Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Official Get Outa Bed Early Campaign

Thank you for the birthday wishes. Right now, on Day 1 of the Official Get Outta Bed at 5am Campaign, it feels less like a birthday than a first day of work, but I'll celebrate later.

I think I'm going to start responding to comments on entries, in the comments section of actual entries. I've wondered how to do it, and that approach makes the most sense.

I was plagued last night by odd, disturbing dreams, two of which I remember. Dream One was about my knitting group. We were meeting in our usual place, only it had couches put up around the cafe, supposedly for us! We met, socialized, knitted and compared notes on various yarns, books and techniques. Then everyone went home, and I found all these half-knitted lace pieces on the tables, like people had left them from knit club. So I decided to hold on to them until next thursday when we met again. I couldn't remember who was knitting what, and it bothered me. It was entirely lace shawls, though, something that scares me a little, given my half-finished Kiri shawl. Somehow I got the idea that I was supposed to work on the shawls until the group met again. But they'd left me no pattern, so I'd have to wing it...I think the message here is that I need to finish Kiri.

Dream Two was a sad one. Our dog's breeder called and said she'd made a mistake, that Cricket was the male that she'd wanted to keep for showing and breeding, and that we were to trade him to her for Ozzie instead. And I was arguing with her "But you said he was too soft for showing, you told me that his temperament wasn't right..." and she kept saying "He's beautiful. It's wrong not to show him." and I was crying and remembering all the little pix I had taken of him standing in a showy pose, to send to the AKC to transfer his registration. I think the message here is that I need to neuter Cricket soon.

And waking up, stressed over the lace and feeling sentimental about Cricket, who bounded up on the bed to meet me, with stinking teething breath and scruffy haircut, and sighed a sigh of relief, because it's Ozzie who is the show dog, and Cricket is the pet.

And now I'm up drinking coffee. And trying to get geared up to take the dogs to the park before work. And realizing that I got my agenda for our first day back in the mail yesterday, and it was just a series of "official" sessions; teacher mandates, the viewing of the bloodborne pathogens video which I've seen twice already, in less than a year, due to having the McJob and subbing. And I know it's too early in my employ to knit during boring meetings, but maybe I can draw...note to self: take pad and pen to meetings.

gah! No sooner than the employment papers are signed than the attitude starts. I'm looking forward to the mandates with fear and trepidation; thus far, the bureaucracy that runs education here is simply mad about mandates. Layer that with NCLB, and you've got plenty o' knitting and sketching fodder.

Off to the park now.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I've been up since 5:30, trying to turn my body's clock around, in preparation for the big return to the working world. I was in bed by 9:30 last night. I'm hoping to get it to a 9pm bedtime and a 5am rise, most nights anyway. Allowances will be made for my knit club, which runs til 9 most weeks, now.

I tracked Ella this morning, a brilliant set of one very long straight track, and one shorter track with 2 turns. I'm being coached to give her no help, to let her pull me on the trail, and to give her more lead, so I just hung back and watched her. We are working at a distance of 10 feet apart, now; for a tracking certification test she has to be 20 feet away from me for most of the track. My instructor is a very dry, somewhat cranky older(83 years to be exact)lady, and praise from her for my handling is rare. She always praises the dog's work, and then turns, points her finger and starts with "...but you, you..." followed by whatever my handling transgression of the moment was: jerked too hard, gave too much slack, allowed her to be off track, forgot to pick up my flags...yada yada. Anyway, today, I didn't get that. I got actual praise for hanging back, not coaxing or indicating the track, not tugging the dog back onto the trail when she went off. I was flabbergasted.

I did not track Cricket. He isn't very sniffy, and I really want him, at this point, following my hand and watching me, not focusing on some smell on the ground. By not working him in tracking, I've more time to work Ella, and then I can work him in obedience at some other point.

I'm a little worried about the return to work and my life being filled; going to the dogs and the job. Ugh. The dogs are a true pleasure, but training eats up time, and my weekends have suddenly assumed this exaggerated sacred importance to me, as I shed a little tear for end of my unmolested mornings and afternoons. I know I don't have to train them, but it's fun, and they are big, active, interactive dogs who seem to do better with some mental activity. Thank the gods I don't have a border collie!!

