••• Friday, April 25, 2008

Random Candy Friday 

Bloom With a View

I found this in a tree, just outside my front door.

Dramatapod Elementarus
This rare species makes its annual migration through our region, but this is the first time I have ever seen it, up close.

Day 2. Apparently they know not the meaning of "traveling light." Please click for details.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Trees

That there is a bit o'somethin' that tumbled from my own family tree. The sibling branch. It was her birthday, this week. That is her birthday hat. She wore it while shopping at Costco. It plays music while a little pointy thing pops in and out of a hole in the top, in a very creepy, Freud-Would-Crap-His-Pants kinda way. ::If you click, you can see the pokey thing starting its poke-up.::

Sometimes I wonder if our family tree should see a tree surgeon. I hear they are opening branches everywhere.

It Doesn't Always Sock to be Me.

That nipple-esque item on the left toe is the result of a kitchener malfunction. It seems I cannot kitchener if there is any kind of distraction in the room. You know, stuff like radio, TV, oxygen.

Brain Train

Tomorrow I am heading to Traverse City to join and complete the Circle of Brain.::We recently have recognized that each of us possesses only partial brain capacity,but when we're all together,we create one complete brain. This allows each of us to walk without falling down, and stuff. Or if we do fall down, we can get up. If we want.::

Hopefully I can make it in time tomorrow, to save Kellie from getting lost in a coffee shop, or Sue in a bathroom, or Kristi from knitting a sweater with no neck hole. In the meantime, think good thoughts for a safe trip for them, tonight. Or at least think good thoughts for keeping Kristi out of the navigational loop.

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••• Sunday, April 20, 2008

Say It Sucks Sunday 

Last week I brought work home every night. A report. It was a hard one. Not all of them are. But this one was. And there was a deadline.

And on the heels of that deadline, is another.
And another.

All told, I have to crank out 2.7 reports per week, over the next four weeks, in order to make legally mandated timelines. This is in addition to my other caseload duties. Understand that I'm not whining or complaining about my job. I love my job. I have an important job. And I believe I am really good at my job. I'm just laying out a little context.

So. Friday I am putting the finishing touches on the report summary, which is often the hardest part for me, of writing reports. Although I am pretty good at synthesizing all the information in my head, and coming up with what I think are solid conclusions, my brain doesn't always use language-as-we-know-it as its primary synthesizing tool.

It's hard to explain, really. And it's not like I see lights and hear bells and feel compelled to dance the funky chicken while wearing my husband's underwear, because that would be easy to explain, if not defend. It's just..well...hard to explain.

Anyway. After I spent a few hours translating the summary from the Language of My Brain to the Language of Human Consumption, a co-worker stopped by to talk about some evals that we are working on together. In the middle of this discussion he interrupted himself to ask my thoughts on the recent memo from administration, announcing that next year's budget calls for cutting two full-time soshel werkrs.

I hadn't read it.
I felt like I'd been punched.

Seniority-wise, my job is safe.
Quality-wise, that remains to be seen.

Several times per year I become so swamped and drained and pulled in many directions, that at the end of a given day, I am bereft of further cognitive capability. Sometimes I wonder how I make it home safely, on those days.

I currently am in the midst of one of those "times." That being said, I'm having a hard time visualizing how I will be able to take on another half of a full-time job next year, without someone getting hurt. Namely, me.

But the human spirit is stronger than we think. When I was a kid and we ran out of toothpaste, my mom would invariably say: "There's always one last squeeze in the tube." Oddly enough, over the years that statement has always held true for me, no matter how dire the tubular circumstance. ::And sometimes aided by a pair of scissors.:: And while said phenomenon always works to my benefit, it never seems to go well for the tube.

I am now the tube.

And then there is the issue of two cohorts who could* be out of jobs, come June, which I'm trying not to think about. There are also some related dynamics that I will not be discussing here, but that also add to the stress and emotional discomfort.

Needless to say, I've been more than a little distracted over the last couple of days. This weekend I had every intention of catching up on some blog posting, while my 2008 Intendments are still rattling around the Synthesizers. Orphans.

