31 March 2008


phrase, "eefff" "oh" used on Ravelry as an abbreviation for Finished Object, a completed knitting/crochet project.

(And here you thought that I was going to be obscene and foul-mouthed, didn't ya? HA! Fooled ya!)

This? I knitted this. This is a sweater. One that I knitted. Laid out on my dining room table. Did I mention I knitted it? It only took me 6 years. Seriously.

This is a detail shot of the bottom left corner. The pattern has the sweater knitted in one large piece, with the sleeves attached later. The border is garter stitched, knitted every row. The body is stockinette stitch, thus the difference in the textures.

The sleeves were knitted separately, and then joined to the body, then, finally, sewn into round sleeves. I made a mistake on the first sleeve, adding a few extra rows of garter stitches after the solid color border. (See the second section of bumpy stitches, in the variegated blue/light blue? Right there, that's a mistake.) Rather than admit that I screwed up, and rip back ten rows, I kept the mistake, and repeated it on the second sleeve. I can't follow a pattern as written to save my soul. Sigh. That's my Type B personality side coming out; I want to put my own personal spin on everything I touch.

My stitches are nice, though.

I learned how to knit in one series of classes, a six week session. In the fall of 2002. That was Knitting 101. Knitting 201 was to putting those stitches learned to practical application, making a sweater. I finished most of the body of the sweater during Knitting 201, but wasn't even close to finishing the whole thing.

I knitted the sleeves while in Europe in 2003.

And there it sat, for the next 5 years.

We moved house, and it moved with us. It has been sitting in a basket in my bedroom for the last 3 years, where I saw it, unfinished, every single darned day. This winter, as I've been knitting like a house on fire, I've thought nearly every weekend, "I'll finish that sweater this weekend. Right after the laundry/dishes/dusting/cooking is done."

Finally, yesterday, I began the last few steps, by sewing the shoulder seams. And then sewing the arms into place, and lastly, closing up the sleeves. The very last detail was knitting the collar, which I did today.

Now two things remain. One, to wash it. I always wash F.O.s before I give them away, or wear them. My thought is that I've carried whatever the F.O. is around for as little as a few weeks to as long as a few years, and it is bound to be dirty. So each thing I make gets a hand wash and drip-dry, no matter what the yarn's washing instructions may be, even if it is safe to wash in the washing machine, a hand-wash is what happens the first time around.

Two is to decide WTF to do with it. When I cast it on to the needles, the intention was that the sweater was for me. After looking at it for the past 6 years, I no longer like it very much.

So perhaps I ought to give it away.

But it is rather poorly made, not at all to my usual standard, as I knit it not long after learning how to knit. Your skill level improves with time and practice, practice, practice. I am a much better knitter now than I was in 2001. (If I do say so myself!)

The mistakes are myriad. The sleeves don't match up to the body of the garment well, the collar is uneven, there were holes here and there until I wove in the loose ends and fixed those spots with spurious sewn stitches. Those are all relatively minor; the biggest problem is the underarm portion of each sleeve. There are two huuuuge spots where I had to make major corrections when piecing it together that resulted in big gathers at each armpit. You can't see it when wearing the garment, but you can feel it. The worst part is not how it looks when turned inside out, the worst part is that *I* know the screw-ups are there. That really bothers me. (That's my Type A personality part showing itself.)

Last of all is the fact that it really and truly did take me six years to finish. I do believe that this sweater will be the first and LAST sweater I'll ever make. Unless we're talking about making an infant sized sweater, which would be much, much smaller. The whole experience wasn't very positive, so why should I try it again? I like my knitted hats, scarves, and other small projects like baby blankets that don't need blocking, piecing together, and such painstaking accuracy.

At least, that's what I'll think until I find a tantalizing yarn, like the GGH Vamos I bought in Brooklyn, which might make a nice sweater.....

29 March 2008

Cop to it

Guilty pleasures I admit to:
1. Pedicures
2. Trashy magazines
3. Perez Hilton. (and all celebrity gossip)

I love his evil little heart. Here's a vid that I saw first on his site. Vanessa Paradis is Johnny Depp's longtime partner and babymomma. I don't speak enough French to have any idea what she's singing about (fire, maybe? L'incendie=incendiary? IDK) but I really like the song. Too bad it isn't on the US version of iTunes.

