Monday, April 30, 2007

Beautiful Monday

It promises to be a beautiful day today. (Mostly) blue sky, warm(-ish) in the low 60s (F) and just really, really nice. In fact, our whole weekend was lovely. Well, as far as the weather went anyway. LOL

I got absolutely no knitting done all weekend. I'm a little freaked out by that since it was on my to-do list. Then again, considering the weekend, I'm not surprised. You see, the neighbor kids came over to play. I learned a few things. My kids rock. Totally. They don't whine, disrespect other people's stuff, beg for snacks constantly or invite themselves to spend the night. When they watch a movie, for the most part they really watch the movie. They don't talk loudly about other stuff then demand repeatedly for someone to tell them what is going on in the movie. They are pretty respectful of grown-ups. The neighbor kids, not so much. I also learned that I can still get over-stimulated and need some serious recovery time. And I learned that when left alone with four children between the ages of 5 and 8, beer does not help. (Me, not the kids.)

I know, I should just suck it up and be the adult, but these kids WHINE and BEG and DON'T STOP. The last time there were here it wasn't this bad, but my DH was home to help and I wasn't trying to make two different meals to feed everyone. This time, I was. There are skills I will learn and develop, but I was not prepared for this all weekend. I was a basket case when the went home. It lasted for the rest of the weekend. I was almost happy to come to work (sucky, sucky work) just for the relative peace and quiet. How sad is that?

Okay, the worst/best part? Right before the visitors went home, the girl (did I mention they are twins? boy/girl) grabbed a ball of pre-drafted fiber and started SQUISHING IT. Wait, I need a moment to breathe. Okay, then she kept asking loudly (without listening to my response) "What is this?" What is it for?" "Why do you have it?" "What is it?" "It's weird!" "It's kind of gross." My answers were always preceded by "Please put it down NOW. That is wool, from sheep." etc. Squishing my pre-drafted fiber! Gross?! Aaaaaargh! Okay, deep breaths, I'm okay, she's gone now. Okay. Both of my DDs were also answering her questions and telling her to put the wool down now. (Did I mention how much I love them?) when the girl finally put it down (rather huffily) and went away from it, her brother (who somehow missed the hysterical note and volume in my voice) walked over and attempted to repeat the entire process, including the squishing part. I'm pretty sure I freaked him out when I jumped out of my chair, used my loud firm voice (but not yelling) telling him to PUT IT DOWN and reached to take it from his hands. I'm sorry, but I was at the end of my rope, if you will, and I couldn't stand any more.

Fortunately it was the end of the movie, you know, the one they didn't watch, and time for them to leave. All I can figure out is that their parents do not have things they can't touch. Mine are allowed to touch my fiber, but they know to handle it gently. They also know they should touch other people's things without asking first. They also, apparently, understand that mommy will be really upset if freaky, possibly alien kids who think wool is weird start squishing my fiber. Especially if they don't ask first. Now I know this could have been a teaching moment. I could have told them about wool and spinning and yarn, etc. Then again, I was already fried and they were beyond listening to anything anyone said. It would not have worked at that time. I promise I will try to be open to the moment if it arrives again.

I did try to do some spinning yesterday. The fiber was a mess, so I spent no little time trying to put it back in spinnable shape. It worked, nothing was felted, but it was a near thing in some places. Sadly, I was interrupted constantly, so I made very little progress. In fact, it got very frustrating and I eventually just gave it up as a lost cause. My DH was so pleased, "Look, you've got time to spin!" He didn't know (he does now) that constant interruptions and spinning do not work well together.

Oh well, he tried, I got a little stuff done and learned nice things about my kids. My nerves are completely shot, but I'll be better prepared next time. (All the other kids who come to visit come with their parents, so not as traumatic.) I've got my spinning stuff all set and ready to go, so I'll probably squeeze in a bit more this week. In the peace and quiet of my home. Without the freaky, possibly alien neighbor kids. And, work wasn't so bad to come to today. That is a definite positive. AND I've got four other job applications done and ready to go. Go me! Off to a decent start so far, and the beautiful weather to go with it. Nice.

