Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And... it IS, Actually! (In Spots)

Your Hair Should Be Pink

Hyper, insane, and a boatload of fun.
You're a traveling party that everyone loves to follow.
What's Your Funky Inner Hair Color?

It's actually currently very dark brunette with some creative colorizing. My hair is long and wavy. My hairdresser obliged me last year and bleached a stripe/strip on either side of my face that starts at the temples and can be hidden if I want it that way. This year, we added two chunks on the crown (bleached—er, "lifted"). Then, she applied "fashion color". Purple. We both expected a deep rich violet that would blend with my dark hair but give it that something extra.

It came out flaming neon pink.

Apparently, my hair pulls red. It sure did. Oh, what the heck. So I've been walking around with pink stripes in my hair for a month. I'm back in college. They think I'm a late-20s grad student. They don't realize I'm their parents' age. That's a good thing. (I'm lucky—so far my skin is holding up.) Hairdresser is going to add more blue next time, see if we can get it to violet. The weaving class took a vote and I was informed that my hair is "fun this way".

The only real issue is that my wardrobe is primarily purples and greens (and black). The hair coordinates with only a few items. It's tough getting dressed in the morning.

No, really. It IS pink.




If I weren't in my nightgown already I'd take a picture.


Oh, what the hell:


Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Near Miss

Today I went to Michael's to pick up some floss for my surface design project. Guess I'd better explain that: we have been dyeing and stamping fat quarters, using a piece of fruit as our inspiration (I chose a pineapple). We had to research the fruit to find out some history and lore.

Did you know that the "eyes" spiraling around the Pineapple's exterior do so in a Fibonacci sequence? TRUE! Starting at the top by the leaves, if you count clockwise and down (which would technically be spiraling to the left), there are 8 eyes; if you count counterclockwise and down (technically spiraling to the right), there are 13. Young pineapples have 5s and 8s. Since I seem to be fascinated with Fibonacci sequencing with regard to color, this was an exciting discovery for me.

Back to the floss. So we dyed/stamped our fat quarters and now we are to embellish them. The finished piece will be a sort of quilt. It will have the artwork layer, then batting, then a backing piece, and the stitching embellishment will go through all three layers. We can use beads, make them 3D, whatever we want. Mine will have all of that. So I went to Mike's because last time I was in there buying regular floss for my latest cross-stitch extravaganza, my eye happened upon some amazing new floss: DMC Color Variations. Basically, it's subtly variegated floss. After I got home that day (of course), it occurred to me that it would work perfectly for the project.

I grabbed about a dozen different colors in the Color Variations. Then I grabbed just as many of the new DMC Light Effects floss—it's reflective! They come in iridescent pearl tones, jewel tones, antiques, metallics, fluorescent, and even—get this—one glow-in-the-dark! What a trip.

Then I got a package of cardboard floss bobbins (I prefer cardboard because I can write on them with pen).

Here's the "near miss" part. Those sneaky rascals at Mike's positioned the clearance Fun Fur bin right next to the entrance door. On my way in, four skeins of atrociously-colored but marked-down-to-two-bucks Fun Fur dove into my basket. They even convinced me to make sure they matched up with the Microspun I have at home. (They are for chemo hats. I have the patterns but can't off top of my head remember whose blog is running the hat party.)

But I already have a stashload of Fun Fur type yarn at home that I'm going to make into chemo hats. I didn't even like the colors they had left! But those four skeins got what they thought was their farewell-tour of the store. Until I arrived at the register and really noticed them for the first time. I held them back while the floss was rung up. The floss itself, well, it's specialty floss therefore not a quarter a hank—it would have been cheaper to buy yarn! That decided it for me. I shoved the Fun Furs aside and said "I've changed my mind about the yarn". The skeins squawked indignantly. But I turned a deaf ear to them. They would be spending yet another night with their littermates in the clearance bins.

It was a near miss, but I managed to escape with only $50 worth of fancy floss. Whew!

I also went to Target and finally found a decent slouchy messenger bag in army green canvas, and to Books-A-Million where I picked up Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" (so I can return my well-overdue copy to the library and pay my fines) and David Allen's "Getting Things Done" (same). And I'm proud to say that I haven't done a lick of anything remotely homework related all day. I knit, I organized my latest cross-stitch project, and now... I'm off to watch the L-Word!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Job Vs. Hobby

It's been a slow, quiet, relaxing day, which is just what I needed. Did a little straightening of the house. Not much need for studying—had two exams Friday (Law & Econ), finished my weaving samples this week despite the knee, and spent Friday afternoon in the surface design lab finishing the dyeing/painting part of my mid-term project. I'm not sure if I like it. It seems... messy. I'll revisit it later and see if I still feel that way. I can always redo it.

So today I was thinking. Most of my thinking concerned the titles (labels) by which we identify ourselves and the origins thereof. I'll refrain from rambling on for hours about it, but in my case, perhaps in yours, too, my initial label was bestowed upon me by my parents for a variety of reasons I'm just now analyzing and am not quite ready to go into. One reason which I can share is that everyone else in my family is of the couldn't-carry-a-tune-in-a-bucket-with-help type, and I emerged with the ability to not only carry the tune, but figure it out by ear on the piano, and harmonize well with others. I also sang myself to sleep at night, repeating all the TV jingles I'd memorized. Therefore, my label was "musician".

Another thought I had was about commitment. In reviewing my week, I realized that despite my knee, I'd gone to my fibers classes anyway because no way was I going to miss the highlight of my week. But had those classes been Law, Econ, or even my Creativity class, I'd have been tempted to bail and spend the afternoon nursing my injury. That got me thinking about other interests in my life and how an injury or illness might affect my commitment to them.

Surprise. Music didn't pass. I remember times during my rock band years when I was so sick I should have been hospitalized (flu, bronchitis) yet I was "forced" to show up to the gig anyway because as Stevie Nicks once said, "you can't call in sick to Fleetwood Mac" (or any other small-town band). I told myself that. But in my heart, I didn't subscribe to it, and I was very angry and resentful that I wasn't home in bed sleeping but up on stage under hot lights with a fever of 101, a racking cough, and nausea. Singing anyway.

If my commitment to music was never that strong, then why the hell did I spend the better part of 30 years pursuing it as a career? (I started guitar lessons at age 6, first band at 15, didn't quit trying or playing until about 1997.) OK, 15 years if you wanna get technical.

Why? Because that was my label, my title. I'd been proclaimed to be The Musician early in life, before I was old enough to have experienced other things and make up my own mind. I liked music well enough so it was okay to bear that title. It wasn't until I was much older that I began to question its validity.

