Sunday, November 30, 2008

Putting One Foot In Front of the Other

Tomorrow is Monday. It is also the first of December meaning the end of NaBloPoMo, NaKniSweMo and NaKnitMo. In addition it means I made it through my first month (well almost given the four days off I just had) of work. Just the adjustment to work and its associated stress levels, that alone would have been, and has been, a lot. With this post I have completed my third NaBloPoMo "event" and I am rather proud of that. This one has been a rather emotional, self involved one but I think some inroads have been made.

As to the other two National Months, not quite as much was done but again given the above I'm pretty satisfied. I finished Owen's sweater, Miche's shawl is about 85% done, I actually did a little work on the sweater for Her Geekyness that I started last November for NaKniSweMo, and I cast on the matching sweater for Henry, Owen's little brother.

If I have picked up any new readers (I hardly ever check my stats),thanks for coming by and I hope you stick around. For my long time readers, I know I navel gazed a lot so I thank you for your indulgence.

Remember tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Take a moment to honor those who have died, those who are living with AIDS, consider making a donation or volunteering. Never assume that you don't know someone with AIDS.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Eye on the Present, and the Future

A few days ago I received a direct message on Twitter from an online friend of about three years asking me to email her about life coaching. In essence she was offering me a session. I plead poverty. She responded by expressing a belief in "paying it forward". With tears in my eyes I accepted the offer. We have never spoken on the phone, never met in person. This afternoon was our phone call.

She was able to coalesce a whole lot of angst and stress very well and with a lot of empathy. The upshot is that ultimately I will pursue a degree and license to become a therapist. But what I need to do right now is face life a day a time; to stop trying to prepare for every contingency, hedging bets, etc.

Everyday before opening the day to my office I will shake off negativity, go there with a smile, do my work in the best way possible. My first goal is to get through the next month or so in order to actually get the job. After that just focus on getting through until June before talking to them about any summer time off for my other job. If I can't get the time I will have at least been financially solvent (relatively) during this time which is an area of big stress so that if negotiations fall apart I will be in a better place and at a point where I start getting paid by DNE. She also pointed out that after six months I might have made connections for a job elsewhere as a planner that would better fit my long term goals, but even if not, all the above will still be true as well.

In addition to that I had been thinking about ways to make this work and fit in other things that are important to me. Once upon a time I worked full time and managed to cook, garden, and who knows what else (hey it was a long time ago!). How can I do that now? That's another piece that I have been contemplating. Of course part of it involves getting up earlier which is a bit of a challenge;
I want to do some stretching, pilates or something in the morning before work. The other place that is going to take some work is planning meals better. Okay at all. It has all fell to Her Geekyness. (No she hasn't found another job yet, so if y'all have any leads, let me know!) Which is reasonably fair given how stressful and exhausting this job has been, is not a state I want to keep and once she starts working won't be possible.

Aside from all this practical stuff, it was so wonderful to talk to Melissa live. Sometimes when I actually talk to someone I have known online their voice doesn't fit my imagination and it takes a bit to realign perceptions with reality. There was none of that dissonance talking her. She just sounded like Melissa. It is sweet to have bonds confirmed when you take them deeper.

Time to make a life calendar so I can stay in shape, meditate, eat well, and be a happier me. (M - let me know if I missed anything or misremembered something 'kay?)

Friday, November 28, 2008


Sorry folks, I got nothing tonight. There are a few random things but nothing really compelling. I hope to have something tomorrow but until I know, I'm not talking about it.

Tired. Really tired. Sleep is going back to it's usual lousy state of waking often. Actually I have already dreamt about work. Great huh?

Thanksgiving yesterday was really nice despite my concerns and whiny of the other day.

One way or the other I will have something more exciting to read next post. At least I really hope so. Inspiration just isn't there tonight. The hefty glass of white wine over at the Tavern probably isn't helping.

See you on the 'morrow.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thursday

It is thanksgiving so it's of course that is a focus for many of us today. As hard as things have been internally for me, I am still grateful for many things. I am amazed by how people can show up in your life in unexpected ways that ooze with love and acceptance.

My goal is be more like for other people. I know I can be a good friend, but I think I need to focus more outward than inward in order to create some redirection in my world. I have not seriously volunteered since moving here and that would be a good place to start. (However I am about to become a liaison for HSPI with the South East Priority Board, so that's something.) Perhaps I will look into being a CASA which is something I have been looking at for a long time. I just plugged in my contact information so maybe I'll get a call soon.

My list:
- family
- friends
- my furry children
- my blog/twitter/internet friends who continue to amaze me
- that I have a home to live that has character even if it's chilly as all get out
- m optimism which is has been a little lacking but is never gone

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

South Park: The Novel

As I sat in my neighborhood association meeting, knitting as I usually do, listening to the cast of characters, I thought, if I were a novelist these meetings and the conversations that surely happen once they are over would make excellent fodder.

We have the president who has been serving for a decade tirelessly, though tired. She is a mom of four, a landlord of over a dozen rental properties and works at least 20 hours a week in an unpaid position serving her community.

The treasurer who holds the same position for his church as he works as an archivist on the national level; he is married to a lovely woman who writes house histories and who owes her health, in part, to a neighbor who has since moved away after donating his kidney to her.

The older gentleman who is deeply concerned that there someone is pulling something over on us at every turn.

The young couple who just moved here: she is heading up the defunct newsletter and he is now the recording secretary. They an energetic pair who have dove right into the neighbor with vigor.

Traditionally we have had a Christmas Tour. I say traditionally like it's been going on for decades, I have no idea it has been happening. Anyway for a set of reasons publicized, and I am betting a host of reasons only talked about on cell phones and private emails exist as well. Or that's my latent writer imagining a plot line that ties people with historic disagreements and broken friendships and deep connections that resurface sideways.

Ah, if only I had the attention span to write a novel.

Monday, November 24, 2008

How do I find my bliss?

