Sunday, April 23, 2006

100 Things About Me

1I k.nit (duh). I learned at five or six and I think I should be much better at it than I am for this reason.

2. There's a lot I don't do do well and I rely a little too much on patterns and I am obsessive about the count.

3. I’m not the same way with cooking. I can cook mainly without a recipe. But then, I already know what tastes and textures I like.

4. My house was built in 1888

5. The city was going to burn it, so my husband bought it and moved it across town.

6. Whilst on the move, we knocked out the power to 7,000 homes at 7:15 in the morning.

7. It wasn’t our fault.

8. He actually wanted to go a different route, but the fella who worked for the power company was POSITIVE that going over the railroad tracks was a better idea.

9. The power company tried to blame us

10. Our permit was for a “move” of 35 feet.

11. It was actually 34 ½ feet high.

12. The powerlines were 33 feet high.

13. Recipe for disaster, don’t you think?

14. This house white carpet, which should never even been manufactured, much less installed.

15. Darling bought me a hot tub several years ago.

16. It’s on the deck.

17. I use it at least once a night.

18. I like bamboo needles the best.

19. Followed by nice wood ones with carved ends. They look so nice jammed into a ball of yarn.

20. I love my wireless internet connection. I can email from the garden swing. Or the bathtub.

21. I hate to knit gauge swatches.

22. I have three dogs.

23. Matt is 15.

24. He isn’t the oldest dog I’ve ever had.

25. Skipper was. He lived 17 really great years.

26. When I die, I want to come back as one of my dogs.

27. Tank is a Chihuahua-Rottweiler mix.

28. I know. I wonder about that, too.

29. Rocket is a Maltese and jumps off the furniture like Rocket J. Squirrel.

30. My Da’s best dog was named Mike.

31. Darling is named Mike. Some coincidence, huh?

32. One of my husband’s was named Jack.

33. I call him Jackson.

34. We used to drive by a mule farm and I’d always say, “Oh, look! Your relatives!!”

35. Jackson would never laugh.

36. He didn’t have much of a sense of humor.

37. He ran away 5 years ago and I went to LA to clean out his house.

38. I thought he was dead.

39. He wasn’t.

40. I wish he was

41. He hasn’t spoken to the kids since May 2001

42. None of us would recognize him on the street, I think.

43. I incur clutter.

44. I think nothing of hiding said clutter behind scarves, under beds and closet doors.

45. I have too many books.

46. I have to check for my keys about 100 times a day

47. I like to travel…especially spur of the moment trips

48. I’m completely selfish.

49. I have two almost grown children, whom I raised alone.

50. I. like the people they’ve turned into.

51. I’m glad I didn’t micromanage every minute of their lives

52. I let them have their own high school experiences, with little meddling on my part.

53. I love my life as it is.

54. I’m a terrible sportsperson. I can’t play anything that’s competitive.

55. I got married in Las Vegas.

56. I have had my hair every color that comes in a bottle. Red, black, brown…orange, purple

57. I colored it because I was going gray.

58. My Da didn’t want to have a white haired daughter, so I colored it.

59. When he died in 2000, I stopped.

60. I have totally white hair, now.

61. It is so much easier and I can pretend it is Marilyn Monroe platinum

62. I taught school for 30 years.

63. Loved it.

64. I taught in the same room as my sister in law. THAT was great.

65. I taught next door to my brother. THAT was great, too.

66. I teach in a super max prison now.

67. Love it.

68. Always something different to do.

69. And exciting? This is the most exciting job I’ve EVER had.

70. All I know about computers, I’ve learned on the job.

71. Prior to this job, I knew NOTHING about computers, At. All.

72. After I’d worked for about a week, my boss asked me “So, how are your computer skills?”

73. My first response? “EEEEK!!!!”

74. What I actually said was “Oh, I’d say I’m about on par with the rest of the teachers.” Very non-committal.

75. I didn’t realize that the rest of the teachers couldn’t even turn ON their computers.

76. So I’m the most computer savvy person in my ENTIRE department.

77. That’s pretty scary.

78. I travel for training out of town about once a month.

79. It’s usually for three or four days and I stay in fancy pantsy hotels.

80. I hate it.

81. I usually take my son or daughter, so I have company.

82. I keep the books for our business

83. Sometimes, that’s not such a great idea.

84. I don’t mind DOING the books

85. I hate coming up with the money for the tax liabilities

86. And I hate all the deadlines

87. I spend too much time on-line..

88. I feel guilty when I’m not doing something productive. Thus, the knitting.

89. I’m a good typist.

90. I have narrow feet with a high instep.

91. Most shoes just don’t fit.

92. I love coffee, but Starbucks makes my stomach hurt.

93. I quit smoking in 1978.

94. I miss it every day.

95. In fact, I’d knock you in the head right now for one cigarette

96. I love purple and red and turquoise

97. But I like to wear a lot of black, because I’m lazy..

98. I love artichokes.

99. I woke up one morning a decided to have a Brazilian. Yep, out of the blue. If I

couldn’t have gotten an appointment, I would have changed my mind.. It doesn’t hurt, but the whole

