Monday, December 27, 2010

What a Day!

I'm sitting home this evening. I got up at 3 am today to take Mr. W and myself to the Denver airport, expecting to catch a flight to South Carolina to meet up with family. We went through security quickly, got to the gate, and got on the plane smoothly. Then we waited. Fifteen minutes. 30 minutes. Then the captain gets on and tells us we'll have to deplane because there something wrong with one of the engines.

So we get off, and I know that we are now going to miss our connection in Atlanta. Since I'm in the back of the plane, it takes forever to get off, and we find ourselves toward the back of the long line that has formed at the ticket counter, with a measly 2 agents rebooking people. I get about halfway through that line (in 1.5 hours) and then they need to use the gate for another flight, so they tell us to go over to the customer assistance desk, which is close by, but I can't hear anything, because I'm at the back of the line. So I end up toward the end of that line, and wait another 2 hours to get a flight, not to Charleston, but to Columbia, where I can then rent a car and drive the 95 miles. Mr W is a mess at this point, he's still fighting a cold, so he's coughing, and tired, and cranky. He couldn't seem to get past the fact that we did our end of the deal, we showed up on time and got on that plane.

So I've arranged to have us fly to Columbia. Then they delay the initial flight one more time, and that idea is gone. I go back and wait another 20 minutes and they say they can fly us to Atlanta tonight, put us up at their expense, and get us on a plane to Columbia tomorrow morning. That was just too many concessions on my part, I thought, so they ended up rebooking us for Wednesday. I was stymied: there is no way I can get to my destination, despite having paid $960 for two tickets and being at the airport at 5:30 this morning.

I need to look at the tickets again, I have a feeling we have a long layover in Atlanta, but oh well. By the time I've waited in line that long, my brain was all mushy and I just wanted for it to end. We left the airport about 9 hours after we got there, and immediately took a nap when we got home. I couldn't stop saying, "unbelievable!", although in my mind it was "un-f*ing-believable!!!!". Mr W's still sleeping, and I thought I'd get up so I could sleep tonight. I suspect he'll be able to sleep through.

This has been the wackiest family visit effort ever. Both of my sisters in law have injured one of their knees in the last week and are on crutches. My dad was going to come down on his way to Florida, but erred on the side of caution and is taking another route, so we won't see him. I will say this much: it makes me appreciate when things run as they should, and I won't take those times for granted. I was actually thinking after Thanksgiving that my travel had been surprisingly smooth for a long time. It was bound to happen.

So, the dog's in the kennel, we'll figure out something to do tomorrow, and we'll give it another go on Wednesday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Is there a polite way...

As Christmas approaches, I think a lot of us sort of take stock of what we're thankful for, and perhaps get a little more time to think about things in general. That's been me the last couple of days, for sure.

It's going on three years that I have written about bits of my life in this blog. I appreciate that you have read it, and if you've commented, thanks for that too. It strikes me, though, as still a rather one-way form of communication. To that end, I am curious. Who reads my words? Is there a polite way to ask people who read but don't comment to write a comment to kind of introduce themselves? I feel goofy about asking, yet interested. Of course, feel free to not say anything.

We're going to go to church this evening, and then have nothing really scheduled for tomorrow, except I'm going to make cinnamon rolls and spaghetti and meatballs, and we'll go for a little hike. I thought to myself, "I wonder if this is the last Christmas when I'm planning to color my hair that evening because I've got nothing else going on." Yes, the search for Mr. Right has been on my mind a lot lately. I was downtown shopping on Tuesday and saw couples having fun shopping, where the man was engaged and paying attention to the woman, and it made me hopeful and also struck me as so odd, as though it has been so long since I've been the recipient of that, that I have forgotten how it feels. Boo hoo, poor me. I'll stop right there with that train of thought.

I have so much. I am lucky to be here now, doing pretty much what I want to do. I hope you and yours have a good holiday.

image from here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Pumpkin

I have this to say about longevity. I took this picture yesterday, after setting this pumpkin out on the table for the squirrels as an early Christmas present. Where did I get this pumpkin? This is one of the two pumpkins I harvested from my garden. In August. I carved one for Halloween, and the other, this one (I'm kind of embarrassed to say) has been sitting on my table since then. The fact that I can have a pumpkin sit around on my table for that long without anyone mentioning it or complaining about it is one of the nice things about living alone.

Isn't it amazing that it would last this long? I was going to carve it, but didn't get around to it. Then I was going to bake it, but reasoned that there probably wouldn't be much of the good stuff, as this is a carving pumpkin, not a pie pumpkin. So it sat. And sat. When I finally got around to picking it up, I wasn't sure if the bottom would drop out, but it looks the very same as when it was picked. I was surprised it didn't rot.

So, bon apetit, squirrels. And Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Week Rainbow



There was a magnificent rainbow on display this morning as I took Mr W to his day care. These pictures are (obviously) taken from my car. It was a screamer of a rainbow, too. Its ends brightened and faded, but it spent a lot of time being a whole rainbow. Mr W and I agreed that it was very cool to see the rainbow in front of the foothills.

In other news, I had a tech come out and look at a problem we've been having on a piece of equipment. "Been having" as in this is the third time its happened and my frustration at not being able to do my work was obvious. Also, I was annoyed that we have a new company servicing this equipment, instead of the people that manufactured the thing. My hopes were not high for this visit, and he was taking forEVER.

And you know what? I think he sussed out what the problem was, and furthermore, it's probably something I was doing. Damn!! The thing's got a cover that flips up and down and you're supposed to turn these screws to get everything tightened down. Lo and behold, I have not been tightening the screws enough, and we think that's led to the thing not working right. So it's not something that needed to be fixed per se, but rather an adjustment on my part. We wouldn't have figured it out unless the guy was as thorough as he was. I'm looking forward to getting up and running on this machine again.

Thinking about Christmas


I was thinking the other day how this is shaping up to be a good Christmas. I'm sure I'll feel the loss of loved ones at some point in the celebrating; it seems to sneak up on me at these family-oriented times. Aside from the finding-Mr.-Right-for-me thing, I'm pleased with my life.

Along the lines of appreciating what I have, I ran across this post from the blog of the radio show On Being, with Krista Tippett. She's got it going on, and explores topics that for whatever reason really resonate with me. In general, she interviews people who are religious without saying they are, you know? People who are living their values, and people who are thinkers about that kind of thing.

So, the link is about something called a devotional exercise this last week before Christmas. It has WONDERFUL poems, which really resonated with me, like this one by Derek Walcott:

“Love after Love”
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


There's a little exercise for each day this week. I think it's worth reading the poems if nothing else.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sick Day

Mr. W is home sick this morning, so I am home as well. I suppose there's never a good time to take time off of work. I've got a bunch of stuff to do at work today, so mulled over making him go to school anyway. But he's got a slight fever, which means he might be infectious, and I hate the idea of parents sending sick kids to school for the parent's own convenience.

I'm lucky to have a pretty healthy kid. He's not been prone to getting many colds, which I think sometimes makes him a fussy patient when he is feeling poorly (just not used to the idea). We're sitting here watching episodes of Star Wars Clone Wars (fyi: the general is the bad guy - just sayin'). I'll take Mr. W's temperature again at lunch time, and we'll see if he can do the afternoon at school. If not, that's OK.

