Tuesday, April 24, 2007

T-Minus 9 Hours

I'm pretty much ready to go, I hope.
I'd have really liked to have taken my knee brace, but it seems to be
MIA. I'm taking it as a sign.

I still have to figure out the TSA lock. But as I'm not checking
anything in, I'll have the flight for that.

Oh yeah, I should clear up that misconception. Somebody wrote me
asking if I'd gone completely over the edge over the liquid/gel thing
and what all was my problem, etc. Just put it in the bag that I'll
be checking.

Weeeeeelllll, there be the problem...MJ signed us up for the Rick
Steves Southern Italy tour. I don't remember what it's called cuz
um, right much reading to do on the plane. Rule #1 for ole Rick (and
therefore for MJ as well) NEVER CHECK BAGGAGE. So you're only
allowed one carry on, and one personal item/bag. I've fit 3.5 weeks-
worth of clothing and personal items for that time frame.
Toiletries??? Well, that's gonna be part of the adventure, it would

Okay, I've got a couple more places to look, and a couple more things
to stuff here and there...and a couple more projects to scratch my
head over.

My flight leaves at 6AM, urgh...so I'll be getting up in a few
hours....more urgh....
I'll be officially back on May 19th, but if I can sneak some internet
time...maybe I can keep you posted.

Ciao! (That and "No capisco l'Italiano" is about all the real
Italian I got from the Italian CD I have on my iPod...I am in
SOOOOOOO much trouble.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

It's 10:43PM

So, how's my list going...

I literally (just now getting the confirmation email) clicked a few buttons and am 10 days away from having my California Teaching Credential renewal processed (or whatever they want to call it, it's renewed, that's the bottom line). I'm a bit weirded out by the simplicity of it.

Used ta' be you filled out eleventy-hundred forms, got all the i's crossed an t's dotted, made copies, mailed it off with your check, and 6 months later, Bob's yer uncle: your credential was renewed. I'm feeling rather old fashioned about this new-fangled "click here" and no signature required. I suppose promising to keep all the original forms and signatures for a year should placate my messican 'form and stamp loving' nature.

That sounds so horribly generalizing/stereotypical of me doesn't it? I am going to hell, but if I'm lying maybe someone can call me on it. I swear I LOVED playing "office" when I was a kid. Nothing made my day more than piles of "important" papers that needed signatures or stamps. Decades later I'm in Mexico dealing quite regularly with bureaucracy (port captains, immigration, lawyers, banks, random fellows with rubber stamps in their suitcases) and I'll be damned (there's that going to hell bit again) if they didn't like papers and rubber stamps as much as my 7-year old self did!!! Heck, I still love it! Stamping and coding was possibly my favorite part of being an Accounts Payable Coordinator! (I keep telling you all, I am not a well person.)

Okay, enough about my tentative grasp of reality here.

T minus...I think I was wrong my last post...cuz I'm still counting over 25 hours to go...though, maybe I was wrong on purpose/subconsciously? You know, to actually kickstart my procrastination-loving self? All I know is that I'm 3 shirts, 1 pair of shorts, and some tights away from finished with the clothes part of the packing. The quart-sized bag/liquids thing is starting to annoy. Who knew I relied so heavily on such liquidy/gel-ly things in my daily routine! I almost feel like a girlie-girl!

Has anyone else noticed that the pictures that go with the 3-1-1 rule all have 1 oz or smaller containers? No wonder my 5 items (shampoo/conditioner combo-2 oz, body lotion-2 oz, sun block-3 oz, face cream-1.7 oz, and hair gel-1 oz) seem to take more than their share... must rethink this a bit more. I will leave that until last.

Tomorrow (which is in 1/2 an hour now...I keep getting distracted as I think of other things, like bug spray and hats for example) I must focus on these last things (as well as finishing up everything else):
- buy, write up, and make ready to mail my mom's mother's day card
- finalize the sock/pattern/etc I'll be taking aboard
- photocopy important papers and such

Good night/good morning :)

Some Socky Goodness

My loyal knitting readers are today rewarded with pictures:
Technically these would be officially named: "Cantaloupe Ribbed Socks" to follow the Nancy Bush/Knitting Vintage Sock naming tradition...but you already know what name I gave them before blocking:
Yes, that's right! THEY FIT!
Here's a better reality/true color picture:
I swear they GLOW. Today is so gloomy/half-light grey that they really are a little bit of sunshine for my little footsies. Or as I've come to accept them, the the wider than they are long hobbit feet I've been given.

