Friday, August 29, 2008

Reason I Loathe my Job Number 7,983,635... that I have to go in early on my late day and probably not take a lunch/dinner break today. Chuck The Slimy Bastard (he's everything that's wrong with my industry, all rolled up into one person) never showed up or called today, so I have to go in early. And then I am working a disgusting amount this weekend, culminating in an eleven-hour marathon on Labor Day. You know, the American holiday where we celebrate the laborers of the country. Yup. But anyway, that's enough of that ranting and raving. Still working on finding another gig, and when I do, it will be marvelous!

Thanks for all the cheering and support for the list. I'm feeling pretty optimistic about it, like I can actually take this and accomplish something. Some of my goals are kind of frivolous, and some are pretty serious, but they're all aimed at making me more the person that I want to be and helping me live the life I want to live. More than anything, I want to be at peace with myself. There are some things I feel I need to do before that can happen, and I look forward to doing them and to exploring my reasons for feeling as I do. And the nice thing is that there's no pressure, aside from the knowledge that if I have posted my intent and mentioned these things publicly, I'll look kind of stupid if none of them ever get done.

Not much on the knitting front to report, as I'm still plugging away at all my many WIPs. However, progress is being made and I have not given up hope, nor thrown my commitment to myself away and cast anything on, even something tiny. I am nearly done the first sock of the pair, and am making nice headway on the random one-row scarf. Not much else has been touched, but if I can knock even two projects of of the WIP pile, it'll be a nice step forward. I'm closer to picking out a pattern for the wedding shawl, but I'm still torn over colors. I'm still operating in the dark as to what color the dress will be, apparently that's not being picked out til December, nor are the bridesmaids gowns. I'm thinking I may opt to try to match or complement the bridesmaids gowns rather than try to match white. With my luck, it'll be a shade off, and that would irk me to no end.

At any rate, time to go finish my laundry so I can head into work and save the day. Again. Hope your weekend is restful and fun!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cleaning house in real life...

... I recently discovered a meme called 101 in 1001, which is a pretty simple concept. To quote the day zero website:

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

I found this traipsing through a blog, and am a little fascinated by this project. At first, I wasn't sure that I was interested in this, many of the lists all had a similar feel to them. But then I sat down and wrote my own list, just for kicks and grins. And having written the list and stewed about it for a few days, I see a list of achievable goals and maybe a way to help me quantify and achieve them. I've revised them a bit, but I think most of them are pretty sound. And so, we'll be looking at a new sidebar feature here. I'm posting my list today, but I'm going to keep in on the sidebar as a way to mark my progress. Today is my start date, and Monday, May 23, 2011 will be my end date. All of these things may not be completed by then, but I hope to be able to say that I gave everything on here a decent shot.

You'll notice that there aren't quite 101 things on the list. Some of these goals are private, and I'm not entirely comfortable sharing all of them. I firmly believe in a little mystery in life, and that there is such a thing as too much information, so I'm sparing you the more personal bits. Some folks have organized their lists into groups, and it occurs to me that this may not be a bad idea. So here we go! Without further ado, here is my 101 things in 1001 days challenge to myself:

The Schooling:
1. Go back to school at least part time in fall of 2009
2. bring all my student loans current and pay my accounts down as much as possible

The House:
3. Clean the library, determining what is trash and what should stay
4. Organize the books in the library so that they are displayed and accessible and so that you can actually sit somewhere in the room to read.
5. Paint the library and find a suitable rug and chair/small sofa for the room.
6. Paint the living room and front room
7. Paint the office
8. Determine which plants in the yard should be pulled, pruned, or saved and do so
9. Plant something that flowers and is pretty in the yard
10. Find or buy attractive, comfortable furniture for the yard and the porch
11. Rescue the tree growing next to the house, plant it somewhere safe
12. Clean/organize the basement so that things can be stored and accessed easily.
13. Re-finish the kitchen table and chairs
14. Re-finish all the woodwork the crazy woman painted white
15. Find/buy chairs/sofa/seating for front room
16. Create and maintain a fair chore rotation
17. Buy new mattress, box spring, and bed frame.