It may be time to reread my book, "Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow", except deciding what I love enough to do it for work and be successful at it has always been a problem. Of course the last time I read it was over a decade ago and perhaps I more self aware this time around.

Since then I deeply researched going to culinary school and was set to apply before fate intervened and I moved to California. Since I read it I became a doula, something I love a great deal but without doing teaching and other related things (which is hard because many hospitals only use RNs to teach childbirth classes), one can't make a living doing this. Not easily anyway, been there, done that. Since then I became reacquainted with Dance New England (please excuse the incredibly dated site, if you need work for your portfolio and want to redo it, I beg of you, contact me!) which has given my tribe and increased my event planning skills.
In the time since I read it I began and dropped out of graduate school. I have moved from Massachusetts to California and to Ohio. My life has changed a lot. But has my passion, assuming I can uncover it.

For eons now I have wished to sit down with a life coach who would help me, make me, draw out of me what I am hiding from myself. Now of course there is a fear that comes with that wish, that I will unbury so much that it will turn my life upside and shake it like a snow globe only nothing is glued down.

So dear readers if you have ideas, books or websites to recommend, opinions to weigh in on what I should do with my life, I encourage, hell I beseech you - comment! Yes I am resorting to asking virtual (ha!) strangers to offer advice on my life. Did I mention I'd a tad desperate.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A good one liner

At my knit night Andi asked me about the job I applied for, which I had twittered about earlier in the day. I replied that it was at UD. There was a chorus of what job, what department.

"Administrative Secretary for the Center of Catholic Studies"

Snickers, raised eyebrows followed, as did this comment: "Well that would kinda be an oxymoron wouldn't it."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Have cheeseball, will party

Being in the Midwest is really different from the other places I've lived. This afternoon I saw my friend Andi mention on Twitter that she was cooking for "Practice Thanksgiving". I asked if this meant that she got to have two thanksgivings and when I could come over. Within about 10 minutes she called and said com'on over to my moms around 6 tonight. Seriously people I was joking but who am I to turn down yummy food.

For absolutely no good reason I didn't get on my way to Huber Heights until five minute before six. In an attempt to cover my faux pas I called Andi to tell her that I was running behind. She told me to worry not as she was also running behind because the roasted Brussels sprouts had taken longer than expected (they were well worth any delay! Her Geekyness loved them too, I must have the recipe). Somehow I figured I would arrive after she had as she lives much closer to her mom's place, but no. I rang the bell to a house full of strangers. Andi's mom is a charming and gregarious hostess, introducing me to everyone in one fast sweeping motion before leaving the family room to check on something in the kitchen. After moving the large ottoman so that I would have somewhere to sit, one of the women pointed out the appetizer on the table "We have a cheeseball!" My immediate thought that cheeseball must be code for "the party has started!" A bit later another woman spread large dollops of said cheeseball on some crackers and handed me the plate. Alrighty then. Actually it was rather tasty and clearly homemade, not one of those rubbery molded in a factory concoctions.

Soon Andi, Hubs and Sprout, their adorable daughter arrived, complete with Sprout wearing cat ears and tail. So cute. We all chatted a bit and then there was food and I mean a lot of food! I learned the orgins of Practice Thanksgiving. Many years ago Andi's mom joined a sorority, after college years it seemed to me but I could have that wrong. Anyway, soon after her mom joined she instituted this tradition of them having thanksgiving together the weekend before so that they could share this ritual with friends and family without making oneself crazy trying to do it all in a day. I think this is a Brilliant idea and am considering franchising it. Sprout read us two books after dinner in between the adult conversation of Andi, Hubs and I, it was sweet.

I made a plate to take home to Her Geekyness and gratefully thanked Andi's mom for her generousity in inviting me into her home and this tradition. It was a really sweet evening stepping just a bit into someone else's world. I like doing that even though it can be a bittersweet experience. There continues to be no thanksgiving ritual for my family of origin. This will be Judy's first thanksgiving without her husband, Judy hosted our family yearly get together for almost thirty years. This year will be our second here in Ohio and already it is different from last year as the hosting home is switching this year. It's not a bad thing but her parents' home has become a bit of a base for me and I am sad to not be doing the holiday there again this year. It means it will be larger, different yet again. There are moments I feel too old, too sad for what is no longer to have no consistency in things that were once landmarks of my year, something akin to knowing the sun will rise - you don't know what exactly will happen, you know that it rises says nothing about whether it will be sunny or gray, but the sun is there somewhere. The family of my youth has shifted dramatically, there is a generation after me now, I know them less not more as I had always hoped, there are fewer of them than ever. Creating your own family rituals is fun but also challenging. Having to tweak them because of changes (like divorce), while it still has this air of "Hey I can make it anything I want", there is a piece of my that misses being a kid and just having it laid out for me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Little girls are sugar and sweet and sexy?

It's not like things will change with this (old news, I told you I've been holding on to things for a long time to write about) information, because it never does. Life is so much like Pandora's Box, once it's open there is no way to re-contain what's been released. The sexualized identity has been let out of it's dark corner, for better and for worse. While it is good in so many ways, among them opening lines of communication and at least some of the time allowing misinformation to be corrected, it has also changed the way society looks a girls. A lot. I have found it hard to browse the clothing racks at stores for girls 5-10yrs old because I know I would have never be allowed to wear things like that and honestly that makes me happy. It feels like growing up has been accelerated but only in regards to sex, not politics, not fiscal management, not study skills.

From 2007 also I saved this link to "special" Barbies. I swear that every time I scrolled and saw the words "Barbie Pivotal Body Cabaret Dancer" I though it said "Private Dancer", yes as in that song. Though the song talks about the men being faceless and having no identity it is still about women selling their bodies. It's about using one's body to get things, money, and hope (the only thing left in Pandora's Box) for a better future.