Pattern: Loosely based on "Madder Ribbed Socks" by Nancy Bush from Knitting Vintage Socks
Cast on with 5 US 2 DPNS and then after a couple rounds changed to US 1s.
Yarn: (I HAVE THE INFO PEOPLE!!! Yes, I had to dig around to find it again...) All Things Heather 100% superwash merino "Cantaloupe", a prize from Aloha & Oreos/Keohinani's Swatch Contest.

They were too small before I blocked the bejeebus out of them. I let them soak forever in (yes I am a heretic) Woolite and some vinegar (to keep the colors in check). Then I grabbed my oh so 'spensive one-of-a-kind, couture as it were, plastic coated wire hanger homemade sock blockers, in teal I believe, and stretched the buggers on there, then crossed my fingers and went away to hem some pants (is it me or are pants just ridiculously too long now-a-days???)

My toes seem to be okay so far (I'm still wearing them). I think, however, that I shall learn from this experience and cast on a sufficient number of stitches for my next attempt at socks...which idea I stole from NotScarlett! I'm going for Monkey by Cookie A.

According to my grand calculamifications (the sock calculator I downloaded, the very first offering), I need only add one more pattern repeat (i.e. up the cast on to 80) and I will only be 4 stitches shy of what the "sock calculator" says I need. Given the fact that this is already 8 more stitches than I usually go for, I think I'm in a good place... Yes, I am convincing myself that I should still cast on LESS THAN I SHOULD. It's either that or figure out where I can sneak in those 4 extra stitches, which I am also doing, seeing as I have SO MUCH TIME (less than 33 hours before I will be on an airplane headed out of the country... Go ahead, ask me if I've packed yet. HA HA HA HA...

I also have to:
Renew my California Teaching Credential (I hope I can still do this online...)
Pay my credit cards
Check to see when my next car payment rolls in/leave a check for it
Figure out if my "gel caps" (Advil and Cranberry pills) are considered "gel or liquid" and need to go into the quart-sized bag, which is getting kinda full, hmph.
Call my banks/bankcard people to let them know it's okay if someone, hopefully me, uses the ATM in Palermo and maybe Rome...and places in between...
Physically go to my banks to deposit money...some day I will get a Washington Bank Account...really

And other things I'm sure the Internet really doesn't need to know about...like finding the underwear that fits, stuff like that :).

Can you tell I'm shy?

Okay, gotta run, none of the above seems to be getting done by itself, the nerve!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Root Canal Schmoot Canal

Happy Saturday!

My face hurts.
My eyelids are swollen.
My jaw is sore.

But I'm alive and talking.
Phase 1 of the root canal (the big drilling and digging and killing of the inside of my tooth) is all over and done with. They put in a temo/permo filling that's supposed to last my out of country experience and then I can get Phase 2 (the little drilling and the crown) done. If I were to have the crown done before I left I think I would die. There is a reason they give you a temporary filling: so you can go home, snuggle in your favorite place and NOT think of drills or dentists or that scary way that one shot makes your heart pound like you just ran a mile.

So they let me watch a movie during phase 1. They had a limited selection so I decided to go for visual over anything I might not be able to hear over the drilling, "Finding Nemo." Yeah, I've watched it a dozen times or so...Now, why did I NOT remember that a good third of the movie takes place in a dentist's office? That the very first procedure that happens in the office is a bloody root canal?!?

I don't remember the other movie options, except for "Freaky Friday", and I don't know which version they were showing, I think maybe the new one (has anyone seen it? Is there a dental scene in that one too???) but I have my suspicions that there might be a sick and twisted common theme in the list. But that would be just me being paranoid again.

I'm sure we'll all be happier when all this dental stuff is behind me and I can once again get on to posting about things NOT related to my mouth, dentists, or drills. Did I mention I really really really can't stand that dental drill sound?

