Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hiatus

You've probably already figured it out, but I think it's time to officially say this blog is on an indefinite break. I always hesitated to say so before because, inevitably, as soon as I vowed to take a break, I'd think of something else to say. This time, I think, I can safely make the call.

I'll still be around. I tweet in the meantime and follow a handful of blogs via my reader. And you're certainly welcome to comment on old entries; I'll still get those and try to respond :).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Unsent letters, part 3

Dear You (and hey, You as well),

Introverts need their space and a bit of alone time. After all this time, You should know this.

Moi

***

Dear You,

It has truly been too long. I'm looking forward to Saturday 'cause I've missed your face. Oddly enough, though we don't see each other much, I find that when we talk, we "get" each other so much better than we used to when geography wasn't a factor. Maybe that's time and circumstance as well, but either way, I like being able to count you among my confidantes and value the maturity and wisdom and non-judgment you've displayed as you quieted my seething rants.

Moi

***

Oi! You!

I'm happy your religion gives your life meaning. Wonderful. Now ease back a little because the sanctimonious air is getting more than a little annoying. And no, we don't want impromptu lessons on the "science" or "importance" of the religion. If anything, it's driving me further and further away.

Moi

P.S. Eyes on the road. I know you're praying and that's why you're not paying attention, but if there is a divine being, he/she/it probably won't waive the laws of physics if some other car suddenly swerves into your lane when you're driving. No need to rush meeting said maker, and certainly not when you've got passengers.

***
Dear You,

I wish I honestly believed praying would help you out. As such, my heart almost broke for you as you told me with barely hidden tears about your husband's suddenly failing health. I offered help if you need anything, but I don't think you'll take it up, nor do I feel there's much for me to do, at least at this point. You're in my thoughts though, and know that I believe you are one of the strongest, most formidable women I know: whatever happens, I know you will make it with the grace and dignity, and yes, quiet faith that I've witnessed so many times.

Me

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Signed, sealed, delivered?

When I was younger, I used to write letters and cards to older relatives, and probably because I was a child and because they were lonely, I received letters and cards and sometimes packages back. I wasn't always the best at doing so with regularity, and while I may have had great intentions to do so more frequently, honestly, I tended to forget to follow through. It gave me a brief twinge one day when I was cleaning to find a postcard that I had addressed and neglected to send to my now-deceased great-aunt.

In more recent years, I've tried picking up the correspondence habit with several aunts and cousins, but they never write back, so I let those trickle off. With friends, I never really tried snail-mail correspondence, but that was fine, because we had e-mail. While e-mail isn't the same thing as a physical, hand-written, genuine, hold-in-your-hand letter, it would typically cover the same grounds as a letter--chatty, reconnecting, sometimes philosophical discussions.

Unfortunately, that too disappears. It's not that we don't keep in touch; there's Facebook for that. But it's not the same at all. While commenting on status updates is a great way to keep up with people's day-to-day lives, it isn't the same as sitting down to a nice, long, thought-out letter or e-mail or composing them, knowing that in a day or few, there's going to be a corresponding one in your own inbox. I miss those.

Ultimately, it makes me wonder: are those days gone too? Am I already a relic in my nostalgic musings for meaningful connection beyond an increasingly soundbite-length attention span?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Attention span of a gnat

Over the course of the last few years, my yarn stash has been slowly reproducing in the dark confines of my closet. Not only are the skeins reproducing; the started but not yet completed projects also seem to be multiplying. Until I try to organize my closet, it's easy to forget about them. I tried organizing my closet tonight.

