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July 31, 2009

Waiting on Patience

I have to be patient. Really patient, and trying for calm.

My four-wheeled baby is at the dealership, waiting her turn at being examined and diagnosed. I keep hoping that it's a relatively easy fix, something that doesn't keep her out of commission for too long, and that's not going to cost me an arm and a leg. Or in wool/yarn terms, several pairs of socks or a sweater's worth of yarn.

At least the service people are nice, and they were able to pull my car information up on the computer, and had the paperwork ready and waiting when I arrived with the poor baby. I left the keys and sadly left with my ride, to come home again to await a phone call, have some toast for a mid-morning snack, and to (hopefully) get some more book writing done. And hope I can do it before I have to do my afternoon/early evening shift at Job1.

Yes, I have a backup version of transportation, but I'm not happy about leaving someone else without a car while I'm at work. At least my hours are weird and short enough that I'm not far from home, and not for long.

And I wait. And wait. And hope it's not that bad while I wait.

Hey, where's my knitting book notes and draft? Might as well make some good use of time, right?

July 30, 2009

Frustrated but still alive

I'm a little frustrated right now. I get a little knitting done, but not as much as I really want to. I have a birthday project I need to finish for a friend, and while it really should be done by now, sadly it isn't.

The soap socks are at the count of 2 partially done, one just re-started. The first 2 need their endings worked in, and drawstrings added, then I'll wash and dry them before popping in the soap bars. The one that was re-started, it's only to the first round of knitting after caston.

My personal socks are languishing, one set draped across the back of the living room couch, woefully watching me from across the room. Wanting to become a full pair, instead of one sock and a partial mate. My backup knitting sock is buried at the bottom of my go-to-work bag, growling on occasion, trying to remind me that it needs more ribbing done to be made into a proper sock, hah!

And my latest frustration: the car is making noises.

Unhappy noises.

Grinding metal noises.

Noises that could be a multitude of possibilities.

It's not the oil level, that's fine, just a little dirty. I tried to change it today, but the drain plug just refused to budge at all. And I got all sweaty, grumpy, swore at it some, fought it for a good half-hour, then packed it all back up. So the dirty-ish oil is still present in the car.

It's not the fan, I checked the blades and they are all present, unbent, and it turns freely and without wobbling.

And it's not the underskirt (or apron, or whatevertheheck you call the part under the suv that keeps snow or mud and rocks from getting stuck on the underside of the engine) or anything loose underneath. I checked when I tried to unstick the very stuck drain plug. Nothing's loose there that shouldn't be, it's all connected correctly, no cracks or breaks, nothing there as extras either. And the loose bits that live there, well, they are the correct loose bits too.

I just can't figure this noise out, and dread finding out what it is.

I hope it's not the engine, or the drive-train in the front. Fanta has all-wheel-drive (2005 Subaru Forrester 2.5x, go look it up it you want the vehicle specs) and I don't think it will be cheap to fix a major part of what makes her go. (yes, it's a girl car, so what?)

A family member said it could be a bad bearing in the water pump, or some other parts he listed, but my brain froze at “bad bearing” and started envisioning unhappy dollar signs jumping off the bridge and drowning.

My pay situation still isn't great. I supposedly get a “pay adjustment” starting for this week's pay at Job2, to reflect the fact that minimum wage increased. Big whoop. Not. I'm still getting the same number of hours and pay rate at Job1, for which I am very grateful for.

And my hours are still being jerked around at Job2, the latest being removed from the schedule for one day this week, which happened to be today, then getting a text message (now is that unprofessional or what?) asking me to come in and work a partial shift this afternoon, totally confusing the head boss and the worker who thought she was working the evening shift by herself.

As the saying goes, someone else's poor planning is not my crisis!

Just worrying about the car, and hoping like crazy I can get it fixed for much less than what my piddling bank account and paychecks allow.

Big Sigh.