At the same time this 2007 article (I am certain I could easily find articles from this year if I searched but these are already in my files - I being lazy on day 21 of NaBloPoMo) is scary to me for so many reasons. The idea of using marriage imagery in a commitment ceremony designed to strengthen the relationship between a father and a daughter is creepy. There is no other word for it. That it mimics a nuns "marriage vows" to god is not lost on me. I do question the statement towards the end of the paradoxical effect the purity pledge has on sexual behavior, only because I wonder where the data comes from even though I believe it on a gut level. I do not doubt that many Purity Pearls still participate in sexual behavior, just not vaginal-penile intercourse so they can preserve their virginity. The lack of anything else being "counted" as sex is heterosexist, limiting and delusional. One problem with that is the these girls are not educated on safe sex, which means the sex they likely are having can still lead to life changing repercussions. Another level of scary right there. Some critique is out there which mirrors some of my thoughts when I first read about this - could all this focus on virginity actually sexualizes the very population it purports to protect from sex?

I think it is harder for young women to make good decisions despite the increased openess, despite and maybe because of the ability to find out things on the internet. It is hard to know how and who to be when so many of the examples have been turned into a porn caricature of everything from the nerd, the cheerleader, the good girl, everything has been shown with a flip side that is all about letting loose, being the vixen underneath it all. While I love all that for me, as an adult, as someone who has explored the nuanced meanings of being lots of things at once, I also remember being a teen who was playing at those things and not knowing what it all meant; and I was lucky that worse things did not happen to be because I was playing with fire - a lot- in those days. I cannot imagine trying to navigate those waters now. I am not saying the world is more dangerous than it was, I am saying the images are stronger and the pressure is different.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday


  • To learn that my friend Miche does not carry the gene for breast cancer which means her two sisters and two daughters can breathe a little easier
  • And amazed that the last two days at work have been something resembling reasonable
  • For catching a moment of the short fluffy snowfall that made the world outside of my office look like a life-sized snow globe.
  • To come home to a tidied habitat thanks to Her Geekyness.
  • That after my thrift shop excursion it's felt like I have a whole new wardrobe this week.
You know doing this TT thing, it is a good thing. Really. Gives one the opportunity to hone in on the positive even when life is challenging.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sometimes these things are just so right on

When I remember, on Sundays, I read Rob Brezny's horoscope in the paper. His "predictions" are on target in unique ways, and they are never the typical one liners. Have you read him? Since discovering him while living in Northampton and reading The Valley Advocate (sometimes referred to as The Barely Adequate") which runs his column, I am a fan.

Sometimes his horoscopes are more like an enigma, they require actual thought before you can shake your head in violent agreement or shrug it off as meaningless drivel. Actually I have often done neither because it can take the unfolding of the week before I can begin to make head's or tales of his writings as it might pertain to me.

This week however it was clear as day how it applied to me, how much it summed up my conundrum.

"Dear Rob: In the past I've thought of balance as the ability to move between extremes without falling down. I pride myself on being a Weeble-Wobbler, the toy that always swings back up when you try to tip it over. But lately I'm wondering if I should expand my concept of what we Libras do. I have fantasies of experimenting with a balance that more closely resembles walking on a railroad track. I could dip a foot here and there, first this side then that, just for fun, and still remain on the track. Maybe in time I could even dance on the rail. Your thoughts? - Libra in Expansion Mode." Dear Expander: The coming weeks would be a great time, astrologically speaking, to try the experiment you described.
I have more than fantasies of changing the way balance manifests in my life, particularly regarding work. Going from nothing to full-time, stressful, banging your head against the wall work is more like riding the pendulum than practicing a balancing act. Being in school and unable to write, to not being in school and still not writing, again not an even keel. Tiny periods of being flush with cash, the rest of time rummaging in the change jar for cat food - I detest that!

For many years I have prided myself on my ability to ride the wave, and inevitable crash; I do think it takes talent, grace, and perhaps a touch of stupidity. Perhaps it's age, perhaps it's the crashing of the economy, perhaps I'm tired of being tossed about by the tides. I still yearn for flexibility, I crave a reasonably consistent income without long dry seasons matched with the briefest periods of lush cash; my problem is how to meet what appear to be mutually exclusive goals. I feel like I am a jill of all trades, mistress of none (hush GWF!). That's not quite true but close enough to the truth to make me feel like I have thrown away too many years doing whatever rather than whatever I choose. This is not the best fiscal climate to build a niche self employment business, though I suppose that is merely an excuse. Sigh.

Okay enough navel gazing without a solution, I think I will knit or play Zuma. But before I sign off, seriously check out his horoscopes!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some phrases leave me cold

Or more accurately, peeved and irritated. It is uttered by women about women and yet I find it belittling and sexist. The phrase has been circling around for a few years, I can find a reference dating back to 2004. The offending catchy and annoying verbiage is girl crush. I avoided even typing it as long as I possibly could without driving my readers crazy. From the first time I heard it rubbed me the wrong way completely, and initially it was hard for me to put my finger on why it disturbed me so much. But the more I heard it the more I realized that it felt like derogatory version of what was truly being expressed.

A "girl crush" appears to describe one woman finding another woman admirable, intelligent, graceful, creative - whatever appropriate adjective applies. This is used by heterosexual women to describe being "smitten" in a totally nonsexual way; though often straight women will offer up example of stars that they have a "girl crush" and clearly find the option of their obsession totally sexy and hint that they would maybe even do, as in wouldn't kick out of bed. It is important to note that I have so far only seen a sexual tone of the crush being applied to famous people so there is no chance of having to face the fluidity of sexual identity, which is borders dangerously close to homophobia.

The overall notion is not new however it has been posited that it has not been been used so openly in several generations. It also sounds rather Single White Female in some of the descriptions found online. Apparently it can be used to describe a whole section of the population in a very negative fashion (this link demands a separate post by someone way smarter than me). Makes me love this term even more, not. Moving on. The Times article suggests that it's better than a boy crush because there is no break up, except other sources strongly suggest that's not true. Some suggest that crushes can become great friendships, others say no. One thing I have noticed about a lot these crushes is that the object of affection represents what the crusher longs to be, how they would like to be perceived.