A sampling of a few of the evening's finds:

  • A latch-hook rug that I made... a few years ago. I remember the cat claiming it every time I set it down, leaving me to plan to use it as a rug in one of her favorite spots to curl up in. (Spoiled? Nuh uh...) The only thing left to do? Work the edges under. Of course, while quite simple, that's a very tedious task. I don't do well with boring. So I chucked it in the closet and forgot about it.
  • A started black chenille shawl with my lovely J bamboo hook shoved in it (so that's where it went). It's a simple stitch, fairly mindless once you get into it. Good for spacing out to as I watched something entertaining. In fact, I started it while watching an episode of Dr. Who. For those enquiring minds, it was the episode with the Tenth Doctor and Rose, where they encounter werewolves, monks, and Queen Elizabeth. Since I don't recall watching any other episode whilst working on the poncho, that probably means I put ~ 45-50 minutes into the project before abandoning it.
  • Another started poncho, this one in a black novelty yarn that was soft, fuzzy, and had little tufts of primary colors in it. The yarn was a clearance purchase, rounded out by an ebay purchase to meet the pattern requirements. I started the poncho while on a family vacation, probably about 5 or 6 years ago. That was a wretched summer with wicked heat, not great for working with sweaty hands and a fuzzy yarn, nor was it great for furtive spurts of crocheting in rare moments of uninterrupted quiet. I didn't get very far, and the only time I picked it up since then was when the K hook I needed for another project fell out as I moved something else.
  • A started scarf in red, white, and black novelty yarn, meant to go with my black winter coat. The receipt purchase date is November 2006, but I remember prowling multiple Hobby Lobbys for a few weeks before that to find the exact colors I wanted. I was not so adventurous in my crocheting ~4 years ago, nor did I have much experience in following written instructions or working with novelty yarn, and the scarf gave me fits. Stitch definition was an issue, and that didn't work so well with a pattern that required increases and decreases in certain places to create a ripple effect. I pitched it all in a bag, tossed it in the closet, and moved on to the next shiny thing to catch my eye.
  • A started cotton thread mesh market bag. I tossed this one in the closet while cleaning the clutter from my desk. It'd probably been idling on my desk for a few months, sometime in 2009. (I know this because I got the pattern from my 2009 crochet pattern a day calendar.) I started it in the summer since summer is farmers' market season, and a reusable bag is perfect for such shopping, and we were hitting the farmers' markets fairly regularly.
  • Another started market bag, navy blue, started an abadoned sometime in the last few months. It also fell prey to the "clean one area by cluttering another, i.e. the closet" method. Honestly, I was actually thinking of tearing it out since it wasn't far along, and I wasn't too impressed with the pattern; it's teetering precariously on the edge of either contributing to the unfinished queue problem or the yarn stash problem. I may just toss a coin or something.
  • A colorful shawl in an amazingly soft but obnoxiously colored yarn that I impulse purchased and began work on during another family vacation. I hesitate to include it here since I was beginning the process of frogging it... but in typical Twit fashion, I abandoned that midway, too.
I can remember where I was and what I was doing as I started these projects, which leaves me little excuse for having forgotten them, but there ya go. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind. End of story. However, if I am reminded, I can remember for a little bit at least.

So here's the plan. I'm a little... overcommited with projects right now (two projects for a swap, a tunic, a purse for a friend, a pair of fingerless gloves, and next on the agenda, a baby blanket for a friend who's expecting her first). But when I finish one or before I'm allowed to begin another, I'll finsh one of the above projects, most likely the scarf, which will go with my new red winter coat. That way, at least, I can make a dent in both the yarn stash and the unfinished projects queue.

...that is, assuming I don't abandon another project in the meantime...

----------------
Now playing: Deb Talan - My Favorite Coat
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Housekeeping

I weeded out some non-active links in the sidebar and added some. If you link to this blog, I'd be happy to link back--just leave me a comment (hint: I love comments). If you have blog reading suggestions, I'd be happy to check those out too.

Employed

Back in December, I left teaching. If you've read this blog for a significant portion of the 3+ years I've had it, you'll know that I've done so before. My motivation each time was slightly different, but I will say this: the outcome has been the same. I've come back to teaching. Again.

