Saturday, April 26, 2008

Anyone want a dog?

I know, I know! My blogging was on a great roll and then I fell silent. What can I say, being at work from 8am - 5pm has been kicking my butt. There are a ton of things rolling around in this brain of mine to write about but absolutely no energy to do so.

Then last night I was out walking Wyatt, and let's just say that it did not go well. When TGF started her blog she took my nickname for him, Puppyman, as part of her title (read her December 5th entry, cracks me up). Last night I had my own "adventure with puppyman". It was the last walk of the night and we had just left RedLady's porch where TBG (The Big Guy) had loved on Wyatt. As had Lisa F and Amy W (who thinks Wbaby smells good - he does. Usually).

Strolling back down the green, I notice someone walking small dogs and begin to bear to the right onto the grass to avoid them. Nice try Dharma. Wyatt went barking and lunging at the dogs and/or possibly the cats that were walking with them as well. I absolutely could not hold him and I went down. Hard. Stupidly I did not immediately let go of the leash either. As fast as possible I got up, probably yelling at him to back off the other beasts before standing up again.

I was able to grab Wyatt fairly quickly and the other animal owner had not freaked at my dog's terribly unfriendly greeting. Actually the only thing she said was something like, "he pulled ya right down!". Yep he sure as hell did. With a VERY tight grip on him my body was a mass of pain. I knew I had the equivalent of road rash on my left inner forearm, felt like I had it on my left breast as well. My left knee felt banged up. I was furious at the dog.

In the end I do have a very nasty scraped bruise on my inner forearm and pulled muscles in both arms but my left is really bad. Feels like I messed up the rotator cuff. Basically the majority of my body hurts from mildly to pretty badly.

This morning I woke up to raw chicken skin and paper towels used to pat dry chicken thighs on his dog bed. Not my favorite thing. We will just leave it that. I then headed to a meeting for the Funding Committee for HSPI's AIA projects. When I returned Wyatt had broken into my special treat of potato chips and finished them off, knocked the bread warmer filled with biscuits from last night dinner all over the kitchen, and had knocked my basket of yarn all over the place. Needless to say he was put into time out.

I repeat. Anyone want a dog? He's cheap to purchase. As in free.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Update from the governmental front, as it were

Monday was my first day at the temp job. It's a city department but I can't say which, just in case, ya know. What I can say, legitimately, now, "good enough for government work!".

First off it's a locked building. What I mean is that you need a key to go up in the elevator, which of course as temps we don't have access to such a thing. Makes going out to lunch a bit of an adventure.

The work itself is kind of depressing because it's processing applications of folks r
equesting services (that's about all I can say about the type). It means that everyone's application shows them
living on air just about which is far from the high life. Most are single women headed households with dependents. Some of these women are so young and have SO many children. About the most amusing thing about these files are the names. Remember last summer when I was
working at Stars R Us and I posted some names? Well let me tell you that place had nothing on these people. I may have to do a whole entry that is a rift on Baby's Named a Bad Bad Thing.

There are four of us in the square of cubicles, in a huge otherwise empty room that i
s on the way to the break room, so there is a lot of foot traffic going on behind our backs. The inner corners of all of our unit point to the middle. On Monday was just three of us as the other woman was out sick. Michael (no real names will be used) had been here since Thursday so he helped Joshua and I get our bearings as it was our first day. Michael is a nice guy, a bit of a nerd but very smart and a touch of a sharp wit. Joshua is a young'un. Really, he's 20 and from a small town in the country out here. He has one of those accents where they pronounce insurance, IN-shurance, like two separate words "In" and "surance". It's kinda cute. Joshua thinks he knows a lot more than he does, but he isn't dumb by any means. He just has the "I know a lot already, don't need you to tell me x" that most us had a touch of at that age.

By the end of the day my brain is tired and my eyes felt like they are
bleeding. I did leave the building for lunch which was a good move but I will never get another egg salad sub from Subby's again. Not a pleasant experience. Tuesday all four of us are in and surprise, surprise the other women temp is from my neighborhood and I know her. On one hand it was cool thing, on the other it was a bit unsettling. Living here is like being in the land of three degrees of separation, on a good day. There was a little more chattering throughout the day which helped. The other thing that helped enormously was TGF brought home supplies Monday so I could download my favorite podcast. Okay it's the only one I listen to but I love it. I was able get through two entries that day and during that time it was almost like being somewhere else. Yesterday we had all sorts of conversation and it never broke out in fisticuffs. We covered the death penalty, abortion, gay marriage, child abuse, and I cannot remember what all else. At one point it fell quiet so I listened to a podcast. When I unplugged the topic was religion. Joshua asked me what I thought about christianity. I replied that it was a form of religion that many people found comfort it and helped them structure their life. He was miffed as that wasn't the answer he was looking for but I pointed out that his question was rather broad and perhaps if he could narrow the topic a bit he might get a personal answer, since I sensed that was what he was looking for based on the conversation I came in on. Once he did that I assured him that I did not look to christianity for comfort but found it in another form of spiritual beliefs.There were many, many delightful little tidbits like that but I barely have a memory of them as it's the next afternoon and I am drafting this post as an email since I have no access to blogger, twitter, ravelry, or facebook from this vacuum of cultural referencing called work. More later, I hope.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sunday Night

My fantabulous Sunday night knit meet up disbanded and I was saddened. In my infinite wisdom I decided to start one of my own. First I posted the idea on Ravelry, then I sent a message to our local (South Park) women's mailing group. The response was really great.

