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A new year, time for new beginnings, fresh starts, and all of that. Unfortunately, this year I donít know what I want to start, other than knitting and baking. I need to find a rhythm to get me going while I continue looking for a job in ďchosenĒ professional field, and so I fall back on my organizing and planning. I find creating lists and schedules calms me when Iím feeling overwhelmed. Right now, Iím probably more underwhelmed, but I am hoping that the same principles apply when everything on the list is optional rather than necessary: define, prioritize, schedule.
Iím excited to start on the stole for mom Ė it is so much nicer when someone actually expresses a desire for something knitted. Since this project isnít going to be a surprise, Iíve had her review a number of choices and select her favorite. Her favorite choices were all very simple, geometric patterns, nothing fussy or complicated, no granny-lace, which didnít surprise me Ė that was my own preference when I first started looking at lace stoles. It gives me hope that I can complete the stole in time for her birthday while maintaining the Knit a Sweater A Month project.
I love going to the museums in New York. I love to sit on the benches and watch people. Museums are so much better than a bookstore or even a restaurant for that purpose. First of all, you can just enjoy the space Ė large, open space is difficult to find in the city. Then you can enjoy the art itself, imagine what it was like to live with these objects, because someone did at some point live with what we now call art. And finally, there are the other people in the museum: the tourists, guards, docents, and the natives.
Last year, I dreamed of knitting more sweaters, of having an assortment of handknits to wear all year round. Now Iíve discovered a group committed to the idea of knitting twelve adult sweaters in twelve months. Am I crazy to attempt this? The rules of this project state that if you have a sweater already started but finish it in 2009, it counts. Since I have at least four sweaters that are already in various stages of progress (two nearly complete) and am currently unemployed with plenty of knitting time, this seems significantly less crazy as I consider the prospect.
I donít know whether to be comforted or terrified by the fact that some of my professional colleagues are emphatic in their recommendation: if you can get out, get out. The net effect is that it does make me wonder about the next few months Ė should I really be spending time and energy on the job search, or should I just start focusing on other options immediately? I did at one point create a list of baked goods that could be the starting point of a business, but I need to figure out how to convert that into actual customers.
I have more of my paternal grandmother in me than previously suspected. I retain knowledge and skills she imparted to me such as the correct form of address for the head of state in any country and the ability to walk up and down stairs with books on my head. I can even curtsey with books (or a pint glass) on my head. Until going through my knitting pattern collection today, I hadnít realized I was such a packrat, saving anything that might someday be useful. And in mass quantity. My fear of her Hoover Room seems to be fading.
I attended my first daytime Knit In today, rather uncertain of what I would find. Not surprisingly (once you stop to think about it, which I didnít until afterwards) the group is different from the Friday night group. And just as clearly, they mostly know each other already. Yet the vibe isnít that different: interest in the projects others are working on, stories of family, health and knitting techniques, trials and triumphs. It all gets me fired up again, wondering about designing beautiful, practical sweaters for real women with real curves. OK, so whereís that damn Sweater Wizard software CD?
I am trying to keep the faith, but it is difficult given the lack of opportunities that are appearing within a commutable distance. Yes, yes, I tell myself it is this time of year, even in a good economy this past month is probably the worst time to be looking for a new job. At some point, however, something suitable should appear, but it hasnít yet surfaced even though Iíve set up very broad searches at every place I can think of to notify me automatically of new opportunities. Iím ready to consider other job alternatives, whatever they may be.
I am not sure what it is I like so much about riding the train, but there is something about it I find very comforting, almost soothing. I first really experienced train travel in Europe and I loved it from the start, especially the old-fashioned ďcabinsĒ rather than the open car seating. Even going into the city, ninety minutes is long enough to settle back and relax into whatever you choose: reading, knitting or just reviewing the internal monologue of to-do lists, points of concern and debate. It just such a civilized way to travel especially to and from work.
Waiting for the snow, waiting for the snow, waiting for the snow... waiting for the snow! Apologies to Jim Morrison, but after the buildup from all the weather forecasters at every tv station in town, todayís lack of actual snow was a real disappointment. This is the winter we can simply stay inside, cook something for dinner that takes hours on the stove or in the oven, have a glass of port and watch it snow, while we are snug and warm in the house. We are both hoping that we have that opportunity before one or both of us returns to work.
