Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tired much?

This morning was so funny... We were getting off the bus, and stopping to chat with the driver (all three who do that run are so nice)... who immediately starts exclaiming how bright and pretty and green my eyes are.

(Context: She's a fiery Latina from Guatemala, maybe 40 years old, who stands 4'11" with her 4-inch espadrilles on, and wears miniskirts and carries a different handbag every day whilst driving a full-sized juiced up brand new city bus. She also happens to love N. and gets all hyper whenever she sees us. She's very squeaky and adorable.)

The difference this morning? I actually took 5 minutes to put in my contact lenses, and put on eyeshadow and mascara.

At least somebody noticed ;-)

ETA 9/23/09: The departmental secretary did the same thing this morning... I know I should take it as a compliment, but holy crap ;-)

Friday, September 18, 2009

some random photos

So, N. is asleep, which is shocking considering he's been a tantrum machine the past week or so (but only at home, never at daycare). He went down without a peep, and Hubby is in the other room configuring his new laptop (yay). So, I will post pictures and probably zone out in front of the TV for a bit (no knitting - got a flu shot today and it HURTS, dammit!)

My first attempts at thread crochet edging.
I'm a sucker for multicolored anything, but concede that these are probably best done in a solid color...

N. going for a ride in the wagon my dad built when we were kids.

My boys ♥

On a completely unrelated (meme) note

(shamelessly stolen from a friend's facebook page)

1) Can you fill this out without lying? yup.

2) What was the last thing you put in your mouth? caffeine free diet coke

3) Where was your profile picture taken? back at my old apartment

4) Can you play guitar hero? likely not

5) Name someone that made you laugh today? N. and my friend N.

6) How late did you stay up last night and why? 11:00pm, watching Real Housewives of Atlanta

7) If you could move somewhere else, would you? Yessir; home, please.

8) Ever been kissed under fireworks? I do believe so.

9) Which of your friends lives closest to you? N. lives two doors down, and everyone else is 900 miles away.

10) Do you believe ex's can be friends? I only have one friend-ex; the rest would never be possible.

11) How do you feel about Dr. Pepper? Nope, not for me.

12) When was the last time you cried really hard? Leaving to come back here after vacationing at home.

13) Where are you right now? Home, at my desk.

14) What bed did you sleep in last night? Mine.

15) What was the last thing someone bought for you? Hubby bought me lunch.

16) Who was the last person you took a picture of? My boys ♥

17) Was yesterday better than today? Yes and no... I got a flu shot today and my arm hurts like a sonofabitch.

18) Can you live a day without TV? Truthfully, yes; did it when staying with the MIL, but it was hard.

19) Are you mad about anything? not really.

20) Are you upset about anything? meh.

21) Do you think relationships are ever really worth it? Definitely.

22) Are you a bad influence? Yes; I'm a shopaholic and need company often.

23) Night out or night in?? night in, with TV and wine and knitting.

24) What items could you not live without during the day? laptop, internet connection, cellphone.

25) Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? probably Grammie.

26) What does the last text message in your inbox say? yes

27) How do you feel about your life right now? pretty good.

28) Do you hate anyone? unfortunately, yes.

29) If we were to look in your facebook inbox, what would we find? randomness

30) Has anyone ever called you perfect before? I think so

31) What song is stuck in your head? Beyonce's Single Ladies (*hangs head in shame*)

32) Someone knocks on your window at 2am, who do you want it to be? Someone giving me money.

33) Wanna have grandkids before you’re 50? No thank you.

34) Name something you have to do tomorrow? groceries.

35) Do you think too much or too little? too much.

36) Do you smile a lot? I don't know.

37) Who was your last missed call on your Mobile phone? my boss.

38) Is there something you always wear? wedding rings.

39) What were you doing 30 minutes ago? feeding N.

40) Did you have an exciting last weekend? we had a playdate.

41) Have you ever crawled through a window? yes.

42) Have you ever dyed your hair? way too much, enough to develop a severe allergy

43) Are you wearing a necklace / Chain? no.

44) Are you an emotional person? yes.

45) Will this weekend be a good one? hopefully.

46) What do you want right now? sleep.

47) Have you ever worn the opposite sex's clothing? Yes; dressed up as my brother for halloween one year.

48) Have you ever worked in a food place? No.