I gave the job hunt a good 10 months or so. I had few promising leads in that time, a few interviews, and a couple jobs that I would have been really excited to do. Alas, none of them panned out. As it became more and more apparent that the dream job I applied to and interviewed for probably wasn't going to hire me, I intensified my search and began to reconsider teaching. If I didn't have a job by year's end, I finally decided, I'd go back to teaching. Within about a week of getting the rejection from would-be dream job, I sent an e-mail to my department chair and told her I'd be up for teaching in the spring. That afternoon, I got a call--turns out there was a second-eight-week composition class. So here I am. Less than a month from now, I will be back to a familiar grind.

It's a good time to be back too. Enrollment is way the hell up at the community college and sister campuses, so while campus services are being strained to meet the demand, it also means there are lots of classes--and more classes than instructors to fill them. As anyone who's ever adjuncted knows, that's a situation far more rare and favorable than the reverse though not likely to change for a while if the economy doesn't pick up.

I still have mixed feelings about the whole deal, but the mix is... unexpectedly weighted with optimism. While I feel a twinge of regret that I didn't come around to this decision in time to have a full fall course load, I also know that I needed to come around it in my own time. Some people can be told the burner is hot; I've always had to burn myself to figure that out.

The last month or so has been a time of reconsideration on multiple fronts. I have changed my mind on a few important things, but those changes only came about after carefully weighing the risks, the benefits, my options, and the situation at hand. The balance of the scales happened to come up a little differently in the reassessment. So be it. I've learned a few things about myself from the experience, and for that at least, I am grateful.

So here's to a new beginning... and maybe even more blog fodder in the forseeable future!

----------------
Now playing: Lucero - On The Way Back Home
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I bet there's a market for this...

...she says, straggling in a month and a half after her last post. Life's been a bit... uh, frustrating as of late, and I really try to keep the bulk of that off of ye olde blog.

Onward.

Dear Hallmark,

I know I have often bashed the outright sentimentality of your cards. I think I've found an opportunity for you to redeem yourself. You see, I have amazing friends. But I don't want a sappy, sentimental, "you make my life more meaningful and make me feel all beautiful inside" sort of message. It's just not me, and frankly, half of my friends would be right there with me in deriding the maudlin tone.

No, what I need for my friends is a batch of "thanks for the bitch session" cards. Moreover, I'm pretty sure you could get a nice little niche market with that sentiment. Think sharp, smart, sassy sort of tone--grateful, but not nauseatingly so.

When you come out with these, let me know.

Toodles,
The Twit

P.S. Ya know what? Screw that. I'll just make them myself 'cause I'm crafty like that.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Makeover time!

It's getting to be close to that time of year where I take stock of my life and usually find that I've fallen short of my personal goals. I daresay a full-blown existential crisis is around the corner.

It's time to make change in my life since other changes aren't happening fast enough, so I've started going to the rec center on campus, which I have free access to and have only just activated in five years of employment there...

...and I overhauled my blog layout for the first time since its beginning.

Monday, June 7, 2010

No such thing as altruism

I've argued before to people that I don't believe true altruism exists.

Here's my latest case in point: I've started volunteering. Now, volunteering is a very giving sort of thing to do, innit? The giving of time and energy in exchange for no monetary gain? Yet I myself know that my reasons are anything but pure, and I'm fine with that. I know I'm no Mother Theresa.

Reason 1: I have no library experience on my resume but would like to transfer into that line of work. I have no way of going up against people who have either the relevant degree or experience--so I need to get that experience in some way. You can't gain paid experience in a job that demands experience to get into it, so I had to find another way. Enter volunteering. Two afternoons a week, for a few hours, I shelve books or do other tasks that may need doing.

Reason 2: I like doing it. I love putting books and materials to rights, to seeing the rows of neatly lined up items tidied by my own hand. I like feeling productive and efficient, seeing the cart of unshelved materials dwindle down until it's empty, knowing I did that. I only work part-time and am searching for full-time; in the meantime, not too many productive activities occupy my time, so having something constructive that gets me out of the house and away from the computer is a bonus.