Love it.

28 March 2008

Shutting Up

Growing up, my sisters and I were forbidden to say certain things. Not just slang that my parents didn't like, but also a few more common expressions. In the interest of being polite, and learning to speak like someone who had more than 3 brain cells to rub together, they strictly enforced good grammar.

"Shut up!" was one of those things we weren't allowed to say. Too rude. I thought it was dumb, but complied and didn't use it in front of them. (Which is not to say that I've never said 'shut up'! I did, and I still do from time to time.)

These days, there is commercial running on television for one of the fast food joints. It uses the phrase, "Shut UP" and it irritates the living shit out of me. It is offensive. And annoying. And loud. I finally understand why they didn't want my sibs and I to say 'shut up'.

To get around it, we'd say 'be quiet' or something similar. After I learned Swedish, I'd use the very vulgar phrase in Swedish that meant something along the lines of 'keep your damn mouth shut' just because I could.

But now, I think if I had a child, I'd probably enforce the same rule.

I'd like to put on my Spinster Grammar Aunt hat (oh, wait....I never take it off, so no need to search for it) and write a letter to the offending fast food joint. It might go something like this.

Dear Multi-National Conglomerate and Perpetrator of Obesity in America:

Your current advertising campaign for the double super-huge bacon cheeseburger with enough fat for an entire village in one serving is offensive in the extreme. Having the actors shout "Shut up!" at their growling stomachs makes it appear as if this phrase is acceptable in polite society. You should not need the Spinster Grammar Aunt to point out that this is not the case.

Additionally, the growling stomachs sound quite a bit like belching; again, not acceptable in polite society. The Spinster Grammar Aunt is forced to wonder if your marketing and advertising departments, and indeed the executives who approved this campaign, were raised in an outdoor environment with lupine companions. This would seem the only plausible reason that this commercial runs nearly continuously on both network and cable television.

Please, before Western Civilization completely deteriorates, remove this commercial from the airwaves forthwith.

Very Truly Yours, et cetera,

The Spinster Grammar Aunt


Unfortunately, sending such a missive just might get me committed to that mental institution that takes in such cranks as those who insist upon good grammar, good manners, and the like.

27 March 2008

Dagnet Rund

Swedish, for 'All day long' or more literally, 'the day round'

I have had trouble with sleeping for years. Long years, since college. No remedy I have tried, other than habit-forming sleeping pills, has ever helped much. Before I sought help for the depression, I was sleeping less than 3-4 hours a night.

Not being able to sleep is not the same thing at all as not being tired. I'm always tired. Tired does not always equal sleepy. I don't climb in to bed until I'm actually sleepy; otherwise, I'm tossing and turning for hours instead of sleeping.

In the last few weeks, I've been sleeping too much. I know, how on earth can I complain about too much sleep? I'm not complaining, exactly, just observing. I have been heading to bed earlier than usual, and sleeping much later than usual.

I've been a morning person as far back as I can remember. Early rising never presented a problem for me. As a teenager, or in my early college days, you would seldom if ever find me still sleeping at 11 AM on a Saturday. When I started working out in 2006, I was at the gym every day at 5.30 when it opened, usually waking shortly before 5 AM and out the door before 5.10.

Lately, though, it is all I can do to drag myself out of bed before 7 AM. This isn't quite the same as the days when I can't get out of bed due to the depression. When that's the case, I'm not sleeping, just can't summon the energy to get up, get moving. This is different, because I'll glance at the clock, and it is 6.30, and I'll say to myself, "just 5 more minutes" and the next thing I know it is 7.30. Somehow, that switch in my head that gets me not just awake at 5 AM but conscious, isn't working anymore.

I haven't needed an alarm clock for years. When I was working for ye olde evile bank, I was driving about 110 miles a day for my commute, spending huge amounts of time on the road. I had to be in the car, on the way to work by 6.30 in the morning. I did that for 7 long years, and my internal clock would just wake me up by 5.30 at the latest.