Friday I came home from work and took a picture of that flower up there, and had every intention of posting it as Eye Candy. In light of the emotional hazing I had endured that day, the sweet little flower just didn't fit into my world as I knew it. So then I had the idea of the captioned pig, to set the tone. Then I played outside. Knit some knit. Drank some wine. Then rinsed and repeated for Saturday.

And now the pig thing seems kind of dumb. But dumb happens. As does rambling.

As for now, my sweets, it's yet another gorgeous day (a weather pattern that I'm finding almost annoying at this point), and I need to go hunt some Cakers Gone Wild. Then maybe take up some knitting on the porch.

And then some writing on a report.
Sometimes stress pays the rent.

*The whole situation will be fluid until June. Even though the threat is real, I would be very surprised if they cut two full-time spots.

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••• Friday, April 11, 2008

The Party's Over 

My spring break officially ended at 3:00 today. Sure, I still have the weekend. But I always have the weekend.

As spring breaks go, this one didn't break any records for drunken-yet-harmless moral misdemeanors*, or sunshinery debauchery. But it was time away from the fray, with family, and knitting.

For today's post, I started to write what I originally considered to be an interesting piece, on the potentially life-threateninig hazards related to a city slicker vacationing on a melting lake, in spring. About three words and several heavy sighs into it, I realized that in order for one to fully appreciate the abject horror and mortal terror and resulting wonder of la grande schema humanitae** du melting lac, you simply had to be there. In other words, It Was Lame-o.

So instead of the detailed, albeit harrowing description of our recent brush with melting ice, I share with you this cool little Blogger thingy I found somewhere. In case you are feeling skeptical or lazy or are reading this blog from jail, where there is typically a three-click cap on internet connections, the link is to a slideshow of all recent photos uploaded to blogs.

It might take a few minutes before the coolness of what you are looking at can be fully appreciated. It's like being a voyeur outside the windows of the world.

*The January weekend with my Circle of Brain will be hard to beat in that regard. And hard to forget, courtesy of video.

**I'm feeling free to just make up some shit, willy nilly. Really.

••• Thursday, April 10, 2008

Random Wednesday 

We're back from the cottage. We stayed until the ice melted.
Well. Almost.

I may share more about the ice watch, later this week. For now I'll just say that watching the ice melt is not as cushy a job as it sounds.

Random is as Random Does
1. ::Spoiler Alert:: While standing in the checkout lane at the grocery store yesterday, I read on the cover of a magazine that there is a huge surprise birthday party in the works, for Baby Suri.

My thinking: Isn't the first birthday a surprise all by itself?

2. The lady in front of me at the check-out placed all her items in the middle of the conveyor, leaving a nearly perfect four-inch margin on either side. And she didn't just set the stuff down. She organized and stacked it into neat little towers. Box on box, yogurt on yogurt. ::But The Cheese Stands Alone.::

I am proud to say that I successfully fought the urge to bowl her groceries, with can of soup. However, in keeping with that instinct to ensure and perpetuate a sense of balance in the universe, I splayed my grocery shit all over the grocery docking area. For good measure, opened and flung about a box of elbow macaroni.

3. I made that last part up.

4. ::Spoiled Spoiler Alert:: My sources just informed me that Baby Suri is actually turning two.

Who put the random back in random? I did. That's who. And don't ever forget it.

But I'm sure that Suri is still feeling the surprise from that first one. And I'm not just saying that. Because I'm an idiot.

5. So now we're calling her Toddler Suri?

6.Ever notice those people who neatly organize their groceries in the shopping cart? I do not understand this. It's not like the bagger boy keeps it all straight and that it doesn't all end up in the same place anyway; overcrowded in a grocery bag, on top of the bread.

7. I am not a neat grocery cart keeper. I am not a neat anything. Remember my messy purse? My car currently looks like the inside of my messy purse. Minus the tampons. As of yesterday. ::Gotta love finding a cache of feminine hygiene under a backseat, in an emergency. Although my husband might not agree, based on comments made after his last ski weekend with the guys. They took his car. That time it was plethora of pads.::

8. I finished a sock. The yarn is Opal something. The color is Rendez-Vous.

9. I have recently decided that I only want to knit socks. This creates a certain amount of cognitive and emotional tension seeing as how I have 2 skeins of sock yarn and a basement full of the other kind.