So here I am. Rethinking my entire identity. Part of that arose naturally following my parents' deaths (it says so in the books I'm reading). Sometimes it makes me angry, because I feel like I bounced from one thing to another in search of a title that fit ME and was acceptable to my parents, yet nothing fit. Wondering where the bar was actually set, because I couldn't seem to come anywhere near it. Oh, I know they loved me, and were proud of my accomplishments, and Dad thought I had a brilliant mind; but I recall hearing from Mother plenty of times, "you've got a good brain, if you'd only learn how to use it!" along with degrading my latest new interest because it wasn't brainy enough, academic enough. Horsemanship Instructor? "Hard labor! You got an education so you wouldn't have to do that/why would you want to anyway?" Musician? "Waste of time. Nobody ever 'makes' it". I could go on...

What I'm finding the most difficult to deal with is the blocks against changing that label. It's amazing how far your mind will go to prevent you from changing anything to which it has grown accustomed. It simply refuses to shed the old labels and adhere to and accept the new ones I'm trying to attach. Like "artist", for example. I've gotten as far as calling myself that, but I haven't quite felt comfortable calling myself a "fine artist" or nailing down my medium. Fibers are definitely a passion, but I also find myself yearning to be in the painting studio. Every time I pass it on the way to the bathroom, I pause and inhale a deep whiff of the scent of linseed oil and oil paints. Mmmmm.

The last line of thinking for the day concerned careers and working. It's sad to think how many people spend their lives working at a job they hate, or tolerate at best. If we lived to be 90, and spent 30 years working, that's one-third of our years. If we spend 40 hours per week on the job, that's 23% of our 30 years not counting commutes, lunch hours and time spent getting ready in the morning. It's like 1/6th of our total 90-year life span, spent doing something we hate. This may be part of why I've always resented the insistence that I must get a "real" job. My aversion runs so deeply that the mere mention of the word "job" makes my stomach roll over. "Hobby" makes me feel belittled. Yet, I'm besieged by the need to look for an acceptable "job" that I can hate like everyone else does.

Why? Why should I hate a major part of my life when there are so many things I can do that I love? Some of those things are marketable skills. Maybe I won't find them listed in the want ads, but careers can be made out of them.

Why NOT turn a hobby into a job? I felt so smart today when I thought I'd coined a new term: Jobby! Job+hobby = Jobby. I repeated the word aloud and found peace. Jobby. As in,
A hobby that has become a paying, financially successful career.
The artist sold a commissioned artwork and made painting her jobby.

Then I Googled it. Apparently it's already a very popular slang term.

Guess what it means? Not my definition by a long shot.


Friday, February 23, 2007

February 23, 1918

Happy Birthday, Dad. You would have been 89 years old today. I miss you more than you'll ever know.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ooops Forgot the Title

The doctor reviewed the X-rays. There are no fractures (whew!) visible but there is some arthritis (yeah, I knew that). He's diagnosed it as a sprain. He said if it doesn't heal up within a couple weeks or gets worse, we can do an MRI. I doubt it will come to that.

It actually feels surprisingly better today than I expected it would—last night it was so stiff and painful I thought I'd be out of commission for weeks. Today I can hobble fairly well. Should I be ashamed to admit this next part? That despite technically being able to walk, I still took advantage of Dad's handicapped tag and the crutches and boldly parked in handicapped today in the lot right in front of Parking & Traffic, then crutched my way to class. Well, I did. And the lot monitor guy sat in his truck and saw me do it. And he left my car alone. I guess I passed.

I imagine by next week I'll be back to risking my life dashing across the busy street, but for tomorrow at least, I'm doing the Big Blue Spot.

I think I learned my lesson when I hurt the right knee in 2005; I was in classes then, too, and did a lot of walking, and found hopping along with crutches was too tiring on the arms and too darned frustrating. After five days of lying prone on the couch in a lovely Vicodin-induced haze with the knee in the air being iced religiously, I took tentative steps, discovered I could walk, and ditched the crutches but left the knee brace on. A month later I was having an MRI because I was still in horrible pain and essentially crippled (I was mobile, but had very limited range of motion, it felt like something was loose inside, and it just felt "wrong"). That's when they found, er, gee, ahem, the cartilege is all broken, and there's a loose piece floating around in there. (Oh, really?) It took another month to get into the specialist's office to get my first-ever cortisone shot and a scrip for therapy. I'd say it's been operating at about 95% since then, which I'll take over being barely mobile.

Oh, this is weird—it just occurred to me that I hurt the right knee mid-month on a Wednesday (Nov. 16, 2005) and the left knee mid-month on a Wednesday (Feb 21, 2007) and snow/slipperiness was involved in both incidents. Huh. Perhaps this is a good excuse for moving to a warmer, snow-free climate. Anyway...

I say I learned my lesson because I stopped babying my knee the moment I could put weight on it, against what the doctors would have wanted, but I couldn't see the point of lying around all day when I could, essentially, walk again. It probably didn't help my knee to do that. So I'll baby the left one. Except, a week from tomorrow, the relatives with the UHaul are coming and I'm expected to be on the other end of a couch, two dressers, a coffee table, and other sundry items and of course, it's the ONLY weekend they can come until mid-July.

Bright side, bright side... nothing's broken (so far), I lived, I was able to park in handicapped...


Accident Prone

Prone is what I may become after my latest accident. What is UP with me? I was never like this. I don't think so, anyway. I dunno. Maybe if Mom were around to ask... I just never thought of myself as clumsy. That title belongs to the niece of the socks. Not me.

So why am I on crutches for the third time in a year and a half?

Because I bunged up my OTHER knee today.

It's like this. I have to cross a fairly busy street to get to campus from the church lot where I park (it's bonafide student parking every day except Sunday) and vice versa. There are no shoveled crossing spots. The only way to get to pavement is by taking the long way round, which anyone who has ever done the mad panic dash to an exam would be familiar with. Needless to say, most opt to jaywalk and pile-jump (as did I). There are two types of snow piles between the sidewalk and the street: the tall ones and the small ones. I've been scaling mountains all week. Today after Econ, I decided to go for a small pile, thinking "It will be safer".

I was oh so very wrong. Almost dead wrong.

Had it not been for the fact, nay, the Saving Grace that at that precise moment, this busy street had zero zip zilch traffic on it, I might not be writing this tonight.

I looked both ways. It was clear. I stepped into the small pile and then took a step into the street. Honestly I don't know how it happened. All I know is that suddenly I was on the ground, with my head in the street facing what would have been oncoming traffic, and my left knee was bent way too far for its own good and underneath me and there was PAIN.

I squawked and hurled myself back into the snow pile and off the street then laid there in the snow clutching my knee praising all the highest Heavens above that there was a miraculous moment of no traffic just when I needed there to be no traffic.

Another student who'd been about to cross at the same time asked if I was all right and offered to help me up. I said "give me a minute". He did. Then he helped me up. This would be a great story if, when I stood up, I looked into his eyes and fell eternally in love, but, sadly, it didn't. Still, it was nice to be helped. I felt like a little old lady. He helped me up then helped me get down into the street and across safely. Then we parted ways. I hobbled the long block to my car. Then I sat there and sobbed. It hurt, and man, did I want my Mommy. I had a boo-boo and no Mommy to fix it. First time. It sucked.