My internal clock still wakes me up at 5, but I go back to sleep. Deep sleep, so deeply that I don't hear DH leaving for work as he does daily around 6.30. And I'm normally a very light sleeper.

I want to write this off as normal, because I've been running around like a maniac quite a bit. My weekends for the last month have been insanely busy. I'm busy during the workdays, and stressed over my soul-sucking job. Every time we change the clocks either way, spring or fall, it messes with my internal clock and I get over-tired. The weather is still dreary, grey, overcast, cold, rainy. So yeah, I should be sleepy. Right?

I'm always trying to keep track of how many hours of sleep I get; even when I sleep well, I never sleep for more than 4-5 hours at a time. I wake frequently. Uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep is that holy grail that I can never seem to attain. Often, when I wake at 2 or 3 in the morning, that's it, my body says, 'sorry, you're done sleeping' and I'm awake for good. Not lately. I wake, and then go back to sleep, and only have vague memories of waking in the morning. I feel like I could sleep round the clock.

What the hell is going on here?

23 March 2008

Mise en Place

{French, for set in place. Used in American kitchens in reference to prep work for a recipe.}

I had a party the other night. I was doing prep for the things that could be done ahead of time, and thinking about taking pictures of all my little bowls set neatly in a row, but not in the proper order at all; dessert things next to the main course next to the aps. I was too busy to stop, find the camera, take the pictures, and scribble down a few notes as to what I wanted to say about each picture.

Part of my OCD manifestation is that I like organization. I like things set in rows, counted in even numbers, neatly laid out, color-coded if possible. While that is my preferred modus operandi, often in the lead-up to a party I don't have enough time to do this, or somehow the day of the event sneaks up on me without my awareness, and I'm left scrambling around willy-nilly at the last minute. Not this time; I had a menu set several days ahead of time, lists for everything. I laid out all of the things I needed, had notes.

A full dinner for 7, table set with my favorite dishes that are normally consigned to the 'look but don't touch' files. Wineglasses, silverware that is rarely used, wine bottles chilled in the fridge. I love all this stuff. I love pulling out all the stops, making things that are complicated, or full of unusual ingredients, things that wow my guests. I love cooking for people I like, having a houseful of friends.

We laughed so much that my face hurt.

Everyone left after 1 AM, and then the next day I hosted family for a big dinner. Yet again, a weekend ending with me needing major sleep.

21 March 2008


Recently, I've been spending a lot of my online time on Ravelry, a knit and crochet website, kind of like a MySpace for folks in the fiber arts. But comparing it to MySpace isn't a particularly good description of the site, because it is so much cooler than that. It is a place to store lists of projects, yarns, things I want to knit, things I already have knit. Do you see why this appeals to me? Organization of all of my knitting. It makes lists. It even does math for me. How much cooler than that does it get?

{Editor's note:OMFG, you are such a dork.}

The only thing that's been a hassle about Ravelry is that they use Flickr for photo-sharing and I prefer Picasa, 'cause I'm such a Google fanatic. If that's the biggest complaint, well, then, there's not much of a problem, is there?

My whole family uses Picasa, which makes it very easy for the sisters in NYC and CA to post pictures of their adventures and then the rest of the fam can take a look and see what they're up to. I posted recent NYC pics the other day and sent my mother a link so she could see us playing in traffic on the bikes.

The parents are living in Flo-reeeda these days, and I don't like them being so far away. So I talk to them nearly every day, just to check in, to allow them to harass me about how much better the weather is there, to keep them up to date with the trouble that I'm causing. I mentioned the recent spate of frenetic knitting I've been doing to my mum, and then sent her a link to the Flickr photos so that she could see the hats and scarves I've been making like a madwoman.

She shot me back an e-mail, praising the beauty of the things I've made and telling me, "You're very talented."

Will I ever get to the point in my life where compliments don't make me uncomfortable? Will I ever get over the urge to devalue myself? Because my gut reaction to that was a snort, an eyeroll, and the thought 'talented? not really.'

Knitting is a learned skill. You don't come out of the womb with the ability, but then, anyone who does have an innate talent, like a prodigal harp player, also has learned the skill. They may have been born with the ability to play the harp better than you or I, but someone had to show them how to pluck those strings just so to make beautiful music.