Every once-in-a-while I still hear it, the haunting refrain... Wool is gross.... twitch

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Movie Quiz

I saw this on another blog I was reading and thought I'd post my answers here. These things are surprisingly hard, aren't they? You know you have perfectly good answers until you need them.

1. Name a movie you have seen more than 10 times.
How about two? My Fair Lady & Young Frankenstein

2. Name a movie you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
Narnia - once alone and once with the family.

3. Name an actor who would make you more inclined to see a movie.
John Cusack & Hugh Jackman

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to see a movie.
Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, seriously.

5. Name a movie you can and do quote from.
Name one that I don’t! LOL Erm, Young Frankenstein and Better Off Dead

6. Name a movie musical in which you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
My Fair Lady

7. Name a movie you have been known to sing along with.
Lots of them, for variety let’s say Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

8. Name a movie you would recommend everyone see.
Narnia. That movie rocked.

9. Name a movie you own.
Serentiy – Can’t stop the signal, baby!

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
Steve Martin, Tom Hanks & Michael Keaton - I remember their stand-up routines (I've got Steve Martin's routines permanently etched on my brain.)

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Sound of Music (I was 4) and the last one I saw was Beverly Hills Cop

12. Ever made out in a movie?

13. Name a movie you keep meaning to see but you just haven’t gotten around to yet.
This is freakishly hard. There are a bazillion of them since most of the movies I see are kids movies. Hmmm, Sin City

14. Ever walked out of a movie?
You know? I did, but I’ve burned it out of my memory and I have no idea what it was. Probably a real blessing. – Oh well, question # 21 reminded me of what it was. Pink Floyd – The Wall. And yes, it was a blessing not to remember, darn it.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
Bridge to Tarabithia – I really should have known better. Award. Winning. Children’s. Novel. Always, always a tearjerker. Of course, I cry for anything: happy, sad, you name it.

16. Popcorn?
Only if the kids are with me.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)? However often a new kids movie is out. Sometimes more often if I get a break at work and can work in a cool comic book type movie, or something else that the kids probably can’t see. Yes. I LOVE the big comic book action things – I’m in it for the special effects and entertainment value. This summer is going to be HUGE for movies, I don't know how I'll keep up...

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
Meet the Robinsons I really liked it!

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
It really depends upon my mood. My least favorite is easier. I’m not crazy about manipulative dramas. I cry at the drop of a hat, I don’t need to pay money for a badly written movie drama that will make me cry.

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
Gone with the Wind. I don’t remember the movie so much as the fact that we got an intermission and hung out in the lobby for a while. ( I was very young.)

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
Pink Floyd The Wall

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
I’ll say Pulp Fiction, although I feel like I’m missing something that is even more odd that I enjoyed.

23. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
28 Days Later, 4 feet from the TV with headphones on. Dude, any scary movie with headphones on has got to be the scariest. The sequel looks really good, I love Robert Carlyle, but I really don't know if I could do it again. (Which means I'll rent it someday.)

24. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
This is hard because it depends so much upon my mood at the time. A couple that are funny no matter how many times I’ve seen them are Return of the Pink Panther, Better Off Dead, Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety. There may be better choices for me on this one, but I just can’t think of them right now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Strange days

Seattle is an odd place when it comes to weather. Many of you may know that already, but in case you don't, well, just trust me on this one. I left home where there were scattered clouds, fog in the vally and sun coming up over the mountains (yes, quite beautiful). I get downtown and it is thick fog, grey sky (as far as I can tell through the fog) and just dismal looking. It does rather match my feelings regarding work, and I do like fog, but I was enjoying the sunshine. In fact, I had sunshine until I crossed the Ship Canal Bridge, then, zip, it was gone. Oh well, it still looks like a nice day out. The fog will lift. Eventually.