procedure is VERY weird.

100. I don’t like malls. Too many people and too many choices.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Got a little Brie to go with this whine?

My rotator cuff is apparently shredded. I go in for an MRI
on Monday. The doctor now thinks the "cradle" has been
torn...if that's so, I'm looking at SIX MONTHS of recovery
time and more than one surgery. All I know is that it hurts
worse than when I had my 13 pound baby.

I just cleaned out my car...I've been asking Girlie to clean
it out for a MONTH, since I can't carry anything and it
finally got so messy, the officer at the GATE had me open my
doors to make sure I wasn't helping an inmate escape.

I had a bunch of reports I had to generate and print at Not
SO Darling's office...this is work for him...and all he
could do was sigh AND tap his foot.

I have to go to SF tomorrow for training and I'm taking tax
junk to work on...still not done...and I ask if we can stay
home from the beach since I have so much to do. BIG SIGH.
He's COUNTING on me driving like a bat home from SF so he
can "relax" at the beach. Couldn't I take it with me and do
it there?

Just hitch me up to the plow.

I can't use any of the drugs I've got because I flippin'
have to drive or calculate or function.

I hate being a grown up.

Monday, April 17, 2006

About Khaki...I'm just sayin'

I want to make an afgan out of something that is warm and cozy, to thow over my tv watching self at the beach house. It is 400 square feet. The entire house. Well, except for the patio, which is probably 400 square feet, too. So there is a lot of living crammed into that very small and overpriced space.

The couch, chairs and drapes are different colors of blue denim. I have bright patchwork pillows. The bedroom duvet is a sampler quilt that is so bright it almost vibrates. The curtains in there are some kind of African-Jamaican whackadoodle stripe made by a stripe-r on crack. I'm love that stripe so much that I'm going to use some of that stripe to edge the blue drapes in the living room.

The kitchen, which adjoins the living room is teeny, with red appliances and a red rug. The counters are that ugly white and gold fleck laminate from the "60's...they are going and the counters will be navy blue corian with matching backsplash. We're going to do something with the cupboard fronts but haven't decided what yet.

The bathroom will get a little countertop facelift (I'm pulling for red corian), plus we'll rip out the icky teeny bathtub and put in a wow shower (with steam, jacuzzi, cd player, telephone) is a fiberglass unit that just drops in and we've done dozens of them. The tub is deep (like up to your neck) and more of a Japanese soaking tub than a stretch out tub.

So I'm asking friends about colors for this afgan....and I get red, which is the color I'm leaning towards AND my favorite color anyway, right up there with purple....and I also get some very chic sand or beige or khaki...which I agree is a very chic and tranquil suggestion. In fact, it is so much more unusual than red or yellow or orange or even lime green, which would work also.

No doubt, Khaki looks great with black and with even looks great with white and cream and espresso. I like it WAY more than I like olive....but Khaki ...means dirt in some Indian from India dialect.

I spent enough of my life grubbing in the dirt that I don't even LIKE the color brown. I know..that really limits me AND a sandy afgan would be a welcome, tranquil thing...but I don't think I could work with yarn that color.

And I can drive past newly plowed fields and rhapsodize over how GORGEOUS the dirt is, how rich, how lovely, how earthy....but I don't know that I could make something out of it.

Which is not to say that the people in the world who love earth tones aren't favored, since MOST of the world loves those colors. Just not me.

I'm just sayin'

(When I was a teen, I would say the most outrageous things that would make my mother just pop her cork. She'd go crazy, rant and rave and then I would say...."I was just sayin'"

Girlie does this too. Make some whakadoodle crazy making statement, guarenteed to make a mother crazy...and after said mother pops her cork, will look at me and say

"I was just sayin'"

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Weekend at the beach house

Girlie took the entire weekend off to spend with us at the beach house. And we did what we do every weekend here...nothing. Cooked, watched movies, read, knitted....that's all. It wasn't warm enough to sit out on the wee patio, but we did throw open the windows so we could say meaningful things like "Tide's out" or "Tide's in".