I have told this story so many times in real life that I don't know if I've ever written about it, so if I have told it to you, interweb, sorry for repeating myself. I learned how to knit at a yarn store, an upscale boutique that caters to a very special breed of needle-craft nutcases. Walking in there is sensory overload; the tactile pleasure of plunging your hands into yarns that are displayed in cubbyholes, the textures of which are soft, rough, smooth as silk or scratchy stiff wools. I find it soothing, the vibrant myriad of colors, the way things are organized into yarns for specific projects.

My first knitting class was a disaster. Unmitigated disaster. There were about 8 women in the class, two of whom were deaf and read lips. Everyone in the class left that first two-hour session with a square knitted potholder. Everyone, that is, except me. Even the hearing impaired were able to follow the spoken instructions well enough to comprehend and make something. I cried the whole way home, an hour plus drive. I was so frustrated! The instructor and I just weren't communicating at all during that first lesson. It wasn't a personality thing; I really like her. I just didn't get it that first day.

I worked diligently on the needles they gave us over the next week, and somehow, eventually, I figured it out and was able to knit. Something just clicked at one point. Good thing, too, because I had been feeling like I was obviously some kind of moron for not understanding.

Over the years since, sometimes I'm really into the knitting, and sometimes I don't touch it for months. I'm like the moon that way; waxing knitting or waning knitting. Currently waxing, of course. You wouldn't have EVER guessed that, would ya? Considering the amount of time I've spent writing about it lately. Usually when the weather gets nicer, I lose some interest, because knitting something made of a heavy wool isn't all that appealing in July when the temperature hovers around 28C or 85+ F. We'll see what happens this year, because ATM? I feel like I'm missing something if I don't have a project to hand that I can work on. I knit while watching TV. I knit while riding in the car. (Not while driving.) I knit while BS-ing with friends. I did some knitting in the subway in NYC. I'd knit during meetings if I could get away with it. I feel compelled, driven to it, a sense of urgency. So many things to do, patterns to try, things I want to make.

Is that talent? Or just my usual OCD-ness? I'm voting for OCD.

Something that I do honestly believe is that I have an affinity for learning languages, an innate talent to make the connections in my head that make it easy for me to pick up a whole new set of vocabulary. But again, learned skill. If I hadn't been an exchange student, I would have never known this about myself; living as I do in the midst of the Midwest, there just isn't all that much opportunity or need for the ability to be bi-or-trilingual.

I'm not very good at my present job. At all. Part of the reason I want to find another job is that I'm not excelling at this one. I'm enough of a type A personality that I want to be the best at everything I do, try, or touch. The job too is a learned skill. I understand how to do it, I'm just not doing well with it. I want to do fantastic with it, but I'm beginning to think that it just isn't all that possible for me to do well at this particular job. It is a bad fit, all around. I disagree with the employer about nearly everything, from politics to procedures the office follows. I think that the ability to excel at this work has to be an inborn trait, one that I don't have.

Urgh, I can't do this online. Getting way to close to writing solely about work, got to stop doing that.

The Discovery Channel has a commercial that I've been entranced with lately, the backing music fascinated me the first time I heard it. So I googled some of the lyrics and discovered the name of the band, Mute Math, and the name of the song, Typical. The lyrics are relevant to this post, and my feelings about my job; can I excel at it? Can I stop being 'typically' bad at it, break the spell?

Everyone has some talent, something that they're good at, something they can do better, smarter, faster than someone else. Breaking out and finding that something is the trick.

I'll leave you with the lyrics.

Come on, can’t I dream for one day
There’s nothing that can’t be done
But how long should it take somebody
Before they can be someone

‘Cause I know there’s got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I’m feeling like it’s now or never
Can I break the spell of the typical

I’ve lived through my share of misfortune
And I’ve worked in the blazing sun
But how long should it take somebody
Before they can be someone

Cause I know there’s got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I’m feeling like it’s now or never
Can I break the spell of the typical, the typical, the typical, uh huh

I'm the typical
I'm the typical
Can I break the spell of the typical

Because it’s dragging me down
I’d like to know about when
When does it all turn around

I'm just the typical
I'm just the typical

Yeah I know there’s got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I’m feeling like it’s now or never
Can I break the spell of the typical
The typical, the typical, uh huh

Of the typical
Break the spell (of the typical)
Break the spell (of the typical)
Can I break the spell of the typical, of the typical
I'm just the typical
I'm just the typical
I'm just the typical
I'm just the typical

19 March 2008

Really, though?