I choose to "host" it at Night & Day Cafe over on Brown Street, as I have banished myself to that place on a few Sunday nights to get out of the house. There was a great turn out and it was great to have a cross-pollination of Rav and SP women. We had three women who were from my neighborhood - one bearing cookies from another neighbor who couldn't come. I'm telling you it's like living in a really cool version of Mayberry. One woman drove down from Troy, which is quite a hike. Someone had just joined Rav that morning and showed up leaving her 5 year old twins and 2 year old with the hubs. Tres cool. A Dayton fire fighter who told how she likes to bug the male fire fighters by knitting and painting her toe nails in the fire house. She is really funny. My buddy Chris and I were represented those who were members of both communities.

Initially I had planned to do it every other week but the response was so positive that it's going weekly folks, so come join us.

More entries, once I catch up on sleep I will follow about my adventures in the work force this week.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Notes from Woman's Creativity, part 1

From The Woman's Book of Creativity.

First I promise I will not be doing all my exercises here, but for now this is a convenient place for me to keep track of some things.

Ealy references the book, The Art of Thought (1926) which outlines a paradigm that she says people who study creativity grabbed on to and haven't really let go of (keep in mind this book was written over 10 years ago). The paradigm has four steps in the process:
1. Preparation - gather all important information
2. Incubation - the mind puts things on the back burner, allowing the unconscious to process things
3. Illumination - where a "solution" is suddenly brought into focus
4. Verification - "giving an outward form to the creative idea" (p. 6).

This paradigm was creative studying men, since the 1920s there has been great debate about whether women's brains work the same way with most people in "the field" say no, which means the above may not offer much to half the population. On the other hand I think many of us use a combination of linear processing, as expressed by the above, and a more "holistic" form. Holistic simply seems to mean not linear for a lot of people but maybe "relational" would be a better descriptive. Reviewing some of the things I have done I see both methods used, sometimes individual tasks seem to require one or the other, but I can also see how I tend towards a combination of processing a great deal of the time.

Page 11

What's your definition of creativity?
Ealy asks us to complete this statement: For me, creativity is.....

When I read this the other night I had an immediate answer that seems to have vanished into the ether since then. Perhaps one part of my answer is "fulfillment". That's what I am thinking at this point. {Added after writing the rest of post, as I edited.} Rereading this answer it's not very descriptive is it? By fulfillment I am thinking about how without creativity there is a lack of passion, drive that goes beyond doing what is necessary to have a place to sleep and food to eat. It is that intangible quality that lights us up intrinsically, that offers us a haven when other things are going downhill or inertia threatens our spirit.

An exercise on page 16 asks the reader to think of the creative people you know and list their behaviors or qualities. Which do you have? Which would you like to inhabit more?

Thinking of a number of people my answers include:
- ability to find joy in the most basic experiences
- interest in a lot of topics, not simply their craft
- physically active
- disciplined
- enjoy down time
- social
- express themselves verbally and in written form
- deeply appreciate others' creativity
- supportive of their friends
- challenge themselves to learn new forms of their art
- a good sense of humor
- finish things
- follow through on intentions

I am sure there are others but it's a start. Immediately I know I am not disciplined and need to be more physically active. This is not just because I think it will enhance my creativity (though I believe it will) but for a million other reasons as well. While I finish some things, I could have a higher output, or not. Not sure if actually finishing everything one starts is necessarily to define oneself as creative but it is a dimension that is important to me. Follow through in all areas is something I think is the quality I want to work on the most because it encompasses the other two in terms of meeting the goals I set for myself, doing things that I know will make me happier, healthier, and more me.

Ealy suggests picking one word, writing it on a colored index card, making about 10 of these and putting them where you will see them regularly. After a few weeks choose a new word/quality on a different colored card and repeat. I like that she asks her readers to concentrate on just one thing. Visual prompts like these cause a push-pull response in my head. It seems so simple, silly almost, but when I have done it (okay it's only been like twice) it did help. I suspect a quick jaunt to an office supply store (one of my favorite places to shop -EVER. Organizational opportunities everywhere, pretty pens with which to write brilliant essays, colorful folders for storing tidbits, {drool}) to pick up some index cards. TGF will probably tolerate this invasion on her visual plane, however I'll try to be mindful when placing these things about the house.