I've been thinking a lot about my VA pagan friends. I'm still on their mailing list for rituals and events, and I'm missing them a lot. I'm planning a trip to the Old Country for my fall break, and will try to get together with Leah and T, at least, and maybe Ed. Yes. An income, at last, has made travel to the mainland a possibility again! I have about 10 days off work in October, and I'm using it to go back to VA. It's funny how nice it's been to NOT think about money, the past few days. Oh, I think about it, but I don't think about streeeetttttcccching what little is in my bank account for some unknown amount of time, anymore. A huge relief, and yet, I'm trying to be more cautious with what I spend on. I am going to make a concerted effort to knit from stash and not buy yarn,(okay, if Lorna's Laces goes on sale again, I'll make exceptions)use the public library instead of buying books, and continue to do my clothes shopping at thrift stores. I think, in this past year, I've strengthened the ability to walk through a store and not buy something that intially strikes my eye. It's been something I've been working at for a long time, curbing the consumption habit, and the year of unemployment has helped, that way.

And now, I am back to take a mid-morning nap. Probably not a good idea for resetting the body clock, but the cool breeze has made me sleepy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

joining the ranks of the employed

So after all my lamentations about employment, I have a job. It came before I expected it too, but after I stopped racing to the phone, hoping each ring between 8 and 3 was a call to an interview. Last week, I trucked some resumes around on the Windward side of the island. I got the call from Kailua, to come in and interview for a resource postion at a tiny little school. I did and got hired practically on the spot. The job is 50% reading resource, in grades K, 1 and 2 ---something I can do with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back. The other half is sort of a curriculum research/staff training/data collection job, that sounds fascinating. Sweeet!

So while I have a bittersweet tinge, bidding my long season of hausfrau and slacker lifestyle goodbye, it will be nice to rejoin my profession with a new direction. I've always been a classroom teacher, working mostly with children; this is decidedly working more with teachers and administrators. They say one of my responsibilities is going to district-level trainings and coming back and training the staff. And I was asked "How well do you work with administrators?" which gave me pause. Okay, I guess. I've not had problems thus far, and considered some of my administrators (The Evaluatrix, Dennis,etc.) to be friends as well as bosses.

The job starts Tuesday. That is sad. 3 more days of summer, and the August Malaise setting in before July is even finished! Funnier still, it begins on my birthday. A great big birthday present.

We bought Patrice's old couch from her. It is lovely and comfy and in a brown microfiber that is designed to look like suede. It lives in the koa room, under the windows and in direct line with the air conditioner. It is a sweet sweet place to knit, with room on the windowsill to put one's coffee cup. It has been responsible for decent progress (for a slow knitter) on the Koigu sock.

Monday, July 17, 2006

gonna beat this thing

Fighting the lingering cold...I thought I was better, but awoke yesterday with the feeling that I was drowning in snot...excuse the blunt grossness here, but that's how it was. The old cold, realizing that it had run its course, spawned a vigorous new one, to prey on my sleep-deprived and alcohol-weakened (too many pomegranate cosmos at Patrice's birthday) state. The thing with a new cold, is that you can fight it at its nascent stages. I made myself a Devil's Smoothie and downed it. I'll follow that up with another one today. I've had good results with this recipe, provided I catch the cold early. I didn't use it before, on old cold, because I was in denial. I couldn't be sick. I wasn't teaching, after all! Idiot. But I generally keep the ingredients in the cupboard, just in case.

I started the purple Koigu socks. I decided to just make a plain sock. No ribs, no lace, no nothing, in order to let the Koigu speak for itself. I'm using the #1 needles, and am pleased with the density of the fabric, even though on #1's the progress is miniscule. That was another part of why I didn't want to complicate things with a lace pattern. But I wonder if I cast on too many stitches? 72 seems like a lot...

I'm off to Lowe's to buy a dog door.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I was a domestic goddess today, and vacuumed the house thoroughly. It's been raining most of the day, great wind-driven waves of fine mist, cheering me immeasurably. I'm sick of this damn dry weather. Isn't that a hoot? Not four months ago, my readers were treated to my incessant tirades of whining about the continuous deluge from the heavens and the Pali. Now the "oh no it's too dry" whingeing starts. I like my weather patterns balanced. Except for snow. Bring me lots of snow. Nah. No can.

