Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fevered Blogging...

..because I've had a relapse of the Stomach Ebola that's been going around lately, and it hit me with a vengeance this time around. I'm freezing and fevered and hurty and miserable, which everyone knows are the best blogging conditions around.

I've been feeling pretty defeated the last week or so. I don't need to give you guys a huge account of my personal trials (though heaven knows i always do) but things are tight and I am afraid. I have faith things will get better and that we'll be all right. I'm just not sure what's going to happen between now and the mystical "eventually." Cross your fingers for me, it's starting to look like arson and murder are pretty good options, compared to some of the other ones I'm looking at.

So I've been self medicating to keep myself going. No worries, I'm not abusing drugs or alcohol or even yarn. Goodness knows I couldn't stomach the drugs or alcohol at this point, anyway. But I've been listening to a lot of songs that make me feel hopeful and strong and like I can handle my life. They help, mostly. I've also been reading and spinning and knitting. It helps to take my mind off of the things I can't control too much. Pretty soon, I should have a couple of finished objects to show you guys. One or two of them have been in the making for a while now (but the socks that shall not be named are not on that list. we're still not actually on speaking terms. and i may have mislaid the pattern. again.), thanks to my many issues with finishing things.

Know what my favorite way to cope with feeling like this is? I look right at Jim and ask him to tell me one good thing. "I love you," while true and sweet and wonderful, is considered a cop-out. Sometimes, I play the game with myself. And right now seems like a good opportunity. I'll even throw in a couple of extras. One good thing: I still have a (relatively) warm house to live in. Two good things: we still have food, even if it's ramen and frozen non-brand pizza. Three good things: Jim and I are probably going to get free tickets to the Philadelphia Auto Show, so we can probably keep our annual date. Four good things: it's going to be almost warm tomorrow.

Okay. So, there are good things going on. I may have to reach for them, but they're there. I'm still stressing out over a lot of things, but I think that, so long as I have a home to come to every day and my man and my family, I'm doing all right.

"If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
and useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won't be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
for light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know,
but they're not yours they are my own
but they're not yours they are my own
and I am never broken" --jewel

I am never broken.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Freezing in a Winter Wonderland...

...because it's supposed to snow, and be icy, right up until Friday. Ah, the magic of a Pennsylvania winter. I remember when snow was fun, way back before I had to scrape three inches of it off my car before work every day. At least it's pretty.

Still no pictures for you all, I have to install my new camera software on my computer. The camera is one gift I forgot to mention, but my new little Nikon takes pretty good pictures. The flash is still making my yarn look like it's made of fairy dust with all the sparkle and shine, but it's been much too dark to go without one.

I'm still working on spinning my second round of singles so I can ply something and make real yarn. It's sloooooow going, because I still can't get my flyer (the part that holds the bobbin) to refrain from, well, flying. It likes to launch itself across the room and is driving me to distraction. Every time I get a good rhythm going, the wheel humbles me. We're working on some modifications that might make my life a little easier, I'll let you all know as they develop.

I've decided to take part in the Brown Bag Sock club, but in a limited capacity (i am such a follower when something sounds fun.). I have six yarns to draw from, and a couple of patterns in mind. For my first batch, I ended up with some incredible yarn from the Knittery. Delicious stuff, a gift from the fabulous Australian Fiber Fairies a while back. I think I'll spread the love and give the socks as a gift. I even have someone in mind. The yarn is probably the softest, most luxurious stuff I've knitted with to date (it's a cashmere, merino blend. mmmm, soft and wonderful and soft.) and it tends to behave itself pretty well. I'm wrangling the yarn into Spring Forward socks. The pattern's easy to follow and looks pretty great with the yarn. My only concern is the amount of fiber I have to work with. If I calculate it by yardage, I'm set. The weight's a little less than what's recommended. So, I'm going to wing it. and pray. Let's not discuss the WIP pile. Sometimes, you just need to start something new. It gives you a sense of hope and potential.

Speaking of hope and potential, Jim has finally been laid off from his job. We knew it was coming, his company's been talking about it for months now. They laid off a pretty big selection of people, right up to their upper-level managers. So now Jim's back on the market for a job. He's been really optimistic and upbeat, all things considered. He's got his hooks out, as he says, and we're both crossing our fingers and hoping he'll be back in a decent job soon. I'm still in the market, myself, since it's gotten to the point where I can't afford to work at Pep Boys any longer. They switched us over to commission pay a while back, and since we're a poor, underperforming store, I am making a big chunk less than I used to. This wouldn't be so bad, normally, since I'd be leaning on Jim a little. But, well, he's going to be leaning on me some. So, the quest for a new job has become a bit more urgent. I'm following some leads and crossing my fingers and thinking good thoughts. And if that doesn't work, I'll just start killing people in jobs that I'd like to apply for. Gotta up your chances any way you can, right?