I wasted a book-writing day on car woes and weird work hours. And some serious knitting time too. Bleh.

Today's almost over, and tomorrow is but another day.

July 22, 2009

All Cars Are Gray

Small rant here, and yes, all cars are Gray. Especially in mist or fog. Please, be a responsible, smart person, and when you drive through mist or fog of any sort that makes the air white/gray, turn on your headlights or foglights on your vehicle. Otherwise, you will not be seen until you are almost hit. Really.

I'm tired of all the near-misses I've had, almost not seeing the oncoming vehicle in the fog before I realize it's in my lane. Yes, in my lane. So many people not paying attention to where they are driving, letting their car/truck/SUV wobble down the road.

I drive with my headlights on almost all the time now. Yes, my SUV comes equipped with driving lights. But many a time I turn on the headlights on full. That way, if some idiot does hit my vehicle, I can put it forth to the police officer who will be there at the accident scene that I had my headlights on, why couldn't so-and-so see me? Huh? I'll let the official one figure that one out, as well as the idiot, and try not to clock either of them. So far, no accident, my reactions and responses have been excellent, and no collisions have occurred. I like being able to drive too much.

I've become a mini-expert on Lyme disease. With insect bites happening to family members, I've started reading and researching. Amazing what you can find. No details of whom has what, and what the bite site looks like. I'm not in the business of being gross and ookey, I'll let the horror writers do that. And I can't see how that will pay that much.

I finished the knitting part of my first soap sock today. Now I have to write up my notes, and start on a few more socks, finish in ends and make them look professionally “done” and then market them, hopefully with some success. At least the cat who watches me knit them hasn't commented on them, but then again, I'm not her person. I'm visiting her once or twice a day while friends are out of town, keeping her company a little bit, and making sure she has her food, water, and kitty meds. Ah, the small price of a geriatric cat, some medicines in your wet food. And regular treats, meow! She loves her treats, good thing she gets the ones for hairballs. So far, she's only presented me once with a hairball to clean up, and this time it was quite tidy and easy to get up off the carpet.

No, she has not met any of “my” cats. She's inside, they are all outside, and I'm not about to wrangle any part of the “herd” to get one in a carrier and then all the fuss of out of the carrier, into the carrier, stop fighting you two, um, it was your cat that started it, and no, the fleas didn't come from my cat... Nope. Not gonna happen. Better to dream of it than worry about it, and I'd rather laugh about the idea and visions the whole idea brings. I'd rather bring her people to my house to see the cats. Well, the ones that would allow themselves to be seen, that is. Bring in strange people, and hey presto, invisible cats!

I have a niece that will turn 21 next month, and I miss visiting with her. Yes, I can text message with her, but it's not the same as talking, hugs, and just being around someone. She has a special touch, where she can approach just about any animal or person, and be their instant friend. Once she learned how to be quiet around animals as a small child, she's always had the knack. I hope she doesn't forget any of her massage therapy training, and one day does get her official certification. She had a traumatic experience, and used it as an excuse for not taking the final examination for the certification. Shame that. Even if she doesn't use it immediately, at least she has it, and if she wanted to, could probably transfer some of that information to pets and animals if she wanted, maybe even do some veterinary assistant training too...hmm, wonder if I could get her to read this?

I hope she's still knitting, and that the knitting needles I bought for her (the last time she was in town and I got to spend more than a few hours with her) are getting well used. I almost consider on rare occasions of going through my stash and picking out some nice yarn to send as a care package to her. Or I see some on sale at Job2, and consider buying and then sending it to her. Yes, I miss her giggles, and talking semi-seriously about some things, very seriously about others. I'm not sure if she remembers all the times I just let her ask things, and then discussing them with her, one-on-one, as she was growing up. Anything from why parents are in charge to why I slow down and stop all all train crossings. I'm just glad I was able to share those times with her.

