Monday, March 27, 2006
So, numerous other tests are being run, to see if it comes from eating cat poop, or is fungal, or lymphoma. Whee. $400 out the door on that. I also have to get a chest X-ray done later in the week. I sure hope one of the tests comes up with something, because I don't know if I can do a $500 cat scan, which would be next. Once we find out what the issue is, we "get" to decide what to do about her eyes. The glaucoma medication is really expensive, so they recommend removing the eyes rather than putting them on that for 5 more years of life at a hundred dollars a month. Of course, if she has cancer and will die soon, we would do the meds so she would not be in pain for her last few months. Isn't this a cheery post?
I am feeling uncomfortable posting about myself here, so will be starting a new blog soon. I'll just hate to lost the archives! I'll let you know when that happens, so anyone who wants to read stuff from me, and won't broadcast it to the entire earth, can have the URL.
Note from May 3, I changed my mind and have decided to keep the blog here. If it bothers you, let me know directly rather than reporting it to others, thanks!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
I promised some folks I'd report on my yesterday afternoon activity, so here we go. I have included a sentimental photo of what my office at work used to look like, in honor of today's topic.
I had my first "job interview" in nearly 20 years yesterday. I got tired of sending out resumes and cover letters, which doesn't seem to work too well, and called a head hunter type company recommended by a friend. They called me in and I talked to a lovely woman who had only been there three days--the dude I had originally talked to was having an allergy attack (oak pollen turning the world yellow here). This lady was his new boss, and quite nice, so I had a fairly good time talking to her, but I was uncharacteristically nervous. Usually I am just NOT bothered by these things and have a nice little chat.
But, it's amazing what a few years of negativity can do for one's self confidence and self esteem. I got some positive energy from some nice email friends, though, which helped remind me of my strengths, and we ended up having some good discussions about enjoying one's work, finding a place that fit well, and my favorite, not having a long commute, LOL. In other words, this woman was pretty realistic, and it sounds like they won't just try to plop me anywhere.
When I was driving home, I got all sorts of stomach cramps and nervous crap, but I did fine in the meeting. I kept thinking, wow, wish I could work in a building with an elevator and nice shiny walls. I realize that excitement would die off quickly. I do like telecommuting. Heck, I like my current job, a LOT, and am sort of resentful at being forced out! But, that's neither here nor there, what must be done must be done to pay the bills and all that.
In any case, friends, I did OK and have a wee bit of hope for finding something to do that won't totally sacrifice my principles and turn me into a corporate clone, and hope is rare these days around here. I am envisioning me, surrounded by nice, interesting people, working on projects that are useful to the world, and making enough money to have savings. And with reasonable health insurance. Heck, in the Bush-led USA that is really a dream. My realistic image is me in a single-wide with all my books in a metal storage bin. But as long as I have the kids and yarn, I will be OK. And I do have enough sock yarn to get through a long income drought.
In good news, the lacrosse JV team won against the scary private school team with many large, tall players on it. I missed half the game, so I am sure the coach is not pleased with me not being there to keep score, but I had to earn money knitting.
Suna, I am proud of you! You went out and did something that was very difficult for you at this particular time! I am supremely confident that something perfect will come up for you. And if not ... there is room for a single-wide at my new house :)!
Thursday, March 23, 2006 12:37:00 PM
Oh boy, we really COULD start that commune of like-minded folks!
Thursday, March 23, 2006 1:08:00 PM
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
In an indirect brush with fame, I got my first published knitting credit recently, thanks for helping test knit some felted bags for the yarn shop's friend, Nora. We gave as much feedback as possible, and the finished patterns turned out beautiful! We each got patterns for the new bag line as thanks, which was sweet. Here is a photo of the bag I made, a Majolica bag (if you buy a copy, look for me on the back!). These were my first felted flowers. I think the centers look nice with the fuzzy stamen effect.
I just got photos in of a few finished products, so I will be posting them in the next few days.