Anyway. I drove myself home (TG for automatic transmission), called my insurance company (they changed my stuff, I now have a really high ER co-pay, a high deductible, and absolutely no doctor co-pay). They advised I get the doctor to order x-rays (cheaper). Called the doctor—another miracle! An opening! I went over right away, then to the hospital for x-rays.

Then, I went back to campus (with crutches) and hobbled into surface design. Did not get much done (couldn't stand up long enough). Went to weaving instead (same instructor) and finished up all my samples. Love that double weave!

So now I'm in waiting limbo. It hurts like a son of a emmeffing beeyotch! It's quite swollen. The doctor didn't want to say sprain or torn ligaments until he sees the x-rays. Of course, in my experience, x-rays don't always show it. My broken cartilege in the right knee went undiagnosed for over a month (despite my invalid state) until the MRI. Oh God. That just reminded me of the cortisone shot. OH. GOD. NO. I'd rather have a toe severed than undergo that again. Not that I want a severed toe, just sayin'.

Well, here I am, laid up yet again, with nobody around this time to wait on me hand and foot and commiserate. And it's exam week. And spring break is in another week. And the relatives are coming next weekend (not this one, next one) expecting ME to help them move furniture.

Oh, ha ha ha ha ha.

I didn't even get the good drugs this time. Darn it. Ibuprofen just does not cut it.

Photos tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Oh my God am I tired tonight.

Studied for Law Exam Part 1 (tomorrow). Thank you it's open book and notes. (Still had to outline Chapter 7 since I hadn't read it yet.)

Studied Econ. Exam Friday. Law Exam Part 2 also Friday.

Weavers' Guild Meeting. Long. Lots of boring business, then watched part of a handweaving structure video that left the entire guild (including me) completely confuzzled. When she got to the part about complex weaves on 16 shafts, we of the four- and eight-shaft looms glazed over. We have harness envy.

40 degrees ABOVE zero today (thank you) but the downside is, FOG. Pea-soup. Visibility was two car-lengths ahead of me. Not a fun drive home from the meeting (half hour north of me). Absolutely no time to fondle fiber.

Must sleep now.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

My 100th Post!

I was over on Carson's blog and saw that she'd arrived at her 100th post, which got me thinking: as jabber-jawed as I can be, is it possible that I'm nearing that mark myself? Knitty Banter has only been in existence since September 2006. One hundred posts sounds like a lot, doesn't it?

But to my surprise, my last post was #99. Which means...



School was back in session Thursday. Every professor is wigged out at being "behind" according to their syllabi. I spent 13 hours total (7 Thursday 6.5 Friday) in the weaving lab catching up on samples and I still have two to do, which doesn't sound like a lot until I explain what they are.

All 15 students in the class received a different pattern draft and weaving instructions. We each warped our loom accordingly and wove eight inches of the pattern. Then we wove a shot of—oh crap, what is it called? sheeting?—anyway, to separate my sample from the next girl's. (And the one guy's.) Then we go around and weave eight inches on the next loom, etcetera, until we have completed all 15 patterns. At the end, we'll put our samples into a notebook to have and love forever and ever and ever. *imagine me hugging it to my chest swinging back and forth like a toddler hugging the stuffing out of her bunny*

Mine was Finnish Towel, an overshot pattern. Complex because it incorporates two weft yarns—a thin one like the warp for the tabby shots, and a thicker one for the pattern shots. The way the loom is threaded, I have four out of the six treadles that lift the harnesses that create the pattern, and the other two lift every other strand of warp. I'm not good at explaining it visually yet, but Anne at How the West was Spun has it down. It's complicated because first you weave a shot of tabby, then a shot of pattern, then a shot of tabby, then pattern, etc. You have to stay focused or you get lost fast.

I blew through all but the last three after doing my own; most of that was on Thursday. On Friday after Law and Econ, I braved the 5 below wind chills to walk to the art building with the intention of finishing up the last three.


I chose to do Pile first. Think "carpet". It involves NOT throwing the shuttle back and forth; rather it involves tying individual pieces of yarn in knots in various ways for eight whole inches so they create pile. NEVER AGAIN will I do pile, unless it's a small area for a wall hanging or something. It took me six and a half hours to do one stinkin' sample! ACK! My fingers were aching by the time I left, past 7:00, to run home and change my sweater and baseball hat (one of those showerless days), grab my knitting, and run to meet my friend B for our standing Friday-night personal S&B.

(Interjecting to add that I finished and pulled off the home loom the scarf for the Weaver's Guild Scarf Exchange; all it needs is to have its ends woven in and its fringe knotted, then washing and blocking... but I have until the April meeting to do that. Photos to come.)

Oh. The remaining two samples? One is another overshot (Star of Bethlehem) and the last is a double-weave pickup. That's the one that scares me. Instead of one shed's worth of warp, there are two. I can't begin to explain it. Here are two references if you are interested. One shows examples of doubleweaves; the other is a PDF from the Jan/Feb 2007 Handwoven magazine about designing doubleweaves. It looks complicated–another 7-hour sample, I imagine.

Not much knitting got done Friday night. I re-seamed the toe of the first of the belated Xmas socks for Ceramicist Niece for the third time because I realized what I'd done wrong. Again. If you recall, the first time I somehow managed to seam so the toe was running perpendicular to the way the toes go.

The second time, I thought I had it—turned it inside out, did a three-needle bind off. What was I high on? I looked at it Friday night and thought "DOH!" I meant to do Kitchener. Not a bind off. *sigh* Yanked it out, put it back on the needles, and Kitchenered. The sock looks tired. All that surgery.

I tried to start Sock #2 but had a major brain fart—I cast-on just fine, then I could not for the life of me figure out which way was up! How do I join this thing? Where is the incoming yarn supposed to come from—the top? The bottom? The left-hand needle of the triangle or the right? I stared at it for several minutes while B rambled on and finally I just gave up. It occurred to me that it's been about four months since I cast on a sock. Somehow I forgot how to do it.

It came back to me last night and I cast on and knit the ribbing. Silly, silly me. Senior moment and I'm not even 45 yet. What I need to do is set up a mnemonic to remember how it is done. Especially since I've agreed to do some sock test-knitting. *blush* *ahem* Might look a bit foolish having to admit I can knit the sock, I just can't figure out how to cast it on. (I can; I think I was just tired, and distracted by the band playing in the coffeehouse, the kids running around the bookstore, and my friend's ramblings. I need silence to think it through.)

