Monday, November 30, 2009

Where Did November Go?

I don't seem to remember much of it, but I know it must have happened, because tomorrow is December. Let me see if I can recall a few details. If not, I'll distract you with some pretty pictures, like this one of the scarlet silk I've been spinning. I'm not quite halfway done, because it's slow going. I've discovered that your hands have to be in really good shape to spin silk hankies, or this silk catches on the rough patches on your skin and doesn't spin well.

The new job is going really well, so far as I can tell. We've been running a promotion on one of our forums for most of the month that turned out to be a lot of work for me, but it's been a good experience overall. I'm starting to settle into my job and get the hang of what needs to be done and how best to respond to questions, comments, and gripes on forums. Since I'm representing the company on several fairly large public forums, I have to be casual, yet classy and grammatically correct. It can be a difficult line to walk, but I'm learning. I probably still err towards the formal rather than the casual in my public writing, but that's only when you compare my writing to what a lot of people put up on message boards.

Thanksgiving was especially lovely this year, because I spent it with family, and because it resonated with me. There are so many things I'm thankful for. I try to remember them and remind myself on a regular basis, but it's nice to have a holiday where I can really focus on being thankful for the amazing people, circumstances, and things in my life. Here's hoping I have this much to be grateful for next year. (the three spinning wheels gathered for thanksgiving. momolla, kate, and i all spun together, after dadums adjusted my wheel)

Christmas is right around the corner, and I'm starting to be excited. This weekend, Colleen and I are decorating. This year, I'm putting lights up outside the house, as well as inside. And we're hoping that perhaps the world's ugliest coffee table will be gone. If it isn't, we'll just go with last year's plan and cover it with wrapping paper. We're planning on hosting Christmas dinner up here again this year, and I'm hoping to have as good a time as last year, but with better food. My parents have already bought me a ham for Christmas, and I'm planning on doing some actual baking this year. This is one of my most favorite times of the year, and I'm hoping to make a little magic for my loved ones. This is the handspun I'm most proud of, because it's turned out to be beautiful. I look at it and feel smug, which is probably wrong for a lot of reasons, but the yarn is smooth and the colors are gorgeous and my friend Laura will love this (i won't tell her it will break my hear to part with it).

And hopefully this scarf will make somebody happy come Christmas. It's the first handspun scarf I mentioned forever ago, and I've finally gotten a picture of it. From a distance, it's striped. But if you get right up close and look at it, you can see all the layers of color that it's made up of. It's soft and colorful and drapey and hopefully will be well-loved.

In review:
--November? Where? I haven't seen November! We must have skipped right over it!
--Time flies when you're working overtime and battling a series of minor colds
--Knitting is nice, but finishing things now and again is even nicer
--Things I am thankful for, the short version: health, loved ones, chocolate, books
--The camera that died in August couldn't be fixed, so Jim goaded me into upgrading, and this one is wonderful... So far...

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm Still Here...

...I just gave myself a bit of a break after Blogtoberfest. Regular blogging will now resume. Well, as regular as it ever gets 'round these parts, anyway.

There will not be a lot of status blogs this week, because the rest of my week will be a lot like today. Let me preface this by saying that I started the shinier, newer job full time last week. And my boss was out of town at a major industry event. So there wasn't much for me to do. At all. Like, even less than usual. So I did what I could, then tried to study what I could and pick up as much various assorted information on Mustangs as I was able to. Last week was a good week, though it feels like I didn't actually accomplish anything. This week? Well, this is an ambitious week. This week, we are giving away free t-shirts on one of our forums. I am in charge of giving everybody who pm's me a unique, one-time-use coupon code to make a special t-shirt free.

Now let me just say that I have noted many things about the many forums I am charged with monitoring and tending. One of those things is not the number of active members. So when I was told about this venture Friday night, I did not think too much of it. How hard could it possibly be? Even when one of my co-workers, who helped generate the coupon codes, told me that there were fifty thousand, yes 50, 000 coupon codes and they hoped that would be enough, I was not worried. Surely there wouldn't be that much interest. Surely we wouldn't need that many codes. And besides, they would trickle in a few at a time and I could handle them as I went.

Ha. This is a forum that has over 100, 000 active members. Well over that number. The t-shirt giveaway was announced(at about 1 pm) and within an hour I had a hundred messages to respond to. By the end of the day, I had six hundred and fifty. I only managed to get about one hundred and fifty of those requests filled, and all of those came in during the day, many during regular office hours (which begs the question, don't any of these people have jobs?) and as more people log on and send me messages, there will be more. I'm really sort of dreading opening my e-mail at work tomorrow. I'm still sort of bemused by the magnitude of the response we've received. Though to be honest, it's not so bad. Sure, it's busywork, but it's helpful, and it is my job. And at least it's solid and quantifiable and will make me look good. We'll see if I'm still this positive about it by Friday, eh?