After much thought, I decided to keep my blog. It is MY blog after all, so I will just be me on it.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
It's hard to know where to start. So, here is my peace fleece sock on 000 needles that took me forever, because I made so many things while working on it. I am certainly glad to have this pair done and ready to wear. I have actually already finished one of a pair of Cascade Fixation "Pretty Comfy Socks" with a short-row heel--unfortunately I figured out how to make the heel look right AFTER that one is done, so the second one will look better. Learning experience. And now I can help DianeS with hers if she ever shows up to get the help (hee hee, just kidding you, Diane).
I woke up this morning, realized I go back to work again tomorrow, and immediately went into a huge "funk." I am finding it SO hard to let go of projects I once worked on, and to sit on the sidelines while the technology and system I worked so hard to set up gets all muddled up by a group I am not a part of...I am all for new blood, new ideas and new technology, but it sure would integrate more smoothly if someone who knew the current system were also involved. Oh well, I seem to have done something that has made me a persona non grata, so I will keep working on the life lesson of "letting go," and try to get rid of this knot in my stomach by concentrating on the stuff I CAN still participate in. And will contact those head hunters I learned about tomorrow!! I just have to make myself stop liking my job, but it's a hard habit to break. And when I stop thinking about work, I start thinking about what furniture and stuff I will have to get rid of when I am forced to move from this house to something much smaller due to financial constraints. Cheery, eh?
In less whiny and feeling-sorry-for-yourself news, I had two really busy days on Friday and Saturday. I really enjoyed teaching knitting all week, and getting the yarn store ready for its big one-year anniversary. Then, on St. Patrick's Day, the store closed early, and I went to the frightfully busy downtown Austin for a visit to Mother Eagan's Irish Pub, where a celtic celebration was going on. I went with a yarn shop friend and her daughter, and we couldn't have had a more pleasant time. It was also nice to get to know them better--making new friends is rare for me, so I really appreciate it. There was a very talented fellow who played Irish accordion, which I don't think I have heard live since being actually IN Ireland--seem to remember it in a pub near Galway somewhere. When he played the airs, I practically cried. Plus we got to see pipers and drummers, some cloggers who tried to be celtic (knew one of those from former church), and the highlight, of course, was the yarn shop owner doing Irish dance. They have a teenage boy in their troupe who is nationally ranked, and it looked like he could jump into the sky. Pretty impressive for a local show! After enjoying delicious beer and watching our fill of people in funny green outfits, we went to the famous Katz's deli, and saw the actual Katz. I signed the Kinky Friedman for Governor petition, just because I think diversity is GOOD.
I truly enjoyed working at the yarn shop anniversary event yesterday, too.
The best news of all is that my children made it back from their paternal visit, all in one piece. I just can't get used to being away from them. But, I'm glad they had a good visit, and am ready to get back into the school/band/lacrosse grind!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I wish my networking were going better. I know that sending out resumes and perky cover letters is not the best way to get a job these days. Of course, in the back of my mind I wish I could just be treated respectfully and be allowed to do my current job as best I can, at an income level I can live on, but that doesn't seem to be the plan. Another colleague's job was eliminated in the latest budget cuts, and they announced it yesterday. Makes me sick to my stomach. The Titanic has just lurched again, and I can't find the lifeboats.
Well, I had planned to talk about something more interesting--why I am having such trouble in correspondence with an old, close friend, catching up on what has happened to me in the last 15 years or so. Why am I embarrassed at how I have ended up unable to really support the family, with a partner who can't help, and in a job that's imploding? I think I just feel bad that someone who appeared to be intelligent and to have good prospects has done such a dismal job of making ends meet. I couldn't manage to pick a decent partner who'd stay with me and support me and the children, , I couldn't find a job that provided training so I could stay current, and supported my projects, and...oh, I don't know. I am whining, and I had promised not to whine in the blog. I guess I just don't feel good about myself, and right now, who could blame me? Of course it's the exact WRONG time to be feeling bad about myself--I need to market my good points and convince people I can do a good job in a high-paying position. Yum.