49) What's on your schedule for tomorrow? groceries, a walk downtown, some cleaning.

50) Does anyone know your facebook password? Nope, not that it's relevant on a blog...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A bit freaked out

So, of course life's gotten busy and things have gotten away from me somewhat. Nothing serious, and I've actually been knitting (cast on the CPH, finally, and might finish before the snow hits). It was the good kind of busy that you can sometimes lose yourself in, and it was a nice sort of status quo.

Until these past few days. Forgive me if this is cryptic or disjointed, but my brain isn't functioning properly. I know this happens to people every day, and I'm very lucky to only have to deal with it rarely, but it's too horrible, and processing it is frigging with my head.


When I was 14, I hadn't much to worry about. I got good grades, had a small but loyal group of friends, and life was pretty good. In the spring, we were looking forward for the weather to get nice enough to be able to walk downtown to go to Woolco (anybody remember Woolco?) and the local McDonalds. You could even see the golden arches from my grandmother's house, which was only a 15 minute walk from my house. She still lives there, and so do my parents, and it's much the same as it's always been.

One morning when I woke up and started to get ready for school, and I noticed that my parents were very quiet. There wasn't any clanking of spoons against cereal bowls, no yelling to my brothers, no discussion of the day's plans. When I got downstairs, my world was shattered in the most unexpected way.

The night before, some kids (probably about 18-19 years old) decided to try and rob the McDonalds. And, because it went wrong, they killed three people and left one to die. Those boys had gone to my school a few years before, they worked in my neighborhood. I'd had my 5th birthday party at that restaurant. I didn't know how to process it.

I went into shock that day; I remember feeling very disconnected from my body, almost like I was floating. I was crying, but it was like it was someone else. Mom and Dad went to work, but I stayed home with my grandmother. It took our community a long time to recover from it, and we never fully did. The building was torn down, and to this day it's the only patch of field not built on in that part of town.

They caught those boys, and they're serving their sentences. One is due for release in a few years, and I don't want to think about what that will mean for people at home.

So, what does this have to do with anything (aside from me possibly fingering my hometown and ruining my location anonymity)? Well, that feeling of shock and disconnect is pretty much all we feel at work here these days, and since there are so many damn news crews around, I'm not sure I haven't been broadcast across the globe by accident when I was just walking to the lab.

I work down the street from one of the top news stories that's going on right now. If you have a TV, you know the details, and you know where it is. Shit happens in this city all the time, but this one is so much more frightening. I rode the bus almost daily with the victim; she lived in my neighborhood. I have colleagues who worked with her. We drove by her lab all the time. For days we worried about walking from the bus stop to the lab, worried about whether some random nutjob was in our neighborhood. Because urban crime is a problem in this city, we didn't know if we'd lost the last bits of protection and safety that we thought we had by working in secure buildings at the uni.

Now that they have their 'person of interest', we know it's not a random crime. No one breached the security of our labs and offices, no one from the outside made it in. Good, right?

Not really. The devil is among us.

I know that all sounds dramatic, and our president made a similar statement about how no amount of security hardware can protect us from the darkness of the human soul when one decides to do something so evil. I get that it's melodramatic. But, it's true. You can only do so much. I also know that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I hope that everyone involved gets a fair and just trial, and that the proper people are punished.

I don't want to be afraid at work. I don't want to swipe in and start my work for the day, wondering if I've pissed anyone off enough for them to do something like this. I've got a pretty good thing going now - I can do my work and not worry about getting in anybody else's way, and if I screw up I don't risk other people's work. But most people around here work in teams, and I've seen conflicts fester over months and even years. Things that started off as minor annoyances, as differences in style, snowball into personal attacks and vendettas.

For the love of all that's good and holy, people, if you've got a beef with someone, talk about it. Keep the lines of communication open from the beginning and don't let things get this bad.

And hug your kids, spouses, pets, parents, friends. Be thankful. Love them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The last few minutes before the end of the day...

Picking up N. in 15 minutes, no experiments to rescue...

When we last saw the intrepid knitter (me) I was completely ignoring my extra-stitch-problem, and sleeping blissfully.

I got up on Sunday morning, went to church with the fam, and had a lovely lunch. Then N. went down (easily!) for his afternoon nap, and I took out the Aeolian again.