Well, I suppose I should stop procrastinating and get back to the schoolwork I'm obviously trying to avoid. It irks me that I have no true "weekends". I need them to recharge but somehow I always wind up studying. I even studied on the snow days! (That's just wrong.) Yesterday I worked up a PowerPoint presentation for Law for Monday (group thing, this time I have a group that actually works). It took longer than anticipated but it looks great. Today, I have:
  1. a brief paper (1-2 pages) for Creativity & Innovation to demonstrate my understanding of a problem-solving technique we learned last week (due Tues)
  2. four chapters of Econ to read (likely we'll have another "homework" pop quiz Mon, Exam is Fri)
  3. two or three chapters of Law to read for Mon (Exam Weds)
  4. two chapters in one book and one in the other for C&I (Tues)
  5. it won't happen today, but I really need to get to the surface design lab and do the pole-wrapping portion for the background of my project since we lost Wednesday's work time. That was supposedly due for a half-done critique tomorrow. Not gonna happen. I'll see what I can do during class.
  6. a load of laundry (no clean undies for this week!!!! help!!!)
  7. a load of dishes (same as #6!)
  8. clean the catboxes
  9. shower (about time, too)
Yeesh. Where does the time go?

PS: I've done really well with Knit From Your Stash. So far, I've only bought three skeins of yarn—two red and black angoras intended for the Red Scarf Project but on ice until next year and one ball of black fuzz for the Weaving Guild scarf. I suppose it takes the edge off having four huge yarn closets to "shop" from in Weaving class, though! Then there is the floss loophole I discovered. If I absolutely must buy something yarn-like, floss IS the way to go.

OK. I'm really really going back to my homework now.


For sure this time.


I mean it.


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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why the University Closed Today

At 5:48 AM, University officially cancelled classes. They'll be open tomorrow. That's OK. I only have one class.

Opened my screen door this morning (noonish) to find this:

Yes, that's snow inside my screen door.

Out the back, on the deck, looking NW.

Out the back, on the deck, looking NE.

Down the back walk—Mom's car (mine, now, I guess).

My poor abandoned Sunfire.

Out the front door, looking SE.

Across the street. Note the pile by the garage.

Out the front door, looking SW. Note the gutter ripping away from the house toward the end, and the drift height compared to the iron bench.

Out the front door looking SE. Those spiky things sticking up through the drift are Yucca leaves.

My snowplowing service arrived around 5 pm. Yep, that would have been "in time" enough to get me to a 9:30 AM class. *snort* We were upgraded to Level 3 again, then downgraded to Level 2. Toledo (20 minutes north) is at a standstill—they put them at Level 3 and actually closed the Mall! *shock* Toledo, like University, never shuts down.

Ah, well. We survived the storm, classes resume tomorrow, and all is well. Over here, anyway.

Just Do It

Oh, fer chrissakes, University, cancel Wednesday's classes already! Don't be the last stalwart holdout. Life will go on without Econ for one more day. There has been nary a plow seen in over 8 hours and the last measurement was 8 inches of snow so far with more on the way before 7 AM. Do you really think everyone will be dislodged from their drifted-over driveways in time for classes?

I think not. I know I won't be.

Off to bed. I'm sleeping in. I'll be popping up now and again to check:
  1. the weather conditions outside
  2. the electricity
  3. the school closings
  4. the snow emergency levels
  5. to see if a plow has remembered we exist
...but other than that, I'm avoiding coffee until close to noon. See you then. Be safe.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

We've Been Upgraded

It's official. We are now at Level Three Snow Emergency. That means drive only if you're hoping to spend the night in jail. In some parts of the region, that might not be a bad idea, considering that 10,000 Toledo Edison customers have lost power and it's c-c-c-cold. (Not me, yet, thank GOD, I'm with a different power company but my old house might be affected.)

The University policy is, if it's Level 3, no school. Except they have not officially announced the cancellation yet. I can't see how, with the snow still coming down, we'd be downgraded quickly enough in the morning to allow for only if really necessary travel. It's supposed to keep snowing until noon. The guys came to plow out my drive. It was a wasted effort (which I'll probably be billed for) because it's all drifted over now.

This is ridiculous. Everybody and their Mother, cousin, sister, and second great-aunt twice removed has cancelled. Even bridal shops are announcing their closings. What is up with that? Unless it's for the poor brides who were going to get married on V-day. But the University is holding out. For what? Level 4? There IS no Level 4. Level 4 is the return of the Ice Age.

Welp, that may indeed be exactly what their criteria is, come to think of it.

Must go watch the news (again). Stay warm!


What That Thing Is

Stick wanted to know what that thing is in the photo below. I backtracked. It's a baby one of these things (an Aye-Aye from Madagascar).

And Mother of Chaos, you are too funny. :-)

It's still blowing and snowing. We're under a Level 2 Snow Emergency. That means don't travel unless you have to (such as, you have an inhumane boss who insists your life is less valuable than your job) but it's not quite up to "don't drive unless you want to be arrested". I'm hangin' with Da Main Cats and studying Econ *yaaawwwwwnnnn*.

Still no word on whether they are cancelling classes tomorrow. They have until 6 AM to decide. I hate to say it, but I hope they are cancelled. I could use the break to rest up and catch up on all my blogs studying and sleep homework. As long as I have heat and electricity (and plenty of milk, which I do), I can handle a couple days of being snowed in. [emphasis added to make sure the Universe/God/dess hears that part... sometimes It/S/He only hears the last part... as I recall the Blizzard of '78...]

You Can Tell I'm Bored

OK, I'm not bored. Don't want to tempt Fate. I am, however, acting like a child who has a snow day. Except for the snow angels.

Your Linguistic Profile:
60% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
10% Dixie
5% Midwestern
5% Yankee
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I find the 10% Dixie and 5% Yankee parts fascinating. This must have been influenced by my paternal grandfather Walter and my Dad. Dad's family started in Cincinnati, moved to Connecticut where Dad attended the Taft School as a boy, then relocated to Alabama for awhile. Dad graduated from the University of Alabama (Go Crimson Tide) before migrating back up to Cincinnati (as did the grandparents).

Grandpa sounded like a southern gentleman. He pronounced it "Cincinattah". Yet, my father spoke perfect, proper English. He had this way of pronouncing words. Example: "Better". I and most of my friends pronounce it with that swallowed sound: "BET'r". Dad pronounced it "BET-her". Grandpa probably said "bettah"—he's been gone since 1978 so the memory is a bit foggy.

What I'd like to know is, what is the difference between Midwestern and Upper Midwestern?

Well, I really should look outside... it's blowy and snowy but I'm not fearing for my life yet. Which is a good thing. More later.


Stupid Coffee

Dang it.

I drank the last sip of my usual two cups of morning coffee about two minutes before they announced the university closing.

I'm exhausted but WIDE


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It's a Cold Day in Hell!

Oh. My. God. Alert the media. Wait—they alerted me.


