on your ass or being fully awake to deal with the pedestrians I've described before running willie-nillie asking to be mowed down like some PlayStation video game.

Apparently the absence of high-speeds also gives me the extra maneuverability to swerve around people who misunderstand what those big red hexagonal signs placed at the corners of the smaller streets mean. The fellow came to a stop half-way into MY lane. I saw him and knew stopping would mean him slamming into the driver's side, so I crossed my fingers and hoped that all that wave/cosign/tangent stuff I learned in school would apply somehow.

I think I missed him by inches. Well, my failing peripheral vision saw him far too close outside my side window, but the operative word is MISSED. I was too busy with the steering wheel to produce hand gestures of any kind, but in my head there was an explosion of reactions.

Friday:
As our department was trying to figure out who could drive to the lunch outing they had planned...I buried my car keys. Something about "third time's the charm" kept floating in my head. I definitely did not need it to happen with passengers, that would be too much.

We did, however, contemplate the coming winter, and winter storms, and just how bad Seattle-ites are at driving in snow. I think I need to time how long it takes to walk to work. I learned to drive in the snow in Tahoe, but it won't matter how awesome my snow-driving skillz are if the other 599,999 drivers in the tri-county area can't deal.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Absentee Blogger...

Here is a non-post post/list of why I am not being a good blogger/blogging on a regular basis right now:

1) I'm bored with posting sans pictures.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, actually, but it's the first thought that came to mind as I logged into bloglines to check out what the haps in the tube-world was tonight. My blog sucks prune-twinkies when it comes to the whole picture thing. I should be out and about with Andy's camera. (On a related but tangent-like note...has anyone ever used their AMEX points to get a free "thing" (read as digital camera)? After nearly 5 years, I might actually be at the point of being able to cash out my points on something I actually want, but need to find out how to do this so I might finally once again have a digital-capturing-device that is all mine mine mine and I don't have to share....yes, am three.)

2) I've been staring so long and hard at a computer screen all day that I am typing with my eyes closed. "Training" consists mostly me watching people do their thing and the person I'm "assisting" in our department of three, showing me examples on his computer. Let me just say it now to get it over with, these people are all super nice, but fall short on the teaching techniques. I learn by doing. I've mentioned this a number of times to them, but they seem to be afraid to let me fail. I'm okay with getting things wrong the first time, really! How else but by correcting my mistakes will I learn?

So after a day of squinting at a monitor that is too far away from me to look at comfortably, I really don't even want to be in front of my own reading up on the world and/or my imaginary internet friends' worlds. Addiction is a scary thing...online newspapers are the gateway sites, taking you on to the world of blogs and then blogging and then....aaaaahhhhh!!!

3) My brain is fit-to-burst and if I spend too much time thinking of something brilliant to post, I will lose something I need to know for work. Maximum capacity we have not reached, but enough of my short term memory has been filled up and my brain just won't work as fast as it once did to convert all those loose synapses into long-term jobbies (tee hee I am twelve) mainly due to that aforementioned "I learn by doing" thingie so I have to figure out more creative ways of remembering what seem like useless pieces of information...which is filling up even more space...vicious circle time...

4) I have too many things on needles and the guilt is overwhelming. What am I doing typing meaningless symbols on the screen when I could be freeing up needles so I can cast-on more stuff???

5) I need to clean my room/pick up after myself. My desk is messy and that's just how I roll. But my floor is piling up books and tools and cables and yarn and needles and bags and bags of bags and old junk mail I can't seem to get rid of and my plaster teeth keep asking me where they should go---Did I ever mention I got to keep the plaster cast of my teeth from the root canal/gum surgery/there-goes-xmas-for-the-next-five-years experience? I let them throw away the aluminum shell of my temporary, but no way were they tossing my teeth! They're worth thousands! And they are hinged :). I need to post a picture...but um, yeah, see #1 above...

SO!

Until I tackle my list? Right. More of the same random-not-too-timely postings from me. Unless, of course, something juicy falls my way. Like say, zombies taking over Fremont.

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween 'round these parts :).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kickin' Butt & Takin' Names....

Well, at least on the subconscious level.

The other night I had one of those nightmares. You all with 7+ years together ex-relationship histories might know what I mean without my having to delve into much detail. It's kinda hard to put into words that don't involve my breaking down and wanting to run away, but let's just say soul-wrenching is in the descriptor. As well as maybe "wake up crying/upset/ready to hurt someone." Moaning in that "she's trying to wake herself up" kind of way is also in it. Let's just say I was not all chipper and happy and well-rested when I finally did wake up in the morning.

Right. Well, had I been keeping up with my dream journal I could have told you exactly what the dream was about, cuz it really was haunting me. As I was showering and telling myself I needed to write it all down...and then while drinking coffee I thought about where I might have put that journal but instead started to get my lunch ready...we've been through all this just a few posts ago.

Slowly and surely the dream has vanished...and good riddance, really. All I can tell you is that my X was in it and there was a house and lots of fighting and maybe even another woman, I can't actually tell you for sure by this time as my conscious imagination will happily fill in any and all missing details with it's overactive self.

Well, last night? Apparently it was my turn to be triumphant.