I started having lots of trouble sleeping last week. Starting on Tuesday, I kept waking up each night, unable to go back to sleep before the alarm went off for work (or only grabbing about 30 minutes before the alarm went off). Each night I woke up earlier and earlier, and lost more and more sleep. By Friday I was a bit of a basket case, all goofy from sleep deprivation and a bit jazzed on the behalf of my coworker who was leaving the (nightmare) job. I slept great all weekend long, but sure enough, last night I woke up at 2:30 am and didn't go back to sleep all night. It must be work related. Yet another reason to find a new job. Let the job hunt continue.

Knitting-wise, I got a fair number of rows done this weekend. Dare I say it? I made some progress. Sure, I'd like to see more, but at least I'm not ripping anything. I haven't made it out for the supplies for the dream project yet, but that'll probably happen later this week. I was hoping to do some spinning this weekend. That did not work out, I was too busy. I mowed the lawn on Saturday (I really don't mind doing it most of the time) and then Sunday I grilled some steaks. Desert was hot brownie with chocolate ice cream and optional strawberries. YUM. So, cooking and yardwork kept me from spinning. In the case of the lawn, however, well, that was way overdue. The weekends have been too busy or rainy and I just don't have time on a weekday. Anyway, I did work in some knitting time and that was good enough. We got some new Scooby-Doo DVDs (original series 3 & the a couple of What's New Scooby-Doo that we missed) and watched a few of those while I was knitting. I do need to go count my stitches, though, before I move ahead and make sure all is still well. Anyway, I put in a new picture (finally!) with my hand in it to show scale on where I am on the sweater, it is pretty much as long as my hand at this time. I'm hoping I've got a pattern going now and that I can keep the speed up. Guess we'll see.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sure Happy It's Thursday

You can use the acronym if you like. LOL When I was in college me and my best friends had a Sure Happy It's Thursday party every week. It usually involved Bacardi 151, Coca-Cola and lots of music. It was a girl's night, although from time to time we did invite friends who were guys, but never, ever boyfriends. It was a night for getting some degree of drunk, talking about whatever had pissed us off recently, planning for the weekend and just general girl talk. The poor male friends were often given an insight into women's brains that they found horribly fascinating, and we possibly scarred them for life, but hey, they were consenting adults (more or less). We occasionally used the gathering to scare off guys who just wouldn't get lost by being even more weird than they were. College girls in packs can be dangerous. We went on to form our own anti-sorority sorority, legal and everything. Go figure. Sadly, I can only track down about two of the ladies, but given the chance we'd still have a Thursday party. I could really use one of those parties now, I think.

Work continues to be an "Issue". It will pass, hopefully right into a new job, but it will pass. I'm trying to balance life with job applications (they take a long time, don't they?) and I'm training four new student employees. Two of them don't look too promising, sadly, and because of our staffing issues, I don't have the usual amount of time to try to help them. I'm sorry to leave out non-librarians here (if I do), but how hard is it to understand call number order? Shelving is a lot of things, but rocket science it ain't. (Cataloging is different, but students aren't cataloging.) Sigh. Anyway, this promises to be a rough training session. Bad enough to have four new ones all at once, but to have two of them (who interviewed well, BTW) turn out to have so much trouble with the most basic part of their job? Ack!

Knitting is going to be crucial to my sanity now. No more mis-counting rows or whatever, I need fairly stress-free knitting. I'm dreaming about knitting again, so maybe that is theraputic too. Does anyone else do this? I dream a project and then I obsess about it. I must begin work on it immediately. I used to do this with sewing & costumes (whether or not I had occasion to wear said costume), I still do it a little, but now I do it with knitting. It will make it very hard to knit from stash if I start dreaming and obsessing about other projects. This last one involved Plymouth Baby Grande Alpaca and some other thing that I don't know the name of. I know where I saw it (6+ months ago!), but I wasn't excited about the store and I haven't been back. In fact, I'm not very interested in going back to the store, bad parking, out of the way location and weird store design, but three nights of dreaming about the project and I'm feeling the inexorable lure of a dream project. Hmmm. Is it okay to break from the stash busting stuff if I'm dreaming about a project? Especially if the project would be fast (hat and scarf)? I mean, given all the crazy in my life right now, maybe I'm dreaming of such a fast/simple project just because I need a fast and simple thing to do. Instant gratification. Then again, the obsession part of this adds some more stress. At least until I buy the yarn.