This has not happened in 16 years. (Seriously. Every school within 500 miles can be closed, all extra-curricular activities cancelled, and road conditions upgraded to "only travel in extreme emergency" and our school will be the sole remaining academic institution available to students who just can't stand the thought of a day without learning. *ahem*)

We are having a blizzard. Expected is 4-8 inches of white stuff by the evening commute, followed by another 6-10 tonight and another 3-6 on Wednesday. They think we could get up to 10-20 inches total.

Now. I was a teenager in 1978, the Year of the Great Blizzard. The year Dad chopped up the kitchen chairs and burned them in the fireplace to keep us alive, warm and fed while we were trapped for three days in our home without heat or electricity. It was all a big adventure to me, but now I wonder how terrified my parents were. There is coal and firewood in the deck room. There are matches.

Should I go back to bed and relish the fact that I get a day to sleep in (maybe two) after staying up til 4 AM doing homework?

Or... should I be scared?

Thank God I got milk yesterday.

"Temporarily Working" Cable Company

Apparently, sounding off helps. I must have barked loud enough for them to hear me all the way up in the Ivory Towers of TimeWarner™, because a MIRACLE has occurred.

Tonight I turned on my TV after returning from a long day of classes. What a day. Difficulty finding parking (again), missed Law, made it to Econ, suffered another inhumane quiz over stuff we just went over Friday and barely know, knocked over the pins in surface design (all over the floor, 100's of them), out of quarters, smallest bill was a five... a Jelly Side Down kind of day in a way (following a Jelly Side Down Week last week).

OH. The TV. Yeah.

Well, I flipped over to 341 (Showtime™) figuring that a glance at the silent, black screen would add fuel to my simmering rage—

And the channel was back.


And The L Word® replay was on at midnight.


Happy dance™.

In my email were two responses from TimeWarner™ and one from ShowTime™.

The first TW email said they'd try to get someone scheduled sooner.

The second TW email said they had someone available today (meaning Monday) and that someone over 18 had to be there, could I provide a cell number.

The ShowTime™ email said to their knowledge, they make all of their channels available and could I provide my city state zip so they could investigate further.

I'm glad ShowTime™ thought to respond. I can see them calling TW to inquire as to why their channels weren't being broadcast.

As for TW, either they didn't read my rant very carefully or they didn't look at the calendar because I told them I'm only available for service calls on Tuesday Thursday or Friday due to my schedule and today (yesterday) was Monday. I don't know if they went ahead and sent someone out and they were able to fix it on the outside, or if it's a miracle, but it's fixed, and I watched The L Word®, and that is ALL that matters.


Just had a thought. Maybe the CATS messed up something behind the entertainment center. Maybe they were trying to dial in the Cat Entertainment Channel and accidentally screwed up the signal. They looked a bit shifty and worn out when I got home. Like they'd spent the day trying to undo what they done did after seeing Momcat turn variegated purple and red last night.



Sunday, February 11, 2007

Unfortunately, I Hate Time Worthless Cable Company

My guilty pleasure at the end (beginning?) of every week is watching Desperate Housewives (on regular cable) followed by The L Word (on Showtime). I begrudgingly pay for the premium channel for one show and one show only. It's just that good.

Imagine how I felt tonight when I flipped over during a DH commercial break to discover that Showtime, ShowtimeToo, ShowtimeHD, ShowtimeBeyond, and ShowCase were all showing a BLACK screen with no sound! Now the funny thing is, ShowExtreme, ShowNext, ShowWomen, and ShowFamily were coming in just FINE. Even ShowtimeOnDemand would come in if I were willing to add the $6.95/month service to my cable programming.

Naturally, The L Word is on Showtime or ShowtimeHD. The black ones.

I called TimeWorthless Cable. Five minutes of on-hold. Twenty minutes of trying to reboot the box with no successful changes and the Customer Service Gal (SCG) sending signals to try to jumpstart it.

I gave up. There would be no L for me tonight. Thankfully, it replays several times throughout the week and I could catch it later.

Or could I?

I asked CSG with a sigh "so, when can the technician show up?" figuring mid-week at the latest and I'd be back in business.

CSG: "The soonest we can have someone out is the 27th."

Long pause while my brain tries to figure out what's wrong with that date. "I'm sorry—what date?"

"The 27th."

Calculate... today is the 11th.

MOTHERF—you mean to tell me I have to wait SIXTEEN DAYS for a service guy to show up, wiggle some cords and get my box fixed?!?

"Unfortunately, that's the soonest we have a technician available."

I stated that the 27th was three weeks away.

She said, "yes, unfortunately, that's the soonest we have a technician available."

I said, "I'm sorry, but that is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable."

"Unfortunately, that's the soonest we have a technician available."

I replied, "I am paying nearly $90 per month for your service. Certainly you can do better than that."

"Unfortunately, that's the soonest we have a technician available."

I told her "well then, I suppose you can give me free Showtime for a month, then."

She said she could credit me for the time lost until the service call.

I said "for as much as I'm paying you, I think you can do better than that. I mean, three weeks for a service call is completely ridiculous." I told her when I was with Local Cable Company, the service was fantastic: answered the phone promptly, had a service guy out the next day, and extended customer satisfaction. Then I said (snidely) "I suppose your call center is in Florida, isn't it."

She said "No. It's in Zanesville (Ohio)".

OK. According to TimeWorthless' website, there are 10 Promises They Make to Us. Of those 10, two of them are:
  1. Friendly, LOCAL customer service 24/7, and
  2. Appointment windows available seven days a week
Zanesville may be in the same STATE as me, but it is definitely NOT anywhere near "local". Unless your definition of local is within a five-state region/300 miles.

As for appointment windows, they must mean actual physical windows at their office building in Manhattan or California or wherever the F they are. When I see seven days a week, I'm thinking WITHIN those seven days. Not three times those seven days.

Again I told her I found it absolutely unacceptable that I would have to wait three weeks—nearly an entire MONTH, mind you—to have my cable issue resolved. I let it be known in no uncertain terms that I was very upset that I had paid for this premium channel specifically for this ONE show, and that I would now be missing THREE full episodes of said show due to their lack of technical help and that it wasn't like I could catch it in reruns because it only replays during the week of the initial broadcast of the new show—I would have to watch the remainder of the season clueless as to what happened in those three lost episodes, AND I would have to wait until six or more months from now to view them either when ShowTime rebroadcast the season to gear up for the 2008 season, or until they came out on DVD. Meaning I'm wasting my money, and I am P.I.S.S.E.D.

"I'm sorry. Unfortunately, that's the soonest we have a technician available."

Unfortunately, I don't know that I feel like paying my bill anymore.

On their corporate website, their mission statement appears:

Our Mission

To create the best possible customer experience by delivering quality in-home entertainment, information and communications with superior customer care.

Unfortunately, in my case, they have failed miserably.


S'sn & B'n

Yeah, that title is clear.