So there ya have it. I'm a selfish volunteer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recent reads and an unasked-for explanation

Since demolishing Jim Butcher's Changes, I've devoured four more books, all from my existing collection.

You see, I am a woman on a mission. I catalogued my personal library recently, clocking in at 500 books, which didn't include the miscellaneous books hiding out in my closet or on loan to people. Of those 500, about 375 were books I'd bought with the intent of reading them. Problem is, I always got distracted by shiny new books from the library and in the meantime I'd find more cool books to buy without reading, and thus the collection grew without being read... 500 books isn't the biggest, clunkiest collection, I grant, but it's still quite a bit, and pending a new job, I plan on moving--and I really don't feel like moving 500 books into what's likely to be a modest apartment.

Now, I am the type to re-read good books. However, most books are not re-read books--there are just too many books waiting to be read for the first time. So I've limited my library access to crochet books or reference. I am under firm instruction to read my own books and be merciless in determining whether they can stay or go. Some ground rules:
  • Books have 50 pages to get interesting. This is a flexible guideline; a mildly promising book can have a stay of execution for however many more pages if I feel it is warranted. The idea is that I am under no obligation to waste time on a book that is uninteresting, thereby freeing myself up to move on to the next book.
  • If the book is really, really, earth-shatteringly amazing, and I am absolutely certain I will re-read it at a later date, it can stay and join the ranks of "already read" books on my shelves. Neil Gaiman books, Douglas Adams books, favorites like Ender's Game--these all fall under this category. Many books do not.
  • Books can be disposed of in one of several ways: 1. Sold back to the used book store, 2. Passed on to interested friends, and 3. Bookcrossed. The point is: they must go.
Like many people with full pantries, I often fall guilty of the pitfall of staring at full shelves and whining that there's nothing to devour. And yet, if I stare long enough and shift around the piles of overflow books, I can usually rustle up something. Most recently:

The King of Elfland's Daughter, Lord Dunsany - A classic work of high fantasy. I didn't exactly like this book and didn't really connect with many of the characters, and I was not a fan of his often flowery language. Yet somehow, it interested me enough to finish reading it to the inevitable happily ever after.

Survivor, Chuck Palahniuk - I did not like the two previous Palahniuk books I read-- Fight Club and Lullaby. They were too over the top and laden with shock for shock's effect. This one was a bit toned down--but no less satirical and scathing in its criticism of our culture. I wouldn't re-read this one, nor would I call it a favorite, but I actually enjoyed it. He spared our celebrity-obsessed culture no mercy.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai Sijie - Bittersweet little read of a book. One of many volumes that extoll the joys of reading and its power to transport us to other places.

Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year
, Anne Lamott - Plowed through this one in a few hours of insomnia last night. It captures the ups and downs of the first year of parenthood in a refreshingly honest way--sometimes she outright resents the squalling kidlet, and other times he's this amazing creature that she can't imagine her life without.

Yes, that is a rather odd assortment to come from the same bookshelf, much less to read back-to-back, but eh. I'm eclectic.

----------------
Now playing: Tunng - King
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Latest goings-on


In the background: a blanket I completed for a friend's wedding this weekend. Well, it's more of a throw, perfect to sling over the back of the couch or put over your lap on a chilly evening. The yarn is a thick chenille, using up about 6 skeins of my out-of-control stash. And no, you're not seeing things--the bands of color are indeed of varying widths, according to the pattern. More or less. I did add one more repeat, which does throw off the proportions a bit, but eh. It's a perfectly serviceable blanket, and the chenille makes it drape so nicely--it feels like a real, substantial blanket on your lap.

In the foreground: a cup of herbal acai berry tea. I love drinking red tea in a clear mug--it's like sipping liquid rubies or something.