Watched the guy across the way trim his lemon tree. We're on a pitched hill, so there was a lot of to and fro-ing, getting a ladder, getting two ladders, getting a board, standing on a bucket. And when he was done, it looked pretty much the same.

Next week, I think I'm going to prune up this flowering bush in the front yard...which will necessitate me going to the hardware store and buying clippers to keep in my wee garden shed.

I actually had brought two big buckets of tax stuff to work on...I have to get it organized and entered to send to the CPA. Didn't even unload the car. That's two weeks in a row I've slacked off. I drove around all last week with the car packed from LAST week (didn't manage to get the taxes worked on last week either).

Next week, I go to San Francisco for training, so I will ABSOLUTELY get it done next weekend. If all goes well, I'll be able to drive home, pick Darling up and head to the beach Friday afternoon. Girlie has to work.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sometimes it is all just too much

We have a small business and this month, decided to have our employees randomly drug tested. It could be that I'm just paranoid and it could be that it's rained here for 38 out of the last 40 days, but we were having just a lot of hissy fitting, stomping around, frayed tempers stuff that is just out of character for these guys.

So I wrote up an employee handbook (4 pages) and had them read it and sign it. I filed the acknowledgment page in with their tax forms and job apps. In the handbook, I spelled out the whole anti-drug policy, what kind of testing I was arranging for, where to test, how random the random testing would be, as well as mandatory testing after a Worker's Comp or car accident. (I recently tore up my rotator cuff at work and had a drug and alcohol test when I went in for treatment. No big deal. The only thing I would test positive for would be red hot cheetos.Never dawned on me that I could hissy fit my way out of it. Josie handed me the cup and followed me into the bathroom...and somehow, it seemed somewhat normal to me. Weird, but normal.)

So today, I get all this hissy fitting, hammer throwing yelling going on. I got the tail end of it, since I was at work all day. Darling got the full 9 hours of it. They didn't want to test. (Big red flag, ya think?). And no, they didn't want to quit NOR would they accept being terminated. But drug testing...we're picking on them. We can't run their off time choice of relaxation. ('s against the law.) Four of them refused to test; one, because we were picking on him. Two because they thought we were violating their rights. One because he didn't feel like it today...maybe next week.

BUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM said they hadn't bothered to read the handbook. They just signed the acknowledgement form because they had to. Yeah, and they also had to fill out their W2's so I could take out taxes because they had to. They do get all mad when I have to take out child support and sometimes want to holler at me over that...which is too bad, since I don't like ANY of them well enough to go to jail. They also had to show me their social security cards because they had to...yet they want a do over with the drug policy. And somehow all of this interferance is MY FAULT. (Oh, on payday, everythign is hunky dory and can they borrow $150 so they can go to the races? I'm GREAT on payday.)

Don't these guys get it? Retorical, since OF COURSE they do...and they just don't want to be responsible for their actions.
Sure, they have a right to refuse to test. They have a right to get loaded 24/7, if that's what they want to do.

And we have a right to let them go.

And if I hear "It's not fair" one more time, I am going to scream.
The fair is in SEPTEMBER.
There's a ferris wheel.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I finished these socks!

So many sock photos make your legs look stumpy and your feet look like a block of melted butter. Not these! Aren't they cute? I found a photo on the web and I COPIED THE POSE. Shamelessly. I'm standing on pier blocks out at the construction yard. All of my prior sock phtos were taken by me, with my feet on the coffee table or stretched out in front of me..very stumpy-block-of-butter looking. Then I found a Swedish blog where the socks looked really cute...all because of the angles! Ballet feet, that's the key. Good toes, good heels. Who woulda thunk it? SO I shamelessly copied the poses until I got a decent one!

Next time, I'm going for something stripy or colored or really soft and squishy. In the meantime, I'm quite happy with these. Of course, they kept me from working on the hardhardvery hard cardi for darling and distracted me from all the I-forgot-to-write-them-down alterations to the ballet sweater...but it wasn't as if I was simply sitting around the house, watching Oprah and eating bon bons! I got something done. And tomorrow I SWEAR, I'll pick up the ballet sweater and work on it, alterations and all. (They aren't that big of a deal..I just forgot to write them down.)