After about 15 minutes of staring, meditating, praying, cursing, and thinking, I figured out what happened. I'd missed grabbing the second stitch in a k2tog about 4 rows down, and somehow managed to pick it up without losing it. I have know idea how that happened, it should've been absorbed into the lifeline row somehow, but there it was.

(and, no, I didn't take photos, I was too stupid to take photos and too excited to get it fixed right away)

I droppped the stitch that was at the top of the column of the supposed k2tog, grabbed the loop immediately below and pulled it through both my extra stitch and my dropped stitch, making sure they were oriented properly. A little fancy crochet-hook laddering, and Voila! fixed Aeolian.

I stretched a couple of motifs out so I could make sure they looked the same, and all seemed fine. The decrease slant was in the right place, and I had the right number of stitches between all my stitch markers, finally.

I'm not sure how I managed to fix this, and I'm under no illusion that a) there will be no more mistakes or b) any possible mistakes will be this easy to fix, but I'm pretty proud of myself.

I just have to get back to working on it again ;-)

More on the rest of the vacation soon...

(I'm actually pretty desperate to get home and relax; today has been pretty crazy - I may have staved off unemployment for another few months with a contract extension [fingers crossed], Hubs had a good meeting with his boss about his latest project, and we had an appointment with oculoplastics for N. this morning about a blocked tear duct that turned out to finally resolve itself after 16 months. No surgery! Yay!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The last few minutes before lunch...

I'm such a bad scientist today. Lunch is in about 20 minutes, and since I haven't really got time to start anything big, I'm just going to blog instead...

I think my motivation is still on vacation.

So. Yes. Vacation. I suppose the best place to start is the beginning... I managed to get everything packed on time, and most of the laundry was done and put away before we left. A coup in my sad little life, I must say.

We woke up at 5am on Friday morning, and packed up the car while N. slept. The plan was to wake him up, change him into a dry nappie, and strap him in the car. Snacking in the car buys us happy time, so breakfast was on-the-go. We hit the asphalt at 6:15AM, only a few minutes later than planned.

I didn't start working on the Aeolian until I'd had at least two coffees and some breakfast of my own, because I needed to be alert, and sitting in the front seat while Hubby entertained the kiddo in the back. Once the conditions were met, I set things up. The chart (which I haven't memorized yet, even though it's pretty simple) ended up being taped to the visor pretty thoroughly since the windows were down. The humidex was hovering around 110F (44C), so there wasn't even a thought of keeping any of them up.

As we drove, the working yarn fluttered away to my left, and it wasn't too bad to handle all in all until I had to shift stitch markers. Juggling them without dropping any wasn't the easiest, but I managed.

Until I discovered an extra stitch. One that originated four or five rows down. Dammit. I had no idea how to fix it, so I bundled the thing back up and put it away.

After 10 hours of driving (and 2.5 hours in rest stops for the deliciousness that is the verboten Whopper), we showed up across the border to a motel for the night. N. wasn't too keen on sleeping in his playpen, so I couldn't sit and concentrate on it to figure out what was going on.

(And, incidently, about the whoppers - although I've definitely had my fill for the next year at least, I have to say how much I love the service plazas all along the I-95. I never get fast food, and the first couple of stops were seriously yummy. The last few were just too much, though, and we switched to healthy stuff).

So, Saturday morning we got up and piled in the car again for the second leg of our trip. I waited until properly caffeinated, and tried to look at that damn extra stitch. I spent 20 minutes staring at it, front and back, trying to figure out what the hell had gone wrong. No dice. Away it goes again.

We drove for 6 hours, and ended up in our old city to visit my best friend and her new baby (yay!) and meet up with my brother and sister-in-law to finally meet my 6-month-old niece in person (double YAY!). We had a great lunch, the baby cousins interacted in an explosion of cuteness, and then we were off for the last 5 hours of driving to my parents' place.

I tried looking at Aeolian again. And almost started crying. I *did* have a lifeline in place, but the thought of ripping out five rows and trying to re-thread the darn thing on the needles was so upsetting. I gave up, put it away and took out my crazy novel that I've been chipping away at and read until the sun went down.

We arrived at Mom & Dad's at around 9pm, and after some much-anticipated Grammie hugs for N., we put him to bed so I could show Mom the shawl and ask for advice. She took one look at the cobweb silk and told me I was nuts.

So, I did what I always do in situations like this.

I ignored it and went to bed ;-)