Some finished objects

Yes Greg, that means knitting. You will just have to glance through the photos, no need to actually read anything. See how nice I'm being to you.

Back in December Sunny saw a pattern in the holiday Interweave that she thought was adorable. I had looked over the boot toppers and thought they were adorable, a good practice piece for colourwork but couldn't think who to make them for, so this was perfect. We went to Flying Fingers to look for yarn and I decided on four colours of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight. Checking yardages I silently figured I could make another project with these colours for her.

Once the discussion of flying east in March for Greg's party began I started on the boot toppers. They went quite fast, except for the duplicate stitching. This too was a new technique to me. Very self explanatory, but hard to get it looking quite right.

Since I had my four colours I had to decide the order I would use them, writing notes on a copy of the pattern writing earth = boysenberry. Knowing that Sunny thought she like the Mallard the least I determined that would be the inside ribbing. Also knowing she adores purple, that became the background of the outside. Though the charting was really simple it took three tries before I actually got it right on the first cuff. Luckily it was a small project. I am quite proud of my floats on the wrong side which is why you are being subjected to a photo of that.

Also on the list for completion by departure time was a leg warmer for Lindsay's bad leg. I had scored some lovely Mission Falls 1824 superwash wool in navy which was his first choice of colour. This stuff knits up like a dream and would make a fabulous sweater for winter. Done on size 7 needles it make a lovely firm fabric. This pattern was done on the fly with my own made up numbers.

As I turned the corner toward my departure I challenged myself to substitute the colours of the December Lights Tam from the same issue. The design calls for 8 colours. I had four to start with from the cuffs, so the ransacking of my stash began. TGF had never seen the inside of my wooden chest before this and hadn't realized how stuffed it truly is with yarn. She shook her head, saying "It's like I'm living with a crack addict. You have the stuff hidden everywhere." I want to assure my readers this is not true. There is no yarn in the bathroom, kitchen, office, or laundry/mudroom. It is true there is the chest, a small basket, a hat box, and bag of yarn in the living room. And two plastic drawers in the parlor closet. And one plastic drawer and two smallish bags in the bedroom. But there is not yarn everywhere. Honest.

I hemmed and hawed over colours for at least two days rearranging them, subbing one or two out for some other combination. In the end I decided to use only 7, not 8 colours, that I would use one of the "greens" twice. Again I had to scribble things like Rose = 7804, Red = Boysenberry, Olive = Navy and so on. Amazingly I made few mistakes and tinked very little on this project. I also worked feverishly on it as I started it on a Tuesday and was flying the following Thursday. In the end I used the four Nature Spun colours, some of the Mission Falls Navy left from the leg warmer project, a bit of Cascade 220, and some gorgeous almost aqua green yarn that I have no idea where it came from or what it is other than a great colour. For the ribbing I used a size 2 needle and for the body size 3.

The beginning ribbing made my heart sing as I felt the colours blended perfectly. As I began the next section on day two of knitting I doubted my choices. A lot. With a worried heart I boldly continued though I was really unsure that the colours were working but I shouldered onward.

Suddenly, the pattern began taking shape and I thought, "Well it's passable. And moms are great about loving what you do just because you did them regardless of how good they are."

By the time
it was almost done I was giddy with happiness. No it's still not perfect in my estimation but I was so pleased with it overall. Mostly the colours work, I really enjoy doing colourwork, I made my deadline. It was a win-win all around. Next time however I will weave ends as I go because damn there was a lot of weaving to do! Most rows had two colours, colours where changed every two or three rows. I wish I had taken a picture of the inside because mostly my floats are gorgeous.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I need to whine a bit

On a lark I decided a few minutes ago to take my temperature. As I said I have had this odd sick feeling since last night. Well it's over 100. No I don't know by how much because all I've had for eons is a blasted basal thermometer from back in the day when I was charting my menstrual cycle (first time to attempt to not get pregnant - didn't work; second time to attempt get pregnant - didn't work either). It only "counts" up until 100F and then there is unmarked space past that. The mercury went to the very end. Again.

Based on my recent experience with the Black Plague, I know it's not as high as it got during that time but dang people! A fever? Really? Well the plus side is I'm not making up feeling like crap.

Also I forgot to mention that I needed to submit to a background check and peeing in a cup for this temp job. I suppose it's because it's a job with a city agency. Plus if I wear a skirt (yeah right), or open toe shoes (that describes most of my footwear) I have to wear pantyhose or knee-his. OMG! I don't own any knee-hi hose. Here's hoping that my coworkers don't notice that I will wear the same 2-3 pants and tops during my tenure there. My closet is sorely lacking in business casual, and as noted really lacking in business professional (hence needing to borrow TGF's clothes recently).