And that's all the news that isn't from Rofo, as all the young kids call it. I'll be checking back in soon, hopefully with pictures. Hope your week is warm, dry, and calm.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Post-Holidays Wrap-up

Goodness, I've somehow managed to miss a month between entries again. It's been an eventful month, that's for sure.

Christmas Eve was spent decorating our tree here before Jim and I headed to Jersey to decorate the tree at Momolla and Daddum's place. There was warmth and laughter and cookies and the wrapping of many presents and then we all went to bed. Jim and I slept next to the tree all night, which was pretty cool. Christmas morning came, and as usual, I had to drag my family out of bed to see all the pretty presents and to have some fun. I even waited til dawn this year, I've no idea why they're always so grumpy.

Christmas morning was lovely, Santa was almost as good to us as we were to each other. Jim got the monitor he'd been begging for, and I got some amazing presents. Jim got me a spinning wheel! The rest of my family pitched in and bought me rovings and pretty fibers to play with and as soon as everyone had opened their gifts and there was even a little room, we started putting the wheel together. Without a picture. Or directions. It was an adventure, and eventually I left Jim and Daddums to figure it out together, since it made them so happy to have something to play with.

We eventually packed up and headed for home to spend some time with Jim's family. We hosted Christmas dinner this year, and because of our crazy work schedules and such, we didn't manage to get to the store to pick up most of our supplies. Of course, not a single grocery store was open on Christmas Day at all. I figured we'd still be all right, Jim's parents were bringing us a ham, at least. And oh, they brought us a ham. A Krakus ham. In a can. Now, forgive me dear readers for this, but I was horrified. I'd never even seen a real canned ham before. I had no idea how to cook it or what to do and so I might maybe have possibly been just the tiniest bit freaked out. Internally. It was still good of Jim's parents to bring us food. They're good folk, and I didn't want to be offensive. So, we had a pre-packaged Christmas meal. Between the canned ham, the canned beans, the boxes mac and cheese, and the canned corn, there was plenty to go around, though. And the meal was spent with people we love, so all in all, I guess that's one for the win column.

New Year's Eve was rather less than exciting. I stayed home and went to bed around eleven thirty because my boss decided that I wasn't allowed to take the week and some off that I'd requested a month ago. Why, I'm not sure; she gave me a bunch of lame excuses. So instead of going out or even celebrating at home, I went to bed feeling sorry for myself (i can't be noble and optimistic all the time) because Jim was in Jersey with friends having fun. I got through the night, and the day, though, and was told (through a text message, no less), that I could have the next several days off. I had to call my boss's boss to get this to happen, but hey a win's a win, right?

I spent last week sending out resumes and filling out applications online. I also had dinner with my parents twice, hosted dinner for various people twice, did a little knitting, found an awesome, huge bookstore not too far away, slept, went to a funeral for a friend's grandmother, and played with my wheel. Once it's not incredibly cloudy and gloomy and there's some decent light, I'll post a picture of the wheel for you. Maybe the crap I've been spinning, too, though my first batch of crap was used as cat toys. Mirri doesn't usually play with anything, but she loves the handspun yarn for some reason. And the wheel. She rubs up on the wheel whenever I sit down at it. And when I'm not there, she's sitting right next to it. She's just so damned weird.

And there you have it, folks. How I spent my winter vacation, an essay by Emily. I did some thinking and decided not to make any resolutions this year. Mostly, they don't stick. And I have my 101 in 1001, which I need to review and update. The only thing I would add or change at this point is to be kinder, both to myself and to the people around me. There's really not enough kindness out there right now, with everyone so uncertain and afraid of the economy and the future. This is the time when we need to band together and be good to ourselves and good to one another, and I think that's doable. And it needs to start here, now, with me.

There's not exactly a lot of knitting news to share at the moment, I've been absorbed with spinning, and learning the many things that can go wrong. Bells recently mentioned that she spun for an hour and a half the other day and forgot to take a break. I spin every day, but I have no idea what it's like to get that kind of wheel time in. See, my wheel lets me know when I need a break. She either snaps the yarn that binds her treadle to the driveshaft (i have a tendency to use automotive terms in reference to parts of my wheel, and it amuses momolla) or she launches the flyer across the room for no reason. My personal favorite, though, is when she slips the yarn off the hooks on the flyer and instead of winding onto the bobbin, it winds onto the shaft of the flyer instead and then ends up so tightly stuck I have no alternative but to cut it and spend lots of time swearing. It's been a learning process, it really has. I have the treadling motion down pretty well, and I'm starting to be able to spin while I treadle instead of parking and drafting, so that's good. The whole doing one thing with the feet while doing something else with the hands routine is not unfamiliar, so I think I'm starting with an advantage. Colleen says spinning looks peaceful. I defy her to sit behind the wheel and tell me that. Even once I got the motions down, peace didn't enter into the equation, just a kind of fierce concentration. Ah, well. It'll come eventually.

Sorry for the hugenormous post, guess I was feeling like chatting more than I thought. Time to go eat and get ready for work again. I hope your day and the rest of your week are peaceful and productive.