Next up, marathon packing (3 days? Where did that week I had go?) and last minute craziness I'm sure. MJ (xMIL = MJ, thanks Richard) is not all that hip on the cyber cafe thing, so I might be MIA for a while after Wednesday, we shall see. I just thought I'd warn my loyal readers...there are about 4 of you now, right? :).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Brain is on Emotional Overload...

Have I mentioned just how traumatizing it is for me to deal with dental work of any kind? Those of you readers who have known me long enough to have endured my having to go to the dentist, I apologize for the way I acted even up to several days beforehand. I am so not myself and all I want to do is run away rather than face a dental chair where "things" with compressed air and drills and my mouth will be involved.

So I bring you:
Things I ran across the internet on my way to fully waking up this morning. Both to distract you and myself until all this root canal business is behind me...that would be after Friday, yes. Urgh.

Here's a page that's just fun to look at. I wish I was that clever with photoshop.

Giant Puppets! Why can't we have cool stuff like this?
The Sultan's Elephant
Little Girl Giant
The Grand Finale

This is brilliant! I don't go for 90% of his humor, but this one, right up my MLA alley:
This Blog...

Okay, this isn't all that new...but I thought I'd share it anyway:
Jib-Jab's "What We Call the News"

While looking through YouTube's Most All Time Viewed selections I noticed that the "Kiwi!" video has far outstripped "The Last Knit" on viewing. So I'm linking to both again.

Okay, let's see if this will like up directly: (Watch it through to the end, I missed the ending the first time...)

With that I wander off to go make some tea, and maybe take some Advil as that pit of decay? The one I wasn't even feeling? Yep, it's started to hurt now. 24 hours to go...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Kingdom for a New Tooth...

Yup, 2 posts in the same day...must be big news...

The tooth with the jagged edges? Dare I even call it a tooth anymore if it's mostly, to quote the dentist, "A hollowed out pit of decay!" Well, maybe I exaggerate just a little.... whatever the case, I get to have my very first Endodontist appointment on Friday.

Did I mention I have NO INSURANCE?

At this point in the game I might be able to take pictures of things in Italy in lieu of actually buying them. Okay, maybe I exaggerate with that as well. I am nothing if not so paranoid that I have "emergency" money for just such a situation. Yes, enough even for a root canal, it would seem.

I don't so much hate the dentist as am super fearful of the whole practice...with good cause it would seem, as this new guy's favorite phrase about past procedures he could see having been done was, "how barbaric!" I didn't have the heart to describe just how my cuspid (canine tooth) went "missing."

Aside from the bomb that is ready to go off in my mouth though, I have a really good set of choppers.

(Sigh) When it rains, it pours.

A Little Tea and Sympathy...

I am old enough now to consider myself a professional procrastinator. I leave for Italy when and am I ready? Heck no. I still have a couple guidebooks I'm expected to have read and have a list of places I want to see ready for xMIL (mom2? still looking for a better name for her) ...that's what the plane ride is for, right? Yeah yeah, yeah, they say to sleep to avoid jet lag, etc., ...unless I pack my ambien I'm too much of a nervous worrier for that to happen.

Besides, I'm still at the "I have over a week" stage (8 days to be precise), PLENTY OF TIME.

Yellow socks? What yellow socks... la, la, la, out of sight, out of mind....for now.
Instead let me distract you with this:
So two things:
First: I've progressed beyond "swatch" on my mom's new socks. Whether or not she realizes it, she's going to be representin' some Harry Potter with the Horcrux Socks that are developing on the needles. I am so subversive, I know.

Second: I am so out of the loop of things that I had no idea Opus was modeling again! Somewhere in all my backed up data is a scanned photo of a grey-scaled "gap" ad with Opus in his whitey-tighties looking so very cool. The original adorned my school binder about 9 (gasp) years ago--I wasn't still in school though...I was umm, teaching it. My students never for a second doubted my insanity, "Seriously, Teacher, a penguin in underwears?" (They were second-language learners.) The back of that same binder sported the infamous "Bang Head Here" sign:
Lemme tell ya, if you were me back then? Your school binder would reflect similar tastes, of that I am certain.