When It Rains, It Pours

Last weekend I decided to send an email out to some of my neighbors about starting my doula services back up. This time around I will be focusing more on postpartum because it's a bit easier on the scheduling than birth, though I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to attend a birth from time to time. The feedback has been great. Then I asked my lovely email group where I have a lot of friends and a large number of them are mamas, or hoping to be, about names. My good friend Dru came up with the winner! Beyond Birth. Even before I settled on a name I started doing a mock up of a brochure but found myself a bit stuck for the first hour or so in terms of what to write on it. Weird. Sweetheart that she is, another friend from that list has offered to help me a bit with designing things. I need to start working on a website, something I've never done but what the hey. Aside from information on postpartum doulas in general, my background, links and offerings, I'm thinking of putting up stories (with no identifiers of course) about sweet or funny tales from working with families. Anything else you can think of that should be there?

Also this past weekend TGF and I went to the library which was great fun. We left with a few stacks of things. I have already scanned through the three knitting books and made notes on (see sidebar for a link to my page) about them. Toted home were also The Woman's Book of Creativity, The Secret Life of Families, Spinning Straw into Gold, and The Sound of Paper. Since that time I have blogged a good deal (for me), gone on a long walk with Puppyman through the neighborhood, turned the heel on my sock and tried to do part of a yoga dvd, also a few others non-procrastination things. Without even opening any of the self help-ish books, just their presence in my home seems to help.

I mentioned some of these books on that same list and having put The Artist's Way on reserve at the library. Well another delightful friend said she had an extra copy and would be happy to send it to me. How cool is that? I have thought about working with this book since it came out and somehow never did. For me I think it was about never quite identifying myself as creative, despite the fact that I have done things that are creative (write, sew, cook, knit) for a very long time. I believe it's tied to my perfectionism in that I only thought of being creative as having to do with actual tangible output. Over the last 10 years or so I have worked on changing that perception in my head. It began by calling my cooking a creative outlet, something who's process gave me joy, and often the results. Feeding people good food that I've made with intent fulfills me. It may be that reading Like Water for Chocolate helped to give the ability to see food in this way. I deeply connected with food imbued with love and magic

Tuesday the temp agency called me to say that interview I did on Friday did go as well as I thought and he's really interested. Since he would not be looking for me to start for a few weeks, they also told of a two week data entry gig. Sure! It's scrilla, right? I then emailed them with more details about the dates I would be unavailable due to my other summer jobs. It may be that being unavailable for those weeks in June and August will be the end of that job and while the money would have been great and honestly a bit necessary, I will make about as much easily doing those jobs during that time.

Then I heard from one of my neighbors that someone is interested in my services as a doula and is due in about one week! Now this could work out beautifully in conjunction with the data entry gig. Overall it's a waiting game.

A few days ago I began The Woman's Book of Creativity, which is an easy read and much of the content is familiar however I feel a bit more inclined to actually think about the exercises that I've come across already (only about 35 pages in). I suspect I might blog about a few of the thoughts connected with them, as well, it seems the appropriate thing to do, no?

Unfortunately I started feeling sick last night and even had dreams about being sick, so paranoid I am now! Today I still don't feel right but I have the weekend to get over it as Monday I start the data entry job. 8-5 here I come. Please send supportive thoughts, some sleeping potions so I actually sleep at night, and doula clients my way!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How much do I love my neighborhood?

Yeah, I know I posted today already but I am just bursting with joy at having found this place. The other day I took Puppyman for a bit of a walk and happened upon Kevin, who introduced me to another neighbor. We chatted a bit and then his wife, the positively adorable Amanda came home. Pleasantries were exchanged and it was fun to learn where they live - cute house.

Today Puppyman and I went for a long stroll through the neighborhood - up Alberta Street where I found Amy pruning her rose bushes. This is Amy of the 15 cats and 2 dogs (who made their presence known and their displeasure at Wyatt's). Like any good dog mama I was pleased at her cooing over Wyatt. We chatted for a bit. Again really nice house.

Then I turned up Adams and wondered if I could find Cheryl's house.
It's a nice little block and sure enough I recognized her house from the description and realized I had taken a photo of her sweet porch but in the fall.

Coming upon Theobald I thought I would turn up there since there has been a conversation on the SP email list about it needing some clean up. It was there, close to Oak that I saw the Halal shop (scroll down). I keep forgetting where it is but wanting to stop in there. It's one my list of to-dos around here.

I decided to turn on Clover as I hadn't walked there much, there was a cute property for sale on that block. Also a house with a really nice paint job on fish scales on its peak. Up Perrine and onto Oak where I saw Carol walking her little dog. To her my Wyatt seems like a big dog. Of course I often get that comment but I really don't find him to be all that large. Finished up the walk from there.

