Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I don't live in the snowbelt.

My ass.

I knew, when I went to bed last night, that we would have some interesting driving conditions today. I mean, we had something like four to six inches of snow yesterday. This morning, however:

All bets were off. This picture isn't so bad, considering it was taken through glass. I'd had the door open for the other pictures (most of which you won't be bothered with as they're crap) and it's, in addition to wet, best described as "Cold" outside. So I won't be doing that again anytime soon.

One last artistic shot, revealing the irony in my surroundings. Or perhaps my wishful thinking. Sun flowers. Makes me all winsome inside.

I'm supposed to be doing some work today. Not official work, like, for-pay work, but I got a load of books out of the library about job searching and parachutes and the such, and they're piled up on the dining room table, ready to go. It's snowing. I got to bed late last night (although I woke up at 7:30 this morning and actually got out of bed). It's cold. It's Wednesday, which is really good enough reason for me to put it off until tomorrow. Wednesday is both Mythbusters Day and Ghost Hunters (currently International, my favorite flavor of Ghost Hunters,) Day. And I just got an email that a book I've finally got myself into reading is due back at the library in three days, so, you know, I have to take the day to just read and stuff.

Tomorrow is Thursday. I never really liked Thursday. I'll put off the note taking until tomorrow. After all, if you're going to have to suffer a day you don't really enjoy, you might as well put off all unpleasant tasks until said day.

And just to keep you warm:
Doesn't he just look all snuggly? Actually, he kind of looks like an old bald guy in this picture (something about the way the light is going through his fur, I think,) but I reassure you, he is quite warm and snuggly. Wait:

A picture from this past summer. Snorgled up on his couch. Now, that's warm.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ever had the feeling....

you were looking for something in completely the wrong place?

I was lying in bed last night (trying to get to bed early and get up early, to keep myself on a schedule--yeah, not really working at the moment. I suspect it would work better if I set my alarm) when I realized that I've been going at life all backasswards. I mean, I've been trying to find my place in the working world. I know I don't belong in the business world, but I keep trying to define myself by what I do. Why? What sort of insanity is this?

This whole defining yourself by your job title thing is so ingrained to Anglo culture, though. I mean, for the love of God, how many people do you know with the names of Smith, Cooper, Tanner, Walker (which is a job--a walker is a felter, they made felt by putting the wool in their boots and walking on it, hah) or Baker? Cook, Knight or King? In the English speaking world, apparently, it's been centuries that we've been defining ourselves by our work. But no one ever tells you what to do when you don't know what work you'd like to have, or what to do when (horrors!) the work you'd like isn't really work at all.

I suppose it makes sense, then, that my last name (which you aren't getting, sorry) translates broadly from its original language as "intellectual". I'm really good for very little other than sitting on my ass and thinking my way into trouble, so I suppose it's an inherited thing.

Not that I want to be an intellectual. I can't think of any worse fate, actually, than forever being trapped in school. *shudder* It really is too bad that subsistence farming is no longer in vogue....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I should watch my mouth.

I got pink slipped today. What was I saying yesterday about focused effort, working hard and directing my efforts?

Today is my first official day as a self-employed person. After all, I've decided that at this point, no matter what job I take, I am, first and foremost, working for myself. It's when you start working for someone else that problems start.

I'm rather calm, actually. I got severance, and will be getting unemployment, which is nice. I might take a week to just think and rest and recover from all the stress of the past four and change years. Maybe think things through, choose which direction I want to go--which is a vast, vast difference from any previous time of my life. Everyone in my family is so anxious about my employment status that I have always been rushed into employment, any employment, shoveling shit out of mine shafts would be better than being unemployed because ohmygodshe'sunemployedandthat'sdifferentfromanyotherdayhow?!?!? As if having a job has, at any time in my life, guaranteed my financian independence, happiness or wealth!

To tell the truth, calm is overstating the case. I was giddy with joy earlier today. I was so terrified that when I got canned I would be fired as opposed to laid off, and when they fire people, they contest your unemployment claim. In essence, they gave me the green light to just let go and let go.