Anyhow, I was beyond tickled to see Opus out and about again. I am a Berkeley Breathed fan of old. One of the many many many things that utterly convinced my mother I could not be hers, was the trend I had of cutting out the Sunday comics of "Bloom County/Outland" and taping them up on my bedroom wall up around the ceiling until I had ringed the entire room (this wasn't too hard as I lived in the closet had the smallest room of the house). When that occurred (often) I'd replace the older ones with newer ones...one of my favorite "series" being the one where Oliver pretty much holds the world hostage with his "Banana Jr" computer...amazing what my brain thinks worthy of remembering, yet last night try hard as I might I could not remember more than a few blips and pieces of childhood trauma (crying my eyes out in pre-school) when thinking back to the earliest memories I had of school.

Okay...three things:
I have to go get ready for a dental appointment now. I seem to have broken one of my favorite molars with my super powers; the work of Damage Girl is never done, boys and girls. No, I didn't lose the filling; that seems to be the only thing holding the rest of the tooth together. I've actually lost a segment of tooth. Where and when and how? I couldn't tell you. But hopefully they will be able to do something about it and the accompanying jagged edges that are ripping apart the inside of my too chubby cheeks today.

Onward and upward! Or something.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Just Call Me Stumpy-A Plea to My New Socks

I have almost finished yet another pair of socks (need the close the toe and weave in ends) and I'm crossing my fingers that after blocking they will not be too tight.

Yup, again.

It's the same two reasons...always the same two reasons...I'm a bit peeved and I have the feeling I may have ranted about this before, but I'll do it again as it doesn't seem to be sinking in:

#1 - I may have underestimated my ability to knit so tightly that these socks could double as tiny buckets and actually CARRY water.

And of course, the primary reason I decided to knit socks in the first place:

#2 - I forgot, again, that I really don't have ankles...my legs kinda just end with a foot. No delicate anything down there. My tee-tiny "ankle" measures 10.5" around... that would be the smaller of the two. No I'm not 6 foot 5... I am, however, descended from good solid ranching stock. I am the runt of the litter at my 5' 3.75", but my arms, wrists, bust, butt, waist, and especially the aforementioned ankles don't seem to realized this. They are delusional. I wear a sized 8-ish shoe, my feet think I'm fine, thanks. Everything else sees itself as the amazon that I should have been -- from my dad's side of the family (width-wise), and not the "delicate flower" tendencies (length-wise) I got from my mom's side. (At her tallest? She was all of 4'11"; her heaviest? 112lbs. We shall not speak about how heavy my bones are...or I'll sit on you.)

Why why why why do I do this to myself?
I must get it into my head that I am not a pixie with delicate features. I have very strong legs. Mostly due to the grand amount of muscle that really belongs in someone about 5 inches taller than me. My calves start pretty close to my non-existent ankles. One of the reasons I make kinda "short" cuffs and legs of socks is that THEY WON'T FIT ANY HIGHER unless (as I finally measured and did the required math for the, ick, gauge) I start casting on almost 100 stitches...(14" of solid muscle, baby--the fat happens a little higher :).)

So why don't I? Cuz I'm delusional. That must be the reason. Add to that my lack of swatching, and the fact that I got a perfect fit with 72 cast-on stitches using Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn. PERFECT! I wear the same two pairs of socks over and over and over and am love love loving them to death...holey death.

Lana Grossa, Sockatta, Wildfoote... whatever my first pair was made out of.... they're all at my mom's house now. Learning curve, or something. The Lorna's Laces footlets fit...because they don't go past my ankle!!!

So now, I beg of you "Too Bright for the Supermarket Cantaloupe Ribbed Socks," after I graft your toe shut and give you a nice LOOOOOOOOOONG bath, please please please forgive my simplemindedness and don't cut off the circulation to my toes. I swear if I ever get the chance to knit with your kind again, I will swatch.

Did you see what I'm doing with the Socks that Rock that I won on January One's blog? Yup, that would be me casting on 80 stitches and swatching a full-sized cast on. How about the Lana Grossa for my mom? (Cuz I do knit things for her on purpose too.) That would be me frogging the too tiny SWATCH and trying again. I am learning, slowly, painfully learning.

From top left: Fleesce Artist cake for "computer waiting sock," footlets under "knit check" ruler, 80 stitch "swatch" for STR, my (I hope) forgiving lovely Cantaloupe colored socks with what was left of the yarn, the "computer waiting leg-in progress" under the Lana Grossa and what's left of it's too-small "swatch."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

God Damnit, You've Got to be Kind

Kurt Vonnegut has passed away.
BBC Obituary

BBC Announcement
NYT Obituary
NYT Annoucement/Life

Free at Last!