Tonight I took him out again before TGF gets home and we run to the Dragons game. Her mom somehow received tickets and passed them to us. TGF called me about the game yesterday asking me if I wanted to go and I said yes, but then said maybe she would want to take our nephew, Cody. She said next time she would but she really wanted me to experience it. I could hear her expression, and well there was no way I could refuse the look I knew was on her face.

So just a bit ago I took him for a quick stroll up the Green. There is Lisa waving at me, heading towards me to chat. We are talking up a storm about nothing in particular. I look down the Green and here comes Danielle with her eldest daughter Tess, who is just too cute for words. As we parted ways I waved at Jeanne who was sitting on her front steps talking on the phone.

While it's true that it isn't always possible to get a solitary walk around here, I have had plenty of those, but I have had few that look anything like walking around here and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Okay enough gushing.

Some House Under Rehab photos

I know I've made some references to working on this fabulous place we are renting so I thought I'd share some photos of things in progress. These photos are from specific times and more work may have been done since I took these. Our landlord was clear that this place hadn't been worked on in a very long time. Having learned to do all sorts of house things starting as a kid, I assured her I loved the adventure of it all.

The wall paper in the kitchen on one wall has three layers of something. The first wallpaper is probably from the 80's based on the design. Blue little flowers and tiny hearts. So not me! Plue it was peeling and just looking a bit dingy.

The second layers seems to be from the the late 60's I'
m thinking.

The largest wall has this stuff
under the two wall papers that I have no idea how to remove. At this point I am working on just getting easiest to remove, er, papers removed. This layer is kind of an aqua blue painted coat on cardboard (or something like it) pasted to the plaster. Crazy stuff. I have borrowed a steamer from a friend to see if I can release it that way. As one can see from the photo on the left there will need to be some repair of the plaster or perhaps replacing a section of this wall with sheetrock. The second wall of the kitchen only one layer that is pretty easy to removed except for the fact that they placed the new cabinets directly over it so it takes a little patience with the edges.

The paint trim is certainly a different colour under the wallpaper where it's been protected from aging and dirt. My goal is to strip the majoring of the trim, sand it and repaint it (and the walls) this spring. I have the basic colour scheme already planned. So exciting!

The stairway has wallpaper that based on the removal of one panel is easy to lift up - woo hoo! Well sort of, the other wall has the paper placed directly on untreated sheetrock. There is also some wood paneling that will need to be taken down.

TGF wanted me to wait until the deep winter was over before removing the carpeting on the stairs. I wanted it done immediately as it's ugly carpeting and the edges kind of roll under my bare feet (she always wears shoes, I try to as
little as possible) meaning I start to slip about 3 times out of 10 when heading downstairs. While they need work it was such a joy to see nice wood on the step. The risers will need to be stripped or painted. Something!

Other projects abound, especially now that the weather is good. Stripping the wallpaper in the laundry/pantry/mudroom. Repairing the windows in the downstairs rooms - a squirrel or other critter got in the house while it was empty through the dryer vent and couldn't figure out how to get back out, so the poor thing chewed the hell out of a bunch of window frames. Wood putty will be my new best friend. Since I have been able to take down the plastic from the windows the time is near to begin this project too.

With the sunny days I am itching to do something with the little green space directly in front of the house. It's rather barren right now. Oh and then there is the idea of replacing the edging of the front side yard. There are just so many things I could do here! Painting the living room is way up there as well. And stripping the paint off the mantle place. And, and, and.. Well you get the idea. I find all this exciting work and I just love my house so it all works!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A People Packed Weekend

This weekend was a great combination of down time and a lot of socializing. I continue to be amazed at how busy with folks when I am in a new town. Of course I owe a lot of this to my fabulous neighborhood, Historic South Park, and especially SPLWE (South Park Ladies Who Eat) - a fun, loud, supportive group of women.

TGF came home at a reasonable hour on Friday and we took Puppyman (aka Wyatt) for a stroll on the Green. We don't walk him together as much as we did in California given the change in schedules so it felt like a treat to walk in the late afternoon sun with green grass underneath a vibrant, shimmerin
g sky. A simple dinner was in the oven (premade pizzas) when my cell rang. Lisa, the neighborhood Social Director, was on the line. "I saw you walking the dog on the Green so I know you are feeling better. Get your butts over to the tavern!" Just about every Friday is social hour at the South Park Tavern (read the comments to really get a flavor of this place I call home!). After eating our fare we headed over, though I am a bit ashamed to say we drove (it is only about 3 blocks from our place) because TGF was wimpy about the weather saying it was cold.