In other news, there has been spinning. Oh, there has been spinning. And some knitting, too. Very soon I will have proudly completed two whole pairs of socks. And a day of reckoning is coming for the socks that will not be named. Oh, it is coming. But let's not think of that. Let's think of the beautiful llamney I spun, that's all thick and warm and soft and maybe a little enthusiastically plied. It will be something for me, I think. Unless somebody falls in love with it, but they would have to offer me a compelling bribe to take it away from me. And then there's the merino that I spun and plied and washed and whacked. It's so pretty that I look at it and can't help but indulge in a little pride. There's purple and blue and the smallest bit of green in it. This has somehow turned out to be a light, slim yarn, probably a fingering weight (i should really find a ruler so i can determine these things). And I have started spinning the scarlet silk. It's not something I can do when I've just been washing dishes, the rough spots on my fingers stick too much, or right after I've put lotion on, which makes drafting practically impossible. But it is something that I can sit down and do for a while after work or before bed. This silk is spinning so prettily that I look at it and just want to giggle a little for the sheer joy of it. Having said that, the whole rest of the batch is going to be a ruin. Ah, well. Sometimes all you can do is tempt fate.

Momolla and Dadumms came up for dinner yesterday to celebrate Jim's birthday. Jim's parents were supposed to come, too, but there were some difficulties and they couldn't make it. So we had a lovely beef stew dinner. I prefer chicken soup, but Jim requested the stew, and I sort of winged it. It turned out pretty well, I used a couple of bottles of beer to cook the beef in and that gave it a nice flavor. It also gave me a good starting point for the broth.

In review:
--It's going to be a long, busy week at work.
--By Friday, I will never again want to hear the words 'free t-shirt'
--My parents came up for a visit, it was great to see them
--I have finished two skeins of yarn, started a third batch, and done some knitting
--Very soon, I will officially have knitted two full pairs of socks. No, really. Honest!
--I have been roped into knitting another ugly camo scarf, because I have a soft spot for people who admire my handiwork

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Blogtoberfest Wrap-up...'s been a fun month, all things considered. I skipped a couple of days, I think, but I managed to post much, much more frequently than usual. That's a habit I'd like to keep, especially now that I have a regular schedule and have been doing things I can actually discuss without sounding angry and bitter all the time. There have been guest blogs (which might happen more than once a year, if i can coerce anybody else into doing my work for me) and a style update. The best part, though, has been keeping up with you guys every day. I won't lie, I do check my blog list every day. I may not comment all the time, but I read every entry because I love the windows they give me into so many different lives. In the end, knitting and spinning are hobbies to me. They're wonderful, and I enjoy them a lot. But stories and words are my real passion, and I love getting lost in someone else's words for a little while. I love being able to share my words, too, and to write my own story in my own voice. It's my hope that you enjoy reading these stories. Someone once told me (way back in the days when myspace was cool and i actually maintained a blog there) that I was one of the most genuine people she knew. I'd say that was always my intent, but it never crossed my mind to be other than I am, or to pretend about my life. Things are not always perfect, and mine has been a particularly twisting journey. But it's always been a real journey, without any sugar-coating or any beautifying. That is one thing I hope will never change.

Today was Halloween, and we ended up having about eight trick-or-treaters. Since we still have a huge bowl of candy, this doesn't make me too sad, but I was hoping for more. Still, I think we'll have a reputation next year, and maybe we'll see some more kids. Halloween used to be one of my very favorite hoidays. When we were younger, my family would head to my Aunt Joan's house, meet up with my Aunt Elsie and maybe one of my cousins, and go wander the neighborhood for a few hours. We always came home to an amazing lasagne dinner, and then the candy swap began. We would always trade away the candy we didn't like, and try to get as much good stuff as possible. I thought that we weren't doing it this year, since my Aunt Joan hasn't hosted Halloween dinner in a few years, but apparently my mom's brother and sister-in-law ended up hosting. I didn't find this out until it was actually going on and I was told I was missed, so I contented myself with killing zombies with Colleen for a few hours. We're very much looking forward to the sequel to our zombie-killing game, which comes out in a few weeks.

In review:
--We had more trick-or-treaters than last year, but still not a lot
--Lots of leftover candy for me!
--I miss being a part of the family Halloween celebrations
--Blogtoberfest was pretty awesome!
--Daylight savings time does something weird tonight, so I get an extra hour to sleep. It'll be days before I'm adjusted to the way the light shifts now.