Hello fellow unemployed!
Well, technically I'm not unemployed as I do work for a wonderful temp agency, well, that is, when they can find me work. Otherwise I do feel like one of the "under employed" of America. The reason I chose them is that they get long-term contracts so I don't have to worry about a day here, a day there, hours here, a half day somewhere else...

This is all well and good as long as I don't have a 3.5 week trip to Italy with my XMIL looming. No one wants a temp that will NEED a temp in the middle of their stint. I was supposed to still be at my last assignment...but then they sold the company a million times and the 10th became EVERYONE's last day, instead of the 23rd...or whatever perfect last day that had been. Timing is everything. So now they are struggling (or so they say) to find me something to "fill in" the time, you know, to "keep me busy." Else I go insane...

I'm having my doubts anything will be coming my way until after I'm back from my sojourn. So I might have to go to Italy 2 paychecks poorer. Good thing I've been saving for the trip, eh? So I'll be able to pay my bills (cuz they don't care), but maybe not do any shopping while in Italy. (sniff) I know, I know, you all feel soooooo sorry that I'll be in ITALY that way.

Does it help if I tell you all I've decided to call the trip my severance package? You know, my "reward" for what still feels like almost 8 lost years of my youth married to a guy who would dump me like yesterday's garbage? A fellow I'd known for over 12 years and had come to regard as literally a part of me. That sounds kinda corny, and maybe a little awful, but it's how I feel some days, like maybe this morning as I look over what I still need to do before I go.

Don't get me wrong, I do love my XMIL and can't wait to spend time with her. I'm not "cutting her off" after this trip. We have so much in common it's unreal. I need to find a new name for her though. My "friend" is not enough. Hee hee, I could call her "mom," but now that I'm not married to X, it might confuse people into thinking she's my mom and X was the SIL :).

I think I rely too heavily on labels...or maybe others rely too heavily on them and I'm just trying to make it easier for everyone. There's a thought to explore about myself, eh?

Okay, my room isn't doing well in the "cleaning itself" department, so I should go hurry it along. It is amazing how messy things get when you're not at home to keep an eye on the encroaching detritus.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No, They Really ARE Laughing AT You