Also in the foreground: the latest installment of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. That's a signed copy too, I'll have you know; I waited two hours in line for that. Ahem. Anyway, I've said repeatedly that it's a rare series that gets better as it goes, and Dresden Files is rare indeed. The stakes go up a little more each book, and in this one, hoo boy, did they. The pressure begins on page one and is unrelenting. "Changes" is an apt title--by the time the dust has more or less cleared, readers are left wondering where the series can and will go next. Some of the curveballs I saw coming, but others were gut-wrenching. I almost want to go back and re-read the previous 11 books to see what things I missed. Sigh. So many books, so little time.

----------------
Now playing: Hot Water Music - Paper Thin
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How's that for gratitude?

I dragged took my younger sister to a couple thrift stores today. While we were looking around, I found several things that I thought would be perfect for her--the culminations of her heart's every last desire, in short. She--ungrateful wretch--shot down all my ideas.

First, I absolutely knew beyond a doubt that she had been lusting for a jewelry box with a wooden mallard atop the lid. A wooden mallard--how cool is that? She didn't want it.

OK, fine, so she had a thing against ducks. Whatever. I found another box that could function as a jewelry box if she wanted, and it offered more generous space to boot. It was a cigar box that had been finished off with some sort of sealant and a painting of clowns on the top. Clowns with sad faces, red noses, and one with a receding hairline. It was only moderately creepy. Again, this was a no-go.

We quickly passed over the statue with the vacant eyes and wide smile, and there I saw what I was confident she would love. Right next to the '70s-era owl statue with the glaring green eyes, I found a statue of two people. They were locked in a kiss. Hey, passion's cool, and besides, it would lend instant class to whatever room it was put in, especially when your gaze drifts down from their faces to notice that the guy is totally groping the chick's boob.

Suffice it to say, she didn't want that one either. Sigh. At least I have a few more months to come up with a suitable birthday gift.

----------------
Now playing: Rise Against - Paper Wings
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Keep slogging on

On a good day, I can send out job applications with something remarkably akin to optimism. Well, that's a rather strong word--guarded optimism, perhaps. On those days, when straggling rejection notices return to me, I laugh them off and gleefully talk about my upcoming wall art project. I may not have a wall worth of the fuckers yet, but the collection is growing.

Other days or times, like this morning, are not so great. Tired from poor sleep and trying to shake off some lingering moodiness, I opened my inbox to find a free and unsolicited shredding of everything wrong with my resume, courtesy of a job listing site. This was, I knew rationally, a set-up for the pitch at the end of the e-mail: "But if you pay us, we can write you an awesome one!!!1!" Still. It smarted. I'd be lying if part of me didn't think of bursting into frustrated tears.

I moped for a bit, though, and I stewed. I gave in to the worrisome fears: "What if I don't actually have anything worth offering to a company that will pay me a living wage? What if this attempt to leave academia also fails? What if I made a mistake in leaving? What if I have to go back in the fall with my tail between my legs and my pride bruised? Am I going to be stuck for the rest of my life teaching reluctant, under-prepared college freshmen things they should already know how to string coherent sentences and paragraphs together, without ever having stepped outside of academe?" Life looks pretty bleak on little sleep and no coffee yet.

And then I put on my big-girl panties and a pot of coffee and decided to try a couple resources for job searching/career changing advice. Score. I found Leaving Academia and numerous recommendations for a book specifically geared toward what I am trying to do. In picking up the book from the campus library, I also picked up several books on resumes and cover letters.

Incidentally, the advice in the books coincided to some extent with the contents of the e-mail that nearly undid me earlier in the morning. And here's the kicker--the criticism didn't hurt because I felt it was uncalled for; it hurt because it cut straight to the heart of some of my nagging fears. I hadn't yet constructed my resume in a way to emphasize my assets and make some of the idiosyncrasies of adjuncting less glaring. (For one thing, put in strict chronological order, my resume makes me look like a job-hopper--until you look closer at the dates to see that at any given point 2 or 3 of the positions were concurrent ones. I'm told HR folk don't look twice.) I had a mission.