Meanwhile, I plan to do some cooking, and... I don't know what else. I'll need to go to the office later (kids under 16 aren't allowed in the labs at work) to submit my time card. Knowing me, I'll need to feel like I "got something done" today. Maybe I'll get the garbage disposer installed...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bob

I spend probably too much time on Facebook. It's been great fun for me to get back in touch with old friends, and is useful for keeping in touch with family. One thing FB does is to tell you when your friends' birthdays are. Today there was a little notice saying I had two friends with birthdays. It is the birthday of my graduate advisor, the person responsible for getting me into graduate school this last time. She definitely took a chance on me, and I am grateful for that.

It's also the birthday of another influential person, Bob. If I hadn't met Bob when I was a senior in college, looking for a Biology class to fill one more requirement, I might not have even pursued a PhD. It's funny how you meet people in life who, as you look back, you see that your life went in a particular direction after that.

I enrolled in a course called Animal Behavior. Bob was in this class, as was a guy named Phil, and the three of us were education majors. We often worked together, and these two non-traditional students really opened my eyes to some possibilities in life. They had both returned to school to finish their degrees, and had lived some. I was a 22 year old inertia-driven student who wasn't so sure she wanted to jump right into a teaching job after she got done with her degree.

Bob was/is passionate about the outdoors: nature, photography, the environment. Passionate. Discussions with him led to my going to graduate school (the first time) to study the behavior of juvenile bald eagles. He put in a good word for me when I applied for a summer job where he worked, and later I got a full time job at this same park. Working at that park led me to the desire to return to school to study native plant genetics, which I eventually did do for my PhD. He was the best man in my wedding, as he and the x were quite close, and we and Bob and his wonderful wife Denise did a lot of fun stuff when we lived in that part of the world. Yup, Bob was a big influence.

So, Happy Birthday, Bob. I wish you many more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In my best interest

I've been thinking lately about the things I have learned from the people I have dated since I was divorced. The list is long, and I think it is probably inevitable that we learn things about life and ourselves from the people we come in contact with in our lives. Introspection is a tricky thing with me, though. If I spend too long on it, it's not helpful, but if I do it right, I get these little bursts of insight from time to time.

Last spring I met B online and we dated for a few months. B is very athletic, and I wanted to be more like that. It was a great summer for going camping again, and hiking more often. I rafted for the first time in decades, and mountain biked for the first time. The best part was that it started to occur to me that I might like to go hiking on my own. Well, with the dog, who LOVES to hike, especially if there's water. That was an important bit of it, that the thought came to me saying I might want to get up early and walk for a few hours to get out and enjoy the scenery, work my body, exercise my dog, etc.

On a related note, my brother and SIL include Spin classes in their exercise routine, and now I do the same. I can't say as I've HAD an exercise routine in a long time, maybe ever, but for some reason, maybe that Mr. W is easy to bring along, and the time of the class is right, I've done it for the last 6 weeks, and hope to keep doing it. I've even, as I mentioned the other day, gotten a third day of exercise in by going back to the gym.

Also, did you see the story on a study that suggested (although they don't know the mechanism) that a daily aspirin, started at around age 45, showed promise in preventing certain types of cancer? That's a little fuzzy, but enough for me to have bought a bottle of aspirin, and I now take one alongside my vitamin and fish oil capsules.

So what is my motivation here? I often feel like I'm being pursued by the same early death that claimed my mom and sister. Doing what I can to live a healthy life goes a long way in easing my mind that I gave it my best shot. But this exercise stuff, I must tell you, makes me feel good. Simple as that. When I am finished, I am composed, even-keeled, I just feel good. So far, that has been a big part of the motivation to make the time to exercise, I'm just a little bummed out that it took so long for me to realize it. I'm glad it wasn't too late for me to realize the benefits.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Temporary Setback

There I was, minding my own business last night, when I was beset upon by a bout of food poisoning. After a lovely day, I ended up with a frequently-interrupted night's sleep, after which I got up for a bit, drank some water, and went back to bed for another couple of hours. The dog was looking at me oddly, but is supportive in her Sally-ish way. Staying close.

Thank the gods for Immodium. I know there's times when you don't want to use it, but after the offending food is, um, gone, it makes a big difference. It's a weird feeling, having this happen when I'm by myself. On the one hand, I don't really want anyone around, but on the other, it'd be nice to wring some sympathy out of a supportive partner. I know I could have called someone if it came to that. Heck, I could have driven myself to the ER if necessary.

Today I feel better. I ate a small bowl of cereal, and am sipping on some coffee, here at almost noon, and things seem to be staying put in a good way. I need to cook a meal for some folks at church, and it is (I'm so sorry to report to the people east of here that read the blog) going to be 50 and sunny today, so would like to take Sally out for a short hike, if I feel up to it. Otherwise, I think it's a pull-out-the-knitting and take it easy sort of day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Great Disposer Replacement - Update

Well, the thing is in my house. And I did go back to the hardware store where the very helpful clerk got me set up with lots of plastic pipe.

But I have not started.

You know what I did today? I had a really great day - no regrets.

I went to the gym and worked out, which is unheard of for me - I hope it's the start of a trend. How have I gone so long in my adult life without realizing the mental/emotional benefits of moderately strenuous exercise a few times a week? It's like no one told me, although really it's that I wasn't listening. I've been taking Spin classes twice a week, and the goal is to do a third day of working out on the elliptical rider.

I attended a clinic on beginning snowshoeing at our local REI. Who knew there was enough to talk about to fill an hour and a half? Very interesting, and they rent shoes and poles, so that is definitely on my list to try this winter.

And I had lunch with dear friend D, and we did a little shopping and had coffee, too. I got home, took the dog to the dog park, went to the library, and THEN went to the hardware store. I sort of felt bad that I didn't get to it today, but who cares? There's no one lined up to use the sink, so I'll give it a go tomorrow.

Do no harm

I'm not all that good at home repair or improvement projects. I'll figure out some kind of band-aid type fix for as long as I can, and then maybe try to fix it, or have someone come in. Case in point is my kitchen sink. For the last, oh, I don't know, maybe year, it's been leaking. My solution? Put a pan under the leak, which gets emptied daily. Somewhere along this time, the disposal stopped working, so I've been trying to not let any food go down that sink. The other day, the sink faucet seems to have developed a slow leak.

I guess it's time to do something about this. I've looked at the plumbing book from the library, and it doesn't look too hard to replace an existing disposal. I'll get some washers to fix the leaky faucet today, and have to replace the part under the sink that's leaking too. I went to Home Depot last night, thinking two things: 1) nothing shouts "I'm single!" like going to HD by yourself on a Friday night, and 2) there should be ample help around, because no one shops on Friday nights. Well, I managed to walk in the store, find the disposals, pick one out, and pay for my purchase with the self-check register, all without one HD employee talking to me. Not one.

After I finished, I went up to the girl who was staffing the self-check registers and told her this, and she said, "I'm so sorry! Can we help you?" And I said, "No, I'm going to go to Ace now, and get the rest of the parts I need. You people need to circulate more instead of standing around talking."

So I went to Ace, which is closer to my house anyway, and the nice older guy sold me a kit, which doesn't quite work, but I'll go back today and get the right pieces. Wish me luck, I'll post pictures and hopefully get this done today. In a flash of brilliance, I remembered I should wash the sinkful of dishes BEFORE I get started, just in case this takes a couple of days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tis the $eason

We had our company Christmas party last night. Although I work for the CDC, I'm a contractor, and so the contracting company is technically my employer. The food was good, the drinks flowed, and it was fun to chat with people. I had Mr W that night, so I didn't really think twice about bringing him with me. And he was content to read for an hour, and when the food still wasn't there, play games on my phone until the food got there and again after people had finished. All told, he sat there for three hours.