What do you think? Should I get my car keys and cash ready for a trip to the shop?

Stay tuned...

Friday, April 13, 2007

My apologies

Wow, I can't believe how hard it has been to get anything written lately. I've started this post several times, but I haven't been able to finish it up and get it posted. I've decided to scrap most of the previous attempts and just go from today, otherwise I'll spend all my time trying to edit the other stuff and not write anything new. (Hey, it makes sense to me.)

Work has exploded again, and it is all crazy. This is where my time is going, and constant interruptions abound. Seriously. My junior colleague has been appointed permanent person in charge of the library without any discussion with those who've been working under him for the past 6 months, to see if he's the right person for the job. The whole deal was pretty shady if you ask me. The job should have been posted internally, it wasn't. The others working here should have been told they were ready to hire a permanent replacement for the postition, we weren't. He was simply announced. I told the dean that the other librarian and myself had grave concerns about his appointment and that these concerns involved his ability to do the job (he can't really even manage the one he was initially hired to do) and his temperment (hair-trigger temper and doesn't do well when questions are asked of him, no matter how you phrase the question). The response? "We never would have moved ahead with this if we'd known!" Well, duh! That's why you talk to the people being supervised before proceeding. Right? Another fun fact is that my newly appointed boss is a total tool of the previous psycho one, hand-picked and groomed to do what she wants with this place. Considering where she and I were when she left, it doesn't look like much fun for me with Jr., does it? Oh, he's fine. For now.

So I'm supposed to make a weekly report on progress and give my dean "six months to micro-manage him into a good director". Shee-ah. Right. Instead, I'm looking for a new job. I hate leaving my students, I love students! But, I can't keep doing this. It is obvious that they don't actually want to deal with issues in a responsible manner, they just keep putting people off hoping they will lose their energy to complain or just get complacent. They are losing 5 key faculty people in the next term, I'm talking seriously outstanding faculty beloved by students and peers, etc. Many of them are leaving for the similar reasons. Bah! I'm done. Nine years of my life, the last three have been increasingly unpleasant. They need some serious restructuring around here. It will come, they can't keep going much longer without it, but I'm not waiting around for it. I've waited as long as I care to.

Last week I hired four new student employees then learned that the other librarian (not the new boss) turned in her notice. Her last day is this weekend. So, instead of four professionals, we will have two AND, in case that isn't enough fun, we're down two students on her side of things. We are short staffed and goodness knows how long it will take to hire back up (at least two months to replace her, and longer to fill the new boss' old position). Joy. I'm just sort of hoping to add to the chaos. Perhaps The Powers That Be will respond to hardcore chaos (in a place of order). Then again, maybe not. Hopefully not my problem.

On to happier topics, and I'm sorry about the venting, but we all need it from time to time. I did my first movie knitting this weekend. I took my Neverending Sock to see Meet the Robinsons (in 3D) and got about 6 rows done. I only dropped one stitch, but it was easily repaired once I was home. I found it hard to watch a new movie and knit at the same time. Even stockinette. I'll probably take the Neverending Sock to the movies again, but I might not knit. (I mean, could you knit and watch Pirates 3 without hurting yourself, the people around you and destroying the project? I couldn't. And it would suck to put out my own eyes with Captain Jack Sparrow on screen.)

The blue sweater. Ah! Progress at last! I have passed the point (yarn wise) that I was when I ripped it all out. I have managed to keep all the stiches at the correct number, or maybe I've just learned to count now, and I'm very pleased to have gotten to a place where I'm making new headway again. I thought very briefly about taking this project to the movies, but then I thought about all the increases. Yep. Movie knitting is for garter stitch, or stockinette, not for increases, decreases or any other crazy thing I think up to try in the dark. LOL

I've been reading the Harlot's new book which is a fun read (of course). It isn't as bust-out-laughing funny as some of the others were (so far), but it is an interesting premise and it is fun to work through her analogy of knitting as place. I've been surprised to find myself fitting in as a more established resident rather than as a tourist in Knitting. I still feel like I'm too new to the whole thing, even after 4 years (or so) of knitting. I wonder if I'll ever feel like an experienced native? The humor is much appreciated, however, as I really need it in my life right now.