But, I might develop a sock style just for her. I have her sock/shoe size, I have yarn that keeps jumping at me, and a set of knitting needles that will work just fine...now to decide if they will be somewhat practical, or fun, or pretty, or just a little quirky.

Oh, and I might tuck in a soap sock, just for her.

July 15, 2009

Turkey on white

So, where to begin when I write a book? Do I start on the types of yarn available in the knitting world? Do I write about sizes, shapes, colors? Do I start on the absolute beginning, write the absolute end, and write the middle? Do I write the middle, and then worry about the end? Do I write up patterns first, then the rest of the how-to-knit bits? Do I dare to read someone's work about how to write, reliving high school English writing classes?


I'll write the way I always do, with a general outline, a slightly organized listing of what I want to include, and then just write as the ideas and thoughts flow from my feeble brain to speedy fingertips that type or scribble away. Just as I write a blog entry, except with a lot more spell-checking (I don't trust the electronic versions, I've found too many spelling errors in those auto-checks!), a lot more proof reading, a lot more cutting and pasting of sections of writing.

Trust me, the sock book will be very readable. I always worry about the final “how it looks” when I've got the words and how-to-say-it parts done. I've learned to write a little bit in the style of “flow of consciousness” or I'll forget to say this, or to include that, and it's saved my bacon a couple of times with term papers or reports.

Back to the title, that's what I had for lunch. Yes, I actually eat a lunch. And I try to remember to eat breakfast. Somewhere, I forget exactly what web page or article (magazine? newspaper? Blog?) I read about eating breakfast and not gaining weight, or maintaining. Phhbbbt, my memory is a weird thing sometimes. Anyway. I do actually eat.

I've heard too many times in recent history about “how skinny!” I am/have become. Yes, when I look in the mirror, I now see a face I haven't seen in, well, years. Years, wow, what a concept. This time last year, in July of 2008, I was overweight (easily 210 plus poundage, wearing misses size 16 jeans), depressed, stressed. Today, I weigh between 150 – 155 pounds of weight (most of it muscle mass), and depending on the clothing cut, wear size 10 or 12 jeans. Really.

No big secret to what happened. Short and sweet: I left old job end of August. De-stressed in September. Started 2 part-time jobs end of October/beginning of November. Walked more. Ate a little less. Ate on a more regular basis. Cut down on sweet stuff, junk food. Drank more water, less soda and sugar-junk drinks. Tea with breakfast, occasionally coffee when I need a jump-start. Now, I save the sodas for late nights, or when I want to stay a little more alert on work evenings. Now that I'm a reasonable body-size for my height, I indulge a little now and then. The pastries everyone knows as a pop-tart for breakfast, snack. The once in a while oatmeal pie for a quick snack at work if I can't have a full meal break.

But, for real, walking does work. Really, truly, works in getting your metabolism back under control, builds your overall stamina, helps you sleep better.

I just have to figure out what size to make any new clothes, if size 10 or 12 or 14, depending on the fit and cut of the garment. Or if I need to wait another month or two, and see if I lose any more body size. Or if I can make something smaller yet loose, that I can easily modify or cinch in. Or how my measurements stack up against a knitting pattern or chart, and if I can pull out a languishing sweater from the U.F.O. pile that I was “too big” for, but now can finish and try on as I go. At least I can pull out old favorites that had to sit on the sidelines, and wear the sweaters I wished I wore during the winter, or other garments that were, ahem, a little too tight.

Some of my sizing angst is being triggered by a co-worker at Job2, who told me about costuming she was making for her boyfriend and herself in preparation for the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year. I have a small stash of sewing patterns, that put together would enable me to have a nicely “Renn” outfit for the festival.

All I have to do is figure out which size to REALLY make, and if I can afford to splurge on the fabrics to make the garments. Basically, a chemise/underdress, a skirt, and some kind of bodice/vest to go over top of the chemise. But the yardage, oy moy! I priced some of the fabrics I was interested in, and the math ain't pretty. Needing about, oh say 5 yards for one garment, and about $8 (US) per yard, that's about $40 in my budget I can't afford yet. It would mean not eating (not an option!) and not driving (again, as I am my own transportation to and from work, not an option).