I woke up and the dream was already vanishing! I could not for the life of me tell you what I did, but I was smiling about it. I had this feeling of utter jubilation and I just knew it was because I had bested my X. Just totally won! It was CHECK MATE! JENGA! YAHTZEE! BINGO! All rolled into one! It was my Return of the Jedi finale. I had totally blown up the Death Star and yeah man, it looked just like him! (Wow, if he really has gained that much weight...sorry, I did mention overactive when describing my imagination, after all.)

I think everyone needs a morning like mine at least once a week.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Up from the Fog...

You know that medicine-heady fog you live in when things go bad in the sinus department and your nose has utterly rebelled and your eyes hurt just thinking about them and scare others around you with their lovely red patina? Or is this just me? Whatever, I'm doing about 80% better this morning and I'd like to thank the academy and my mom, and especially the makers of the NON-PE nasal decongestants and 800mg ibuprofen. Without you? I'd be lying near death in a gutter from my earlobes and brain exploding, or something. And whatever deity kept me from sneezing yesterday? I light a candle to you.

Too vivid a picture this early in the morning, sorry. It's that last 20% that is keeping my sarcasm at a decades-high level. I am trying to convince myself that my muscles WILL BEHAVE. The best way to describe it is that they've all become rather excited to be doing their muscle-y thing all at the same time and going in opposite directions; straining so hard they cramp up! I have muscles in my butt I had no idea existed! And when they cramp up? There you have me, sitting in my shared office, rubbing my butt.

Lovely, I know.

But even that seems 80% better than yesterday. I mean, I got out of bed without making the "old person" noise, and that is such a bonus! (I am so sad.) I even did 10 of my half-assed "sit-ups" to make sure my back was not just playing around with me. (Seriously, I lie down, on my bed, and using my stomach and thighs--two areas that are not doing the muscle-mambo btw--I sit up, then touch my toes. I never said I was an athlete.)

My neck and shoulders are the only places holding out. That's fine. I think this post might be the most "computer-work" I'll be doing today. That is, unless they have finally gotten a log in for me. Kinda hard to do computer-based accounting if I can't, heh heh, use the computer.

Have I mentioned I love my job? There is something to be said for my being able to train in the state of mind I've been in the last two days. I took notes I don't really remember taking, but that's okay, not only are they legible, the job itself is not the most taxing right now--again, probably due to the fact that I can't do much in the data-entry/look up department and there are such things as "training manuals" floating around the department!

The most taxing thing I was able to do yesterday was stuff envelopes. Come Thursday I might be singing a different tune. Apparently that is the "worst" day of the week due to actual time-lines that need to get met and people running around and bugging you to meet them. We shall see.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Okay I'm Sucking at the "Regular" Posting Thing

I'm fighting off the flu, or so I hope it's just the flu.

Diseases and plagues take on new meanings when I think about the fact that I work for a global non-profit and people are coming back from the field offices all snuffly and such. No really, whatever you brought back with you? Leave it at home! I don't really want the New Delhi Surprise Virus, or whatever.

I shouldn't really blame the field offices either. Most of these people are also coming back from vacationing. Hawai'i seems rather popular. Having lived there for a couple years I can tell you point of fact: it is a nexus for all sorts of fun nasty diseases! There are people from EVERYWHERE in Hawai'i. Cruise ships come into port 4 of every 7 days of the week! Sailboats rest up for their next big jump! Tourists do day trips! Think of the thousand different plagues they can spread!

And this is just the Hilo (read boring) side of the Big Island. I don't think I'd have had a well day if I lived on Oahu...I have a tendency to catch every cold known to man...or be in the midst of fighting it.

Whatever this is, I feel like I've been hit up and down my spine with a baseball bat. I won't even describe how badly my eyeballs feel. Yes, eyeballs! FUN! TIMES!

Lest I be just a wee bit more dramatic...and today? Today is my first day with my new group. In a little less than 2 hours I have to be all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to meet with my new boss! Timing is everything!

Speaking about timing...I've been trying to post at home so I could upload this button:

Tana at Constant Evolution of Things, nominated me forever and a day ago for "keeping it real in Seattle." I rather liked that tag line. Here is the actual post. I apologize for taking so very long to acknowledge this. And ask everyone's forgiveness for the even longer delay I will have in passing it on. From what I gather, I must nominate 5 new people. As I am late in the game to so very many things, the ones I'd have nominated already have a button...so, this will take longer than I thought. I will keep you all posted though.

Thanks for reading...more when my flu-weary self can deal with the bright white light of blogger's posting page...I wonder if I can get away with wearing my sunglasses in the office...hmmm

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Can't Remember What Newspapers Call it...

You know that wee little space they have to tell people they goofed on an article and stuff?
Yeah, pretend that's my title.

Last post I linked to the wrong Jayne Hat, but I want to keep that link "live" as I seem to need all the help I can muster these days.

This is the pattern I'm trying to use -- yup, gauge hates me; Andy's head is not 32" around. Though I suppose I could have ditched the whole hat idea and be just about through with the body of a baby sweater or something...only, well, even I would not make a baby wear this much plastic. If I ever get my hands on the camera, I'll take some pictures of this wonderful monstrosity.