It doesn't help that my partner is more depressed than usual, too, and with his lack of income and zillion reasons why not to do it, he can't/won't seek help.
I am, however, really happy my old friend from my former life showed up again. I'd hated losing him when he ran off to hide in a submarine.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Lots more, hoping for plenty of time this evening for typing, as I am supposedly on vacation. I will now go vacate.
I'll be keeping Gwynnie and her eyes (and her people) in my thoughts. It's so hard on us when our beloved pets are sick!(I'm gonna get to your comments on my blog later today. I promise!)
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 11:23:00 AM
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Today we went to the Interactive part of South by Southwest, where at the Exhibit Hall I met some folks I'd like to explore working with in the future, and learned about some interesting tools that might work for my current job and some of my clients, as well. Quite worth the $7 parking fee that mortified Jeff! Networking is fun. I also joined the Electronic Frontier Foundationbecause they seem to be doing good work, plus I got a cool t-shirt about supporting bloggers' rights.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Last night, as I mentioned yesterday, I went to a concert. I volunteer for the Live Oak Coffeehouse Concert series. Right now I am one of the ticket-takers and do set up. I met my partner at one of these concerts, so it's special to me! I thought I'd share a photo of last night's featured performer, John Flynn, in action on the stage (thanks to Jon M. for the photo). It was awfully darned nice of him to do the wmen in the audience a favor and take off his jacket so we could see his sleeveless shirt.
It's too bad not many people came, because he had some really moving songs (in a liberal folkie peacenik way), and told some interesting stories about his life and spiritual journey. I really like it when people talk about that kind of thing--how they pray/meditate/interact with their deities and such. He had three huge boulders moved to his house from a meditation space he once frequented, for example. Just interesting to me. On the other hand, Jeff thought he was a bit heavy handed in his social messages and was hitting us over the head telling us to be nice to each other and embrace peace. I guess I don't mind so much when someone is making a strong point I believe in, too!
Speaking of sharing spiritual journeys, before I got back to blogging I enjoyed another one of those. I like to watch late night television (it's about the only TV I watch, while I do my knitting). I love the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, then I head over and watch the end of Letterman and the show with Craig Ferguson. I am very fond of Craig, for a lot of reasons. One is he takes risks with the genre and does some things differently (some work, some don't). And another is that his monologues are not highly scripted--he knows what he's going to talk about, but then just takes off. And finally, he does not erect a huge barrier between himself and the audience like Carson, Letterman, Leno and those folks have mostly done (Letterman occasionally lets something through, like when he had the heart issue, and when his child was born). He is open about his alcohol issues, his marriage issues, his rough childhood, etc.
So, about a month or so ago, Craig Ferguson's father died. The Monday afterward, Craig did his show as scheduled, which surprised me. But he came on, all serious and wearing a tie, and just talked about his dad. Did a wake kind of thing, sharing stories, laughing a bit, crying a bit--just like anyone with a fresh loss would do. Then, as his first guest, he had on an addiction specialist who had been on the show before, and the therapist asked Craig some really interesting questions about his experience. The part I liked the best was when he asked Craig if he had any spiritual beliefs that were helping him along. And Craig pretty much said, "no"! He then talked about his history with religion, what he did and didn't believe, and it was quite genuine and rang true. His next guest was a really lovely woman, John Ritter's widow (ack, can't remember her name). She also talked to him about spirituality, and how it affected her when her husband died--and she also admitted she didn't get much from organized religion. Well, this was so refreshing to hear, and so courageous of both of them to admit, on national television in the USA of today, that they didn't exactly have the belief system of the "moral majority" folks. It was the most uplifting show I saw in ages, even if it was a wake, and Craig was rightfully sad.
I think if more of us agnostics, atheists, seekers and such spoke up about how our nontraditional beliefs comfort us or serve us well, it would be a good thing. OK, I am off my soapbox now. Note, of course, that I firmly believe everyone should choose the belief system that works best for them. If only more others returned that favor!