Last week, if you'd asked me what I thought of the company I worked for, I would have kept my mouth shut in the spirit of what your mamma taught you: "If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" (which is a crap philosophy, but I'll get back to that in a later post). In all fairness, I should, at this point, make a note that whatever problems I've ever had in any job (and this job, in particular) were not problems at the job, per se, but problems with me. I have always, and will always be, the main problem I have. Disclaimers aside, today I feel quite generous and loving toward them. After all, they've finally given me what I hadn't the courage to take for myself.

My freedom.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So what's my excuse?

I had a major realization this morning, watching the inauguration online (at work; technically forbidden, but I can't see them getting their panties in a bunch over this one).

America-even my particular state, which is Midwestern, and you don't get more conservative than the American Midwest-just put a black man with a Muslim middle name into the White House. For the first time in my entire life, that little trope about "anyone can be President" really, truly came true for those of us who aren't wealthy old white men. I'm excited and worried and giddy with glee, all at once. Quite heady, let me tell you.

Sweet Jesus. I have no excuses anymore. I can't even whine about The Man keeping me down, because apparently he has no problem allowing a black man into the White House, and if The Man'll do that, he really shouldn't mind one small working class white woman attaining her modest dreams. For once, it really, really feels like anything can be. Hard work can, minority status, or whatever you perceive your personal handicaps to be, be damned, reap large rewards.

The key, I think, is to do directed hard work. I mean, I work hard. Like a dog, at times. But I'm not really working towards any particular goal I hold; other than not getting fired. What would happen if I actually got up off my ass, picked a goal I want, not a goal society or my family tell me I should want, and threw myself at it with all my heart and soul? What would happen if I truly went to work for myself, not for someone else, not for a sense of security (one which I know is patently false--I've been fired before, after all) but just for me and my own profit?

Holy smokes, y'all. Holy smokes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's damn cold.

No, seriously. It's cold. Like slap yo' mamma cold. It's amazing, you know, how exhausting it can be sitting in a freezing cold house, trying to work. I feel a bit like I've done two rounds of Pilates and a half a mile on a track. Plus for some inexplicable reason, my right knee hurts. I confess I'm not the daintiest flower in the garden and my knees are notoriously crap, but they've never hurt before. This is new. And kinda sucky.

Anyway, I've come to some decisions regarding my stash.

= Obstacles Stole. I could probably figure out the pattern by looking at it, but that is cheating. And I like her designs, I feel I should honor that by paying for them. Granted, I've already bought three from her (and love them all), but still. It's a matter of being polite.

=1883 New York Times Shawl (that's a Ravelry link right there, I don't know...hold on.... Here's a picture on Flickr. Pretty.)

=Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise. I need to get it all ball'd up and get cracking. The first clue came out this, what, Tuesday? I need to swatch (to get gauge) and then do the first clue up. There's more than enough yarn there to do two (one with alternating green/yellow/green/yellow/green stripes and then yellow/green/yellow/green/yellow stripes. Yes, I'm insane.) I realized after wangsting in my last post about shine/yarns going together that they're, uh, actually sorta-kinda the exact same yarn. They're both lace weight, 70/30 alpaca/silk yarn. Ok, ok, so I'm a bit forgetful. Hey, if you had my stash, you'd forget what was on the bottom layers down there, too. It's not hard to do!

Well, I'm going to sign off now, maybe eat something, definitely get under warm blankets while watching Dirty Jobs (ooh, Mike Rowe, just what a growing girl needs...) and maybe make myself some cocoa later. Yeah, cocoa. Sounds great.
Happy knitting, y'all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm an idiot

Because I just don't have enough to do with my time, I've decided to start up my first lace knit-along. Eh. The first clue is easy enough (surely I can manage 29 rows, and a swatch, yes?) and I got a packet of lace weight yarn today from KnitPicks--I did get the gift certificate for Christmas, remember? I paid nothing for it, and it's the perfect yarn for the project. Or at least what it sounds like--it's a mystery shawl knit-along. The Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise KAL (Ravelry link here).

Here's the newest laceweight for the stash:

KnitPicks Shimmer, special purchase in Ivy. I can honestly say I'm not wild about the regularly offered colors, but this stuff is nice. It might go very prettily with the buttery gold alpaca I got at the LYS a few months ago and have been sitting on because I just don't have enough hours in my day to knit everything I want. I find now I forgot to take it's graven image. Moment.