And thus my meltdown was over. I opened up a new document and constructed my resume again and went back to square one with my cover letters. The search continues. It's getting a bit wearying, but I've lived the alternative and don't wish to go back, not without having at least seen what else is out there.

----------------
Now playing: ELUVEITIE - Omnos
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rumors of my demise, etc. etc.

In the absence of blogging, here's a smattering of what I've been up to:

  • making things with yarn
  • working as many hours as I can without going over allowed hours
  • watching Dr. Who
  • sending out job applications to other cities in a slowly widening radius
  • reading interesting books
  • planting flowers and herbs
  • getting back into evening walks
  • working consciously on correcting negative and self-defeating patterns of thinking
  • reconnecting with friends and acquaintances and being open to meeting new people
  • teaching an acquaintance's granddaughter how to crochet
  • catching up with my unread National Geographic magazine stack
Huh. Guess I've been busier than I thought.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

If I could just send this as a cover letter...

Dear So-and-So,

I may not be exactly what you thought you were looking for, but please, please, please take a chance on me. I can make it so worth your while if you'd just give me the opportunity.

Sincerely,

The Twit

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Delight!

I mentioned in my last post that I was expecting another package in the mail; it came a couple days ago. What was in it? Wanna find out? Of course you do.

Look at it, so mysterious and rectangular and brown and... boxy. Let's open it, hmm?


Gizmos and gadgetry! A newfangled device to enable synchronous communication at the touch of a few buttons!

Shinnnnnnnny.... Dunno why I held out so long, but this... this completes me in an intangible way. It feels so right in my hand, and I now have a whole world of information at my very fingers.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Goodies!

I got a package in the mail today. Excitement! Joy! Anticipation! I'm expecting another one in the mail tomorrow likely, but today's was pretty awesome too. I sent off a package the other day for a swap via Ravelry, and today I had a box waiting for me when I got home.

See? A box! Isn't this exciting? Wonder what's in it... Let's find out.

Hmm... looks like yarn and some mysterious bundles. This warrants further investigation, no?

Inventory: Two skeins of Araucania hand-dyed cotton yarn from Chile; super-silky-soft eyelash yarn in shades of green, blue, tan, and brown; a hand-sewn drawstring pouch for small projects, stuffed with some orange plastic bags for crafty purposes; a size J bamboo crochet hook; a bag of organic coffee from Honduras; a bag of raspberry black tea; a bag of black tea with currants.

I can't vouch for the other beverages yet, but the currant tea is quite lovely.

In other news, no, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Just had nothin' to write about, or more accurately, nothin' I felt like sharing ;). I'll try not to abandon ye olde blog like that again.

----------------
Now playing: Jawbreaker - First Step
via FoxyTunes

Friday, March 12, 2010

Every four years...

From the Sitemeter files, I draw this gem of a search.

On the one hand, it sounds like a cool new word. "Did you hear about the latest social networking popularity contest?" "Yeah, it's a real twitelection."

On the other hand, it sounds like the best send-up of the U.S. political process I've heard in a while. "Yeah, I hear it's going to be a real twitelection come November."

Take your pick. I'm not convinced that they're not to a certain degree interchangeable definitions.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things I learned last night

  • It's not a real party unless a late-straggler climbs in the window.
  • On a related note, vehicles passing by will stop or slow down to watch the spectacle.
  • Hospitality is letting your guests know you cooked your "baby" just for them.
  • There aren't levels of heresy, just different types.
  • It is possible to run into people off-line who are familiar with and adore XKCD.
  • The moment one half of a married couple mock-strangles his/her spouse, out comes the camera.
  • As soon as one person mentions "nudism," the noise will drop to a lull as everyone pauses the various side conversations to listen.
  • A conversation that begins with nudism eventually transitions to "boobs." That said, the conversation needn't devolve into fifth-grade-boy chortles, amazingly enough.
  • Also amazingly, it is still possible to be in a room full of people and have only one person with Internet on his phone.
  • Finally, showing up in a cape is a sure-fire conversation piece.