So, off to my other options I've been cooking: write the sock book, figure out what pot-boiler projects I can knock off my knitting needles and attempt to sell at the consignment shop, and hope like crazy that it provides enough money to enable me to do this crazy idea. I'll keep the costume as simple as possible, and if necessary, let the idea of the costume sit there until next year. Or the following year. It would be fun to do, though, go in “period” costume. And carry my knitting and enjoy the muggle reactions.

Hey, I can really dream silly stuff, can't I?

July 11, 2009

Junk, begone!


Well. That took forever. I just finished purging almost 3,000 plus junk comments from this blog. Really. Spam comments from I don't know where. I'm not recounting how many hours or days I just wasted. I'm just happy they're all gone!

Sadly, I think I may have deleted a real comment from a very nice person. Many apologies if you go looking for your comment, it truly was an accident. I blame it on the wannabes who run 'bots that dump all sorts of junk into the comments areas of 3 entries on this blog, and NO, I am NOT mentioning which 3 so that you can run out there and junk it up again! (wink)

I'm really hating my work hours at my 2 retail jobs. Really hating the hours of Job2, because they keep changing, and mostly have been less than full-time hours. If it weren't for Job1, I'd have no money for paying bills, and even then I'm chewing nails that the next set of paychecks will help fill in the gaps I might have for paying for food and gas.

Job2 is cutting my hours back, and lately it's been pure luck if I get more than 20 hours in a week between Job1 and Job2. I average between 40 and 50 hours for 2 weeks' worth of working. Sigh. I miss a few months ago, when I was averaging about 40 to 50 hours a week from both jobs. Definitely time for a new Job2. Definitely.

Especially since I hate missing the morning hours. Those peaceful, still fresh feeling moments, when the air smells newer, everything's quiet, nobody is up or a few people are groggily stumbling off to work. When I do get up now, I feel like half my day's been wasted. That's because I need my sleep, about 8 hours worth, I end up oversleeping clock-wise, my earliest wakeup being 8 am, my latest 10 am. I hate it. I want my 5 or 6 am wakeups back, where I am alert, perky, bouncy, not dragging my but behind me like a dragon's tail, sucking up multiple cups of tea and coffee to get alert and functional. Yeah, yeah, yeah, welcome to middle-age!

I think I'll pull out my palm needles and mohair blend yarns and knit up some pot-boiler scarves, and see if the local consignment shop will sell them for me. Even though this is July, someone will soon be looking for soft, light, warm, pretty scarves for fall and winter. I'm hoping! I'll also have to pull out my cotton yarns and refigure out soap socks, to see if those will sell too. I can't sell my socks yet, all I have to show for all the sock-book knitting is prototypes that I am currently wearing, socks my friends are wearing, and the samples I'm re-designing so that the book will have clear, real directions for anyone to work off of.

What I'm starting to wonder about is how to work up yarn packs to work with the book. I'll have to get a sales license, I'm guessing, and figure out how the wholesale-to-retail game works, nuts to soup, other than what I can hope to get in the way of pricing but not too high. And I'm hoping I'll pick out yarns and colors that are “want” and “love” colors and not too gourmet, too pricy, practical, wearable, long wearing and won't felt too quickly. Yes, kind of like the description of the perfect beginner sock yarn, isn't it?

By the way, I can give knitting advice, or descriptions of what knitting can be, or share my own stories, but I'm no longer an expert for advice on college, learning institutions, or graduation ceremonies. Since I no longer work at a community college, and don't work at the institution that I last went through commencement from, please don't ask me what to do. Contact the institution or college or university you are attending, and ask them what to do, how to do it, and what their guidelines and deadlines are. They govern themselves, not me. So sorry.

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