This I think is the crux of the problem for me - by naming your role model a crush it feels like the crusher has no faith that they can attain those traits, that their desire to grow and develop is not realistic - that it is indeed trivial enough to be a fleeting connection, a one-sided relationship. What a sad statement the women are making about their faith in themselves.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In which our heroine had shopping success

Thanks be to Andi I had the best time shopping at Village Discount Outlet today. She introduced me to this place last year and I have never failed to score excellent deals. There are two thrift stores in near each other (I think I got the name right) but I've only been to the one on Linden. I seriously {heart} this place. For under $24 USD I scored:
  • a deep cranberry/purple (hard to describe) long, lined rain/trench coat by Fleet Street for $4.00. A quick search on the web tells me that even though it's a few years old I scored big time!
  • a pair of The Limited black pants that are great for work, more casual than I've been wearing but dressier then the bulk of my closet for $1.25.
  • another pair of pants by Clio, which seems like it might be a defunct company but fit great
  • a little black sweater with mock turtleneck, because one can never have too man black tops
  • a fabulous electric green lightweight sweater with 3/4 sleeves
  • a more casual green top that will work for the job
  • a reddish purplish cotton top with a little lacing at the neckline, more for fun than work
  • two dress tops that are great for work
  • a cute long cardigan in autumn red, brown, and burnt orange colors that closing with a simple thin leather like tie just below the bustline
  • a skirt with great embroidery that Her Geekyness doesn't like and doesn't quite fit me, it's the only loser in the bunch.
I am so happy that everything but the skirt fit - the store doesn't have a fitting room. Tomorrow I will wear an outfit that cost me $5.00!!! Woohoo.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Matter of Civil Rights

The idea that marriage for lesbians and gay men was something to work for entered my life as a living breathing entity when my friend Ninia Baehr whom I meet when she was began working with me at Eve's Garden in NYC. We became fast friends bonding over a myriad of issues including the research for her Masters thesis; we talked about the interviews for the project while shipping dildoes across the country. When her thesis was published she listed me in the acknowledgments which touched me greatly. She moved to Hawaii, I moved to Massachusetts but we stayed in contact (imagine it, we managed that without the benefits of email and online social networking!).

In late 1990 or maybe it was early 1991 I received a news clipping from her about her latest project - suing the state of Hawaii for the
right to marry. Initially the ruling was in the couples' (there were three couples) quest. Ninia and I had many conversations over the years about this case and the ideals behind it. She wasn't sure she wanted to marry her then partner, Genora, but the fact that she didn't have the option rankled her. I agreed with her. As the case dragged she and Genora moved to to the mainland landing in Maryland. The two of them traveled doing what she called "dog and pony shows" to raise money and awareness. I drove to Boston to surprise her at one of these shindigs back in 1996, I think it was and supported her. Sometime between when this started in 1990 and before it ended in 1999, Ninia and Genora's relationship dissolved which I knew about but needed to be kept quiet in public. It was challenging and incredibly stressful for Ninia to keep doing these ''shows" while separating from her partner but her committment to the right to marry never waivered.

The world of marriage in the United States for lesbian, gays, bisexuals, and transgender/genderqueer folks has changed a lot since I received that clipping in 1991. The world of marriage in the United States for a lot of populations have changed a great deal. African Americans could not marry one another during slavery. There were laws in various place that prevented marriages betwee
n caucasians and asians as well. In the scheme things marriage for LBGT folks doesn't seem to be such a far off.

Except in many ways it is because it seems that a lot of people don't want to share the word "marriage". Civil unions are okay, dome
stic partnerships are acceptable, but marriage? It seems that is what rankles. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are nice but relatively useless when compared with marriage which is gifted with state and federal benefits galore. I have personally experienced the benefits of marriage and the limitations of domestic partnerships; the ease of being covered by benefits on a spouse's work insurance and the financial hell of trying to use the education benefit for my "partner". I worked the difference to my benefit when living with my partner by claiming her as a "tenent" in order to maximize my taxes since my home now qualified as a rental.

So what's the real problem here. The problem, to me, is that marriage as it stands in this country marriage is a dual entity, a clear blend o
f church and state which stands in stark contradiction to the proclaimation that the two should be kept separate. Yes there are those who do civil marriages (which I did, and many of my friends have), there are friends who have done spiritual unions and not filed for the other piece (which I have also done because I had no choice as I could not legally marry in Massachusetts at that time). But why should they be linked as they seem to be and have been historically. Sure one can go to city hall and walk out with all the attending benefits and responsibilities but why call it marriage? In Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Oregon, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Maine, California, Washington there exists varying degrees of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships granting varying levels of state benefits. Well that's fine if you never ever move and are a tax resistor who doesn't file federal taxes.
If everyone had to go to city hall to file for a civil
union in order to get the benefits handed out to those brave, foolish, hopeful enough to believe in legally tangling their lives with someone else and leave marriage to the spiritual or celebratory union to be held in the anytime with or without the legal piece. How hard would that be?

In Loving v. Virginia the right for interracial marriage was taken up by the ACLU as a civil rights matter. The decision says, in part:
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
Change the statement around to fit the LBTG population and see whether you think it still works; I do. The decision goes on to say:
There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy.
Limiting marriage to heterosexuals does nothing but maintain that only different gendered people can marry. To what end? Who is protected? Is heterosexual marriage worthy of supremacy?

Proposition 8 in California has unleased a n
ationwide response, mostly of anger and hurt. Melissa Etheridge has written that if she is not granted all the rights of any other citizen than the state of California should not expect her to pay taxes. She has a point. Today there were demonstrations throughout the country to express the disappointment, the anger, to make clear that we will not be silent. Though California's proposition was not the only state in this year's election to pass anti-marriage bills - Arizona, Arkansas and Florida also did, California has borne the weight of the LBGT's outrage because of marriage was possible and this is the first strike in moving to change the laws.

The other day I posted my notion for handling civil unions/marriages to a primarily liberal, aware community that I am part of and was reminded that such folks are unaware of the limitations of civil unions, that there could be another way to do things. It is up to those us who are personally involved because of we are not straight, or those who love people who are not straight to make clear that this is not about "marriage" but about civil rights, about equality.