---
I am training my replacement yesterday through Friday. Exhausted was and understatement last night. Teaching one willing but sorely inexperienced person to do your job is a whole lot like teaching 30 unwilling bored kids. Their eyes glaze over from too much information at the exact same rate. I have 2 weeks worth of information to cram into 3 days...fun times people!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Eating Ice Cream when it's Cold Out

I feel like I'm a walking contradiction.
 
All this year I promised myself I'd "experience more color in my world" by taking advantage of Project Spectrum, I knit:
  • One pair black/grey socklettes
  • A pair of muted striped wonders for my mom
  • A dark blue hat with some bit of subdued color for Andy
  • And then miles upon miles of brown/black/tan sock legs for Andy and Lev (which I still haven't finished...and don't even have a picture to show.)
  • Oh, and I continued on my black basket weave scarf.
I know, COLORFUL.
 
As October peaked it's head and everyone was starting to talk about Socktoberfest?  What catches my attention?  That's right, HATS.  Yes, yes, 5 different socks on the needles and I'm figuring out hats...
 
Again, picture-less, but I don't think you want to really see what my poor Noro Kureyon looks like after being knitted up and ripped out so very many times.  I think it wants to be a scarf, so I've put that poor over-stitched yarn aside for the moment.  The problem was I couldn't make it so the hat fit right.  I am not immune from my family's mutant head problem, it would seem. 
 
Size is not the issue so much as my ears. They are far too big--or rather, long, or maybe just low on my head.  That sounds SOOOOOOO attractive, doesn't it?  All I wanted was a hat that would cover my ears, lobes included.  I tried pantas (I can't find it anymore, but  this one is similar.) and wondered hard about calorimetries (not ready for short rows and buttons and button holes) but decided a hat would be best cuz I don't really own one and head bands have the same problem with the covering of the ears/sizing issues with the additional fun of falling down over my eyes problem.  At hat, at least, would eventually stop slipping down as it has a "top."  Even Andy noticed I was ripping that poor Noro far too often and offered a suggestion, why not just add earflaps to whatever hat I did make!
 
The concept is not new here...but my need for a hat that won't make me look too much like a dork keeps me from going there just now...it just doesn't get THAT cold!  Then I remembered a hat I'd thought hard about making...with earflaps, one that, yes, I'd make, but nope, not gonna wear.  If I did play around with its construction, maybe it would be the training I needed for the too-expensive-to-mess-with Noro that I was felting just by looking at it wrong.  But such a waste for a hat no one would wear...Then Andy piped up again, he'd wear it, sure... The Jayne Hat.
 
The best part of this hat, aside from just being, is that even if Andy backs out of wearing it?  Due to the fact that we're all about matching colors and intentions (you get the feeling Jayne's mom is an aluminum-needle-wielding-wal-mart-yarn-buying momma, or maybe it's just me, I mean look at her son) vs. heading straight for the super luscious yarns AND the need for it not to make Andy's head itch (wool is harsh on his noggin'), I found the yarn I wanted to use for this hat at Jo Ann's for a little over $8, total! 
 
Now that I've bought the yarn, printed out the pattern, and dug out the needles, Andy does not know if he will actually wear it about town, such a slave to fashion, that man is; but I think it would be an awesome snow-boarding hat for him.  And if it gets lost?  Who cares!  Although, with the color scheme?  Orange/yellow/red?  And the pom pom I'm hoping to top it with?  Unless it's buried under a ton of snow?  I'm not worried about it being misplaced that easily. 
 
Hmm, the year's not over yet...orange, yellow, red...kinda spectrumy, dontcha think?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Gotta Start Writing Good Title Ideas Down...

Half asleep in purple plaid pajamas, I had a brilliant idea of what to title a post!

Then I drank my coffee, showered, made lunch, and yeah, gone....

You'd think with the number of notebooks and pens I own (shush, Andy, best not comment), I'd be able to write anything down no matter where I was in the apartment! Big sigh.

And isn't it weird how from a brilliant title an even more fabulous post ensues? And the inverse of course...cuz now that the title has slipped my addled noggin', remembering the brilliance of the actual post is nigh impossible.

And like wearing the best clothes you own when you have run out of clean laundry, it seems I pull out my 25¢ phrases when I run out of things to say....(I reserve the $.50 ones for obnoxious people at work.)

OH WORK! I haven't really started, and I have. Or rather, I'm still finishing up in my temp department and will some day "transition" into my new one, maybe it will start with an orientation! It's day 4 now and I still haven't gotten one of those...but joy and glee, I'm already being paid at my new LOWER rate to do the harder work I was doing! Fun times! I do have to wonder how they come up with these things!

So, when I rule the world? Right, we'll scrap that idea right off. At least it's not too grand a demotion. I heard there was a director that decided to become an assistant (their decision, not the company's) and the "transition" was about a month long. Yep, got paid at the "new" lower scale while they finished up their director duties...my neck hurts just thinking about that one.

Anyhow, I should get going before all the parking spaces are taken. It is amazing how many vehicles magically appear in Seattle when the rain appears...