Having re-arranged the living room furniture yesterday after taking down the Christmas tree, we are all learning to be comfortable in the space. The cats are both unsettled by the changes, it makes me think they will both have a difficult time if we do move. My first city cat, Linnie, thought moving was a great adventure as she had new spaces to explore, and she loved it when we moved into the house. Merlin was quite the opposite, hiding in the bathroom until I carried him out Ė he seems to have transmitted that attitude to Miss Leo and Fionn.
Where do the days go? Iím not sure Iím getting enough done in this enforced staycation, but the days just pass. Iím not even reaching my knitting goals. Am I expecting too much out of myself (the usual) or have I just become a slow-moving blob? I made some progress today tackling the insulation of various bits of the house, but discovered that Iím missing some necessaries so I canít complete the work. I seem to lack focus and energy, which may not be that surprising, but I donít find it acceptable. I need to find a way to recharge.
I am delighted by the online community of knitters I am getting to know. Be it a simple wish to get well and find new employment, compliments about a completed sweater, or a virtual high-five from an indie yarn dyer after scoring some of her yarn, it is a community of people with whom I have something in common. Lacking physical, real-time, face-to-face contacts now I am in danger of retreating into this cocoon, but I am trying to get out more, meeting former colleagues for lunch and in-person knitting groups. Itís not about career networking, its about staying sane.
Deep freeze has arrived on the Island. Itís cold enough during the day even with sunshine to keep me inside, but I brave the night time temps in the teens with windchills of I-donít-want-to-know in order to have dinner with Sparky. One of my fatherís friends, heís on the Island on business. Iíve not seen Sparky since the January Picnic when I brought G to Michigan to meet the family. I think itís the first time Iíve had a conversation with Sparky that wasnít talking shop about computers and security. A nice, adult dinner out is just what I needed.
I am in love with the yarn that arrived today. The handpainted colors are so perfectly me, vivid purples melting into shades of woodsy greens. This is wool that I can actually wear next to my skin, from a breed called Bluefaced Leicester. I want to find a pattern that takes advantage of the springy quality of wool; cashmere and alpaca are very inelastic. Iím combing over Ravelry, and all the books and magazines Iíve got, looking for the perfect pattern. My fingers are itching to start knitting this yarn now, never mind the other projects Iíve got lined up.
I made two desserts for the holiday party at the knit shop and I was a little impressed with how good they looked, rather professional. They got raves at the party, and I got encouragement from the group to go ahead and start my own baking business. One of the women doing the encouraging is from our favorite local Italian deli that sells amazing prepared foods. I have to think hard and develop a plan, so that I can be comfortable moving ahead with the idea. Although the idea of trying to seriously bake in my kitchen really scares me.
I started today on one of my large ďdo it while you have the timeĒ projects: getting photos of various works in progress and unused yarns posted them on Ravelry, with complete information about yardage. Photos on Ravelry will help me easily remember what I have, and the theory is that then wonít buy yarn I donít need (but yarn I want... thatís different!). Perhaps Iíll also get rid of some yarn, Iíve already marked one item for trade or sale. I need a week of sunshine to get photos, even though I wonít be able to post them all immediately.
This is the story of two houses. One was loved and maintained, shepherded into the modern era with updates, and even though showing signs of her age, is nevertheless a graceful, gracious beauty. With a price tag to match, of course. The other house is more modest yet built with excellent bones and comfortable spaces. Twenty years ago, she was loved, with a lush green lawn around the pool. After standing vacant for five years, however, with a roof that is leaking and an upstairs full of mold, she is frightening in her appearance and overpriced. Which do you choose?
It is a quiet winter wonderland outside. We got more snow, and because of the MKL holiday, thereís very little traffic outside, almost as if the world has stopped. The snow is piled up on top of every slightly horizontal surface; even the seed pods in the garden have a good inch of white frosting on top. It is all incredibly beautiful, and sitting in the quiet house, I am strangely at peace with things. I canít make it happen, these things are beyond my direct control. I can only follow through and stay committed to those that I love.
I feel overrun by the hoopla. Yes, it is a historic day for the country, deeply meaningful to so many people, thatís wonderful, terrific, can we please now get on with our lives? I am befuddled by societyís current and seemingly increasing need to make everything such an event, with the media absolutely overindulging in the smallest details, repeating itself, trying desperately to fill the void of its own meaninglessness. We saw it last weekend with US Air flight 1549, and the last 24 hours have been an overload on the inauguration. Did nothing else happen in the world today?
I donít know of an IT or InfoSec department that hasnít spent the last several years being overburdened and understaffed. Companies are restricting planned new hires if not cutting staff outright, and doing away with bonuses and raises. Thereís nowhere for disgruntled employees to go anymore, so they stay on staff and fester away. And it isnít just IT that is feeling the pinch these day, the entire workforce is basically demoralized in recent months. Your insider risk just increased exponentially. How comfortable are you with your risk management and controls? What is a winning strategy to handle this situation?