There was a huge crowd but no room so we moved a table over to the end and proceeded to play musical chairs as people came and went. The conversation ranged all over the place: bra fittings (check out, I wrote about them here), who was selling, crazy absentee landloards, and of course a lot of animal tales. Almost everyone here has a cat or a dog or both and
usually more than one of whatever. I met Amy who has 15 cats! Crazy I tell you, she clearly adores them. She moved here nine years ago with just one. I don't think I could ever have that many without living on some acreage with a barn for 'em. Also got to chat quite a bit with Pam, with whom we share the most excellent landlady, Karin. It was lovely to see Ginger again but every time I see her I think about how I cannot carry a tune and she is a voice teacher with golden tones, so I get a bit wistful. Somehow I did not get enough time to catch up with Holly and Michael - two of the big movers and shakers of Rehabarama.

Saturday night many of us met up at the event Raks Mystique:

This event was amazing and so varied! TGF had convinced her mom, Ellie, to attend with us, which was a fabulous idea. There was a lot of art on display: wood turning, paintings, multi-media pieces, sculpture. The music was really varied but I was absolutely blown away by Puzzle of Light - amazing performance. While Sandstorm Middle Eastern Dance company did some good stuff I am spoiled by other dancers I have seen at DNE and at Pennsic, among other places. I did learn that Cheryl dances as well and we are cooking up a plan to go to Kira's Oasis for a hafla with the SPLWE group. Ellie and Ginger talked about their home state of Kentucky and there is a chance they are related! That sort of thing never happens in my world but it delighted me no end. Oh, and I met another new to me neighbor, Jeanne, who is also a New Yorker by birth. We had a great time cracking jokes about how "nice" people are around here in contrast to our east coast "tell it like it is" manner. The food we got from Cedarland was wonderful and I really want to go to the restaurant soon! We stayed so late that Raw Passion gave our group a bunch of cookies on the house - yum! The event was very well attended by a fairly wide and diverse group. There were a lot of folks who looked familiar in that they weren't suburban looking but carried a lot of piercings, body art, and funky styles of dress. I felt at home, needless to say. The next morning there was an email from Lisa saying that Ellie had been made an honorary member of SPLWE and sheconsiders her neighbor who hasn't packed yet. So true.

Sunday was a quiet day again. For dinner we headed over to the 'rents for a great meal and time with our niece T'Mane (The Most Adorable Niece Ever!). T'Mane truly is a cutie, very much in the repeating everything said that catches her attention so one has to be a bit cautious in their speech. She is also showing signs of classic toddler behavior of testing some limits, refusing to do things when first asked, that sort of thing. Since we are not in charge it is easy to be amused by this behavior.

Later Andi came by to hang out. She spun, I knit, TGF played on the computer and we chatted, watched Dexter, and it was a really easy time. Such a nice thing. Oh she brought a little gift. She is a ceramic artist and she made me these cute little card holders for labeling dishes at parties. They have slots for index cards so ingredients can be listed but the tags themselves say "peanuts", "gluten free" and "vegan". Isn't that the sweetest thing she did? It was a very pleasant Sunday, especially since my Stitchcraft group that used to meet Sunday nights has disbanded. I am thinking of starting a twice monthly Sunday night meetup over at Night & Day Cafe on Brown Street. Let me know if any of you out there are interested. You don't have to knit, you could crochet, cross stitch, spin, anything crafty.

Monday, April 07, 2008

In which our herione waits for the phone to ring

I have been in this place many times, for many reasons. Since I contracted the Black Plague I had to delay my interview with Work Place Group, the temp agency that thought I couldn't possibly even be considered as a candidate because I had committed the ultimate heresy of working primarily for non-profits. Since my righteous indignation moment I have learned that particularly here in the middle of the country people seem to think that one doesn't work their ass off for non-profit and work they for free. Ha! But I digress.

Last Monday I dragged my drooping ass and ashen complexion (this was confirmed by my friend Lisa who's car I borrowed for said interview - Thanks honey! Way to bolster someone before their meeting with the Devil) to their offices for assessment testing and a brief interview/information meeting of what they provide. It was amazing I could focus enough on the screen to take quizzes on my knowledge base of Word and Excel, typing speed and keystroke speed. Luckily by their (clearly meager) standards I did quite well, though my wpm was truly sad by my standards. Just that morning they had a job come through that they believed was just up my alley. It is too, but it's temp to hire and I'm not sure I am ready to commit to anything (have I mentioned I have commitment issues? No? Well it's why I don't have a tattoo. Yet.) Plus there is that little detail of being out of town in June (NCDC) and August (DNE). We part ways with the knowledge that once my references check out (thank you Debbie!) and a conversation with the company, an interview will be forthcoming.

The call came to set up the interview, and with that call came the terror of dressing for a real interview. Work Place Group said, "dress business professional. A suit would be great." Um, people you have clearly not seen my closet. I have some things that pass well enough for some interviews but nothing that would really make it at that level. Hell I don't own any tailored pants! When TGF came home she kindly and patiently took me by the hand, led me upstairs to her closet. Aside from finding something quickly that would pass for "business professional" the best part was fitting into her pants - a size 10! Okay she burst my bubble a bit saying that this brand runs large as the size 12 (she just bought these) swam on her. But still, it delighted me.