    ----------------
    Now playing: Danzig - Mother
    via FoxyTunes

Sunday, February 28, 2010

There must be stories there

I remember once, a long time ago, when a woman my family knew went to her closet and pulled out six hand-crocheted blankets, courtesy of my grandmother's handiwork--one blanket for each of her children. Each blanket was in a protective plastic bag, the children whom they belonged to long past babyhood. Look, she said, I kept them all.

Similarly, I remember my paternal grandmother showing me her wedding picture--she was smiling, young, no more than 18, I think, and she wore a polka-dotted knee-length dress. She then reached into the depths of her wardrobe and pulled out that same dress, a pale pink background with (I think) black or dark blue dots. At the time, she would have been somewhere near her fiftieth anniversary.

These things--wedding dresses and handmade baby blankets--are heirlooms. Or, ideally, should be. I understand that circumstances happen--marriages crumble, babies don't always make it, and sometimes, you just need to clear out the old to make space for the new.

But it always gives me a twinge of sadness to see abandoned wedding dresses and baby blankets in thrift stores. For each cast-off, I think, there must be a story, and I often wonder about that.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I needed to hear that

Most people who work at yarn and craft supply stores are the worst sorts of enablers. You could cynically argue that they're there to sell products, and yes, they are, but many have a passion for some craft.

"Are you storing your extra yarn in the freezer yet? No? Then you're still doing OK," one clerk told me at a yarn shop when I explained that a closet spilling over with yarn was exactly why I wasn't going to buy any that day.

When I relayed that story to a different clerk at a different store, she got a thoughtful look on her face and said, "Hmm... that's a good idea."

But a cashier at JoAnn's took a different approach. I was purchasing not yarn but a bin, in an attempt to bring better order to the chaos that is my yarn stash. When we were chatting and I explained my rationale for the bin, she said in all seriousness, "You know you're going to die one day, right? You need to use it up."

Taken a bit aback (and delighted by the unexpected bluntness of it), I defended myself: "But... I'm working on it, and I haven't bought any new yarn since December."

She was unimpressed. "That's only, what, a month and a half?"

Touche.


----------------
Now playing: Metallica - The Unforgiven
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Her royal highness

My poor kitty was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and before the expensive and difficult treatment by way of insulin, the vet has recommended a special diet for her. Unfortunately, the presence of visiting PITA-cat makes simply leaving the food out in a dish not feasible; he's a bit of a pig, and it's not like he needs the special diet.

So my already spoiled cat now gets her meals served directly; I'm sure she thinks the clear glass bowl is crystal, for certainly the royal treatment is going to her furry little head.

The other morning, I brought her the dish of food. She barely glanced at it.

I lowered it slightly and tried to get her attention. Her ear barely flicked.

I lowered it further. She wasn't deigning to acknowledge this.

I knelt on the floor to give it to her. She uncurled and stood up to receive my offering.

I now know my place.

----------------
Now playing: Nine Inch Nails - Closer
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ideas

I am not wholly an unemployed bum. Still have a very part-time, very low-pay tutoring job on campus. Still no leads on full-time work, and in that void, some ideas have arisen.

1. Look in other cities for work. I could go to Big City Across the State, or to my dream place, City by the Mountains with the Cool Hippie Vibe. Pros: New start, new possibilities, possibility of a better job market. Cons: New start, new acquaintances to have to make.

2. Stick it out here, and keep sending out applications and resumes. Pros: Sensible, bound to pay off eventually, stay in familiar territory. Cons: Depressing, job market's not great.