So says my sister in New York when she wants to point out that someone's being ridiculous.

This is apparently the week for letters, because the following handwritten missive appeared in my mailbox today. I find no fault with grammar or sentence construction, and I'm pleased that all the proper forms have been observed, the date, the return address, the body, the closing, the signature. Well done, indeed. I'll spare you copying the address and date info, because it is the contents of the letter that upset me so.

Dear Ms. Arin

My husband and I live in the area, but have been unable to speak with you personally. We have some important information that we want to share with you. A sample of it is contained in the enclosed
(I'm unable to read the next word...fact? tract? Anyway.)

In over 200 lands people are being invited to benefit from a free program that helps people learn what the Bible says concerning some very important questions. Such as: Why do we grow old and die? What is the purpose of life? How can you find real happiness?

We are genuinely interested in our neighbors. It is our hope that someday soon we'll talk to you personally. Please feel free to get in touch with us at the above address.


Jane Doe

The last time something like this happened was in the first apartment that DH and I shared as newlyweds. The church across the street from the apartment building somehow managed to gain entry to the building (which was supposed to be secure) and they hung little message tags on our doorknobs. And then about a year later, they left CDs of Christian music on the windshields of our cars. Which were in an enclosed carport. Awwww, wasn't that sweet of them? I was so offended that I called the church and gave them an earful. Both times. The first time, the tags said something about, "since you don't have a faith of your own....blah, blah, come to our church, blahbidy blah blah." WTF? How the bleeding hell do you know I don't have a faith of my own? At the time, I was a practicing Catholic, and I was beyond infuriated at their presumption.

The second time, I asked them if they would consider entering a garage on someone's property, if the garage door was open. Because entering the carport was the same thing. B&E, or unlawful entry, anyone? That, and this: DON'T TOUCH MY FUCKING CAR. EVER. Ahem. Sorry. I was raised by a gearhead, whadda ya expect?

This time, I'm left wondering if this crappola works on anyone. Do they gain a multitude of new followers from this technique? Sure, a hand-written note is sweet, shows sincerity, and the letter certainly wasn't written with the intention of offense, quite the opposite, in fact. The letter-writer is probably a very nice person, with a deep, abiding faith.

But I find this sort of thing offensive in the extreme. If I want to know about your faith, your church, your personal belief system, I'll ask. I promise. Don't witness to me. This is what I hear when you do: "Wah, wha, whaa wahh wa wa." The same thing that the kids in the old Charlie Brown cartoons heard each time an adult spoke. I don't care about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If that offends YOU, then I am sorry for causing offense, but I am most assuredly NOT sorry that I don't believe in a higher power.

No, I don't want to come to your church. No, I don't want to talk to you about what a difference being 'saved' has made in your life. No, I don't want to pray with you. No. Thank. You.

Yes, it is their right to distribute these materials. I've said before and will say again, freedom of speech means that you must protect that speech which offends you as much or more so than the speech that you favor. No doubt, they can write all the letters that they like.

I want to write back to this woman, and ask her to please not contact me again regarding religion, but that's just like waving a red flag to some of these people. Also helpfully enclosed within this letter is a list of meetings, bible study sessions, ministry school (um??) times, dates, and locations. Thanks. Really.

18 March 2008

Dear Applicant

Thank you for your interest in the position at Institution ABC.

The search committee has reviewed resumes and wishes to inform you that we have interviewed candidates and hired a candidate whose background and experience is more suitable for the position. We encourage you to monitor our website for further position announcements.

Thank you for taking the time to apply for the position and for your interest in the institution and making a difference. I wish you well in your job search.


Jane Smith

Urgh. If I get another one of these letters this week, I'm going to run away, live off the grid, breed sheep, use their wool to spin into thread, and knit for a living. Or something.

