Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blogtoberfest!

Since I am a follower at heart, I thought I'd give Blogtoberfest a shot this year. It sounds like a good time, and a great way to exercise my writing skills. Plus, I'll be spending some much-needed time with the blog. There might be a facelift in the future. And possibly some interesting bits and bobs. Who knows? It'll be a great adventure!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Writing Sample...

I'm applying for a different position at work. We have what's called a web forum liaison position open. Basically, I would be reading and posting on major Mustang forums, as well as answering technical questions and trying to resolve any issues that people are discussing on the boards. It sounds like an interesting, fun job. And it requires writing, which is something I love to do. The problem is, I need a writing sample. I was thinking of just linking to my blog, but many of my more recent posts have been unpleasantly whiny. Still, I feel like the blog is a good example of my narrative voice, and it gives a great sense of my casual writing style. So, I had a brain storm. If any particular post, however recent or remote, has stuck with you, let me know. You don't have to link to it, I can wander through the archives. But I'd like to offer up a bit of memorable writing for this interview, something different or funny or even dramatic or sad. But really, something that resonated. I would love some feedback, and some suggestions. Meanwhile, I'm going to root through my old college essays and see what I can find that might work.

In other news, my family and my aunts are gathering on Sunday to remember my grandmother. I'm looking forward to the family time, and to the chance to learn about woman who, if Momolla is any indication, was probably pretty neat. I hope your week goes by quickly and smoothly, and that you get a taste of our sunshine.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mourning...

...is a funny thing, sometimes. My grandmother died today. That's the second grandparent this year, and the last one I'm biologically related to. I know my cousins (my mother's sister's children) will be upset by it; they were close to her. Somehow, though, I can't mourn the woman. I hardly knew her. For a variety of reasons, and because of a lot of family drama, we were never close to my mom's parents. I wish, and have wished many times, that this were not so. There will be no funeral, no memorial, no ceremony in my grandmother's honor. She didn't want one; I'm not sure why. So my family and my grandmother's sisters will gather and remember her. I'm looking forward to hearing about her, to learning what she was like. And all the while, I'll feel sad. I will mourn, though it won't be for the woman, but rather, for the relationship we never had.

I'll draw comfort from my Aunt Joan and Aunt Elsie, who I do know and love, and from the knowledge that when I eventually have children, they will know their grandparents. My children will have a gloriously extended family full of love and insanity.

To the grandmother I never really knew. May you rest in peace, and may you leave behind more loved ones to mourn your passing on your next go-round.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dedication...

...this is for Laura (who is stronger than i can even imagine, and whose willingness to love astounds me), for my Aunt Denise (who is going to beat the cancer a second time, dammit.), for Momolla (who can love so strongly and laugh no matter what), for Kate (who is a rock for everyone around her), for El (who has the courage and strength to be herself, always and totally), for Bells (who is brave enough to share her heartbreak and loving enough to comfort others from the midst of it), for Amy-girl (who is simply amazing, and won't be told no), for me (i am never broken), for all of the fabulous strong wome I am surrounded by.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

--Maya Angelou


Because, my darlings, my friends, we rise.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Amazing...

...what a dramatic reduction of stress will do for you. Since I've started the great new job, I have been less frazzled and moody and stressed and angry for no reason. My skin has cleared up (really cleared up, not just relatively-clear-for-me-cleared-up), my hair is softer, and I can actually sleep at night.

That's not to say that it's not stressful, or that it's not work; believe me, it is. But, it's work I can do and then leave here at the end of the day. And I've actually been trained, and there's almost always someone around to answer a question. On the rare occasion that there isn't, and I make a judgment call, if I screw it up, nobody yells. They tell me how to do it better next time and then move on. It's a beautiful thing. And, since customer service is something I am vastly familiar with, it's been pretty easy to slip into the pattern here. I'm trying to learn what I can about the many intricacies of Mustangs, but at this point, all I can do is pick up bits and bobs as I go.

The new schedule has been lovely, too. Granted, I get worn out by Friday. But having two days in a row off is liberating. And we get home and I'm able to do things if I'm motivated enough, so I'm slowly reclaiming the house from the filth and grime that have crept in over the last several months. The house isn't (and, who am i kidding, never will be) perfect, but I'd like to keep it at a level of clean where if I were to have an unexpected visitor, I wouldn't be ashamed. It's a process, and I'm not getting as much help as I would like, but I have come to realize that my choices in this matter are to a)buckle down, clean like a fiend for a few weeks, and then maintain the cleanliness and feel put-upon b) bully, cry, and nag the people I live with into cleaning and pulling their own weight, creating a less-than optimal cleanliness level and large amounts of tension or c)live with the frustration, anger, and guilt that come from having such a pretty house be so gross all the time while we all sit around and moan about how gross it is. It bugs me, but really the first one is the only viable option if I want to stay remotely sane and not be lynched by my housemates. And so, the cleaning goes. And will continue, until I'm comfortable in my home again.

On the crafting front, I am pleased to report that I haven't given up the sticks entirely and moved on. I've been spinning and knitting, albeit slowly. I am working on a Forest Canopy shawl for a friend, having given up on the Adamas pattern. I like it quite a bit, but I wasn't able to get things to add up properly. And my great and mighty stubbornnes has limits. I will only slam my head against a brick wall so many times before I go and look for a new, softer wall to abuse. So the switch has been made, and things are coming along rather well. Turns out I'm not as slow at knitting as I thought, when I set aside the time to knit something. Since I can't knit a pattern and hold a conversation, I've been shutting myself away in the bedroom last night to make sure that I get a certain amount of knitting done each week. The date that I plan to give this shawl away is fast approaching, and I don't want to be standing around with a half-finished shawl.

As far as the spinning goes, I'm finally having some luck with some gorgeous merino. It's dyed in colors that remind me of a sunset, a deep deep scarlet and a dark, hazy blue and a dusky gold color. I'm feeling really proud of myself on this one, and I'm looking forward to spinning up the last of my singles tonight and plying it over the weekend. It'll be a two-ounce skein, probably about a fingering weight. I'm too busy enjoying the colors and the process of spinning to worry about what I'll make with it yet.

That's all the news I have for you today, darlings. It's time to go have lunch. I hope your weekend is sunny and glorious!