Personally I don't know that I would take adv
antage of getting the civil right associated by legally committing to a partner but I am damn certain that I should get to make that decision and not the government.
I'm not certain this piece is as clear, or on target as I would like but I hope it inspires my readers to think about this issue and go find better articles on the subject.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sometime I will write about deep thoughts

This job thing is kicking my butt and I have big ideas when my mind drifts (which it really shouldn't while at work but does), only to get home way too tired to write anything coherent. My bookmark folder, writing ideas, is bursting with links stored for anywhere from a day all the way to over a year ago I'm sure.

Some subjects/link titles that are rummaging around in my brain:
  • Prop 8 and the racism overtones
  • "Girl crush"
  • Nebraska Safe Haven Act
  • My Dog, My Daily Zen Lesson
  • Push Presents
  • Living in A Porn Driven, 'Look at me' Culture
  • Purity Promise
  • Age and my life choice
  • Pregnant Men
  • Knitting projects

Tonight I went to the South Park Tavern for the first time since early September. Isn't that sad? It was nice to see some friends, the jukebox was often too loud, some good local political/social debates, silly talk, and getting to newer to the neighborhood folks.

I hope this weekend to sleep in, get a lot of knitting done, cuddling with Her Geekyness, and some quiet brain time. Big goals here people.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I have some friends who do this TT thing and I have thought that it could be a good exercise. In these times of job stress it might be a good thing {tm}, you know?

The List

1 - Grateful for having a job that pays more than $8/hr.
2 - Thanks to said job I have decided to ditch the moniker of "TGF" (The Girl Friend) for my partner. It was a simplistic nickname when I started this blog which came from a joke long forgotten. I have never loved it and without thinking last week at work I referred to her as "Her Geekyness". I just asked her if it was okay with her if I changed her label on the blog and since she proud declares herself a geek, all is well.
3 - Thankful for Her Geekyness's support about the said job, which includes okaying me quitting once she is ensconced in a job, should I still want to leave.
4 - The snuggling of cats.
5 - My knit groups without which I would have any remaining bits of my sanity.
6 - My internet buds like Jbeeky, Mush, Mollena (not work safe!), Sarah, Melissa, Denise, and Rabbitch, just name a few.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (nearly)

I am too tired to truly do this subject justice but for those who know, you can begin to guess some of my thoughts.,2933,409262,00.html

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dazed and Confused

I have never seen the movie so I don't know whether my state relates at all to the plot, however it describes me pretty well right now. My work day started at 6:30am at a local Hol*day Inn for a monthly breakfast meeting for one of my associations. Apparently when I start doing these on my own (should I stay at this job) JP recommends me getting there at 6:00am to have enough time to do the set up on my own. Great. No getting off early today though I was told that perhaps I could leave early on Friday. Do I want overtime pay or time off? Hard to know which is better.

Which is the crux of the matter. Right now the money is much needed. In truth that won't change anytime soon. I have decided to keep job hunting and in theory devote some time to other more flexible (read self-employed) options. However this place would provide health insurance which none of the other options, as they exist, would provide. It's nice to actually have things to do even if they require knowledge I don't have, impossible deadlines, four associations all clamoring for attention, and a company that needs a structural organizer (think they'd hire me as a consultant instead?).

I am totally being treated as if my hire is a done deal, which is flattering, to be sure. Today the Associate Executive on two of my associations told JP when he showed up this morning (they were tag teaming) that the group wouldn't even miss him, that I was a quick study, I could practically do this myself next month, etc. It was all really nice because in truth I am not confident at all that I am grasping this stuff. I remain unconvinced that I am rocking this job.

If I take the job, how do I keep my commitment to DNE? If I have to be around a lackluster (predominately) bunch of office mates, and mostly conservative people in my associations (the remodeling industry and pest control for cripes sakes!) I am going to need a dose of my "tribe" something awful by August. I would gladly take the time off without pay, my other salary would far make up for it. It could work as long as I could get regular vacation with pay from this place because I will need time off from them that do not include my usual working vacation. Who knows what they will say once I finally find a stud for my nose piercing which is feeling awful empty with the ring missing. And I will definitely need more clothes if I stay here. It seems quite clear the overtime is part of the job but no overtime pay or comp time. That is not okay, not at all in my book. Well maybe if I would be making 40K or more but I would not be, not even close. It is not clear whether I would be able to ever leave early. I doubt it because no one has given me any indication that this place is not crazy with screwy deadlines, last minute changes and additions to programs, et. al. One office mate who seems rather like a Negative Nelly every time I talk to her said today that this place is "toxic"; she also told me she's been there for 4.5 years, 2 years longer than she planned. Hm.

What I do know is I don't want to be like Negative Nelly. I don't want to suddenly find that it's two years later and I'm miserable but getting a paycheck. What I also know is that I don't want to keep struggling to pay the ultities and groceries. Rock. Me. Hard place.

This isn't exactly how I envisioned this post, I seem to think there was something a bit more poetic roaming in my head, but since I slept like crap, woke way earlier than I'm used too and worked my butt off, this is what y'all are stuck with for this post. Sorry.

Monday, November 10, 2008

First this, no no *this* first

See that title? That is the easiest way to sum up my job. Truly.

Today should have been about calculating the judges' scores to determine the winners for the, er, well I can't really say, um, the remodeling whatsits awards. The winners need to be contacted, thank yous need to go to the judges (along with gift certificates for Star*ucks - which TGF would like me snag one for us, if only). Get the entries back to contestants. And probably eight other things connected to this one piece.

Today should have and was about getting ready for tomorrow's Breakfast Meeting, which it had to be.