Yes, the letter above is copied and pasted from my e-mail, with the name of the institution obscured and the position I was interested in removed.

The hell of all of this is that I'm starting to lose that most precious of human commodities, hope.

Each time I send my resume somewhere, I'm so hopeful that I'll be able to leave behind the job that I don't like. I get an interview, or I get a positive initial response, and the hopes raise higher.

Then I don't get the job.

The rejection tests my strength, often making me want to climb into bed and hide away from the world for a while. Some days I'm successful; some days not. I haven't lost all hope yet, but I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be able to find another job. More importantly, will I ever find a job that I love as much as I loved my non-profit work?

I did get an offer for one I interviewed for last week. Unfortunately, I only went to the interview because it never hurts to stay in practice and have a chat with a potential employer. It was a waste of my time; I knew within seconds of walking in the door that I would never be able to work in that office. Full of overgrown fraternity boys and misogyny to spare. And then the job was to be an investment broker; thanks, but absolutely not. Ever.

I'm smart; creative, funny, polite (sometimes), eloquent, talented....I could go on. I've got a 4 year degree, speak 3 languages, am an incredibly quick study.

Too bad that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I could figure out what to do with all that potential.

Perhaps I should say *IF* I grow up; at the moment, I don't think there's much danger.

17 March 2008

Playing in Traffic

"You'd be better off playing marbles on the freeway than messin' around with me, pal."
~my father, frequently in my childhood

I love New York City. I love the crowds, the insanity, the fact that any and everywhere you go, there are 30,000 other people doing the same thing as you. I love the hustle, the small stores, the unbelievable traffic, the lines to do anything. I love it that the longer my sister lives there, the more familiar I become with the Brooklyn neighborhoods, the fact that I recognize names like Nostrand, Atlantic & Throop (Avenues), Bed-Sty (a geographic region). I have no sense of direction, so I still get lost. I expcet that this will be my fate my entire life, though, and don't stress overmuch about it. Whenever I'm with my sister, I simply follow her about, trusting in her excellent sense of direction and intimate knowledge of her own neighborhood.

Leaving either of my sisters behind to return home when I visit them is difficult. I feel each time as if some vital part of myself has been cut off, left bleeding and wounded, a pain that I fear sometimes will never heal. I spend so much time laughing when I'm with them, that perhaps it isn't all that odd that I feel such melancholy upon leaving them behind.

This was a super-short visit. I arrived in the big city late on Friday afternoon, rather than early in the morning as planned due to my own stupid fuck-up. I'd rather not admit to teh internets at large that I missed my 06.25 AM flight, so let's move on, shall we?

After visiting my sister's office, we went 'home' to Brooklyn, where we ate dinner at an Italian place my sister and her friends frequent enough that the host knows them by name, and caters to their preferences. The wine, the food, the company and the conversation were all very much to my liking.

We slept late on Saturday. Since I'd been up at 4 AM on Friday in order to miss my early morning flight, I was too tired to party and rock it out on Friday night. When we got up, we took a bike ride to my sister's old neighborhood, where it is my considered opinion that perhaps some of the best bagels in the world are baked. After a delightful breakfast, I tortured my sister by touring a yarn store on Atlantic Ave, called Knit-a-way, where I spent far too much money on yarns that are lovely enough to eat. Witness the color spectacle....

I took this pic with my phone. Not bad for a pic from a mobile phone, no? See how the yarn is organized by color? Feel how soothing it is when everything is color-coded and organized by size? Ahhhhh. It appeals to an obsessive's heart, it does.

We rode the bikes through miles and miles of city streets. If you are my mother, you shouldn't read the next paragraph....(hi Mom! *waves*)

My sister is a pretty fearless lady. Not much intimidates her, but we left Atlantic Avenue behind at one point, because, as she told me, "You're making me nervous. You're going to get hit by a car." This coming from the child for whom the term "kamikaze skier" was invented. I'm small-town enough that I'm pretty unaware of the traffic, and was therefore nearly killed on several occasions, just from watching where I was going and not who was behind me. Oops.