Anyway, the floor is restored to its relative clean, the rugs have been given liberal applications of Arm n' Hammer Pet Fresh, and the great swath of Rainbo's moult has been cleared from the dining room. I even vacuumed Cricket, who was standing nearby. He was not amused, nor was he frightened, either. I suppose a dog who's flown across the Pacific isn't rattled by a bit o' vacuum cleaner noise.

While I'm challenged by the process of actually getting started, housecleaning always makes me feel better. I can think more clearly, now.

Knit night last night was restorative. I ripped One Skein Wonder right out, not being convinced that I was knitting the right size. The Lorna's Laces is too precious to waste on knitting the wrong size, besides, I wanted to add lace to the back of this shruglet, and needed to find a chart, since charting my own lace pattern is way beyond my ken. Lilikoi pointed me in the direction of a lace chart on Knitty, and so I think the 2nd go-round of this project might work. Except I forgot, in all my swatching, to have anyone measure me. Ahhh, well. Acornbud suggested that I count my stitches and consider version #1 a swatch before I ripped, and in doing so, discovered that my gauge was off to begin with! So I'm feeling renewed with zeal for actually re-doing One Skein Wonder. Cheered, even, which is unusual for me, as I don't like to re-do anything.

I've kind of worked through my unemployed funk of last week. There's only so long one can wallow in self-pity and self-loathing. I'm employed, re-hired by the school district as a sub, already, so that's automatic work (and believe me, there's plenty o' subbing to do) once the school year gets under way. I am going to go around to the schools in the area and just drum up business for myself next week, remind them that I am on their sub list, approved and available. I found out that the reported job openings for teachers are pretty much concentrated waaay out in Wainae area, right now, which is not a drive I want to make on a daily basis. So I'm going to put my energy into passing the last Praxis II test, and once that's done and scores reported, around early September, my Hawaii credential will kick in, and then I should be able to find a job in the district's later wave of hiring. It's not an ideal situation, but I am through angsting over what I can't influence. I'm paying the price, repeatedly, for bad decisions and professional arrogance last year, and I'm willing to accept that and just get on with it. The Universe seems to need to teach me a lesson about overconfidence, the importance of maintaining a sustained effort and making better long-term decisions, and I think I need to stop whining and listen.

This makes me feel infinitely better, this realization. Letting go of that heartfelt belief that I was going to get a job before school started (it might STILL happen) and then fretting over what and when it would be, was a great leap in lifting my recent depression. Yes, I'm still economically challenged. Yes I'm still gonna have to stretch my pennies hard til the money flows again. But it's better. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

In other news, I took a nice walk with Acornbud last week, on the Judd trail. She lives near me, up the hill, actually, as do a couple of my other Aloha Knitters. I went out for yumilicious Moroccan food with Patrice one night. P played hookey one day and we went to Lowes, on a big citronella-buying mission, coming up with candles, tiki torches and mosquito coils, all meant to make our deck a useful part of the house again. I took a rather hard hike on the Wiliwilinui trail with Marie, who is going to start teaching Agility again. I will help her with her beginning class, and in exchange, she will let me train Ella on the course and equipment.

All this, and finishing the wonderfully addictive "Outlander" too! Salon.com has this amusing article about a man getting hooked on Diana Gabaldon's time-travel romance series.

I'm going to re-organize my sewing room before I settle in with "Dragonfly in Amber".

Monday, July 10, 2006

like sands through the Hourglass...

Cough, sniffle, snuff...
Headache's gone, nasty cold is back with a vengeance. I can only say that I actually feel better than I sound, and am generally up and about, in my low key way.

No news much here. I finished Hourglass. She's blocking. I'm not feeling any love, though. The Sisik is a wee tad itchy next to the skin (it might feel fine, were I in some cold climate where mohair and wool sweaters are supposed to be worn) and requires a camisole or something underneath. Which is fine, since, despite my earnest decreasing, it STILL is chest baring. My thinking is that this would be a terrrific party sweater with a bit o' black or cream lace underneath. I like the shape and the bell sleeves. The rusticness of the yarn is, as one of my Knitters said, Harry Potterish. The neck is badly behaved. I couldn't bring myself to join all those damn live fiddly stitches down and so I just slip stitched the whole thing. It flops over, and I can't decide whether I like it or not. I might give it a whirl in the dryer once it's almost dry, to see if I can coax it into some more shape. A wee bit o' shrinkage wouldn't hurt Miss Hourglass.