Now some people will argue that seeing kids play with electronic devices is somehow proof that "kids these days" can't sit down and have dinner with a bunch of grown ups. I'd counter that, in Mr W's case, he could, but he doesn't have to, he's got the device, so why not let him use it?

After we were done with dinner, the head of the company got up and said some words about how the year was, and how much they appreciated our work, and that sort of thing. He and the other two people from the company passed out a few awards, and then he got on this train of thought about how having a supportive spouse or partner really is the thing makes it possible for us all to do a good job. I was politely listening up to this point, but heard this, and turned to my friend and said quietly, "I disagree, strongly". I don't think he meant anything by his remarks, they were just off the cuff, but geez.

So he sits back down and we finish our dessert (cheesecake with bits of white chocolate in it, btw) and he says, from the head of the table, "I've never seen a boy behave so well at one of these things, so here is $50 to wish you a Merry Christmas", and hands my kid a $50 bill. Mr W looked up as soon as he started speaking, and at first didn't get it, but then stood up, took the money, and said thank you. He kept looking at me, saying, "Really?". I was surprised too, and told him that on our way out, I wanted him to go up to the guy, look him in the eye, shake his hand and say thank you again. And Mr W did, without hesitation, and I that makes me really proud of him. I'll take my mommy taxes of 10% to savings and 5% to charity, but he's still got a hefty chunk of fun money, and the possible ways to spend it will keep him occupied for a few days.

In other news, I did take my profile down on Match, and am taking a break. Going to turn my attention outward, to interact with real people. Not sure what I'm going to do this weekend, there's lots of holiday stuff going on, and Mr W's with his dad. I'm tempted to go down to the botanic garden in Denver and see the lights there, as Mr W would be ho-hum about it, and I think I'd really enjoy it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Huh?

To enlighten those of you lucky dogs who are already in a relationship and aren't familiar with the workings of Match.com, I will share the following humorous anecdote. And, I am a little envious of you, btw. OK, so on the site, if you are a paying member, you can send and receive emails, and also see who has taken a look at your profile. It is that last feature of Match that I think is so addictive - "who's viewed me?"

Everyone, though, can "wink" for free. The way it works is that if I (and I don't use winks, I'd rather show I'm interested by risking whatever and sending an email) find someone attractive, then I can wink at them. This tells them I'm interested, and then supposedly (hopefully?) he emails back and we live happily ever after.

So, I've gotten a few winks, some from people who haven't even looked at my profile. But I got a wink from a guy yesterday, who is local, and wrote a good profile. Maybe this wasn't the right way to go, but I sent him an email whose subject line was "winks are lame!". The email itself was one sentence: "I challenge you to write a haiku about the holidays, instead".

My thinking was that if this person would take the challenge, then for sure he'd be someone I'd at least like to have coffee with. Yes, it was a bit sassy, and maybe pushy. He responded only a couple of minutes later, which is unusual for the way it works on Match. His response was:

"Sorry, I don't speak Japanese"

OK, he surprised me on that one, and I still don't know if he was serious or not. His profile has several pictures of dirt bikes and snow mobiles, and is it possible that someone would not know what a haiku was? But he knew it was Japanese. Your thoughts?

*Sigh* I'm ready to take a bit of a break from Match. A week, I think. I did email someone yesterday, who seems really interesting, but has one big red flag for me (he's trying to quit smoking). But, I haven't heard anything, and he can email even if I take my profile down. The thought of being given a break from Match has made me a little excited, so it's probably time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ahem

OK, so yesterday's post was a necessary cathartic and I'm doing much better this morning, thanks. I guess I will leave it up for a while, although it embarrasses me a little. The last part, though, I meant. My cheap two-cents' worth pop psychology is that this guy is simply not ready. He's not over his divorce.

Moving on, then.

I did some Christmas shopping last night, online of course. Mr W made a list that says, in two places, "other things". To his credit, the kid has perused several catalogs and checked off his picks for his awesome aunties, and may be experiencing some list fatigue. So, I've taken a little bit of liberty with his list. This has not always gone well in the past.

Suffice it to say that I've purchased some "educational" toys that were less than hits. That's OK, I think that gift giving should be kind of a two way thing, in that it's OK to buy things you think the recipient would like. The recipient isn't obligated to love the gift, though.

Anyway, I did buy his most-asked-for item about a week ago, and it's been delivered. When I said the name of it, "Bakugan Draganoid Colossus", the ladies at the dog park (none of whom have 9 year old boys) made me repeat it several times.

Here's where I have strayed off the list. Below, see the more engineering-sort of Lego set, from the Technic series. They're supposed to be more realistic in terms of pistons and gears and such. We'll see how he likes it.


These are Snap Circuits. There are a bunch of projects that involve the kid putting the pieces in the right order to make things like a doorbell, AM radio, etc.

Those are from the geek-mom in me. I'm always a sucker for an educational toy. I'm about done, but was dismayed that the video game I was waiting to buy, is sold out for the moment, and I hope I can get it before Christmas. I was waiting for an Amazon gift card to come in the mail, and in that time, the game sold out. Grrr.

Anyway, today's a better day - fresh start and that sort of thing. Work has been wacky, but that's another post.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Timing

To the guy I had coffee with on Saturday:

Well, it's been two days and change now, and although you asked if you could keep emailing me, and I said yes AND gave you my phone number, I've not heard bupkiss from you. Darn it, too, because I've been thinking for the last two days how we had some potential, and that you were someone I'd like to get to know better.

Alas, there's been no communication. Part of me hates leaving it in the guy's hands, but that's kind of how this ritual works, and I'm usually OK with that because it lets you either show you're interested or not. But next time? Next time you engage in this exciting, sometimes anxiety-provoking, uncomfortable process of trying to meet a new partner, would you please either be interested or be not interested?

Don't waste my valuable time by dribbling out your attention until it falls to nothing. I will not chase you when you throw me scraps; that defeats the purpose.

I got a clue when I emailed you and you said you "had been swamped". Oh my, yes. So busy. Well, of course, meeting an exciting new person pales in comparison to working, getting your car fixed and the day to day drudgery that life often dishes up, doesn't it? It takes so long to write the two or three sentences you graced me with per email. Saying you've been busy is the lamest excuse for not bothering to communicate. Ever. Don't use it, OK? Grow a pair and just say you don't think it's a good match.

And, to quote the words I use when I'm not interested, "I wish you the best of luck in your search".
LindaCO

PS Here's what I told myself this morning:

One of these days, a man will walk, literally, or figuratively, into my life. I will be amazed when I talk to this man and find out all the things we have in common. I will smack my forehead repeatedly when I think about how this person and I are such a great fit in terms of temperament, goals, and lifestyle. I will bore my friends with tales about how much this man "gets" me. How he laughs at my jokes, is incredibly handsome and witty, loves his family, takes pride in his job, and how we can talk for hours about all sorts of things. I will get down on my knees and thank the powers that be for sending this person into my life, as I have never felt a love so deep and generous before. We'll build a life together, surrounded by friends and family, and together become this other thing, this thing that is more than the sum of our parts. That, THAT, Mr. Coffee Shop man, is what I am talking about.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This year's tree

My holiday decorating is nothing to write home about, really. My sister's family has all the ornaments I grew up with, and the x kept all the ornaments from when we were married because his aunt made them. That first Christmas that I was on my own (the divorce becoming final a scant 9 days before Christmas) I bought a bunch of cheap plastic snowflakes, and a bunch of those satin ball ornaments for my tree. That was pretty much all that was on the tree that year, besides lights.

But I hit the after-Christmas sales that year for ornaments, and have done this most years since. Paying $3 is a lot more palatable to me than $6, and there's usually a few things that catch my eye, although by the time I get to the stores, things have been picked over pretty good. Over time, the proportion of snowflakes and satin balls has gone down relative to the ornaments I have purchased myself.