My friend and I had dinner then sat at our local coffee shop and did some S'sn (hemming) and B'n (whining). You know. Purl & Hurl. _titch and _itch. The two words we aren't allowed to print for fear of being accused of copyright infringement. Ess Enn Bee.


She worked on a needlepoint project while I was in sockland. I pity my friend. There was more bee-ing than ess-ing on her part because she's been fretting over this thing forever. She started it years ago with high hopes, then became bored with it about halfway through. It would be big enough for a throw pillow (if she ever finishes it). She keeps talking about the project in the wings that she can't wait to get to, yet she will not allow herself to toss the current one into either the frog pile (is there such a thing for needlepoint?) or in with the UFOs so she can work on the new one.

I see no point to this. I'm quite happy to abandon a project for a few days or decades (remember the Phoenix I just finished?) if I lose interest. Yes, I love to start projects. But I don't consider myself to have startitis. Rather, I enjoy having a lot of projects on the docket at once so I can jump around when the mood strikes me. I do finish them—eventually. But if I grow weary, I can stop myself and move on. One day I'll run across it and wonder why I ever put it down. That's the time to pick it up again and finish it.

Do you suffer from either Random Project Hopscotch like I do, or One At A Time Even If It Kills Me like my friend? Any advice for my friend? I told her tonight, either you hurry up and finish that so you can move onto something you actually enjoy, or I'll finish it FOR you, darn it! It stresses me—yes, actually causes me pain—to see her grumbling over this piece. Poor thing, she sits at the table rummaging through her pockets, anything to avoid picking up the project.

As for me, I discovered that socks and TV do not mix (at certain points), nor do socks and conversation (at certain points). When one is working the seven inches of "cuff", or the part between the heel and toe, TV or conversation is fine. But TV and chatter should be avoided at all costs when one is calculating the heel flap, the gusset, or doing three-needle bind off on the toe. I wish I had photos, but I didn't have the camera with me and I fixed my errors already. So you'll have to settle for description and imagination.

Sock #1: Fascine Braid Sock, in Mountain Colors "Crazy Woman" First of the pair intended for the niece who did not make it to Xmas this year. I'd finished the toe while watching TV a week or so ago and woven in my ends. It looked a little funny; the seam kind of puckered but I assumed it would even out after blocking. It came with me tonight to serve as a reference if I started its mate, and to show off to my friend. Tonight it still looked funny. Suddenly I figured out why.

The toe seam was running perpendicular to the toeline. Ooops.

Frog, frog, frog.

The seam is running in the proper direction now, but it still looks a little wonky to me. Hopefully blocking will fix it. If not, well, it'll be inside a shoe.

Sock #2: Leslie's Double Eyelet Socks in Mountain Colors "Wildflower" Yes, I'm still working on these. At the rate I'm going, I'll be 50 before I can wear them (it's a ways off yet). Another first of a pair. I successfully did the heel flap and turned the heel. Then I began the gusset. Then I got hopelessly lost because the pattern said to knit to within 3 stitches of the end of needle #1, K2 tog K1, knit in eyelet pattern across needle #2, then K1 SSK knit to the end of needle #3— and somehow, I had five needles in use.


You do realize I've done socks before and know what I'm supposed to be doing here. For some reason, conversation must throw me completely off. I sorted it out eventually but I kept dropping stitches, having my needles slide out of the row, miscounting... eeesh. All I got done on this sock in three hours' time was the last inch of heel flap, turning the heel, picking up the gusset, and about an inch of actual foot.

I started Sock #2 in early October. It's now February and that is as far as I've gotten. Oh, the shame.

It didn't help that we were trying not to laugh at the real-life Beavis and Butthead sitting at the next table. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. FIRE! FIRE! Heh-heh.

The saddest thing of all is what I think they did. I could be wrong, but instinct says otherwise. The boys sat there for a good hour or so, chatting. They didn't purchase any food or coffee. They weren't reading. They came in with nothing. They didn't peruse the shelves for anything to read. There is nothing inherently wrong with this.


It was 15 minutes before closing. The place had gradually emptied out until it was down to them and us and the two workers (one is the owner). One worker was cleaning up the service area. The owner was vaccuuming and straightening. The owner disappeared into the office. The two boys suddenly got up from their table and headed over to the comics section. My Spidey-sense woke up and I tried to knit while watching from my peripheral vision.

They huddled around the comics section for a couple of moments then turned and walked casually—sort of—towards the door. One of the boys had the distinctly stiff posture of someone who had something stuffed down the front of his shirt and was trying to keep there while walking pseudo-nonchalantly out the door. The shop is quite long and I didn't actually see him take anything—it was just an instinct based on my observation and their timing.

It seemed as if they had been lying in wait for the perfect moment. I asked my friend if she thought they might have taken something. She said their timing did seem a little odd.

Perhaps we should we have alerted the counter clerk. We didn't. I'm not sure why. Maybe because we had no verifiable proof that they'd taken anything. Maybe because we didn't want to cause a scene. It concerns me that we didn't say something. It concerns me that these boys would shoplift (if they did).

Maybe they left with what they came in with and my suspicions were unfounded.

But of course, we'll never know.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

OK Maybe I Overreacted A Little

Quite a mindspin yesterday, eh? I have to wonder if I'm bipolar. Every now and then, I have a day where I feel about like the cats do around twilight—"the crazies"—except mine is mental. I only bounce off the walls of my brain.

I'm glad to report: that I slept well, surprisingly; that today's classes were benign, no extra homework, no pop quizzes; and that a couple of people have offered new perspectives on the matter that have helped considerably. (They've also caused me to privately question my sanity for reacting the way I did.)

Mother of Chaos commented:
Try not to think of this as a screw up - it's just a missed opportunity.

Opportunities are around you Every. Single. Day. They're like a bus - when you miss one it sucks, but another WILL come along.

And sometimes, missing one is the painful education you need to recognize and grab the next one.
Good point.

Another friend reminded me today that for all I know, there could have been a very valid reason for Dad to have sold the stock—such as feeling that the economy was changing, and he was worried about losing it all. Friend said the stock market is not predictable, and there is no way Dad could have predicted:
  1. that the value would have doubled in two years based on info at the time or
  2. that he was going to die before paying the taxes.
Hindsight is 20/20. Friend said the sale may have had—probably had—nothing to do with me at all; that in fact, Dad's financial advisor might have advised him to do it then and Dad just followed his trusted FA's advice.

Immediately, I stopped feeling like I'd been punched in the gut. Friend's right, you know. I didn't even think of that. At all. My only thought was, "my fault". I caused it, I'm the reason, they did it to help me because I worried them so. Never once did I consider another alternative. Now. That there is a big issue I need to discuss with someone. Because, why would I do that to myself? Why would I instantly assume that it's All My Fault when it probably had nothing (directly) to do with me? What's that about?