I feel like I've been gone forever, though in truth, have been nowhere this weekend. Tracking. The mall.

I have a friend who makes me feel all weird. She's more of an acquaintance, but she is one of those women who have all these chivalry/couple-ish, joined-at-the-hip expectations of the men in her life. She always seems surprised at dinner out, if I don't sit next to my husband (it's not that I'm avoiding the man, it's that I sometimes want to talk with someone else or want to sit somewhere else) or if I don't know where he is when he's not home (he's out, dammit! he doesn't always keep tabs on me!) and last night she called me, and asked where he was in passing conversation, and I said he was taking a walk around the Ala Wai canal, and she asked if he was walking the dogs for me, and I said no, and she said "Why the hell not? You're sick!" and I felt suddenly called upon to defend his choice to walk without the dogs, even though I thought walking the dogs for me might have been a nice thing to do. I'm finding myself wanting to avoid her, in couples situations because it's awkward, it's like she's judging the degree of chivalry and devotion in our relationship. Her husband is a friend of P's, and so we do things with them occasionally. I don't think P notices it, because it happens in conversations directed at me, for the most part. I don't know that her husband is THAT much of a knight in shining armor; he's a nice enough guy. Anyway, I'm not looking for advice, I'm just wearied by it all.

I've put myself on a tight little budget, til school starts, to make my savings last. Last week, I was able to stay inside it, but just barely. This week, I'm struggling and we're only on Monday. Yeesh. See, I had to buy this sake set at Shirokiya. It was on sale, and pretty and blue, and we have some sake that Lia gave me when she emptied her gourmet cupboards into my car, en route to the mainland. I'd been cruising thrift stores for sake cups but to no avail. Funny. Sake sets were the kind of things you'd find all over the thrift stores in CA, but people tend to keep them here. I think people actually drink sake here, LOL.

Anyway the budget...I'm trying to stretch the money til the cash flows again, and it's bumming me out.

In spite of the stretchiness, or rather, what provoked all this stretchiness, was an online sale at Knit Happens, which used to be my LYS, when I lived in Northern Virginia. On sale were Rowan Calmer and Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb yarns, two of my favorite lusted-after fiber candy, and so I bought. Modestly, with already planned projects in mind, but still, it was a sobering event on the old bank account. So now, I'm on a tighter rein. And waiting for Mr. Postman to bring me my candy.

Little this week, beyond tramping my resume to actual schools, in an attempt to bypass the slow drip of the department of education's progress in giving me a real job. I hate this process, as it requires me to put on a mask, as well as nicer clothes, and work through my pathological fear of selling myself to strangers, but it usually makes me feel better in the end. Like I've actually taken steps to change my situation. The reality is, I don't think I'm going to be hired til the day before or the day after school starts, anyway. That's how most schools do business, in my experience. And even if I am hired before that, my job assignment will change the day before school starts. That's been my employment life, in education. So I'm a bit flexible, even, dare I say, devil-may-care about this employment game. But it is time to start the hustle. ugh.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I am creeping and crawling out of a 3-day headache. Last night it was at its peak, and I iced my head and neck in order to sleep (sleep brought on by Excedrin pm) and awoke this morning with a squishy bag of water on my face, which I quickly hid from Cricket, who was looking for something to amuse himself.

Today I will sit down, and bravely, in spite of my misgivings and outright fear, attach the live stitches of Miss Hourglass's neck down. I have been a little afraid to do the neck hem of this sweater, it seems like a hard process, and through the avoidance process, I have kitchener'd the armpits together, woven in all the loose ends, and whipped up the little sleeve and bottom hems. I could have finished her days ago, but have just been in other modes. It's not good to do tricky knitting with a headache.

My pagan-flavored datebook reminds me that Mercury is retrograde, and will be so through my birthday. I'm a great believer in the power of Mercury retrograde periods to make your life wacky, particularly in the areas of technology and communication. Whatever could go wrong probably will. Yikes. Of coure I find myself looking for a job during this period, and transferring the registration of the Cricket to the AKC with a time-sensitive document. I've got 3 weeks of glitches, galactic hiccups and general weirdness to navigate.