And here is Darling's cardi on the needles out on the patio at the beach house.....although WHAT is up with that color? The reality one I'm working on is Pacific Storm Blue cashmere. Just the color of...a rainy-stormy-clouds-over-the-ocean blue. THe cashmere is like butter to knit...good thing, since I spend about half my time ripping it out. I had the entire back done, during a training in Sacramento, when I bothered to look down and noticed that the cable were winding around like snakes. RRRRRrrrrrrrip. The next time I worked on it, the cables would appear and disappear, just as if I wasn't following a pattern AT ALL.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Risky Internet behavior

Now this is an interesting comment, because my life is played out, in a great degree, in the local metro newspapers. I have pretty interesting pursuits and am often in the paper, along with my family. I'm not famous, by any means, just interesting. Anyone who cares to hunt me down can do so. So when i say I don't engage in risky internet behavior, I mean I'm not hooking up with total strangers for who knows what purposes.
My projects, my career, my pursuits, my hobbies...they are all in the paper all the time. In fact, one of my favorite pursuits is to google myself and see what "they're" saying about me.
I'm no Jessica Simpson, but, yeah, I'm findable.
There was a time when I wasn't. My life doesn't look any different now than it did then.
So that's what I meant.
No Looking for Mr. Goodbar behavior here.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

And why DO I knit?

I learned to knit about 50 years ago, when children still rode the bus home from school and most mothers stayed home. I learned from Mark Cameron's mother, Beverly. Other teachers were Carrie Lunstead's mom, Jenny and several of my 4-H leaders, who also, patiently, taught me how to cook and sew. It was a different world back then. Girls fully expected to work for a few years and then stay home, raising their children, filling the hours with canning, knitting, sewing, gardening...a life much like my mother's, only easier.

Reality is that I work at a demanding job, drive 20 hours a week to get there and back. In my spare time,I keep the books for three businesses, so I'm on duty somewhere between 60 and 80 hours a week. The little time I do have, I like to use in a way that enriches my life; that somehow makes all those minutes count. I am process oriented more than project oriented (that means I like the doing part!)

I'm not a giant yarn pig; I have probably enough yarn to make perhaps five baby sweaters with matching blankets. I tell myself that I have this yarn on hand so I can whip up a gift for one of my daughter's many friends who will, in the next five years, start their families. When my children were little, I always had something on my needles because they always needed something..little mittens, little sweaters, little socks to replace the ones the washer ate.

Here is my list of ongoing, in-process projects, in no particular order: a cashmere Aran cardigan,story blue, for Darling, my husband and a soft garnet red ballet style sweater for my daughter.

The cardigan is just the teeniest bit too hard for me, but, ever the optimist, I believe that I can conquer the pattern, with it's intricate cables and twists and yarn overs. It's for my husband, after all. It needs a sturdy pocket or two, since we are a family of hands-in-the-pockets.

The ballet sweater has it's own challanges; my daughter is willowy and tall, so it has to be long enough to come to her hip bone, plus she has a long torso, so it had to be made longer in the body and she is also long from the armseye to her shoulder-another alteration. Her arms are long also, so the sleeves had to be made both longer, slimmer and the cap had to be altered as well.

I try to have only two projects going on at a time, so I have a chance of finsihing one of them or at least making signifigant progress on it if given enough idle time in the car. I learned my lesson when I bought lucious sunset red chenille for an afgan for my mother in law. It took TWO YEARS to finish..and it was a simple basket weave...and the casue of a huge fight with my husband, complete with me flinging the whole thing on the floor and snapping "I'll finish the effing thing before we get there!" on the eve of a two week road trip thru Canada and then down the intermountain west to Arizona. One of the things I pride myself on is NOT swearing at my husband and not swearing about a gift I am making...bad karma.

I'm not a true yarn harlot, someone midway through one project who gets seduced by that cute little ball of yarn and abandons the first project in order to start a second, or a third, or a seventeenth. I lust and covet. I like to cruise the internet, looking at patterns and yarns with no thought as to budget or time constraints. I have, roughly, about 500 years of projects bookmarked with such optimistic titles as "I love this!" or "WOW! Raspberry!" I truly believe that one day, I'll be able to start finish and wear a sweater every 20 days.

So why do I behave like this? I make lists of DVDs, whenever I read about one that strikes my fancy. I have several books going on a downstairs by the TV, one in the car, one in each bathroom, one by the bed at home and one by the bed at the beach house...and I can keep them all straight in my head AND I have a reasonable expectation of finishing them all.

I am a perfectly normal, rational human being.