I'm still sorry we missed the opportunity to each be nearly 100k richer; then again... those with deep religious beliefs would probably tell me "cheer up, God has a better plan than that for you". Well, maybe the Universal Life Force/God/dess/Diety indeed does have a better plan. I bought my Mega Millions ticket just in case.

PS: check out what my horoscope says in the sidebar. Hmph.

**Edited: since the horoscope changes everyday, here's what the horoscope said that made me harrumph:

Cancer (23 June to 23 July)
An unresolved problem, or query with a financial matter, is unlikely to be resolved for about three to six weeks. Paper work seems to be a problem.


Today I Lost $70,000 and Anna Nicole Smith Died

Another busy week is coming to a close. I'd love to be able to say it was a good one, but then I'd be lying. I don't know what happened this week. As usual, I started out with a long-winded detailed rundown of my week, then decided it would be too boring and edited it down to the *ahem* highlights. Then I re-edited to the really important parts.

  • made emergency run between classes to former home to make sure pipes/heat were ok
  • shoveled driveway there so it looks lived in
  • missed a couple classes because I hurt my back shoveling in a hurry
  • found out my new team for E-ship class may be worse than the first one (lack of communication, no dedication to the class or assignments)
  • shivered all week
  • stayed up too late working on assignments that didn't need to be turned in
  • survived the team presentation we whipped together on the spot
  • managed to be behind the eight-ball all week in every class
  • picked up a new Teresa Wentzler cross-stitch design and organized my floss stash
  • discovered floss is much, much cheaper than yarn
  • discovered an inexpensive way to fulfill my S.E.X. needs through "flossing"
  • survived another inhumane pop quiz in Econ—inhumane because he likes to follow this bass-ackwards procedure: 1) lecture one day; 2) give quiz on lecture material that is embryonic in our minds at best; 3) give homework on stuff that was on the quiz so we actually learn it. I struggle with the quiz, ace the homework. The quizzes are worth more points than the homework. Not fair. AGGGGHH!
And then we get to Thursday.



After class, I ran some estate-related errands. Went past tax accountant's office. After being greeted, I was handed a bag of M&Ms and given a sympathetic look. Then I was handed the tax packet (2005 taxes, because Dad didn't get to it, he was a little too busy dying).

Then the accountant told me that they owed the IRS $9,750.00 dollars.

Because Dad had sold all the stock he'd inherited decades ago from his parents, and there's some silly IRS rule that I was too shocked to pay attention to that said taxes have to be paid on it because (I think) it wound up going into an estate or something. I can't remember. All I heard was "around ten thousand dollars" and that it had something to do with the stock sale.

Then she told me that had Dad held onto the stock and just let us inherit it, we would not have had to pay the tax, AND we could have sold it for double what he got for it.

Basically, we didn't lose ten grand (to the IRS). We lost more like $140,000. Meaning I could have been 70K richer but now I (and my sister) owe the IRS $5,000 (each) of my (our) half(s) of the estate.

I went home and had a meltdown. I spent the day on the couch sobbing, hysterical, dry heaving, and ever so slightly suicidal*.

First I was pissed at Dad for selling early, then at Mom because I remember her telling me she'd told Dad to cash in the stock so they'd "have enough money to live on". But that was silly because not only was Dad financially astute, but he had such a good retirement plan, great insurance AND he was brilliant at budgeting and actually adhering to it. Dad would get worried about going bankrupt if, God forbid, it looked like we might go over the carefully planned budget by a small amount (say $50) one month. He believed in paying cash and if you didn't have the cash you didn't buy it, despite his very good salary. They actually saved money and had no debt. Ever. On one salary. With two cars and a mortgage-free house. And we weren't denied much.

Mother didn't involve herself in the finances. She had no idea how much they had. She panicked. Because they were helping me survive in the wake of my job loss, she started panicking that they would "run out of money" and convinced Dad to sell.

So, it's my fault. That's what I've deduced. No reason to be mad at my parents—if I'm going to be mad at someone, it should be me, because if I'd been able to hold onto my prepress job in the wake of 9/11 layoffs in the ad industry, or had been able to get A Job Of Some Sort in a blue-collar economically depressed town (as a white-collar college grad who is overqualified for the available jobs), my parents would not have had to assist me and Mother would not have panicked and harangued Dad to sell the stock. Hence, I am the one at fault. Hence the slightly suicidal* part.

Then I opened the gas bill. I need to call my bank. I have duplicate checks. I wrote the check to my lawn mower guy and mailed it with a bunch of other bills, but he still hasn't gotten it. The gas company swares I didn't pay two bills (I know I am late with one because it got misplaced in the chaos until last weekend but I know I paid the January bill, but it's not showing up paid in my accounts) and is threatening to cut off my heat in this balmy weather. So despite the fact that I mailed a check for $260 earlier in the week (last month's), I got online and made the full payment (double that) to make sure they let me stay warm. Sobbing. The entire time. With visions of them finding us in the spring thaw because of the smell—one frozen dead side of human and five poor little catsicles.

I mean, come on. I know I set myself up for serious stress by taking on five classes—that was within my control and I admit it, maybe not such a wise idea given what I've gone through in the past year. But dealing with my grief, the estate bullshit, trying to manage three houses at once—two of which are empty, need to be fixed up and sold—this is stuff I can't control for the most part and then to have the IRS shit AND the gas company bleeding us dry? Bleeding ME dry, I should say—it's too much. It's too hard to do all alone. I didn't ask for this. Yet, here I am. In the middle of it.

Then I learn that Anna Nicole Smith died.

Bum. Mer.

OK. Could be worse. I could be 39 years old, just off the Trim Spa diet and dead. Did she ever get her hands on the old man's money? It's moot now. OK actually the Anna Nicole Smith part is a lousy attempt to inject the humor I'm so not feeling right now.

Somewhere along the way, I guess I regained my resolve, or at least part of it, and spent the remainder of the evening taking solace in warm cat bodies and Grey's Anatomy.

It HAS to get better, it HAS to get better, it HAS to get better, it HAS to get better...

*Please note: when I was in therapy a while back, my therapist said I'm not clinically depressed, rather, I suffer from situational depression. In stressful situations, where one person might get drunk, abuse drugs, eat, or spend money, I get the serious blues—it's my response to stress. So when I get the blues, I momentarily feel something I can only describe as suicidal, but it's NOT suicidal because I have no intention of leaving this planet. I've often put it like this: I don't want to die, I just don't want to live like this anymore. So please don't take this the wrong way and worry. It's my terminology for wanting to end the way of life I'm currently leading and trade it in for a new one while still being alive and breathing. If that makes sense. This will pass. It always does, given a day or so.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Beginning of Being OK

It has been exactly four months and six days since my Mother died, and four days short of eight months since my Dad died.

Today was the very first day that I woke up and did NOT have as my first thought, "My parents are dead". It took a whole five minutes before that thought hit me. I am taking as a sign that I'm starting to heal. I call it, "the Beginning of Being OK".