If I had to, I don't think I could name more than a third of what I have wrapped up carefully in tissue paper. So when I unwrapped each one today, I said something like "Oh, I love this one!". It was like they were new again. It's important for me to have a tree, and with it establish some kind of holiday constancy for Mr W, even if we don't have many other Christmas traditions. That is, unless you count the tradition of him saying, "is (name of a gift that he wants) in this package?" And I always give an emphatic YES! Then I tell him it's pretty much all socks, underwear, and pajamas (the Christmas gift trifecta) so he should be grateful for what he gets. Actually, I do tell him that last part, even if he's not thrilled with the present, he has to say thanks.

In other news, my coffee date went well. He made me laugh, and although I can't remember about exactly what, I'd sure like to see him again. We had some common ground in terms of the kind of work we do, and he's got kids, and some other stuff as well. Way too soon to tell anything, but it was good to get out and meet someone nice. I've gotten more emails this time around on Match, and none of them were people that I thought I would be a good fit with.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Little Circs

Disclaimer: This post contains a bunch of knitspeak.

I started these at the airport when I was traveling for Thanksgiving. The yarn came from Michael's or Hobby Lobby, and I wasn't sure if I'd like it, especially when I started the ribbing at the top. It was a bit splitty and a bit fuzzy, but for a plain stockinette sock (no pattern; CO 60 sts on a 1 1/2 needle), it is just fine. Can't beat the price, which I think was about $4-5 a ball.

You'll notice that these are knit on a 9" circular. They take a bit of getting used to, as they are pretty small in your hands. However, you can FLY on a plain stockinette sock. I think that if I had to do lots of ribbing, or anything with a chart in the pattern, these would not be the needle to use; double pointed needles would be necessary. But I love how I can just go and go on these, and the sock appears. I did have to use dpns on the heel flap, and then went back to the circular needle after I had decreased back down to 60 sts.

In other news, I'm supposed to meet someone new tomorrow, that I met on Match. Our communication has been sporadic, and I don't have any strong feelings either way on what I want, so we'll see how it goes. He seems like a good guy, has kids, is local, is even a lab geek like myself.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Here and gone - Now with captions!

No time to write right now, but here are some photos from my recent trip to MN. I had a wonderful time and am really blessed.

Here's the table. It ALWAYS looks nice and really sets the mood for a good experience.


Here's the crowd. My brother and SIL are on the right, and a couple of their friends were there as well. There were also two dogs, who, unlike my sassy-pants dog, totally left the people food alone. See that coffee table? There was food on it ALL NIGHT! My dog would have made a run for the appetizers within the first five minutes of them being set down. We gotta work on that.

Aren't these adorable? Cream cheese, and other savory stuff, rolled in paprika. Delightful!

OK, on second glance, this isn't as appetizing as I thought it would be, but there is the duck confit in the back, and it was amazing! If you ever have the opportunity to try confit, take it!

And this was about how I felt the entire time I was there. Cozy, warm, happy. The goodbye was almost totally balanced by the fact that I'll see J and M again after Christmas, this time at my other brother and SIL's house. We'll have us a time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In that place

Happy Thanksgiving from snowy Minnesota! I squeaked in as the rain was turning to snow, and am now happily having coffee and chatting about matters big and small with some of my favorite people.

I miss my dog!! I miss my kid, too, but I know he's doing something that is still part of his routine. Sally will be fine, but taking her to the kennel Tuesday made me realize how much I've grown attached to her in this year of traveling less (since I'm not traveling for a long distance relationship).

My brother and SIL are teachers, so it's always good to get their perspective on things. Mr W's been doing so-so work in school lately, and it's food for thought whether the system is serving him, or promoting the "we'll feed you this, you spit it back out" model of education. That's another post, but something I'm thinking about.

We are having turkey, scalloped carrots, spuds, stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, and something my brother is very excited about - Duck Confit. Duck simmered in duck fat - wow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Go ahead, scan me

Tomorrow at this time, I'll be on my way to the airport to fly to MN to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and SIL. I'm going to bring my knitting, breathe deeply, and try to be patient on the busiest travel day of the year.

I'm not bringing my computer, so may or may not post anything here. I wanted to wish everyone who reads this little blog a happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you get to spend the day the way you really want to.

Gobble, gobble, gobble.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Proper tools

Here is my Liesl sweater, on the blocking board. The sweater's been done for a couple of weeks, and I've been looking around at thrift stores and kids' consignment stores for some of these foam tiles to use for blocking. I didn't have any luck, and finally just ordered these from Knitpicks. They were $20, stack into 1 square foot pieces, and there's nine of them.

What a difference the right tool makes. I have an old carpet remnant in the basement I had used in the past, and it just didn't work like this. I could use some longer pins, but the little ones I had are fine. I'm a little disappointed that the sweater is taking so long to dry (I should have given it a spin in the dryer when it was rolled in its towel), but it will be dry in plenty of time to wear it when I travel to MN on Wednesday.

I have extolled the virtues of this sweater before, but I love this sweater!! I love how it is knit with thick yarn, on big needles, and has a simple construction. I didn't even put button holes on; I'll buy a dark brown ribbon and tie it closed at the top. I'm going to knit another one this winter yet. If you've never knit a sweater, I would highly recommend this one.

The sun's out today - I simply MUST rake leaves. I've consoled myself with the idea that I'll just rake them onto a tarp (no bagging, which I hate) and make a leaf compost pile in the corner of the yard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Tribe


I have an old friend who apparently saves a lot of stuff, and the right stuff too, because he scanned a couple of contact sheets from 1983 and put them on Facebook the other day. He's a friend of the family, he and my brother have been friends since second grade, and I've been friends with his sister forever as well. I was over at their mom's house a few Christmases ago and he said, "Wait here", while he went down into her basement and got (he's an artist) a painting he did of me around the same time. I now have several "Jimmys" and think it's cool to own original art. I'll post pictures of them one of these days.

The above picture is of his sister, our friend Jordan, and myself at Edgewater park in downtown Cleveland. For the life of me, I only vaguely remember this trip, but there I am. Without sunglasses, because you didn't need them in Ohio as much as you do in Colorado. Anyway, there's a couple of things that this picture made me think about.

I got more than a little nostalgic for those times. For the last couple of years of high school and the first year of college, I was part of a tribe. A group of people with whom it was just assumed I would get together with on the weekends, and we'd do all sorts of stuff. Artsy stuff, outside stuff, city stuff. It made me yearn hard for those days when I was part of something like that. Nowadays, I guess you could say my tribe is scattered. I count myself lucky to have several close friends and a wonderful family that I love dearly. But it's not quite the same, where the tribe was more than the sum of its parts, local, and active. It makes me want to cultivate a new tribe, or at least expand my local circle of interesting friends, beyond the few close friends I've made/kept after my divorce.

The other thing that struck me about this picture was that I wasn't fat. Our view of ourselves is so subjective. My recollection was that I was chunkier at that time. Now, I look at myself in the picture and see that I could have toned and tightened up, but that I wasn't as heavy as I thought I was. After all this time, my thought was something like, "I'm OK, why have I spent so much time worrying about how fat I feel?" I don't worry so much anymore, I think it's an effect of being in my mid-40's and FINALLY just accepting this particular balance between eating and activity.