Friday morning I took her to work, came home fluffed about just a tiny bit and changed into her clothes, heading out in plenty of time for my 10am interview. The place is close by, I could walk or bike to work if I wanted (1.2 miles away). The guy I met with was quite pleasant and it went really well. I definitely gave "good interview" that morning. So now I wait and see if I get an offer, which if I do leaves me in a bit of a pickle regarding my other commitments versus regular work. I am keeping my other commitments, clearly, but damn it would be nice to make some good money for awhile. However I am so not ready for the regular work force, I nearly passed out when he told me I would get 1 week vacation the first year, 2 the second and 3 after 5 years. 5 years? I have never worked 5 years straight anywhere. Okay I have been doing DNE for 8 years but it's not a forty-hours a week job, every frigging week. Being self employed for the last 11 years has totally spoiled me.

All of this has inspired me to get off my butt, work on a webpage and offer postpartum doula services (probably with some other "name") locally so I can work when I want or need to, and take vacations when I want to, when I can, and not be at the mercy of "permission". {shudder} Being an adult, well, it's not for me sometimes.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Seriously Spring

TGF has this weekend off from work. While I out of town she had the weekend off, so this our first full weekend together in about a month. How lovely! She, of course, is especially delighted as this means that I do the first walk of the Wyatt pup in the a.m. both days.

We got up fairly early, despite a raucous night caused by our neighbors having an enthusiastic party until 3:30a.m. Seriously raucous. They were clomping about, laughing way too loud, and playing the piano until the wee hours. For the first time since we moved here we went to the Public Market (well I went with some friends a few months ago but it's just not the same as going and having a slow morning with your sweetie). It's a really sweet little place and I love being about to see the people who made/grew/produced the things they are selling. Didn't buy very much, some spices, cups of coffee to sip while we browsed, breakfast to munch, treats for the Puppyman from the Humane Society, and flowers for the house.

I love love love having fresh flowers in the house. Maybe by next year I will put some plants in so I can cut them myself out my front door but this is almost as good. Lovely roses that are still closed so I am hoping we can get a number of days out of them. There was a huge pile of leaves on the counter once I finished pruning them for the base but it was quick clean up.

Everything is turned green, flowers are budding, leaves of tulips, day lilies and iris are making their way up through the earth, teasing me with thought of blooms everywhere. The simple bush outside of my living room window is in need of trimming and shaping but it's tiny leaves make me gleeful as they burst through their pods.

In the mid afternoon we settled down to a lazy nap with the window open, a gentle breeze blowing on my skin, and the birds chirping, whirring a odd serenade. Having no where to be immediately we just laid there for a bit, the room still light, it felt almost like a vacation moment. Marcelle, "the baby of the babies", as TGF likes to call her, snuggled up against one then the other of us; sweetly nudging us for screeches scratches sucking up the attention while Wyatt laid against TGF, his front legs stretched out off the bed as if he were flying through the air.

I love spring.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

An attempt to catch my lovelies up - Part 2

Again I had thought it would be simple plan to catch the Metro North from the station by my parents house. Once again, I was mistaken. Lindsay, Sunny's husband, wanted to swing down to White Plains to check out the location of an upcoming test for LEED to be followed by a visit to the Cheesecake Factory. During my last visit I was there to witness his initiation in the cult of Cheesecake - it was glorious. Lindsay adores dessert, lives for new combinations. This place is his idea of heaven. Sunny loves their hamburgers sans bun (she is on a no gluten diet).

He and I plotted out the time and trains schedules down to the minute and blew it anyway so I wound up taking the local rather than the express train into Grand Central. Oh well the best plans and all that. I worked on my socks that I had cast on the other night as we chugged down into the city. It was odd but kind of fun to walk subway paths I had done thousands of times before. The passage way between the 7 train and the D (the Bryant Park stop which now is a recognized name thanks in part to Project Runway) has been redone with beautiful tile work showing layers of the earth, hills and water. Simply beautiful.

It was hard to contain my excitement as the train made it's way underground to the Pacific St-Atlantic Avenue Station. The weather was much warmer the entire trip than I had expected so I took off my jacket as I walked. Practically giddy with my plan to surprise Greg, I still managed to take note of what had changed in this neighborhood that I have been in and out for 30 years. Getting to his building and knowing their buzzer system had a camera, I keep my sunglasses on and made sure my hair was down and in my face. He asked "who's there". My reply? "A surprise".
To say he was surprised is just a bit of an understatement. He actually was speechless a number of times, just fell quiet. This is quite thing to accomplish with Mr. Frux. I was quite proud of myself.