Friday, March 10, 2006
I had promised a photo of this "summer" dog sweater, so here it is, on a rather frightened looking toy greyhound, the kind of dog who, I guess, in Michigan or somewhere cool, MIGHT want a summer dog sweater. I can't tell you what yarn this is made from, since the yarn store owner kept the labels for inventory purposes. It's a store sample, and that's good, because I don't think either of my dogs would wear it, even though it's cute enough, I guess! It was fun taking a sweater from a book and turning it into something different altogether. The original was a very nice fair isle pattern (which I still would like to make sometime). I crocheted the legs, rather than knitting them, since ribbing in the fuzzy yarn really was more trouble than it was worth.
What I am working on right now is rather humbling, as I have managed to mess up a predominantly stockinet stitch sweater twice. First, I could blame the instructions for not being clear about how they wanted stitches slipped. I was glad there was a sample sweater at the yarn shop so I could look at how the cute little edge pattern was supposed to look, because it is WEIRD (this is the sweater I linked to a few days ago, if you want to see it, Cindy from Berocco). Then, I made it to the simple, plain stockinet section, which should be pretty boring, and I managed to mess up slipping the first stitch of the row (forgot I was slipping the LAST stitch and working the FIRST stitch in the row) and made an ugly hole, which I didn't see until I had knitted 6 rows. Sigh. That is what I get for trying to knit in the dark while watching a movie. Well, some day I will finish this thing.
Dealing with some work stress--every day wondering what new announcement will come. Today's announcement was particularly icky, as I will be losing one of my favorite coworkers soon. And there is more to come on Monday, oh boy! So, think of me on that. At least there is a coffeehouse concert tonight, so I will see some of my friends (you can read about the concerts at http://www.liveoakuu.org/coffee/ ). And a wonderful friend who does podcasting will be in town for the South by Southwest event that is here this week. But, this is the last weekend before spring break, and I am a bit concerned that the kids will have trouble flying--it will be their first time flying without unaccompanied minor status--Kynan is 15 now and considered an "adult" by the airlines. Yow.
I am taking off from work next week, which will be a nice stress relief, I hope. Between the dog and the latest work thing, I am having anxiety symptoms (love those chest pains).
Any news about Gwynnie?
Friday, March 10, 2006 6:34:00 PM
We take Gwynnie to the doggie eye doctor on Monday (it's on Metric somewhere). We have not received word back on her blood tests yet, though the vet promised to let us know. She seems to do better sometimes and worse others, like it is reattaching and detaching. That has to be even MORE confusing.
Thursday, March 9, 2006
Poor Gwynnie. It was not a fun trip to the vet, though she traveled well in her crate and did not spew hair all over my new-ish car. But, she walked into a post and hurt her eye a bit, and it was so sad to see her not knowing there were steps to go up to the building. The vet looked at G's eyes and said the retinas looked "bad," like they had detached. Said it is really weird that BOTH were detached. They checked for glaucoma and high blood pressure, likely causes, but she doesn't have those. And we are pretty sure she has not been hit on the head hard enough to damage her eyes--there is no evidence of it, anyway. She's never away from us except in the back yard!
Anyway, it is pretty sad. We are taking her to the fancy doggie eye doctor on Monday, the soonest we could get her in. In the meantime, I talk to her and guide her to places, but she seems to be getting around better and better by smell and sound. Poor dear.
To cheer you (and me) up, here is a picture of our other dog, Scrunchy, from last night, when he fell asleep with his head on a stuffed pig. He is somewhat porcine, himself, so we enjoyed this sight a lot. At the time, Gwynnie was hiding under my bed, after somehow making her way up the stairs. We carried her back down.
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
The pug (Scrunchy) is fine, but even he seems a bit worried, subdued, etc. There is much less running around and barking than there was this time last week. The cat is happy as heck that Gwynn is not after him every time he dares walk through the downstairs in the house.
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Yes, I finally made a blog for the yarn shop I do the website of and teach some classes at. About time! Feel free to visit--we hope to add lots more content as time goes on.