Today also needed to be all about the pest control group as a blast email had to go out - which I almost sort of get how to do. It was became clear that though our next event is a month away the legislators and field's regulators have not been invited yet and a specific invite needs to be designed, at least I think that's what I need to do for that piece. In addition I became aware, only today, that we are honoring two people from the field. Our company president decided today that the honorees need individualized invites and past presidents need special invites - all of which need to be designed tomorrow! Did I mention that I will begin my work day at about 6:30a.m. and won't be in the office until about 10:30?

Also another member of one of the associations was notified by me early today that there was a scheduling conflict for his event, which is not a huge deal since we have no rsvps for it, but now he wants to tweak the title and description and do it on the 19th! The 19th?? But I said to him, kinda sorta lying through my teeth, that course I would work on this tomorrow. Um s-u-r-e I will. Well maybe. Who knows.

Wednesday I can go to a dinner meeting if I want but I don't have to, however it's a free dinner. Hm, but I think it's in Cincinnati. Nah, forget it. Friday morning I have a committee meeting.

It's going to be a long week.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Twisted Tree Sweater

After finishing the commission project for Anna - Fans of Family, I started thinking almost immediately of her mentioning a sweater for her toddler son. Though I had other things on the needles (OTN) and lots to keep me busy I started browsing patterns for just the right thing. Via Ravelry I found "Twisted Tree Pullover" and feel in love with it. I consulted with Anna about the pattern and color, from there the hunt for the perfect yarn was on. It needed to be the right weight in order to get gauge and machine washable. Oh and inexpensive.

Much debate and yarn fondling occurred until I went to the Yarn Basket's closing sale where I found Plymouth Encore in worsted. I found the close to perfect blue with a touch of green (was really looking for more of a teal). This yarn photo is the closest to the actual color, the photos that follow show up lighter than in real life.

As I began to knit this pattern, I instantly fell in love with the cabling pattern. Luckily it was a fairly easy repetition that was easy to keep track of without a lot of notes.

TGF's sweater, that is shamefully not done, is the same sort of construction, bottom up raglan, in the round. The sleeves are knitted separately and than attached to the bottom from there the yoke is done. Attaching the sleeves however was quite the adventure. Next time I do this sort type of construction I will start by using two circulars in the same fashion that is used for knitting socks.

I would love to make this sweater in an adult size - that's how much I adore this cabling pattern. If I were to make it for myself I think I would maybe a boat neck opening as I think that would be really cool, based on how the article looked before the yoke and neck were complete.

A few days after popping it in the mail I received
an email from Anna saying she got and loved that color - whew! She has been great about letting me choose colors and patterns for her - the loveliest client a knitter could wish for. I am very happy with this project.

Pattern: Twisted Tree Pullover by Blue Garter (Sarah)
Size: 2-3 years
Yarn: Plymouth Encore, Worster/10 ply Acrylic, Wool, in color 598
Yardage: Just over 2 skeins, about 420 yards
Needle: size 5
Timeline: Started May 25, 2008 - Finished September 10, 2008. Does not reflect the ease of project, only procrastinating habits of knitter. I could have easily finished it in much less time had I not been working two camps and more disciplined.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Books, we got books!

TGF, Jeriann, and I went to the Planned Parenthood book sale just up the road at the Montgomery Country Fairgrounds (fair warning the site bites rock). There are literally hundreds of thousands of books really, really cheap. Mostly they are sorted by categories and kept in them but once in awhile one could find "He's Just Not That into You" in multiple sections like: Women and Psychology. Psychology? Oh please. Well it's all done by volunteers.

Last year I went with Andi on the last day when it's $5 for a bag of book - a deep bargain. Today we paid the actual prices and between the two of us we spent $32 for three bags of books, still not a bad deal. I replaced my disintegrated copy of the Vegetarian Epicure more for nostalgic value than anything else. Because I cannot pass up southern based cookbooks often I snagged Special Recipes from the Charleston Cake Lady. In looking for links, I just noted that she died back in January, sad. The coolest find in this subject area was Esquire's Handbook for Hosts, published in 1949! I found this posting which includes great PDFs from this incredible kitchy book (Hi Squeezeknits!)

I purchased Family Keleidoscope by Salvador Minuchin with the notion that one day I will finish my degree and do family therapy work. In my studies I read lots about the man's contributions to the field but nothing by him. It seems like it might be quite readable unlike some of the pioneers in the field.

Once I learned we we going to this event I decided to scan the computer section to see if I could pick up anything that might be useful in my new job. The plan in my head had been to go to the library but since this was actually happening and getting to the library might not happen I figured it was worth looking around. For a buck I picked up MS Office 2000, yeah I know we are using 2007 but I figured it would at least give me a brush up on the basics; for the hell of it and another .60 cents I scored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating an HTML 4 Web Page, complete with cd-rom I mean I have a domain name and nothing on it plus I figure it could be a help in the job, or the next one.

I continue to dream, hope, and plan to write more so to that end I snagged The Right to Write by Julia Cameron (I had no idea she was married To Martin Scorsese!) and Writing for Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds by Deena Metzger, whom I find inspiring in general though I have read little of her work. During the summer after a conversation with Sunny and starting a different book, I decided to ditch Woman's Book of Creativity because it just dragged which seems an antithesis to the subject, you know? The book which I started that I loved The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp who I almost worship. Almost only because I do not to worship people. It is hard to think that I would love to hang out with Twyla based on my reading because she comes across as demanding and a bit of a control freak. She also comes across as amazingly honest which is rather endearing. Here is what I wrote over on Goodreads when I started this book:
OMG I am in love! My other creativity book (Ealy) has been dragging - it has good tidbits but it's a fairly dull read about creativity. But this? It reached out and shook me from page 1. It's library borrow but I think I might have to own this one to reread it from time to time.