It boggles the mind, really it does.  Well, my mind at any rate.  I have to get out of the "third-person-omniscient" mode.  I was writing up some stuff for work and they wanted things STATED in that "all knowing" kind of way.  You know, where there is no doubt that you received the information from the gods and therefore simply CAN'T be wrong.  Can you tell I was a Lit. major as well as a teacher?
Where was I?
I admit that I am off in my own little world a great deal of the time.  It's safe and warm there.  However, I seem to have built plenty of windows to keep an eye out on what others are doing.  Maybe to keep me on my guard, maybe to keep me aware, maybe so people won't laugh too long or hard when they look in my direction?
Andy and I experienced vastly different "growing pains" years.  I realized this when he pointed out a couple people in the last few days that he couldn't help but chuckle at and ask (me, not them) if they actually chose to dress the way they did.  I replied that it really is the difference between trying your hardest to fit in, versus trying your hardest to no look like a carbon copy of everyone else.
Can you guess what I dressed like on my non-uniform school days?  Remember the kid who wore isotoners to school?  How about a Hawaiian shirt over a summer dress?  Umm Renaissance garb at the graduation practice?  Yup, that would have been me.  In all those years and outfits though, I always kept an eye and ear out to make sure I wasn't the BIGGEST weirdo.  There are limits.
I guess that's what makes me different than the "bubble" people.  Those around me that are so focused on their own thing that they don't realize they are the "class/office/bus joke."  Their blinders are cinched on a little too tight.  They don't necessarily have to be "leggings" lady with the Pat Benetar hair cut, or "hiking" woman with the Heidi hairdo, or even Harley Davidson man and his awful mustache and bandanna.  Granted they are fun to look at.  The worst bubble people, the ones I almost feel sorry for, are the "normal" looking ones that I just can't stand because they are so deep into themselves they don't realize no one is listening to the same story they've now told for the 10th time.  Let's face it, if you are not my grandparent/parent or older relative (adoptive ones count too), I have no need to hear the same story over and over and over again.  (I have the messican guilt about respecting those others on my list, you see, besides the older they get the more interesting their same old stories seem to get).
I think I'm still ranting about a particular office nuisance, can you tell?  But now, really, today? On the last day here?  I'm realizing that she honestly thinks people are laughing WITH her, and that's just sad, really.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Why does this bother me so? 
Is it yet another clue-in that I am on the fast-track to becoming my mom?
Do you all know about Digg?  When I'm all out of blogs to read (I don't subscribe to all that many, relatively speaking), and the BBC has nothing new to share, and I've seen all the previews on Apple.com, I turn to digg for some edutainment.  If I'm knitting?  I go straight to their video page.
However, I really really REALLY have to be careful of what link I click when I'm happily watching inane links to South Park (I am twelve years old sometimes) or stuff that certain post-ers find "cool."  No, I'm not talking about the 13-year-olds who post Brazilians shaking their butt cheeks.  I'm not too easily offended, if the moniker above didn't clue you in.  I'm talking about clicking on the "comments" for posts from the tiny percentage of "digg-ers" who are over the age of consent and have maybe ventured out further out than their parents' basements, or something similar.
Case in point?  There was a "quasi" video (more like a slide-show with operatic background music) about the birth of an island in the South Pacific.  The pictures were not taken by National Geographic, or the people behind the Encyclopedia Britannica (one commenter referred us all to watch their version of the new islands being daily created near Iceland--cuz you know, Iceland is in the South Pacific and all....), but by a couple cruisers who were probably on their way to or from the Marquesas.  This was them sailing THROUGH the volcanic ash that precludes the underwater volcano that would be "somewhere" near.  They don't exactly sell charts of such things, you see.  I found the pictures both fascinating and frightening in that "I've been out there" feeling.  Crossing from Mexico to Hawai'i on a 32 foot boat, you feel small.  Tiny speck does not begin to describe the feeling.  Alone is another word that crosses my mind.  I was with my X then, but what with sleeping and watch shifts, you spend DAYS "alone."  Running across an underwater volcano could mean, well, certain death as the water does weird things like not letting your boat float through it and stuff...
To be out there, feeling that alone and tiny and then running across an underwater volcano and then SEEING the birth of an island?  I have no words to describe how that would have slammed me down and changed the way I viewed my world.  All that Carl Sagan-y Cosmos-y feeling of place and time and awe-ness was tossed out the window, of course, when I clicked on the wrong link and started reading comment after 13-yr old comment about how "this isn't a video" and "my little sister takes better pictures" and maybe one too many "this music sucks."  People?  Boys?  GET. A. LIFE.
I would really love to see what THEY could come up with.  Arm chair travelers and directors (and grammar policemen it seemed), leave your Dungeons & Dragons world for a spell and THEN come back and share what you've been through, so we might all have a chance to tear you apart for just trying.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"For 3 Strange Days..."

Well, more like 3 and 1/2 frustrating ones to go...
Then I'm done with this assignment...finally.
Actually then the company is done with being a company...finally.
"Not with a bang but a whimper."
Actually...not even that, more like with lots and lots and lots of bitching & moaning mixed with lots of complaining & whining. I'm so glad I'm a temp some days. But really and truly, people? I understand it's all about you, you, you. I should know, as it's all about me, me, me in my world. But you will really will have to excuse me as I go get some work done instead of listening to you go off about something completely unrelated to my life here or elsewhere, period. As much as you might like hearing the sound of your voice? I really need to clear off my desk before the movers show up, so um, yeah, see these iPod headphones? That's right, they're going in my ears. That's right, that means I could care less about how much cleaning up you have to do. The less time you spend at my desk whining about how you're never going to finish, the more time you can spend actually getting your stuff done. Amazing concept, eh?
But you're not listening to me, you just want to vent some more. So I will just ignore you as you talk and talk and talk and talk. I know they won't be firing you for NOT doing your work at this point, but really, with all that severance you keep talking about getting? Maybe you can hire someone to listen to you and acknowledge all your woes.
I think there are some boxes I need to make up at the other end of the office, 'scuse me.