Musing about this picture comes at a good time. I'm leaving for MN in a few days to spend time with some of my favorite people, and that always recharges my emotional batteries so I feel like I can take on anything. I feel blessed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This and That

There's a metaphor here somewhere. Something about being able to thrive outside one's comfort zone or something like that. These are some Black Eyed Susans that volunteered to be alongside my garden this summer. The one has an interesting double flowered-ness to it that I liked. I think BES are some of my favorite flowers - so hardy, long lasting, beautiful.

As I've mentioned, we are approaching holiday travel and I'm making trips for both Thanksgiving and after Christmas. Mr W and I will be together from Christmas Eve through New Years, so that will be nice. He'll appreciate not having to be in the all-day day care that is available for folks that have to work. I'll put up my little Charlie Brown tree and some lights in front of the house and am looking forward to that.

Air travel is expensive. And added to it is that I need to board Sally when I go away. She does fine, although she'll hesitate that third time she's got to go in at the end of December. I feel bad, but I'm not going to not travel because of my dog, who has a pretty cushy existence otherwise. For whatever reason, flying from Denver to South Carolina has always been expensive, and there are simply no direct flights available.

I knew this when I started looking for tickets, and ended up paying a lot, but we'll fly at something like 9 am instead of 6 am. As it is a 90 minute trip to the airport in the best weather, having to get to the airport at 4 am is a big deal. We'll have all of our stuff in two carry-ons, and I've chosen seats towards the back of the plane to ensure that there will be room in the overhead bins for our stuff.

And the best bit? My brother and SIL chipped in toward our tickets. I just got the check, and am so grateful. It makes a big difference, and I didn't have to ask for the money; they just sent it. A class act, those two.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shiny Things

With the weather turning cooler, it's time to pull out the winter coats. I have an old down parka for when it's below 20 degrees or so, and then my Bemidji Woolen Mills man-jacket that my brother and SIL gave me last year for the rest of the time.

I love that coat. It's warm and retro and I like that I can add my own touches, like a hand-knit scarf. When I was in my late teens- early twenties, I had a thing for vintage and retro clothing. I (much to my mother's chagrin) wore a wool overcoat that belonged to a friend's grandfather as my winter coat, and collected some pins to make it a little snazzier. I found the pins the other day, and they are shown above.

All of them are pretty beat up, and were that way when I came across them. But they have a charm to them that I still really like. I'm going to pick one or two and put them on my man-jacket.

In other news, I've been on match.com and am (already) going to back away a little bit. My profile's been up for a couple of weeks, and I've been, well, kind of obsessive about seeing who has viewed it. This drains me, and I don't know why I fixate on it, so I'm leaving the profile up, but not going to check on the site for a few days. That sounds so trivial, but there you go.

I forget how many people (single men and otherwise) I meet during the course of a day. Yesterday, I took Sally out to the foothills trail that we've been hiking the last few weekends. There were probably a dozen people also out on the trail that day, many with dogs, and I said hello to all of them. It's good for me to remember this.

Also yesterday, I visited with a friend who just got a new puppy. She's had a bunch of stuff going on in her life right now, like having her old dog die suddenly, and the visit left me feeling like I've got NOTHING to complain about, thank you very much. But I did think about how, yes, I still want and need to find a partner for the next chapter of my life. I'm trying to live my life well in the meantime. Balance.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Current knitting

I started this little scarf to have something to wrap around my neck to ward off the chill. It's called the One Row Lace scarf (the link is to a Ravelry page). It's going pretty fast, which is good because I've got a bit of holiday knitting to do. Not much, but a few things that I'm fairly certain will be appreciated.

It's going to be a good Saturday. Going out to lunch with my former MIL, on the hunt for some good thrift store items, cooking (cookies, soup, chili), and we'll see what else happens. We've got some snow on the ground, and it's some of our first wintery weather we've had yet this season.

Another video



Here's another video. This one is about sound, which isn't something I think about a lot, but my lab is noisy, and I do use headphones. The speaker mentions that a significant portion of teens have sustained permanent hearing loss because of the use of head phones.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why? Because it's Thursday night



People in their mid-40's or so that watched Sesame Street might remember this one. I still remember how I was a little taken aback by the audacity of the guy in the middle. I have my grade-school friend Priscilla to thank for this gem.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gearing up

I realized yesterday that I'm going to be taking three trips by plane before the end of the year. I am excited, as two are family trips and the third is work training that I'm interested in. Too bad I have to board the dog for those times. I'm a fan of traveling light, and won't check bags for any of these trips, including the last one, where Mr W and I will fly to South Carolina to meet up with my siblings and maybe my dad after Christmas. I remember when Mr W was small, which was back in the day before they charged so much to check a bag, we'd pack him a suitcase of toys that would get checked.

Nowadays, he's got his hand-held electronic thing-a-ma-bob, and can go for a loooonnnggg time without food, drink or restroom breaks. It's the perfect travel accessory, really. But he does get squirrelly if he's on it for too long, so I'll bring some other things for him to do as well. I thought perhaps we'd make a trip to the local library, so he could get some books. And he'll have Christmas gifts to open there as well.

I'm still thinking I want to try to go to Europe next summer. I think that I want to start in London, and visit Paris and maybe Amsterdam. In 10 days - two weeks. Must read more about it.

Lately, it's been easy for me to appreciate how lucky I am in this life. I feel like the kid who just ditched her training wheels and is DOING it. After being divorced for almost 5 years now, it's high time, but as my SIL says, "you sometimes have to do your emotional work before you can move on to the next thing". The prospect of being alone used to really scare me. Now I've sort of shifted it, so that I'm alone at the moment, but not forever. It's a difference in perspective, but it works for me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another good weekend

I had another good weekend. OK, this isn't really news, as none of them totally suck, but the last two weekends have felt quite good. Productive. Pleasant. I think the difference is that I've not been as anxious about the end of the relationship with B and the fact that the search is on again. That book really helped.

Mr W, his friend and I went to the the Free Day at the Denver Zoo yesterday. It was fun, but way too crowded and I'll happily pay to get in next time on a less crowded day. It was a nice day, though, and we did see some good stuff.

This situation caused a bit of anxiety for Mr W. These are two molting peacocks, with the zoo train bearing down slowly on them. Mr W was quite concerned that they were going to get hit by the train. So much so that we couldn't leave until the train had passed. From my perspective, the train and the birds do this all the time, so they know to get out of the way. From his perspective, those poor birds were going to get hit! You should have seen the look on the face of the conductor; he had a loooonnnnggg way to go before his shift was over and he was not about to slow down for a couple of stupid birds.

The peacocks got out of the way, but the train missed the one by about a foot as it went by, so they got closer than I thought they would.

We caught the sea lion show, and I actually got a decent picture of the action.

And there were babies! I've heard somewhere that babies are what bring people to zoos. These were 10' tall babies, but you get the idea. I liked how the giraffes were close and easy to see. They are such odd creatures. We also saw tiger cubs.

All in all a good day.

On Saturday, Mr W's dad asked if he could come over for a dinner they were having because a couple of his cousins were in town. My former MIL was there, and I've known these cousins for 20 years, so I looked forward to saying hello briefly when I dropped him off. They are all such gracious people, and were likewise pleased to see me. It was a little weird to also have the x's girlfriend there, but good to see these folks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An F.O.

Well, it's really an A.F.O., an Almost Finished Object in knitspeak. This is my Liesl, and I need to block it yet. And of course, weave in all those ends. This has been a quick, easy and satisfying project, and I will likely make another one at some point. The only downside is that I think I may have made this one a little too small. I was one stitch over gauge (14 stitches per 4", versus 13), and thought that would let me make the smaller size. The lace is supposed to relax when it's blocked (where I will soak it in warm water with special no-rinse soap and pin on a foam board to size), so those arms might fit me, but if not, I'll give it away.

