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?


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.


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 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 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 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./ 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


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 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 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!