The party was great fun and many people, myself included, were in costume. The theme was famous scientists, explorers, and adventurers - real or fictional. We had Mary Leakey, Stephen Jay Gould, Ada Lovelace, Marco Polo, Sinbad, Dame Freya Stark, and Fanny Hackabout-Jones, among others. Before the party Greg and I went to find adventure movies to play in the background to add to the collection. We got Sinbad (great fun) as well as Bill and Ted's Bogus Adventure (not so much fun). We stayed up quite late but it was wonderful to see many folks I hadn't seen in a long time.

The next day we went for a long walk in the neighborhood and I reminisced. A lot. Walking by 3rd Street I glanced down the block where I used to look. Many moons ago it had been gentrified but it still blows me away how much it's changed. My building, an old brownstone had 5 units, two of which were abandoned and filled with trash, the building next to me was vacant, like a lot of the houses on the block. I used to answer the phone in that apartment, "Slummy Side of the Slope! How can I help you". The park across the street was run down and drug store. The building on 9th street that once housed the restaurant Our Daily Bread is long gone, the dance group that I did a performance piece way back when no longer uses the amazing loft space above it. Solar Yoga has either moved or shut down, a place of solace and challenge for me, and for Sunny.

After this long excursion we all come back to their house and napped. A leisurely dinner followed. The next morning Greg and I walked towards the train station and part ways. I stole (with permission a book off their book shelf) and read as the train chugged me back in reverse towards Westchester county.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

An attempt to catch my lovelies up - Part 1

So I was keeping a secret on the blog so that I could keep a secret from a reader, my dear friend Greg. He was having a party to celebrate a major milestone birthday. This meant a trip to New York. Sunny and I colluded in order that I could visit with her as well. A plan was hatched, plane reservations made and I needed to hold my tongue whenever my Greg and I spoke. Next I needed to find a way to the airport in Columbus and once again my neighborhood rocks! I sent out an email asking if anyone happened to be traveling to or from Columbus on the days I was traveling. Maureen, who was our first "face" of South Park, happened to be switching her work days around which meant she was leaving at the perfect, albeit ungodly (6:15am!), hour for my flight.

Let me tell it was an absolute treat to get to speak with her at length. Our conversation rambled all about and we learned we had some studies in common (African-American women poets), though hers was far more extensive whereas I merely dabbled. The hour and a half ride quickly passed while we chatted. I simply must set up more time with her soon!

Skybus had no lines, it was easy breezy to check in and the security line was, well, non-existent. What a delight to have such a short flight and to see Sunny's smiling face just on the other side of the gate. Originally I had thought we would have Thursday and Friday to loll about before I headed to Brooklyn on Saturday with only a trip to see my friend Denise who works at a local yarn shop.

But oh no Sunny had plans, lots and lots of plans. Oh my. We drove from the airport to the house for a very quick drop off of bags and such. Seriously that's all we had time to do before we were off to meet their friend Amy at the ever delicious Wobble Cafe. After a nice, if slowly delivered lunch, my folks dropped me off at Denise's store which was a tumble of activity. She swore it had been totally quiet for weeks, until just before I walked in. No matter, I fondled yarn, helped customers match yarn and review stitches in between which we gabbed in shorthand.

From there I hopped on the Metro North to find Sunny lying in wait. We traveled down to meet up with her friend Yanna for whom she brought two shopping bags of books that I hauled from the station to her house. We grabbed a quick dinner at a lovely, tiny hole in the wall Spanish restaurant around the corner from her home. Then we grabbed a cab to land in the lower east side to hit the Yippie Cafe & Museum. I cannot remember the last time I was on the Bowery but it has to be at least 15 years, potentially more. Let me time it has changed. It was quite sad for me to learn that CBGBs is no more, having spent many hours there when my friends' played. It is quite likely I saw lots of about to be famous bands that I no longer remember because it was so loud, the acoustics so miserable and I really only went when the Turncoats were playing I hardly noticed anything else.

It was a bit surreal at the "museum" and just about everyone there was there because they were performing for some event title "Water Not Weapons". The Raging Grannies (Manhattan branch) were performing, hence our need to go since Sunny is full out committed (she designed the website linked above). I found a quiet spot on a lumpy couch and decided to see if I could remember how to do a two circular cast on for my socks. Shortly after the Grannies performed we slid out of there to the Bleeker Street subway station. Again, I cannot recall how long it's been since I was in that station but I have fond memories and it made me happy to the insignia on the wall in it's beautiful blue design.

By the time we arrived back at the house it was after 11pm and it had been a very long day. I was grateful that there was nothing scheduled for Friday because I don't think I could have done a damn thing more!

Friday the only adventure was a lovely dinner with their neighbor Barbara and her delightful daughter Emma who is coming out of her shell. I had never heard Emma talk to much! She even remembered my name, laughed at jokes and made her own joke. It was great, as always, to see Barbara. I feel so blessed to know that my mother has such a good friend literally across the road.

More later my dears!