I can't believe I never posted a picture of this sweater I made last fall. It is the cover sweater from the Fall 2005 Vogue Knitting, done in blues--Lorna's Laces worsted weight. I am showing the back view because it is so pretty. The whole thing is a big circle, with space for the arms. You can wear it as a shorter sweater by turning it upside down, in which case it has a big collar.
Other than working, today (enjoying seeing some projects coming together and moving forward!), I have been thinking a lot about attitudes, and how hard it is to change them, but how nice it is when you finally do. I've read this before, but firmly believe it is true that sometimes people stick with what they are used to, even when it actually isn't good for them, just because they are more comfortable with the familiar. That includes relationships, jobs, social groups--and even attitudes. Sometimes it is easier to just keep feeling attached to someone or something, even if it is doing you no good!
Lately I feel like a butterfly who had to have its chrysalis opened with a sledgehammer, which felt awful, but feels much better now that it is flying around in all the colors and light!
Monday, March 6, 2006
Hello, I have been having a heck of a time starting this post (things I clicked on kept loading into the "picture upload" window and canceling it--duh), but here I am another year older and a couple of decades wiser, at least in my perceptions. I am 48 years old today, and glad for the chance to perhaps stick around for another year. I was thinking about birthday lessons I have learned, and thought I'd share, along with sharing a close-up of the pattern from the vest I am wearing in the scowling photo from a couple of entries ago (I have a happier photo to share later).
One lesson for me is that, if you want to have a good time, you are responsible for making that happen. I realized that if I sat around and stewed and moped, and never mentioned birthdays to the family, I would be guaranteed a dismal couple of days of additional feeling sorry for myself, as if I have not done enough of that lately!! So, on the spur of the moment, I told my friend M. that she could invite people to her house last night for a potluck. I am so glad I did. I was really missing my friends from my former church community, and it was so nice to get together with some of them and just talk--no pressure of "doing" some event--just laughing and talking. And we talked about doing more things in the future, and made some plans for other get-togethers. I think everyone was happy for a chance to see each other socially, too. More than one person commented on how you get all busy and then put off nurturing your friendships for far too long. And that is so true! Since I am on my church "sabbatical," it is up to ME to create opportunities to see my friends!
And I did, too. Last week I had three lunches with people from the former church, which were great networking and fun, too. It's always nice to lunch with G., because we give each other so many insights into our issues and flaws--it's like free counseling. And I am back to helping one of the ministers with his website, and that is nice. He will be doing "podcasting" soon (after YEARS of being ahead of his time and sharing MP3s of his radio show!!). I'll link to that when it is more ready to share. I plan to schedule more lunches and opportunities to "hang out" with friends soon. Yes, really, I will.
Another lesson I have learned is that there still ARE kind and generous people out there. When I look only at the negative aspects of my work or former church community, I tend to forget that, when really it IS a balance. Creepy people are balanced out by kind, generous and loving people. The kindness of the yarn shop staff, customers and owners is a great example. They celebrated my birthday so sweetly yesterday, with a hilarious portrait of me (which I MUST scan, as it was accurate down to my gray hair in the front of my head), my favorite lemon cake from the HEB grocery (if you live in Texas you really should try their lemon cake), and wonderful gifts, including things I had expected to pay for. I got yarn, beautiful Noro Silver Thaw (color 5 on the page linked) that I had only JUST been wishing I could see or touch a sample of--the woman who picked it is truly the "Yarn Whisperer," as they call her. Plus a really snazzy electronic row counter that I had intended to pay for, and a gift certificate. I did not let that certificate burn a hole in my yarn bag--I knew exactly what I wanted to make and what yarn I wanted, as it was a project I had reluctantly decided was not in my future due to the pay cut. I will be making this silky sweater in red. The yarn is incredibly soft but also shows stitch details beautifully. So, if I ever stop making store samples, that one will be next, for spring.* Anyway, the kindness of these women, whom I have only known a year or so, really touched me.