I just love technology, don't you?

Alpaca With A Twist, Fino, in Yellow Ribbon.

Here they all are, cheek by jowl. (Lovely metaphor, no?) They look lovely together, but I'm not sure if the shine of the Shimmer will harmonize with the Fino. Plus, there's almost 2,000+ meters of yarn here. I wonder what I'd possibly make with that much laceweight.

Here's option number two, which I'm sitting on the fence about. I mean, it's beautiful, the colors are very spring-y, and the pattern is written for fingering (and I have more than enough yardage for the project), but....

Eh. I can't start up until Friday night, anyway, so I have a couple of nights to sleep on it and two days to think on it. I'll let you know what I decide.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Spitting out the kool-aid

Yeah, copyright infringement and whatnot, but who from whatever major conglomerate that owns the above mentioned brand reads this dead-end blog?

Anyway, I'm using it in the pop-culture reference fashion. I have realized that, in many ways, I am the ultimate sheeple. At least I've come to see it, and recognizing you have a problem is the first step to conquering it. So, that is what 2009 is going to be about for me--leaving the fold. I will be a feral sheep! I will squish myself under the fence (I am very, very wooly) and wander into the woods, leaving fleece all around on the brambly bits and probably evading wolves and whatnot along the way--although, depending on the country, there may be no wolves to evade. Darn men and their firesticks!

Sorry, I'm freezing to death here. It's so bloody cold, and the weather keeps bouncing like a ball (warm, warm, truly tepid, freeze your arse off!! NOW, REALLY FREEZE! Sleet! Snow! hot, warm, warm, slightly warmer, warm, so cold you forget your own name, warm, etc.) that my inner ears are taking this opportunity to swell up and give me a free funhouse ride. I hate my inner ears. Seriously. When the weather changes so rapidly (we've cycled from the negatives Farenheit to the 50s and back down again in under two weeks) it's hard enough on the average body, much less someone who's suffered from vertigo once before. It seems once your inner ears know how to swell, they will do so at any provocation. I guess the trick, then, is to avoid vertigo in the first place. For me, too late. Ah, well. Whatcha gonna do 'bout it? Crank up the nasal decongestants and meclizine and sleep. Which is what I did yesterday (Friday? It happened?) Today I'm feeling better--it's a true mercy that the spells only last about a day when I head them off early--so I've been out and about and done something hellastupid.

I bought another iPod. *hangs head in shame*

Well. I hate my other iPod (not really; I just find it bloody damn inconvenient), a tiny 1 Gig Shuffle, and this one is a massive, 8 Gig Nano in royal purple, named Nanette. Yes, we did mention I've been dizzy for the past little while, didn't we? I can fit all my music thus far downloaded onto it (including my illegal library rips), and I'm not even halfway to 8 Gigs. I wonder how much room Carmina Burana and Beethoven's 9th will take up of the 4 Gs left.... And this model is a marked improvement in terms of being able to choose the music I'm listening to. The Shuffle is just that-a music shuffling device. You get whatever song the microchip decides you need to hear, which is usually fine, but last week I got to listen to the same Lisa Stansfield song repeat several times. In a row. I'm sure it's some sort of burp--maybe my Shuffle just really likes Lisa Stansfield?--but it's annoying. The Nano, as anyone who's ever seen an iPod knows, has a screen. And the little clicker wheel that's just too cool for school. And you can see the music you're playing before you play it. Hallelujia.

Of course, then I had the thought that, since I've just gone and blown $150 on a new iPod (which was totally and completely unnecessary), that I'm going to have to forgo vacations next year (I was supposed to go to London and New York at different times) and pay the dog off. I'm not sure how much more I owe, but I can do it if I buckle the hell down and just pay it off. On top of moving out this spring, it's going to be a nut buster, but a) I have no nuts to speak of, anyway, and b) if I pay it off, then I'm not paying interest and I can bank the $150 a month I pay on it so the interest on that particular chunk of debt starts working in my favor.

I hate being a grown up. I really, really do.