Signs and symbols. What really makes them so powerful? What of our own personal signs and symbols, things no one else understands? Are they just so evocative of specific times, events or feelings that we experience an internal and unacknowledged dťjŗ vu when we see them that we are returned back to that time, place or feeling? I donít remember what it was now that got me thinking about signs and symbols and how this process works, but it strikes me as slightly reminiscent of a dream state, when your mind makes connections and links that arenít obvious or logical.
When I was young, I could easily spend and hour Ė and no money ó in the local fabric store. I would wander among the bolts of fabric, imagining the possibilities, touching (fondling) anything with a pleasing texture, then moving on to the pattern books, buttons and trim, all but lost in my inner thoughts of creation of clothes that would actually fit and be what I wanted. Taking photos of my yarn stash these days much the same, as I see all the yarn that I already have that I want to work with, fashion into something that I can wear.
How is it that you can absolutely enjoy an activity, not feel at all stressed while doing it, and then afterwards, your body collapses? I made it to the pool today, for the first time in too long, and deliberately took it easy so as not to wind up sore tomorrow, and limited myself to half an hour. OK, it didnít work out all the kinks in my back but I felt great in the pool, surprised I was still able to easily do everything. By the time I got home (after a very brief trip to the store) my arms were shaking. I was ravenous and tired at the same time.
So many times when you finally see a place youíve wanted to see for a long time, the reality is a bit of a let down Ė it is not nearly as nice or as interesting as it appeared. Itís happened to me on vacation and its happened to us when house hunting. Now weíve seen two houses in the same neighborhood that surpass our expectations. Thereís enough public and private space (arguably too much space), land, the style and layout of the house is great, theyíve got everything we want. And theyíre both priced just beyond our comfort range. ARGH!
G has an interview in Mamaroneck, and I must seriously consider living in Westchester. Specifically, the Gatehouse: smaller than my house, but with an additional half bath and a better kitchen. The backyard is smaller, yet with fences, it is more private. With some small investments to the house, and severe editing of both our collections of stuff, we could probably be as not-quite-comfortable as we are here, with a significantly reduced monthly cost overhead, something that cannot be discounted at this time. We know the area, and it is a much shorter commute into the city. Time will tell.
Sock! I have knitted a real sock, out of fine, sock yarn! And it fits himself! Iím still not fond of the small, small needles I must use to knit socks, but I am beginning to understand the attraction of knitting socks. The needles are small, but so is the project, thereís not much to knit in any one direction, given necessity to construct a heel flap, gusset and a toe. Given the nearly infinite variety now available in both patterns and yarn you can find something to suit any and every taste. Iím considering making a pair for myself.
Its another bad-weather morning that is less than ideal for traveling on the roads, and Iím very glad I donít have to go anywhere, that I can sit in the living room and watch the snow and ice outside. At times like this, I consider the realities of living somewhere that really gets snow regularly, like Chicago. Or life a hundred years ago, before snow blowers. Yet I know from experience that when you get snow regularly, you are prepared, you know how to deal with it, and it becomes a part of life, rather than just an exceptional event
I canít seem to make up my mind between the small areas on the North Shore and those on the South Shore. The Bay is so accessible from the South Shore, it is often at the end of the street of the houses weíve looked at. We know the area, the shops and restaurants, and thereís something very welcoming in flat, open geography. Yet to the north, there appear to be more potential (and older) houses, and the wooded hills charm me every time we drive through. The Sound is a bit more hidden, but more expansive than the Bay.
Contact. Communication. Theyíre not the same thing at all. G and his friends seem to carry on very well with email, a round-robin exchange of information, taunts and teasings that seems to be very much how they interact in person Ė they have both contact and communication electronically. Yet Helene & I donít seem to be able to do the same via email, we are struggling to find time for phone calls. At one time we did well with email, but there was no real alternative at the time, with a five hour time difference and the cost of international calls.
Photographing the first box of my yarn stash today, I found myself recalling when and where I bought each yarn and what I had originally intended to knit with the yarn, assuming I had a plan for it. This box happened to contain some of the pink mohair yarn (girly!) I bought when I was out after back surgery, and the charcoal merino (severe!) I bought in Germany back in 1987 which had been knit halfway into a sweater. What a time capsule this box turned out to be Ė I wonder where and when Iíll be with the next box?
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