The Me, Practically:
18. Create a budget, possibly with Jim's input, to be followed strictly and reviewed and updated every three months
19. For six months, cook at least on real, balanced meal per week (0/24)
20. Find a job that is compatible with my goals and skills and has a normal schedule
21. Write a will
22. Designate power of attorney
23. Write a living will
24. Make peace with myself, my life, my failures, and my successes.
25. Have an educated, well-argued opinion on current events/issues
26. Find/rent/buy software and improve my Spanish to conversational level
27. Find/rent/buy software and learn a little French
28. Read the Sunday Inquirer every week for a year (0/52)
29. Spend at least half an hour twice a week exercising, doing yoga
30. Research fair trade products and, where possible, gradually switch over
31. Purchase more re-usable shopping bags and recycle the plastic ones in the kitchen
32. Buy tires for the Jeep
33. Buy shocks for the Jeep
34. Switch my registration to PA by September 30, 2008
35. Switch my license to PA by September 30, 2008
36. Open a savings account as an emergency fund and build it to at least $500
37. Celebrate Earth Hour each year
38. Blog at least once a week for three months straight (0/12)
39. Write one entry in my journal a week for six months straight (0/24)
40. Meditate on my beliefs and design a system of worship/praise
41. Initiate myself into my faith
42. Practice my beliefs actively
43. Donate blood

The Me, Whimsically:
44. Learn to ride a bike
45. Using money I've budgeted, buy myself some great new clothes to wear when I'm not at work
46. Play my flute at least once a month for six months (0/6)
47. Buy/send myself flowers at least three times (0/3)
48. Plan and spend a day at a spa, being pampered
49. Read six fiction classics I've never read (o/6)
50. Read five non-fiction books (0/5)
51. Stock the bar and learn to make fun cocktails with coll
52. Spend at least half an hour outside once per week for twelve months (0/48)
53. Plan one birthday party for myself
54. Try a vegetarian diet for a week
55. Bake something entirely from scratch
56. Buy at least two cookbooks, one of them to be written by Nigella (0/2)
57. Take myself on a date to dinner or a movie, and enjoy the time out alone
58. Develop the cameras/film I have sitting around
59. Put the pictures in the office into albums
60. Share any good pictures with those interested
61. Buy an MP3 player

Friends & Family
62. Plan a black-tie themed tea party for my girl friends
63. Take Jim to a fancy restaurant to celebrate us
64. Travel to a different country with Jim
65. Go to a makeup counter with Coll and get makeovers
66. E-mail Ashley at least once per month every month for a year (0/12)
67. Call a friend once a week to talk, every week for a year (0/52)
68. Give ten gifts just because (0/10)
69. Plan one surprise birthday party
70. Go camping for a weekend or longer with Jim or other friends
71. Do something competitive (pool, mini golf, bowling) with Jim 5 times (0/5)
72. Have at least six girl dates/girls' nights with friends from home (0/6)
73. Have a sleepover with Amy, Kely, and Melissa
74. Have my family (or at least my parents) over for lunch/dinner 10 times (0/10)
75. Have Plum family over for dinner
76. Plan an awesome week-long vacation for me and Jim
77. Watch fireworks with Jim

Crafty, crafty
78. Find or design a pattern for Melissa's wedding shawl
79. Buy yarn, needles, etc. for shawl
80. Knit shawl in a timely manner
81. Buy needles and knit the sweater that's living in the bag on my floor
82. Buy fabric and make curtains for the bedroom, front rooms, and library
83. Knit a pair of socks in less than a month
84. Knit at least six items for the charity/charities of my choice (0/6)
85. Buy, trade for or find a spinning wheel
86. Learn to spin
87. Learn about plant dyes and try them on yarn/fleece
88. Find a knitting group, join, and attend at least one meeting per month



And there we have it! Welcome to the launch!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Getting Things in Order...

...because I finally reached my breaking point. I've hardly been online this week, because I've dedicated the vast majority of my time off to my house. I will be honest with you all, I am not by nature a neat person (mom, you may want to sit down. i know this shocks you to the core). But even I have my limits and my pride. And honestly, if anyone had come to visit me in my house, I'd have been ashamed to host them. This, I decided was not the way I want to live my life. I pay good money for rent each month, and I work hard to be able to afford to live here. I have a beautiful house and (mostly) attractive furniture. And yet, my roomies and I have been living in a shithole.