In other news, I'm back on match.com. It's not as big of a deal this time, as I'm certain that I have a match out there, he just might not be on match.com. So, I've lurked and looked, and seen that B has already posted his profile (about the same time I posted mine, no hard feelings). Stay tuned, but there's one thing I'll say. I've got NO interest in having coffee with someone who is "Currently Separated". Doesn't that mean one is still married? Yikes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Headless Horseman's Horse


Moments after I took this, she had the hood over her eyes and one of the straps in her mouth. I got my picture, though. Mr W's with his dad, so no pics of him at the moment.

Found it

All's well. I found my camera. I had grabbed it in a hurry and put it in the van in order to take pictures of Sally at the dog park. Duh!!

I'm really glad I didn't accuse, and really glad I don't have to fork over money for a new camera.

Happy trick or treats!

Where's my camera?

My camera seems to have gone missing. I took a picture of Mr W with his Halloween costume on Friday morning, and now I can't find the thing. It stays in my purse, in its case, and when I went to get it this morning, it's not there. Hmm.

I went to a party last night, put my stuff down and didn't really think about it for the two hours I was there. It seems unlikely that someone would have the balls to open up my purse and take the camera, and my wallet was still there.

It's funny how, in my illogical emotional mind, I can't help but think someone at the party STOLE my camera. It reminds me of a video I recently saw on the internet (I'm not even going to link to it, because it's so goofy), where a guy is trying to make the case that an old (1920's old) Charlie Chaplin film shows a woman walking with a cell phone held up to her ear. Yes, a cell phone, so she MUST be a time traveler. His assertion: there's no other explanation; there's nothing else it can be.

I'm trying not to do that, but it's so easy to jump to conclusions. I've sent an email to the host of the party and was very careful not to sound accusatory. I hope I did just misplace it, instead of worrying that one of those nice people at the party took my stuff. But now I'll be more careful. It's a good thing it will cost "only" $150 to replace.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Newly

Say what you want about cell phones these days, but Verizon makes it very easy to get a new one into your hands. My two years with my regular phone were up earlier this month, and I assumed that, since I'd have the next one for two years, I'd get a smart phone. So, I'll pony up the extra money each month for the data service, and console myself with the fact that I don't subscribe to cable TV. Cable internet, yes, but not TV, much to the chagrin of Mr W.

Who has time to watch TV? I've gotten so used to sitting down in the evenings and pulling out my knitting, or the computer, or something to read that TV isn't even on my radar. When Mr W asks if we can PLEASE get cable like there is at his dad's house, it's easy for me to say that, sorry, I don't want to make the effort to watch more TV. So he'll just have to suffer when he's here, poor guy.

The phone is nice, though. Something that helped sell me on it is its GPS function. I like the idea that I can have directions at my fingertips; it helps me feel a little more safe and independent. And I can't get to my home email accounts from the computers at work, but I'll be able to with this. Not that it's been hard to survive during the day without them, of course. I guess I (like a lot of people) like the option of being connected on the go, if I want. The thing was in the kitchen, and I was in the living room on the computer, when I saw that I got a new email. The phone made a little noise to indicate the email, and I promptly got up and turned that feature off. I don't need to know when each one arrives.

In other news, I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered, about how things ended with B, and find myself gearing up to look again a little sooner than I thought I would. It helps when both parties are gracious about it. I find myself, well, OK with myself. I'm doing my thing, raising my kid, walking my dog, going to work, etc. It all feels like things are as they should be except for the long-sought-after partner I would like to have. I don't feel like there are deficits in me that have to be fixed by a man (unless you count stuff like my disdain for yard work other than gardening).

This feeling of things being OK has translated for me into an idea. Or, should I say, an IDEA. I want to go to Europe next summer, for 10 days or so. By myself. A modest trip, mostly to places where I'll be able to get by with a phrasebook, and it would serve as sort of a starter to whet my appetite for further travel. After dating CB, who travels literally all over the world for his work, and then B, who is also well-traveled, I found myself tired of waiting for someone to take me to Europe. I have always intended to go, and now I shall. I'm a big fan of Rick Steves, and have been reading his books.

Indeed, this is what happens when I'm apparently getting enough rest, and have time to think about things...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No harm, no foul

By mutual agreement, B and I decided to end our relationship today. I saw it coming, but I'm still a little melancholy tonight. We dated for about five months. In the end neither of us felt like it was a good fit. I tell you, that chemistry thing, that spark, the feeling that you and another person "fit", are still a bit of a mystery to me. It's hard when both parties are nice and good people, because you think it SHOULD work, but I guess it makes it easier, too, because you can part on good terms, which we did. No harm, no foul.

As I said, I saw this coming, and I was at the library yesterday, and happened upon a book called, "Meeting Your Half-Orange" by Amy Spencer. The subtitle is, "An utterly upbeat guide to using dating optimism to find your perfect match." The book is about getting into the mindset that: A) a person who is a really good fit for you is out there, and B) you can, by remembering this, and acknowledging what you're looking for, and what you have to offer, attract that person to you. The book stays largely away from making the process seem too mystical; she gives a psychological basis for her ideas instead, which I like. I also like how she stresses that we shouldn't settle. That we should do some soul searching as to what it is that we really want in a relationship, and ask for it.

And I find myself, strangely, optimistic. Something the book mentions is to tell the universe that you are looking for your half-orange (a translated Spanish expression that refers to the idea that if you find your half-orange, you and he make up something together that is complete, although she stresses that we are really looking for someone complementary, not someone who would "complete" us).

So I'm telling you and the universe, now, at this time. I'm in a good place in my life, and I'm looking for a committed relationship with a guy who is a really good fit for me and in it for the long haul.

I'm not soured on internet dating, either, btw. I still think it's a good way to see a bunch of people that meet your basic criteria. However, I'm not in a hurry to jump back into that pond. I'm going to just be for a while. I'm certain I'll find him. It might take a while, but he's out there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This and that

Here's a photo from the CSA farm potluck last weekend. I thought I took more pictures, but this one shows the spirit of the event. Folks talking, kids running around with sticks (I was a little bummed out the Mr W was with his dad - he would have happily wielded a stick along with the other boys), and a beautiful sunny day. OK, I don't actually see any sticks in the picture either, but you get my point. Those kids had a blast.

That's Claire in the white, who owns the farm with her husband Matt. And there in the hoop house are the chickens (those very chickens) I get my eggs from. I love that.


And this, well, this is a nice fall shot from the hike a couple of weeks ago, but was too nice not to share. It's been a warm fall, and we might have had our first hard frost last night, but maybe not. It's been late coming this year.

I might try to get out camping with Mr W one last time. I think my favorite campgrounds has electric sites on until the end of the month. I know, I know, that's pretty wimpy, but it would be nice to have the little heater going while we were tucked into the van enjoying the evening.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blog? What blog

I like to post 2-3 times a week, and haven't managed to do that lately. There's plenty going on, and it's fall, so the weather's been nice. Here's a couple of thoughts, with promises for pictures tomorrow.

Saturday I went to a potluck at the CSA farm that I bought eggs from this summer. The Boyles were very welcoming, and it was nice to meet other people who think the CSA thing is important. We took a tour of the place, and I'm so impressed at what they do there. At the same time, it put to rest any romantic notion that I want to be a farmer someday. I just don't have the chops, and that's OK, I'll invest in people that do.

One generous gesture the Boyles made was to let us pick flowers from their beds, as they were finished with most of them. I was making a visit to my former MIL later that afternoon, so picked 5 nice sized sunflowers to give to her. She's got macular degeneration, so her vision is poor. She was able to see the sunflowers, though, and really liked them.