3. Shelve the job search for a short bit and finally see Europe. Pros: Always meant to do it, have realized I can afford it with what I have saved, takes me completely out of my comfort zone and will likely force me out of my introverted shell. Cons: Costs money, will leave a gap in my resume, maybe it won't be that world-altering after all--kind of a cliche, that "backpack Europe" bit.

So those are my options. Number 2 is the one most likely to happen, Number 1 is runner up, but, oh, Number 3 ignited the dreams again. I'm only young once...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie reviews

It's been a while since I went through with mini movie reviews, so hey, insta-blog post.

Into the Wild - I'm late to the party on this one, but man, it was good. I've always wanted to just leave everything behind and live in the wilderness, but practicality has always held me back. Not so much for Christopher McCandless. The movie tells of how he left everything behind and took to the road with a combination of idealism and naivete, leading up to a gut-wrenching and heart-breaking ending. (Not spoiling much; this much is revealed in the plot summary of the book the movie is based on.) Few movies leave me sitting there stunned, but this one did. You may not agree with the protagonist, and frankly, some of his decisions are selfish and stupid, but you come to care about him.

Repo! The Genetic Opera - Re-watch. Loved this the first time I watched it; loved it this time as well. It's a rocking and downright bloody musical, and it makes my inner goth girl squee with delight. Love the style (comic-book-style panels for exposition), the costuming, the morbid humor (the villain's kids are just so disturbingly dysfunctional). Heads-up for an appearance from Paris Hilton as a plastic-surgery addicted pop singer...

Huh. I guess this is all I can recall. I don't generally watch many movies.

----------------
Now playing: Dark Tranquillity - My Friend of Misery
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Overthinking?

On a whim, I offered to make a friend a mix CD. I have an overall theme. I know some of the songs I want on there... and then I run into questions.

See, I haven't made many for friends before. In fact, I think I've only made one other one, and frankly, I had these same questions then:

1. How do I balance between songs I love and songs I don't know if the other person will necessarily like?

2. My tastes are a little, um, all over the place. If I have stuff from really disparate genres, is that OK?

I guess that's pretty much the extent of my concerns. Silly questions, perhaps. I admit to a tendency toward over-analysis of stupid things.

----------------
Now playing: The Gaslight Anthem - Here's Looking at You, Kid
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Academia is an odd duck...

So I've been keeping myself occupied with applying for jobs. Fun times, trying to sell one's self to a potential company. A (now former) colleague asked if I was OK with my decision. "About 75% of the time, I am," said I. And I think that's about right. Granted, the 25% of the time I'm not is a miserable spell, but it generally passes.

Most of the jobs have been non-academic. If anything comes through, it'll be a first for me, not to work in academia. A couple have been in an academic setting, albeit in a non-teaching capacity. A new listing I am interested in asks for my transcript, though, and I have a few thoughts on that.

First, where else but academia and possibly an entry-level job does one's GPA matter? Seriously?

Second, I "get" that a GPA is at least something of an indicator of who the person is and what that person is capable of. That said, it's not necessarily an indicator of effort or work ethic. My 3.8 GPAs in undergrad and grad school had much more to do with grade inflation and a friend's (rightful) accusation of my "riding the tide of mediocrity" than any amount of work or even dedication. I had degrees to earn, and I earned them. Done.

Grumblingly, I will shell out the money to send on my transcripts (a racket, says I, but that's a matter for another post). It can only help me, I suppose, and I am at the mercy of the job application requirements. Still. Bah humbug.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Change

I've done so before, but here I go again: I quit teaching.

While I am not unconditionally saying I will never teach again, the truth is, I can't afford it right now. I need a "real" job, one that won't wait six weeks into the semester to pay or tell me at the last minute that I can't have enough classes to earn a living wage on. Bitter? Me? Not much. Mostly frustrated, honestly.

I have several resolutions for the year, but they can be lumped under one broad heading:
This is the year I stop putting my life on hold or just "get by" on the path of least resistance.