I am getting e-cards and emails from random folks, got a couple of really kind cards (one hilarious one from a friend in North Carolina that said: "This is not the exact location at which I stand, neither is it the place I wish to be. How fortunate, then, that I'm elsewhere" -- must go in my .sig) and my dad called last night, so I am feeling very loved--now to hold on to that feeling. I wish I could do a better job on people's birthdays, I need to put them all in my outlook calendar so they will also be in Plammy the Pam Pilot, my best electronic pal.
Tomorrow I will provide a link to a special CD project, and then I hope to share yet another dog sweater best worn by a toy dog...stay tuned, and thanks for all the wishes!!
*Of course, it IS spring here, and my front yard looks prettier than usual, with the redbud tree and the prostate rosemary both blooming, in pink and blue. Too bad the recent drought means it won't be a good year for bluebonnets or other wildflowers.
It is great to listen to while you work, and is also wonderful for helping you relax, meditate or get to sleep. I would think it would be an ideal CD to play in massage therapy places or for doulas and birth attendants to use with their clients. If you know of anyone who might find the CD useful in their work, please share the link to the CD!
This is Jeff's first new CD in a long time, and he is proud of how well it came out. The sound quality is superb if you have a fancy sound system to listen to it on! We hope he will soon also have a new CD in his more usual singer-songwriter/'>singer-songwriter vein, but we'll be happy to sell you one of those. I'll have them in the shopping cart soon, but if you want a singing CD, just write that in the comment box on the order form and he will get back to you on it.
Thank you for reading my commercial!!
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
I thought a lot about perseverance last night. [I have deleted this story, sorry.]
On one of my email lists a woman just praised me for finally deciding it was time to "let go" of something that has been dear to me for a very long time. It was something I cared so much about that I put a lot of myself into it, and worked so hard to do my part to help it succeed. Recently, I finally hit the point where I realized it wasn't going to work, and through no fault of my own, this Titanic is traveling through a field of icebergs and is sinking fast. And this email list woman is right in being happy for me--I do feel an incredibly lightened stress level, and don't feel so "guilty" thinking about new projects and priorities. I am someone who sticks with commitments and is perhaps overly loyal, so it is painfully difficult to let go of something I have committed to. But unlike learning socks, sticking this will not bring me years of pleasure and beauty, but will continue to provide me with more unpleasant "growth opportunities" and lessons in dealing with disappointment. SIGH.
In happier news, the photo for today is the fru-fru dog sweater I made as a store sample. I am now, get this, making a "summer" dog sweater. It has a lovely fluffy border. Oh yeah, I am sure a REAL dog would just LOVE these fluffy things. But, humans will just eat them up, I bet!
Hooray for you and your shift to a new phase of your life. Your friends are here rooting for you in all aspects of this adventure.In the meanwhile, are you gonna share the pattern for this adorable doggie sweater?! Maddy would just LOVE to sport one around town.XOXO
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 4:16:00 PM
Sorry to hear about the income drop! But congrats on taking it so well.Wish we could stay in better touch. But know that I think of you often and other friends are asking how you're doing. I'm glad you're blogging again (and I won't spread it around!).DianeS
Thursday, March 02, 2006 4:17:00 PM
Hey Stephanie and Diane. The dog sweater is the cover sweater from the book "Knitting for Dogs," by Kristi Porter. The toy dog does remind me of your precious puppy, Stephanie, and it is EASY, so you could do it! Just wait until I post the summer sweater, which is on a larger toy greyhound. I find it a bit scary, but ladies love it and are all clamoring for a dog sweater class. OK, fine.Diane, we have to get the yarn group going better. Karen and I talked about taking it back to people's houses and soon. Of course, you and I could try to actually do lunch or something.
Sunday, March 05, 2006 1:26:00 PM
Yay! Suna is blogging again!I am proud of the work you have done to get to this point. You had a very rough week last week and are doing a remarkable job caring for yourself!Happy belated b-day.
Monday, March 06, 2006 11:53:00 AM