Knitting, laughing, and beer. I'm good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wow! A whole week!

The past week is a blur. At least. Where do I begin...

The book signing was AWESOME! Jim is a riot and so very nice. It was lovely to meet him (in person, again) and to be greeted so warmly by him. He even remembered how long we've known one another via mailing lists without any help from me. (about 8 years now) It was loads of fun, there were tons of people there (more people than chairs), and I met some nice people, but I missed my kids. Weird. I get a night off and all I can do is miss them. Go figure. LOL

The Blue Sweater is progressing nicely. I'm almost back to where I ripped it out, which is good. I was a bit afraid I might slow down once I got over the initial "get this back on the needles" thing. I did find myself distracted while my MIL was here. I actually sat down and cast on a simple shawl with some Plymouth Eros. Why? Why not? Or something, I just don't know. We were so exhausted from all of the church activities (and for me, work stuff) that we were all barely functioning. Well, I'm not sure "we" were all that tired, but I was and everyone else seemed tired too, so who knows. The upshot is that I cast on a stupid shawl, then decided that I didn't have enough yarn to do a whole shawl, or if I do I can't find it, and it won't work on my wooden needles. So I had to run out to my LYS and buy more yarn. And needles. They, of course, did not have the color I needed, so I bought something else. I went home and set it down on the table where I can see it, and now I think I must have been on crack. (not really) I just have no idea what the heck happened. I blame it on stress. I didn't really need another project, remember? Stash busting? Other projects to get done? Hello? Is this thing (my brain) on?

My MIL, a very sweet, lovely woman, was a disaster this visit. She has been suffering from severe depression (which we did not know until very,very recently), and a super busy weekend was not the time to have her visit. My four year old was easier to manage than my MIL was. Example: 30 minutes waffling over what to wear to a picnic, including two changes of clothes. "Should I wear my pink suit?" "That would be nice." "Do you think that it would be appropriate?" "I think it will be very nice." "Do you think I should wear something else?" "No, I think the pink suit is a good idea." "Are you sure I shouldn't wear something else?" "You can if you want to. People will be wearing everything from suits to shorts for the picnic. You could wear the pink suit and bring something to change into if you want, then you're prepared for everything." "So the pink suit is too much? Maybe I shouldn't go." Wash. Rinse. Repeat. FOR 30 MINUTES while I'm trying to put finish cooking a cake and a big, giant pasta thing that I've never made in quantity before, get my kids ready to go and help my husband remember all the stuff that needed to go in the car. I thought I might have to put her head in the oven. I did not include all of the incomplete sentences that went on. The woman is challenged to put a coherent sentence together right now. My heart breaks for her, she is in really bad shape, but we had no idea when we invited her down. I'm pretty sure she shouldn't be traveling alone, but no one told us what is going on with her. This was a really bad weekend to have her visit. Hopefully, she enjoyed her time with us and maybe even found some kind of peace in the church services. It would be worth the stress for me if something in the visit helped her.

This week should be a nice time to slow down and rest, but work is total chaos right now. I'm actually rather giddy about it. I didn't do it, it isn't my fault and, for the moment, it has nothing to do with me or my life. I'd like to pop some popcorn and sit back and watch up to the moment when it does involve me. I should probably feel bad about that, but I get so little joy in my job these days, I worry about that later. I'll also fill you in on the details later, I think the MIL story was enough stressful trauma for one day. I'll just go back to giggling and the blue sweater now...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Red Tuesday