And so, the house (most of it, the third floor was out of the question, it needs the most work. but the work will be done, and soon. i am determined to be able to live in this house comfortably) was cleaned. Scrubbed. Polished. Organizers were bought for the bedroom, cleaning supplies for the whole house. Bags upon bags of trash have gone to the curb. Glass has been cleaned, huge hulking TVs moved. I have spent more hours than I like to think about cleaning, but the house looks good. If you were all to wander over (and you're welcome any time) and surprise (i like surprises!) me with a visit, I would be happy and proud to show you around. And this, this is how I would like to be able to live. So I have made a few changes, and a few resolutions to myself. I aim to spend a few minutes every day cleaning up after myself. I know, basic. But if I just loaded my things into the dishwasher after I'd used them, the kitchen would look a million times better. If the laundry went in the basket, I could walk to my bed. I aim to dust and otherwise maintain the house once a week, so that this level of clean is the norm. The roomies and I are working on a chore rotation so that nobody feels like the maid. I think our biggest problem will be training the boys to see dirt. But we will persevere. Because, ultimately, I'd like to be able to have people come over and be able to relax and take their shoes off (for a few months, i wouldn't walk in the kitchen in bare feet. it's summer, i live in bare feet) and settle into the couch without thinking it smells funky. So, yes. Cleaning will be done and maintained.

In order to do that, I am going through many of the things that have been left in boxes or just piled on the dresser or the floor, and I am paring them down. Things I am truly attached to stay. Things that I have no use for, won't miss, have duplicates of, and have forgotten about can all go. I'm collecting quite a bunch of donations for Good Will. So I'm trying to simplify the things I have and the way that I live, a little at a time. I know that if I go through and totally change everything, it won't stick. And I know there will be days that I decide I don't feel like cleaning when I get home, and I slip. But I know that each day is a chance to prove to myself that I can be the person that I choose to be, and live the life I choose to live. I can do this on my terms, and I can succeed or fail by my own will.

And due to this cleaning frenzy, there is not a lot of other news to report. I am still working away at my wips, trying to thin the herd a bit. I don't think I'll ever be into project monogamy, it's just not my style. But I do like to keep the number of things I'm working on down to a few small things or a small thing and a big (relatively. big for me) thing. Variety is good, but I have issues with seeing things through, so it's also good for me to stick with something until it's done.

And that's the news from the World of Em. May your weekend be peaceful and lovely.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Ditch in the Road... keep movin'*. Still not much to report on, except that I've started working with an employment agency to find a job. There's a straight-up secretarial gig that looks pretty promising. It sounds like lots of filing, copying, and answering phones. It's a first-shift gig for a little more than I'm making now, though it's a little farther away. It's got set hours, and it sounds divine. Jim asked if I would be bored, being what amounts to a secretary. I gave him an emphatic no. After six or so years of customer service, this will be far from boring. In fact, a nice, stable job with regular hours and obvious goals sounds perfect.

In knitting news, I'm still plugging away at...almost everything I've got on the needles. Something Momolla said in her most recent post made me stop and take stock of what I've got going on with my projects. There are a few more than I'd thought. I have the TDF socks, the bribe sock, the sock that shall not be named, the boss baby blanket (yup, that one is still not done), and the one-row scarf all in progress. That's a lot of relatively small things that need to get finished. So, I have a plan. It is this: I will finish my TDF socks first, since I'm probably the farthest from being done those, then finish the bribe sock. After that, it'll be all bbb, all the time. Once those are all settled, the socks from hell and i will have a discussion and see if perhaps we can work something out. And while all that is going on, I will be using the one-row scarf to fill in any gaps (you know how it is, sometimes you just need a bit of a break from whatever you're working on.). Once everything (except maybe the socks that shall not be named) is handled, I will be free to start something more exciting. Or at least, something different. It'll feel good to finish up a passel of knitted things, and maybe once I have a real, regular schedule I can knit on, say, the weekends, and squeeze more time in.

In other other news, I'm aiming to be that smug person who has everything for the holiday season under control (you know, the one who has a schedule and follows it and is done the shopping and the wrapping and the decorating and the baking early and just sits back and enjoys watching other people {dadumms} struggle with the last minute stuff. i hate those smug people) this year. To achieve that aim, I've already started my Christmas shopping. I'm buying the small, less specialized bits and pieces now, so that when December rolls around, I'm not stuck looking at my bank account balance thinking "well, if I compromise and get everyone something for ten dollars, I'll be just over budget." I'm also building up my Christmas list of the larger, more fun things that aren't likely to be purchased by the recipients in the next four months. I figure in November, I'll start collecting recipes and decorations, so that come December, we can buy a tree and some holly and have the house look all festive. My goal is to have a happy, relaxed holiday, without all the crazy hassle and insane lack of money of years past. And it just might work. If I don't go shooting my mouth off and alert the domestic gods that this is my plan. It has to look incidental, or life will boot me in the ass. So yeah, that's the brilliant plan. I've already figured where we'll put the tree (it has to be huge) and Coll and I have some ideas for decorations already.