I haven't even gotten up yet. I'm laying in bed, trying in vain to awaken. I'm trying to give this headache a chance to finish itself once and for all.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

identity crisis

Let's talk about the elephant in the living room. Which is the identity crisis that this little blog is having these days. Because I'm operating it as a knitblog right now, even though for years, my diary-X writing had little or naught to do with my knitting. Oh yeah, I'd talk about it. But it was also a forum for tarot musings, my day-to-day activities of the mundane sort, a log of my pagan spiritual pursuits, and a rant site. To-do lists, grocery lists, recipes and dog agility training also got in there. I want that back. I think I'm suffering the cognitive dissonance that comes with a change in writing audience. Back in the day, I wrote first, for myself, then for a small circle of online journalers (let's face it, I've never had a huge readership, not that I cared about that kind of thing) and later, for a tiny handful of people who knew me in real life. Now I feel so...EXPOSED. I know people who read this. They aren't people like Clary and DJ, whom I can tell my deeper, darker secrets. I mean they might be, but that's for another day. So bear with me readers who want to hear about something besides the damn knitting. And bear with me, knitblog readers who might have had it up to here with the dogs already. I'm just trying to pull it all totether.

That said, I feel better.

Today, Confetti and I painted faces, er, bodies, at a party at Sand Island. Very easy work, consisting mostly of painting dragons on people's arms. It's funny how motifs come in waves. At one party, everyone will want butterflies or abstract faces. At another, we'll get requests for full face designs, tigers, devils, pussycats, puppies. This was a dragon kine party. With spectacular, outstanding, lip-smacking homemade Filipino Hawaiian food. Lumpia! Adobo!! Laulau!!!These sweet birthday people fed us, and plied us with icy sodas in the heat. We were happy, me more so than Confetti, who had another gig right after that. So walking back to my car, I found that the parking lot had been taken over by some car club, who were using the space to showcase their out-of-this-world lowriders, all pimped up with glitter flake paint, and tippy pumping hydraulics, and all kinds of craziness like that. Of course I was tempted to whip out the digital camera and start shooting away, but then I thought it might be just a little too, um...invasive. And touristic. Still, it was a sight to see, and it made me recall, fondly, the days when Beamer School used to host a car show each year. Confetti and I strolled around admiring the rides, and the fascinating diversity of the lowrider culture. I do love me some weird cars. My CRV stood out like the sore thumb it was in that lot, though I must say, Confetti's minivan was also a bit of an eyecatcher.

The other elephant in the living room, on the coffee table, to be precise, is, of course, Miss Hourglass. I tried her on. It seems I can't decrease that neck area enough, so I'm gonna decrease a little more. I don't care to expose my bra straps at every turn. Maybe if I were 20, but people don't want to see my bra straps, even the fetching ones. I find the sisik yarn to be a wee bit itchy, with all the mohair. It is a fairly flattering sweater, but I'm not really feeling the love just yet. I was relieved that it does fit, more or less, and even in a flattering way. I'm gonna have a lot of sisik left over after this project's up, I think. Who can fathom the mysteries of how much yarn a project takes, and how much to buy? I'd rather have too much than too little, goddess knows.

Tracking this morning was sort of a mixed bag. I'm told by my instructors that I'm doing well, but at the end of the lesson, I was also given so much "you need to improve" kind of feedback that it makes me just want to bail on the whole project. Ella is progressing rapidly, tracking turns, now, though shakily, so, and I started Cricket, who had this whole attitude of "what the fuck is it you want me to do? I've got a better idea." as he jumped around tried to tear treats out of my apron pocket. It seems counterintuitive to ask him to sniff around for things, after 6 weeks of working to get eye contact and rapt attention from him. Still, I'm told I can track and obedience train at the same time.

So all day, I've been walking around with the funky shroud of the unfinished knitting (which I no longer want to work on) hanging over the cloud of "must improve dog handling skills" layered upon the feeling that I'm living on a shoestring here til school starts up again and I can see some cashflow. All this is mixed up with an intense longing to travel somewhere, anywhere off Oahu. Arrrrgh. I need a shot in the arm. Or a ticket to Bali.

Off to go decrease some more.