10. I started a new project. A sweater. It goes by the name Wicked. .

10. a. After casting on the 126 stitches, and knitting four rows in the round, I decided that the yarn and the pattern were not a good match. It looked assy.

10. b. I ripped it out.

10. c. I spent the better part of Wednesday looking through pattern books for a more appropriate pattern for the yarn. ::I MUST knit the yarn up as part of Mission Possible 2008. It's on the list.::

10. d. I kept coming back to Wicked.

10. e. In an IM Wednesday, I shared my despair with good IM listener Kristi, who told me that she loves the Wicked too and plans to knit it someday. Evidently that Kristi has a powerfully therapeutic way about her, cause next thing I know I'm typing "Thems fightin' words, bay-itch. Wicked is mine. You're goin'daaown."

10. f. I did a swatch of the neckline pattern on a smaller needle and with a minor adaptation of the pattern. It looked much less assy.

10 g. I cast on again, the 126 stitches in the round. At the end of the first round I was startled to find that I was two stitches short from being able to complete the last section of pattern.

10. h. I re-read the instructions and found, much to my oyster-fork-to-the-eye-inducing rage gentle chagrin, that I was supposed to cast on 128 stitches, not 126. I did not catch this error the first time around (and around) because it was not as obvious without the slight, self-imposed change in the pattern.

10. i. I ripped and re-cast.

10. j. I knit around and around. It looked good. It felt good. Life was good.

10. k. This morning I picked it up to take a picture for your blogging pleasure.

10. l. I found that my sweater is not only Wicked, but Twisted.

10. m.

11. I have most recently decided that I only want to knit socks.

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••• Monday, April 07, 2008

The Butt Crack of Spring 

As seasons go, I've never been a big fan of Spring.
First of all, she's mostly kind of ugly. Dirty. Mucky. Bland.

Then there's her weather. It usually sucks.

When Spring weather doesn't acutally suck, around here we tend to get very excited, act like fools, and get all up in its temporarily beautiful, springy face. For example, we prance around the neighborhood, with arms outreached to the sky, and blink our eyes. Rapidly.

Then we walk around, waving to neighbors with whom we never otherwise speak, and yell stupid stuff like "Yay! It's finally Spring! Maybe this year you'll invite us to your little secret backyard BBQs? You think we haven't seen the other neighbors climbing over your back yard fence, with blankets over their heads? And their kids pulling the pony kegs down the sidewalk, in the wagons? For the record, the elephant ears and little Shriner hats on the kegs aren't fooling anyone. and "Can you believe this weather?"

The following day we wake up to 14 inches of snow, with accompanying ice storm warnings, and a tornado watch, to boot.

In fairness to Spring, it's not entirely her fault.
She has a tough job. At least here in Michigan.

After spending a long hard stint with her older brother Winter, we the people are pretty much ready for Spring, on the day she is to officially begin.

It's not her fault that her big brother is a bit of a bully. And a show-off.

Adding insult to injury, is that come late May, when Spring finally gets her wheels, people confuse her with her little sister, Summer.

I know.

So, Spring, I'm sorry you get such a rough go of it. Really.

And even though I still think you kind of suck, could you find it in your dirty, mucky, bland little heart, to lay off the nasty for a few days, while me and my family are stuck in Michigan for Spring Break?

P.S. Have you guys ever considered family therapy?

Making The Best of It
So, we're at the cottage for a few days. This is the first Spring Break we've had up here, with snow still on the ground. And the lake still frozen.

But Sister Spring has been good to us.
And we're making up the thrills as we go.

So far, said thrills have been limited to watching ice melt.

And bugs testing out body parts.

Or giving me stink eye.

Sayeth the Bug: "If I hear that stupid ladybug song one more time, your home and family will be descended upon by a plague of orange and black spotted crunchiness, the likes of which the human world has never seen. And for the record, I'm a guy."

Oh yeah. And I'm knitting a sock.

P.S. I've been working on this post since Friday. The Northern Michigan, rural dial-up has pretty much knocked the internetz right out of me.

P.P.S. If there are mistakes in this post, I'm pretty much leaving them be. I've been kicked out of blogger no less than 12 times in the last 45 minutes.

P.P.P.S. Please embiggen the leaf picture for full impact. The leaf was on the ice, and the ice had just melted around it. Note the rocks on the lake bottom around the melty part.

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