I don't know why, just thought maybe this week should have a theme. We'll see how long that lasts. Today is an awesome and exciting day! <Insert Woo-Hoo type yell of your choice> Today is the book signing for Jim Butcher's new book AND I should get the new Katie MacAlister that I pre-ordered (from Author, Author!) with swag today too. Just call me a crazy, giddy fan geek! Seriously. My student employees have described my near-swooning as "cute" and at least one of them is considering showing up just to see if I get any more goofy. I guess that'll work so long as they don't bring a camera. (But I did!) Oh, and on the red thing, I'm wearing lots of red, so that's where that part came from. I even did my nails! LOL

My family are all acting like I'm abandoning them or something. So weird. DH is late often, either with work or with the band or church. No one notices much any more (sorry Honey, we love you, we're just used to it now.) I have maybe two days a year when I'm busy or late with something (maybe even taking a class - gasp!) and they all act like they've been abandoned without food or shelter. Perhaps I should do it more often so they get used to it. I used to take belly dance classes every week for about four years, and they were fine with that. I'm just too darned busy being Taxi-Mom to do anything else now. Maybe I'll work on it though...

The sweater continues and I am counting this time. So far, so good. It is really weird that I was so tweaked about the project before, but now that I've ripped it once, I'm all at peace with the darned thing (pattern, splitting, etc.). Perhaps it just gave me some perspective on the whole project/process. I'm liking the mellowness of it all (and no, I'm not on medication, remember the squeeing going on over the book signing?) and that is good. I haven't felt this good since the start of DH's gloves (that wore off by the end of that project I can tell you). So, I'm happy about that, but I'm also itching to get back to spinning too. Hmmm. I must have other chores that need to be done!

My MIL is coming for Pascha (Easter) weekend. We will be hugely busy with church stuff, but she's never been to an Orthodox Paschal service, so this should be interesting for her. She lives in Orlando, but is visiting her family in the San Francisco area for about a month. We couldn't go down there on such short notice (especially since we are very short staffed in the library these days!), so we brought her up. My oldest DD is on break from school, so she will have a nice visit with Grandma. I should be cleaning my house. I should be making a trip to the grocery store. No thanks! I'm going to a book signing AND since I have quite a few hours to kill between the time I get off of work and the signing, I get to go to my favorite LYS. AND I got my tax refund check yesterday... Life is looking really shiny today!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Blue Monday

Actually, I could have said White Monday. I woke up to a half inch of snow on the ground this morning. Weird. I thought it was April... Once I drove about 5 miles from home, however, all the snow was gone. I love living in the convergence zone! It is the first day of Spring Quarter at my school, so lots of excitement in the air today (you know, snow & new classes).

The blue part is this, I had to rip the sweater out and cast on again. Yep. I had a good 6+ inches on the thing and found that my counts were off. Oh, I know what you're thinking. "How could this happen? Surely after dropping that stitch marker and agonizing over whether or not to continue Our Girl would be more cautious with her knitting of the precious sweater!" Yeah. Not so much. And I paid for it. I don't know what is up with me, my head doesn't seem to be in the game right now. Actually, not any game as far as I can figure. I'm forgetting all kinds of wild stuff these days. It's okay, I still drive. LOL

Anyway, my counts were off on the two ends (actually, the middle sections on each side). I looked and looked, but I couldn't figure out if I had added stitches on one side, failed to increase on one side or maybe a mix of the two things on both sides. Just no way to know. I looked and I could not see any dropped stitches, could not see any missing increases or anything else. Both sides looked right, but the numbers were off, no matter how many times I counted them. I didn't know whether I needed to add stitches to the smaller side, or take away stitches from the larger size. I could probably have done the math and figured it out, but there was a pattern change involved somewhere in there as well. I felt that given how my brain has been working, it was probably best to just rip it and start over and COUNT this time. Novel concept, right? I hooked the yarn up to the ball winder and just went from sweater to yarn ball. Nice and easy. Then I picked up the needles and cast right back on, just so I wouldn't dwell on it too much. So, I'm maybe an inch in to the sweater again, but I know it was the best thing to do. I am at peace and, oddly, feeling more confident about the whole sweater this time. Something good out of a mess of yarn.

Does this count as progress?