It was sort of sad to visit with her. She's moved to the nursing home part of the facility because her arms just aren't strong enough to allow her to make reliable transfers in and out of her wheelchair. Her mind is OK, and she's pondering her fate. The room is small, and she shares it with a woman who has Alzheimer's. I need to get over there more to spring her and take her off site.

B and I hiked yesterday with Sally, and I am quite pleased to say that the 8 mile hike was about what I expected. I'm not sore, and feel like I've gotten in better shape with this hiking thing this summer, and would like to continue.

Guess that's it for now - pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dog park injury

I've been taking Sally to the same dog park since she was about 4 months old, so that's about 3 1/2 years. We know a lot of the dogs and owners there, and she usually stays close to me, unless she's chasing the ball. She's never been one to start any skirmishes, but she doesn't roll over and be submissive either. If the going gets tough, she goes to a human, and will thread herself between the person's legs and stay there.

Today, we had just gotten to the dog park when another dog, a smaller dog, came up to her and started "playing" kind of aggressively. "She's just playing" her owner called, yet she kept going at Sally's face, and Sal would turn away, and try to move away from this dog. It was clear to me she did not want to play with this dog. The dog didn't back down so I started tapping it with the chuck-it (the thing that launches the tennis ball), and yelling at it to knock it off. Finally the owner came over, and said, "She's just playing. I don't want you to hurt my dog". OK, fine.

A minute or two later, I look at Sally, and see this:


The other dog has somehow chewed/abraded/scraped off the skin of my dog's snout, and left this raw, oozing bumpy skin behind.

Wait, it gets better. I start to get a little bent out of shape at this, and walk toward the owner of the dog that did this, saying, "my dog is bleeding now". He says something to the effect of if my dog can't handle herself at the dog park, I shouldn't bring her there. What?! I sputter something ineffectual, and turn to see another dog owner coming up to me. I've seen this guy before, know the names of his dogs, and he lays into me about how he "saw everything" and that he agreed that if my dog can't defend herself, I've got no business bringing her there. Instead of telling him to f*** off (like I really wanted to), I didn't say much of anything useful, and walked away.

I'm still incensed over this. Is this really how people think? That she deserved it because she wouldn't defend herself? That thought is so ridiculous, but there it is.

If my dog was a jerk and got into little fights or challenged other dogs occasionally, I could see this happening every now and then. However, my dog doesn't really interact that much with other dogs. She wants to run after the ball, visit with people, sniff a few dog butts, and she's good. I hate thinking that this is human nature. Instead of shifting the blame, I really wish the person would have just said, I'm sorry my dog hurt your dog. That's it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Holiday Dosey-doe

No one comes to see me. And that's OK, my house is small, and I only have one bathroom. It puts the impetus on me, then, to be the one who travels if I want to see family over the holidays. Things have changed a lot since the holiday traditions we had when I was growing up. I think it's great that some families manage to do the same thing year after year, although some in those families might not agree with me.

This year, my brother invited my dad to come to MN to join them (well, us, since I'll be there, too) for Thanksgiving. It took a long time for him to decide, and in the end he's not going to go. I don't know what to think of that. My dad travels to Vegas a couple of times a year, but he's never been to my or my brother's house. Sorry, a little bit of sour grapes and this post isn't really about that.

After some "well, what should we do" moments, we are going to meet up at my younger brother's place in SC after Christmas. Thankfully, Mr W's dad and I aren't hung up on having to do things on Christmas proper, so it will be sort of a week long celebration for Mr W. He'll have Christmas with his dad, then with me, then we'll fly to SC and there might be a thing or two for him there as well.

So, yea! I will swallow hard and pony up the (last time I checked) $466 per person airfares. Since the airport is an hour and 15 minutes away, I think spending an extra $30 a ticket to take off at 7:30 is worth it. Mr W is an awesome traveler, although he lately doesn't like to fly. Such a different world it is. I took my first plane ride at 17 or 18, and my kid's been flying once or twice a year since he was an infant. We'll get to go to the beach! It'll be about 65 degrees, but still!

It's only money, you know? My family means a lot to me, and visits with them are special indeed. Although Graycie the campervan has developed a leak and I am taking her into the shop today, so there will be some expense there. Hopefully nothing drastic. "Oh, we just forgot to tighten a bolt, you're good". Ha ha. Yesterday, I saw my neighbor, who lives on the other end of the alley, and she said, "Is your van for sale?" I laughed, and said, "No, not yet." And she asked that we keep them in mind if I want to sell it.

I don't want to sell it, but it's good to know that I could recoup most of what I've put into it relatively easily.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Signs of Progress

I finally (as in wanting to do it for about three years kind of finally) got around yesterday to painting my front door and the trim in the front of the house. My house is plain to begin with, and when I bought it, it had sort of a light green trim that you really couldn't see as trim.

I've felt like kind of a slacker in terms of how "nice" my house is. My gardens look good, but I don't water my lawn enough, that kind of thing. I live in the older part of town where people put a lot of time and money into making their houses look good. Next door, they are finishing a fix and flip that will likely have a $400-$450K asking price. The house across the street was bought, gutted and fixed up by an older gentleman who is living there, and the other folks across the street painted their house last summer and it always looks nice.

I think I've increased the "pop" factor of the trim. My only complaint is that there are so many layers of paint on the window frames that they are very bumpy, and it was hard to get paint everywhere it needed to go. But it's done, and it looks pretty good and I like my purple door. I also used the same purple to stamp around the house numbers (which I blotted out in the above photo), and the border makes the numbers pop, and I like the effect.


In other news, this is the doorjamb between my kitchen and the back hallway of my house. It's probably hard to read, but those marks are how tall Mr W has been, starting a few months after I bought the house, up through last week. He's grown about a foot in 4 and half years, which isn't unusual, but still pretty amazing to see it laid out like that. He's been settling into fourth grade, and I think he's got the homework routine down (finally).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lookout Mountain

B and I went hiking on Saturday, on a trail that led to a place called Lookout Mountain. It was a glorious day - perfect weather. It was also somewhere around hunting season, hence B's red shirt and Sally's kerchief. I had a red shirt on as well. The trail was up up up, but had some interesting geology, and I brought home a couple of interesting rocks, one with lots of mica, and one that looks like it could be garnet, or dark reddish quartz or something similarly pretty.

We happened upon this huge pile of what looked like maybe the pole peelings pile from an old saw mill, or a collapsed mine, or something. I got the order wrong, the photo below is what I saw first coming up the trail, and the one above was taken a little after that.
No sign saying what it was, no "Keep Off", nothing.

We stopped for lunch and Sally looked like one of those lions on the Serengeti, although they don't wear kerchiefs for visibility.

And this was the view. I think we were at about 10,600'. Not as high as a lot of stuff in the area, but it was a pretty steep trail for me. Even so, I did pretty well, and was thinking I'm in better shape than I have been for a while. Need to keep it that way! It was good to get out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Night and day

Knitters often have several projects going at once. I've been working on this vest for a few months. I realized the other day I went 3" (whatthehellwasIthinking!!!) past the point where I should have started the two lace panels on the front and the back. I have woven a piece of yarn in most of the way around that I can rip back to, but haven't actually done it. Come to think of it, maybe I could just start the lace where I am and it would be just be shallower. We'll see.