The boys? They think it's too early to think about Christmas. I, on the other hand, can already smell autumn in the air some mornings, and see the summer winding down. That makes me a little sad, but the span of time from October through to January is my favorite part of the year, so I'm not all that heartbroken. So I'm anticipating things a little this year. I'm not sure how the holidays will work in terms of spending time with my family here and spending time with my family in Jersey. But I think it will work itself out somehow. That part, I'm not worried about.

Anyway, off to work to go daydream about putting my notice in and leaving. Hope your weekend is wonderful!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tour de Failure...

...which is the only clever name I could think of for this post. I know, it's a little punny. But it works better than "uhhhh..." which was my other option (feel free to make fun of me, just do it when you're pretty sure i'm not listening, eh?). What can I say, I feel a little brain dead.

It's been damn near a month since I last posted, and I have met precisely none of my stated goals. I have finished less than one sock (i turned the heel and ran out of steam.), and posted... Well, we won't discuss the lack of posting. But I have a reason, friends. The reason is work. I know, I know, that is my eternal reason for everything that is wrong in the world.

But it's not just my stupid job, it's my search for a job that is less stupid. I have been sending our resumes, filling out applications, and bribing voodoo priestesses to try and find a better gig. There seems to be a lack of jobs about, though. At least, there is a lack of jobs that fit my criteria, since I'm not really willing to take a huge pay cut (or even a wee one, really. i like to pay rent, it's much better than living in my car), work the swing shift, or deal drugs. However, there is hope. A local car dealership really, really reallllllllly wants me to work for them. The hours are better, with Sundays off each week, it's even closer to home (who thought someone who drives eleven miles each way would ever be able to say that?) I would finally have a dress code instead of a uniform (i could wear a different colored shirt every single day, and nobody would care! i could wear a skirt! i feel faint, better not even contemplate shoes...), and it would be much easier to fit classes into my schedule around work (the other big perk is that i don't feel so dumb imagining putting my two weeks notice in. actually, i savor every delicious, imaginary moment). The only problem is, the manager at this dealership really wants me to sell cars. The thought of selling cars has never even crossed my mind. I'm not entirely sure I'd be good at it. And yet, the thought's a little intriguing. I may actually be good at it. And if I'm not, I can become a salaried employee, rather than working on commission. If I really, truly, completely fail, there is another job available that they want to put me in, but it's mostly driving parts around and selling parts occasionally. I really feel a little overqualified for it, but the idea of a safety net is nice. So, what do you guys think? Could I sell big, shiny pretty things for a living? Is it worth the risk? I could make me some nice money if this pays off. Of course, I could end up making about what I am now, but at that point I haven't really lost anything, true? Or I could discover that I truly hate sales and that Pep Boys was my one true purpose in life, and that they won't take me back for love nor money.

Aside from the job hunt, things are relatively peaceful. The NFL Hall of Fame Game was on tonight, which marks the beginning of the pre-season (i think, maybe), which causes spasms of delight in Jim. Football soon (the american kind, jim hasn't got the attention span for any other type)! Know what that means? So much more knitting time (gotta do something while i pretend to watch the game.) . I mean, bonding time. Yes, lots of time for me and Jim to sit together and bond in front of America's favorite vice.

In other news, Dadumms flies this Saturday. Jim and I both took the day off to drive down and watch him, because it's going to be SO. COOL. to watch Dadumms do something he's always dreamed of. Kate and El have plans, so they can't make it, but I wanted to make sure there was somebody there to cheer Dadumms on. And to take tons of pictures. I'll see if I can get a couple of shots for you guys. If not, maybe I'll convince Jim to take me to see the fuzzies (alpackys, in aussie) and get a couple of shots for you guys. At any rate, it should be a good time. Jim and I are driving down to Atlantic City, New Jersey, the night before and staying at a casino hotel down there, which will make our ride quite a bit shorter come morning. Mr. Jim's Dad gets perks at one of the casinos, so the room should be free or ridiculously cheap. We figure we'll have dinner, play the slots, and relax after work, then head out early in the morning to get to the airport in time.

And that's all the news I have for you all at the moment. I'll keep you apprised of the job situation as I'm able. Thanks for you patience with the complete lack of posting, once things are more stable and I'm less wound-up, we should return to business as usual. That's right, three or maybe even FOUR posts per month!