I have loved Twyla Tharp forever. In reading this book so far I can see she is incredibly anal, perhaps even would be classified as OCD via the DSM-IV but she is brilliant and honest in this book, asking really deep questions and opening up herself as an example. In reading the first 40 pages or so I spent the next day regurgitating tons of stuff - I was that enthralled. It's a joy to read.
Consider this a recommendation without even finishing the damn book. I can only hope that the two books I just picked up begin to touch me the way Twyla's did. Now of course I need to borrow that book and begin it again. Maybe in December as November is pretty full what with my knitting goals, NaBloPomo, and work. All in all I am pleased with all I bought today for less than $12.00.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Last night while talking to my best friend, he reflected back to how negative I was being about this job, that I was talking like I was destined to work there for a long time. The reality is as much as I feel like I'm drowning in all I don't know, I already have a sense of things I did not know last week. The truth is it likely that I will be able to take these skills and be able to apply them in a setting that is more congruent to my identity.

One of the giveaways that this is not the place for me is that on Wednesday, the day after an incredible, historical election only one person (the one who I bonded with the most) mentioned it. Okay it was more like a "high-five" with smiles than an actual conversation. Seriously nothing else was said that I heard at all. How weird is that? Not even a mention of the local issues that were on the ballot.

The other piece about doing this job that is wearing me down (okay there's more than one more piece, but I digress) is that on some level it feels like a failure, it feels like I have given up on me. It may be hard to explain, or hard to understand but going to work in a place that is so not like me, with no diversity to speak of, working within the confines of the typical office structure is like saying "My way doesn't and can't work". It feels like a type of death to me. Yes, I can hear you saying I'm being dramatic but that's kind of how I feel. I am struggling to find an analogy and my brain is so fried I cannot come up with one. But something akin to figuring out that avoiding the sidewalk cracks does not really protect your mother's back, that the world is not as magical as you thought.

Yes, I know it's not forever, that once TGF is situated I have her blessing to leave (of course assuming I don't get dismissed before that time). However the idea of both of us bringing the kind of money we are looking at (did I mention she is likely starting training for a new job before the month is out?) is so compelling because the strain of being so broke for the last 3 years has worn my normal optimism down so far that it feels like I have no reserves left.

Interestingly both TGF and BFF brought up school yesterday. TGF wanted to know how I was going to be able to go back to school while doing this job. BFF nudged me about it as he reaffirmed that he thinks that I'd make a great therapist, that that sounded like the right fit since I first mentioned it. Of course I need to apply to schools to see if I can even get in to one of the two places locally that I think might be a match. Could I do this job and do graduate school, even part time? It would be hard, near impossible I imagine. However I suppose I could do it but come time for an internship and I'd have to quit this place, no doubt.

The plus side to this job is shoes! I have worn three different pairs this week, shoes I hardly ever wear because they are heels and I usually don't dress in a manner that makes sense to wear them. Love love love this part of the job. I want more shoes! This is making think about fun everyday clothes that I can match with my fun shoes on a more regular basis, you know, for when I don't have a real job again.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

This little kitty went shopping

Thanks to the gods that be, money appeared in our account so TGF was able to buy cat food and other necessities. We also decided to go clothes shopping just a bit for me as my wardrobe is a bit, um, shall we say, sparse for the new job.

Mostly I went looking for pants as I really could use a pair or three more. Normally I have found K*hls has awesome deals but last night, not so much. Once again I was bewildered and felt a bit like Goldilocks while in the dressing room. Dockers, size 12 - I was swimming in them. Seriously! A pair of Briggs petite size 12, not bad but very eh. Daisy Fuentes petite size 12 just a bit too tight and a damn shame because I was really digging that dark wash jean that was dressy enough for a normal work day. They looked so good with the dark purple top I was wearing and the green jacket I found at the store.

In the end I bought some new underwear because I really need it, 3 pairs of trouser socks (50% off) - really need these as I have washed out the single pair I have at night because I wore them Monday - Wednesday, a pair of really cushioned slippers for TGF's sore feet, the aforementioned lime green jacket that's really cool ($14.40 - on sale), and a Simple Vera Vera dress for some imagined fancy event in the future,possibly a work thing (on SUPER sale, 90% off costing me $8.80).

I think the thrift shop is calling my name this weekend because today? I wore clothes for TGF's closet. It's only day four people!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A historical Wordless Wednesday

Okay not really wordless but it is powerful.
Give it time to load.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Star Trek: The Old Generation

The downside of being an outlier in the job market for a dozen years is that I haven't had to learn all the snazzy new things that MShoddy has created. Today I was told and blindly followed the steps to do an email blast for Tuesday morning's breakfast education meeting for one of my remodeling groups. Something about initially writing it in Outlook, using control K a lot to make links for things like "if you can't see the images, click here", going somewhere in Access Queries to copy and paste email addresses. Then I know I was directed to Outlook Express, which is apparently a little different, doing some set of keys to automatically alphabetize the email addresses and kick out duplicates. There is no way in hell I really know what I did let alone be able to repeat it on my own. While I do need to essentially know how to do this, my admin (OMG I've never had one of those) can usually do those pesky little tasks for me.

On a more upbeat side I got to play with ExactTarget and did most of the draft of an email for a different association. At least the designing element for that one client will be fun.

But seriously the rest, damn it's going to be a steep learning curve. I'm hoping the copier that scans documents into PDF that then get stored on the server is fairly easy. But I hold out small hope because that way if it's hard than hell I won't be disappointed, on the other hand if it's a bit of a breeze I'll be doing the Snoopy dance.

With all these programs and fancy machines I am getting an inkling of what the previous generation felt like when I buzzing around all confident with WordPerfect 5.1-DOS teaching myself tricks, memorizing the key strokes so that I didn't need that silly crib sheet that fit so neatly over the keyboard. Now I long for such a thing, desparately.

Perhaps tomorrow something will glean and shine as creates a new neuropathway in my brain.

Monday, November 03, 2008

First day in an office and a real job thing

Tuesday I received a call from Work Place Group (the infamous temp agency) about a job that I interviewed for back in April. To say that I was ambivalent might be a bit of an understatement. For better or worse even though it was a temp to hire assignment they decided not to try me out due to my job commitments to NCDC in June, and DNE in August. But it's six months later, we are broke, and there are lots of hungry furry mouths to feed. Also soon after I came home from the interview TGF came home unexpectedly - she had been fired. The company is clearly trying to lower the bottom line as three people in three different stores had been dismissed. To further see that saw, she had seen the writing on the wall she had applied to several jobs last weekend and received a call to schedule an interview, which happens tomorrow.