The deal with the purple Passiflora vest is that the yarn is DK weight, which means it's certainly beefier than sock yarn, but thinner than worsted. Thus, it takes 200+ stitches to go once around the piece. I like the look of the fabric, to be sure. There's something smooth and neat about those small stitches. But I put it down a few weeks ago and haven't picked it back up yet. And the socks I am working on? 4/5 done with one, and it's waiting patiently.

Enter Liesl. I had bought about 500 yards of this yarn (Fiesta Watermark) on sale last spring and wanted to do something with all of it. It's something like Aran or Chunky weight and the difference between knitting with this on size 11 needles and knitting with DK weight is night and day. Talk about instant gratification. It's hard to get in knitting projects, you kind of have to be a process person for it to hold your interest, but I love this project!

I started it about a week ago, and am about 2/3 through the second ball. The plan is to use up three balls on the length, then divide the last ball in half and use that for the sleeves. I forgot to put in button holes, so I'll get a nice ribbon and tie it closed at the top.

I love this heavy yarn stuff so much, here are my next two ideas: Sunkist (the link is to a pdf of the pattern) and Owls. My level of satisfaction with this project is quite high.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What are the chances?

I work in a lab, and have a contract position that (so they tell me) goes until the end of July next year. It was a bit tentative back in April and May when they didn’t know quite how the budget was going to go. People are breathing easier, but said the same thing will happen next year. My sense is that we will all sink or swim together. Cutting us contractors won’t solve their money problems. I think.

I like what I do and am grateful to have a job in these difficult economic times. There aren’t many drawbacks. One big one, though, is that there’s nowhere to move in terms of responsibility. In my position, I won’t supervise anyone, I likely won’t move up a pay grade, and I’ll also likely always be a contractor instead of a “real” employee.

There are a couple of things that my education and experience would qualify me to do. As anyone who has read my ramblings for a while knows, I really would like to secure a full time teaching position at a community college. I’d also like to work with plants again (my degree is in Botany), and work doing the population genetics stuff with native plants like I did in school.

What are the chances that openings for both of these jobs would be announced this week? Pretty slim, I would guess, but in the last couple of days, the Denver Botanic Garden has announced a position that would involve research and conservation. Also, another campus (about 45 minutes – 1 hour away) of the community college I taught at last school year is hiring a full time General Biology instructor.

Wow. I don’t want to commute, and I don’t want to move, but by golly, I want to know if I’d qualify enough for these positions to at least get an interview. So I’ll apply and we’ll see what happens.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Timely


I don't really believe in horoscopes, but I do like to visit Rob Brezney's site every once in a while and read what he's got to say. I don't know, I guess it gives me a little food for thought. Sometimes there's nothing relevant in them, but this week's was dead on. Here it is verbatim:

Let's say I was the director of a grade school play that included outdoor scenes, and you were a student trying out for a part. My inclination would be to offer you the role of the big oak tree, which would be on stage for much of the show but have no spoken lines to deliver. Would you accept my invitation with enthusiasm, and play the part with panache? I realize that on the surface, it may not seem like your performance would be of central importance. But as director I'd hope to be able to draw out of you a vibrant commitment to being steady and rooted. I'd rely on you to provide the strong, reassuring background that would encourage the actors in the foreground to express themselves freely.

Steady and rooted, that's me. Sometimes it's hard to know when to make some noise.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crisp crisp crisp

Mr. W and Sally and I went camping last night. We went up to Jack's Gulch again, where I've been two times already this summer. As far as camping spots go, it's now one of my favorites, although many of the trees in the picture below have been marked with pink paint, which I think means they are targeted for removal because of the beetle epidemic. Too bad, it's a really nice spot and it will look a lot different come spring.

You may have heard about several wildfires we've had lately in Colorado. As we drove up the Poudre Canyon, we saw the Smokey the Bear sign that indicates fire danger and it said "extreme". Most of the vegetation on the ground was crisp. They still allowed fires in the fire rings, and Mr W and I gathered and burned buckets of pine needles - they went up really fast. He also enjoyed dousing the fire when it was time to go to bed.

The weather is still kind of warm here for fall, but the evenings are crisp. It felt good to sit around a fire and look up at the stars while wearing a jacket.


Mr W pulled out his old Brio wooden train stuff, as he lost access to his DS for not doing his homework. He spent several hours of our camping time up in the second bunk building stuff. He hadn't played with it for a couple of years, since we sold off all his Thomas the Tank Engine stuff and put the Brio in the basement.

The last crisp I experienced was a truly phenomenal Jonagold apple we bought from Whole Foods. Possibly the best apple I've ever had. My mouth is watering as I write this, and I'm glad we bought 6 of them! In more apple-related goodness, my neighbor, the one who is doing a fix and flip on the house next door, picked bags and bags of apples from their tree and gave me a bag. Isn't that nice? I want to make some apple crisp with them, but they are also just good to eat as is.

Friday, September 24, 2010

On a lighter note

I think it's finally time to get a bunch of ripe tomatoes from the garden. It looked that way before I went to work yesterday, but Mr W and I didn't come home for good until about 7:15, and it was dusk by then. So I'll head out this morning before work with my scissors and basket and see how many there are to be had.

It's been a long time coming! Tomatoes around town largely got wiped out last year in a series of hail storms, and this year have been slow to ripen. We yearn for a good tomato! I felt so optimistic about my chances of canning some of my tomatoes that I bought more canning jars yesterday.

I put two of my tomatoes in cages and one around a metal spiral this year, and will not do any of that again. The spiral is worthless, although visually interesting, and the cages don't really do the job either. I think I will do larger tubes of some kind of large-holed mesh that are sturdier. I look forward to that time after Christmas when people start feeling the urge to start planning their gardens again.

And if I get the urge to grow this many tomato plants again, will someone remind me please how much room things take up when they get mature? Things are very crowded out there!

In the meantime, I've got house stuff to do. My gutters need to be cleaned out before it gets cold, and I have vowed to myself that I will finish painting the trim on the house, as well as paint the front porch this fall yet.

Maybe it will happen Sunday, as Mr W and I are going to leave Saturday morning to take the campervan out for the night. If I'm going to be paying for the van I need to use it, not let it sit in the driveway. It's relatively easy to throw our stuff in and go for a night, and that's exactly what I need it to be.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Self-parenting

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a podcast junkie. My lab is kind of noisy with the whirs and whooshes of the various pieces of equipment, so it's good to have headphones. Lately, I've been listening to The Dr. Joy Browne show, where Dr. Joy, a psychologist, helps people who call in with all sorts of issues. I don't know what the appeal is, but it's fun to listen to.

Anyway, the other day, there was a caller whose mother had died a few months earlier, and she was also going through a divorce. Her question was how to get her siblings (she was the baby) to spend more time with her and help her through her situation.

This is where the issue of self-parenting came in. At some point, maybe when your parents are still alive, maybe when they aren't, everyone has to learn to have a voice that says things like, "yes, you should do this", "that's not good for you", "get out and have some fun", etc. People who as adults rely on others to tell them these things are in for a struggle.

My mom died 17 years ago today. I was driving to work the other day, calculated the number of years since 1993, and said out loud "Wow, 17 years. Wow, 17 years!" Twice, just like that. With this bit on self-parenting in my mind still, I mulled over my situation. Not to belabor the point, but looking back, mom's passing, having my marriage end because the x had "fallen out of love" and then having my sister die as well, has given me ample opportunity to learn how to self-parent, even though I didn't call it that at the time.

I find that I feel better if I don't dwell on these things, and instead choose to look forward. My mom did a fine job raising us, even if she departed too early. She would be proud of what all four kids have made of themselves. It's a testament to she and dad (who is still around, back in OH) that they helped launch four well-adjusted successful adults into the world.