From past experience with major heartbreaks and healings, I know that this is the signpost marking the true beginning of the rest of my life. My mind is becoming accustomed to the idea that they are no longer here and that this IS my life now, this IS the way it will always be from here on out. Those first five minutes were a relief.

I'm gonna live after all.

I had a very odd dream last night. Have you ever been in a dream, then woken up to go to the bathroom, fully conscious, then gone back to bed and returned to the dream to have it pick up where you left off? That happened last night.

The barebones of the plot of the dream was that my parents and I went to a fancy hotel during peak season. I had secured a suite for us. I did this, not them. They usually made the plans and I just went along with it. It was quite luxurious, with several bathrooms, more than we needed for the three of us (probably stemmed from my need to get up in real life). We toured it with great excitement on my part and neutrality on theirs, which bothered me a bit because I wanted them to be as excited as I was.

Suddenly, we noticed that someone else's luggage was in the room—it was already occupied by four guys (oddly, all gay, not sure what that means). The suite was big enough for all of us, and they welcomed us, but my parents didn't want to stay. I made a half-hearted attempt to secure another room for my parents and I, but the hotel was full. Rather than leave with them, I chose to stay.

[I woke up and went to the bathroom then went back to bed.] The dream picked up in the hotel then continued with my becoming a cast member on the L Word and loving my new career. (My character was a cross between Shane (played by Katherine Moennig on the L Word), Allison on "Medium", and the Ghost Whisperer; and Mia Kirshner ("Jenny" on the L Word) the actress was jealous of me because I'd become the director's Pet Actress without really trying, usurping her position as Pet Actress. Very strange.)

I'm wondering if the interpretation of the dream or parts of it anyway mean that I'm ready to move on into my new life, and that my parents are not going to be a part of it and I'm ok with that? Right before Mother died, I had a dream about my parents. They were both dressed up fancy, and I saw my Grandmother (her mother) in her coffin. Grandma died back in 1983. September 20th, to be exact. Dad told me in the dream that after Grandma's funeral, he was taking Mother on a long vacation to a place I wasn't allowed to go. When I woke up, I was panicked, of course, because it was the beginning of September and Mother was sick with cancer. I heaved a sigh of relief when September 20th came and went and she was still here. Of course, she died September 30th. *sigh*

I wonder if it's my turn to tell them, hey, this time I'm going somewhere that you aren't allowed to go, though you're invited if you want to. But I'm going anyway.

The destination is my future. AKA the rest of my life.

There has not been much knitting around here lately, but there has been a lot of silk painting, weaving, and a return to cross-stitching. I picked up a piece of cross-stitch of a Phoenix rising into the moon that I started back in 1989. (I know the year because I was cross-stitching all the way to Los Angeles and remember starting this out there.) It was almost finished except for part of the moon and the backstitching of the outline. Last night, I finished the moon and started the backstitching. It just occurred to me that it's been waiting 18 years to be finished.

I find some significance in the fact that the subject matter is a Phoenix. Legend has it that:
the Phoenix is a supernatural creature, living for 1000 years. Once that time is over, it builds its own funeral pyre, and throws itself into the flames. As it dies, it is reborn anew, and rises from the ashes to live another 1000 years. Alternatively, it lays an egg in the burning coals of the fire which hatches into a new Phoenix, and the life cycle repeats.*

This anaology is certainly appropriate to my life. I am, in a sense, a Phoenix rising from the ashes of my life with my parents.

* Quote courtesy Shades-of-Night.com. Image courtesy of Mythicalrealm.com.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Keep Yer Shadow To Yerself

Dear Mr. Punxsutawney Phil,

Please consider sleeping in tomorrow morning. You've been on the job for 120 years—I'm sure you have accrued considerable vacation time by now, since you have had perfect attendance all these years. I'm sure your Significant Otter would appreciate a little quality time with you for a change.

Mr. Phil, it's cold as heck around these parts. Now I'm not complaining, mind you, because up until the past couple of weeks we've been pretty blessed with a mild winter. Remember that Blizzard back in '78? That was a doozy. My Dad sawed up a couple of the kitchen chairs for kindling during that storm (thank God we had a working, clean fireplace and that Dad was the Be Prepared kind of guy) and Mom stuck her good Revere pans over that fire to cook up some grub. (No. We didn't have groundhog, in case you were wondering. Soup, I think it was. And mashed potatoes. Maybe a hamburger or two.)

But now we're preparing for an Arctic Blast as our beloved Blizzard Bill Spencer calls it—and that can't be good. That means 20 below wind chills. Do you know what it's like for poor college students to walk across campus when it is that cold? You don't know from cold! Cars won't start, houses don't heat, class attendance drops to 10%... I tell ya, Phil (may I call you Phil?), it's a sad state of affairs. And every year, the prediction has been six more weeks of winter. It's painful.

So take the day off tomorrow. Sleep in. Let winter blast itself to the moon, Alice, and let us enjoy an early relief of spring for a change. Spare us from the white stuff and gloom; take pity on us poor beleaguered sufferers of SAD. Let the sun shine in—just not tomorrow morning.

If the sun does happen to remember we exist, then do us all a favor: keep your shadow to yourself.

Frozen Midwesterner

Thursday, February 01, 2007

February Arises

OK. Quick update before I settle in for Can't Miss Thursdays. To my loyal faithful readers who expect to see more of me around here, I heartily apologize for the blogging lack. Blame it on college and five classes (two of which are studios). But enough whining. I'm here for a second.

The end result of the group project was: we supposedly made $225 dollars, meaning we "made goal". I'm questioning the validity of the dollar amount. It's not like the prof checked the source. I got the honor of drawing the names from the hat (I volunteered publicly to make sure we really did it). This is how it went:

Me: "John... Doe**".

Her: "Oh. (long pause) He said if we drew his name just put it back and draw another he doesn't want the prize he just wanted to help us out."

Me: "OK... Granny Dearest**".
Her: (nervous giggle) "Eh-heh, that's my grandma..."

Me: "Third time's a charm... Yo Mama**".

Her: "Uhhhhh... *blush* my Mom..."

The rest of the group: *exchanging glances*

Me: "Ms. Legitmate Entry".

Her: (grabs tickets and hat from my hand) "Great we'll give the prize to Ms. Legitimate Entry and my Mom thankyouverymuchseeyalater—" (runs from classroom).

Me: Ohhhh kayyyyy....

What do you wanna bet, Ms. Entry got her $100 but Her Mom got squat?

What-EV-ah. I lived.

My group for the Real Class Project is much more interesting. Me and three guys. One of whom could be Jake Gyllenhaal's twin brother. Especially around the eyes. If Jake had brown eyes.

In other news, it's snowed, it's cold, and I'm bohed. <--bored. Hey. It had to rhyme.

**Names changed to protect the... oh, who the hell cares?