Wednesday they called to tell me the interview would be on Thursday morning with the CEO (!!!). Also I was told there were three candidates. Okay. A bit after noon I spoke with Work Place Group to let them know the interview went fine and found out the last interview was at 2:00p.m. At 4:15 my phone rang with the job offer, and a start date of today.

The company is an Association Management company with about sixteen associations. My job is working as the event planner for four of these associations. Two of the firms are local remodeling associations, one is involved in pest management and the most exciting one is an entrepreneurial group that JP (who I'm taking over from, he's been promoted) can be a bit like herding cats.

I get there this morning bright and early (which hurts so bad) and find that I am already on the updated phone/office map list and on the chart of the associations and their team players. What?!? It's feeling like I'm hired, not a temp who might be offered the job. There was a deadline today for an award whosit which meant folks from the remodeling firms where stopping by with their portfolios and JP was introducing not as a temp but as the person who would be taking over the reins. On one hand it was kind of cool, like they had faith or at least hope that this arrangement would work out. On the other, I was thinking, "hey I thought we were just dating!".

There is a ton to learn (acronyms galore!), relearn (Access), and programs I know next to nothing to not a damn thing about (Outlook, PowerPoint, InDesign). In a way it felt oddly familar and almost comfortable, like using muscle you forgot about and finding it worked pretty well. Most of the actual events sound boring, different from the other event/conference work I've done which is different. I'm used to being excited by the majority of my work and not sure whether I can get excited by events I do like organizing things well.

Right now I have a horrible headache, probably caused by trying to look over JP's shoulders while he navigated things, using a CRT screen rather than a flat screen, end of a cold, and being up too early. I'm tired, trying to remember anything I learned today, and totally confused about the concept of having a job. So how was your day?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Phrasing is so important

Early in 2008 I proclaimed that I wanted it to be the year of no chemo caps. In my naivete I thought that was clear enough. It got to be August and frankly I was feeling pretty cocky about it. That should have been a warning sign in and of itself. Tis always wrong to tempt the fates that way.

For several months I had been working on reestablishing a very important friendship. While on the east coast Michele and I finally saw each other. However just getting to that meet up was a bit challenging. She has never been great at returning phone calls, I knew that from living with her for three years and sharing an answering machine. Our contact had been very limited and we had not actually spoken to each other, only voicemails until my last Tuesday in Massachusetts. We set up a meet up for that afternoon where I would spend the night and she would drive me to the airport on Wednesday morning. Things were set up, she would call me about noon when she expected to be back in Northampton from an appointment in a neighboring town. She needed to be home by about 2:45 to meet the kids after their first day of school.

As I sat in Spirit's house (which could be metaphor for my experience, but is an actual person's name and home) and waited the anxiety built for a variety of reasons. Time ticked onward and my anxiety edged closer to annoyance and sadness. Finally I called, leaving a message on her cell since it was close to the time she needed to be home. Eventually (maybe after 3pm?) she called back with some odd ball excuse. In some ways it was a typical flake Miche response. "After the appointment I went to Wal*art to pick up things for the kids and then it was time to get home" Something like that. Anyway she came to pick me up and seeing her smile, hearing her voice live was amazing.

The next morning while driving to the airport she finally fessed up the truth. She had had an exam which revealed a lump in her breast that morning. While the medical provider talked about clogged milk ducts, fibrous tissues, the other possibility loomed large in her mind. Hence the sort of "black out" visit to the store and forgetting about me in a way. We talked about how unlikely it was - she's under 40, doesn't smoke, hasn't been on birth control pills in eons, etc. She was scheduled for a biospy that Friday. The possibility of just doing a lumpectomy that day was discussed and we talked about the pros and cons of that as well. I know I sent an ecard that day, and maybe left a message. A few days later I received the call I was dreading. The good part of the news was that it was Stage 1, meaning it was quite very early. The recommendation was a lumpectomy and radiation.

In mid-September she visited my flickr account, looked at some of my yarn photos and requested a shawl. Actually it was a beautiful request:
It would be great to have you wrapped around me and keeping me warm and protected through my next series of life events.
How could I refuse? Of course being me, it took awhile to find what I wanted, which I do regret as I wish she already had the shawl. First off I had to confirm some of her favorite colors. Then it was off to find just the perfect pattern and yarn. I went to A Wool Gathering with Kathleen on the hunt, but found nothing. Once it was Ravelry to the rescue. I found I had some yarn in my stash that might work.

So the shawl is being knit and with every stitch I hope this is all going to be fine, that she will live a long life, watching her three children grow. Also with each stitch I remember I must be specific about my prayers and wishes to the universe. I was foolhardy and flippant asking for only no chemo caps being needed. With every row I breath a prayer of thanks that we started reconnect before the diagnosis as the idea of not knowing or finding out some other way is just too painful to contemplate. With every other row I am saddened to be still so far away during this time as I wish to hold her during treatment, take the kids out for dinner when she is too exhausted from radiation and what ifs.

Words are imporant. Friends are precious. Use both wisely.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The First of Thirty

It's the first official day of NaBloPoMo and I have lots to say about dozens of things I haven't been writing about but between being sick, having a knit & coffee date with Dawn, and dinner at the 'rents, well it's just not happening folks.

Knitting wise there has been progress as I did a full pattern repeat on the shawl and finally got to the third decrease on baby Ellen's gift (since her mama reads this blog, well until Ellen came home she did anyway, not many details will get posted until the gift is on it's way!).

The cold has got to be gone before I start working on Monday as I suspect there will be a LOT to absorb. Finding an online tutorial for Access would be good as I haven't used that program since mid-2001 and apparently a good deal of work happens with it. If anyone knows of anything like that, please let me know.

Okay it's after 9pm and I need to veg and maybe knit some more. See you tomorrow!