I justify my lust toward the idea of multiple projects several ways. First, there’s the boredom factor. No matter how excited I am about a new project, somewhere around the first sleeve I find that I can no longer stand the stitch pattern, and I desperately need to take a break. OR maybe the pattern requires too much attention to detail. Or consider socks: one week I am totally fed up with that tedious round and around and around on tiny needles, but two weeks later I’m seriously jonesing for a pair. Perhaps it reflects a limited attention span, or, on a more positive note, a need for variety.

I would never dream of being unfaithful to my husband. But remember how great it felt to fall in love? You can experience that same feeling, guilt free, with yarn.
I don't have a real local yarn shop...just Michaels. So I troll the internet for lovely colors and scrumptious detail. Nowhere is the copy writer more masterful than when descibing yarns. And then, all of a sudden, one of those yarns will call out to me, or a pattern will suddenly appear bewitchingly out of nowhere. Perhaps I’ll notice the arrangement of certain colors on the page. Then a stitch will suggest itself, or an image of the completed project and in my brain, I can see me competently working with and on it, complacently knitting away.

There are far more detrimental things on which I could be spending my time and money: I don’t gamble, I don’t drink, I’m not a compulsive shopper, I don’t engage in risky behavior on the Internet. No, knitting is my martini at night, my drug of choice.

And sooner or later, I do actually finish each project; some may take a few weeks, others a couple of years, but they do get finished, all the gifts get given. And I cast on and count, I think of all my loved ones that at any given moment are being surrounded and cuddled by stitches of my own making.

And that is why I knit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It looks like I have MUCH to be thankful for

If I'm paying taxes, it means I at least have something to be taxed my dear friend Paulie mentioned to me. The sales tax means we have customers; the employment taxes means that because of our businesses, people can feed their families. Okay, it's not all bad. I just wish that I could pick and choose when I had to pay them (like that is any kind of practical management point).
And there are a gazillion people who'd like to be "stuck" doing their taxes at a beach house. (I know! I used to be one of them!)

We looked off and on for five years and just started getting serious in the last eighteen months...look look look. Everything we looked at was too big, too expensive (the property taxes on some of those homes were like a MILLION dollars a year). And some of the poor owners had been in an overpriced home from the get go and had never been able to paint or do anything to the house to update it from the sixties or seventies when they bought it 9you can tell from the kitchen colors, usually). ANd when we found this 400 square foot place, we just snapped it up. We barely looked at was the right price and in the right place (golf course, on the heights, with a view of the ocean). We'll keep it for a while, do some fixing up and sell it for a place up a little higher, a little bigger, with a little more ocean view. And this is all possible because we have a business to pay taxes on.
So it's more a case of I don;t WANT to do my homework!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Rain, rain and more rain

I feel like I should be building an ark! It has been raining for almost a where my daughter was five before she ever saw real rain! The sidewalk and driveway is ankle deep in standing place for it to go. It is raining so hard that I can't even go out and soak my shoulder in the hot tub.

My shoulder. Went to the physio good news there. It looks like I tore up my rotator cuff more than once and badly. I'm going in daily for physio, wearing a sling (very uncomfortable) and taking anti-inflamatories. I'm a mess and it REALLY hurts. It is unbelieveable the amount of pain this thing can generate. Right up there with childbirth.
So it looks like surgery is in my immediate furture...they go in with crocet hooks, nab the errant ligaments and tendons, screw them onto titanium hook deals and then screw the whole thing into my shoulder. It;s true! I looked it up on the internet. (And more than once).

Spending the weekends at the little beach house..this weekend I have books to do; it's the end of the quarter and I have IRS employee taxes to figure out and pay, state taxes to figure out and pay, sales tax to figure out and pay and Worker's Comp to figure out and pay. The figuring out, I can do. It's the coming up with the money that drives me crazy. I mentioned to Darling that I needed a couple of five or six thousand dollars for this quarter business liabilities (and these are, mind you, ABOVE the monthly bills). Oh sure, he said. I'll just sell my BLOOD and come up with the extra cash FOR YOU. To say the least, the "FOR YOU" comment made my eyes spin in my head. So I told him how I really hate doing this and worrying about this and fretting about money all the time. I hate keeping the records and being responsible and having to be able to lay my hands on every single piece of information at a moments notice. Hate it. I guess i could do it if I didn't have to come up with the CASH, too. If I could just fiddle with the numbers and print it out, dropping it on somebodies desk with a post-it "Needs to be paid by Friday".