We had a small dinner party on Saturday night, where I cooked for a gaggle of my sister's friends. Paper-wrapped fish, a green salad, rice, for the main course, and shrimp cocktail and prosciutto-wrapped goat-cheese as appetizers....yummy. With several bottles of wine, of course.

Sunday, I left to head home, sobbing my way through the cab ride to the airport. 'Exhausted' does not even begin to describe how tired I was; my bed called loud and clear when I finally got back to Oh-hia-ia.

Sleep, and more sleep, and yet a little more, is on the agenda for the next few days. And a visit to the massotherapist; my back is KILLING me from the bike-riding.

13 March 2008


adjective, Swedish for 'opposite' or 'the other way around'

I'm still pretty bitterly disappointed over the fact that the company down south didn't hire me on the spot. I know, it isn't the end of the world. Here's the thing; in addition to usually taking the path of least resistance throughout most of my life, I've also nearly never wanted for anything. Whatever I want, I've usually gotten. Note that I'm certainly not denying that I'm spoiled; far from it, I am, and I know it. Note too that I'm not suggesting that I've never had to work hard for anything in my life; I have, I do.

But I'm not sure if I've ever wanted anything as badly as I wanted this.

So that's been a pretty bitter pill to swallow, this fact that sure, I'm awesome, but they didn't want me right away. There is still lots of hope that they'll call, and I still have the chance. Patience, however, has never been my strong suit. Waiting 3-4 weeks to see what the final decision will be a bit like lying on a bed of nails for that entire time. Urgh.

Instead of moping and waiting around, though, I'm leaving the small town I call home and heading to visit my sis in New York, an opposite that I enjoy quite a bit. You can't get much more opposite from here than New York. The pulse of the city surrounding me, spending some time with my sis...it is a pretty nice escape.

Perhaps I ought to have titled the post att springa ivag which, of course, means, 'to run away'! Because that's what I'm doing this weekend. Running away from home, running away from the job I dislike, running away and saying "la la la la la, real life, I can't hear you! I refuse to deal with you. LA LA LA LA LA!" But I do like the way tvartom sounds...prettymuch the way it is spelled, TVART-ommm, a fun sounding word.

I'm not taking the computer to New York. Shocking, I know. My sister wants to go shopping; if you knew her in real life, you'd know that the shocker is that she wants to go to Bloomingdales. Seriously. Plus there's about seventeen bajillion other things to do in NYC other than surf.

I fly out at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to it.
I'll be back to reality on Monday. Maybe.

12 March 2008

I feel like making a list.

So I shall. A list of things I'd like to do, or see, or be. Not an all-inclusive list, nor an extensive one.

Yet another OCD listitation.
(in no particular order)
1. Go to Australia
2. Go to India
3. Get my yoga certification.
4. Lose another 20 pounds.
5. Get rid of my migraines, once and for all.
6. See my two sisters more than a few times a year.
7. Learn to speak French.
8. Vastly improve my German speaking/reading/writing abilities.
9. Live somewhere that I can see the sun more than once or twice a month.
10.Learn to speak Spanish
11. Learn how to weave, on a huge loom that there is no room for in my house.
12. Learn how to spin wool into yarn, because I need another hobby. Obviously.
13. Meet Sera Gamble. Just once, is that too much to ask from life? And have her think that I'm very cool and a great writer.
14. Ski Banff.
15. Learn to ride a motorcycle. Or, I should say, how to DRIVE a motorcycle, I know how to ride one.
16. Go to culinary school and learn how to make amazing elaborate pastry and desserts.
17. Read Braille. (Don't ask me why. I don't know.)
18. Learn sign language.
19. Skydive. I think I'd get over my fear of heights.
20. Learn to fly/get a pilot's license, for small airplanes.
21. Have nice handwriting.
22. Finish my book.
23. Get my book published.
24. Age with style and grace. Someday far, far, far into the future.
25. Have much whiter teeth. ('S a vanity thing. I'm vain. I know.)

There are a few majors that I've left off the list. I'm sure you can supply one or two without me being detailed.

And you? What's on yours?

11 March 2008


I got to spend an evening in some relative warmth. When I landed in this southern city, it was 72 degrees, a lovely change from a foot of snow.

I went through a few hours of interviews and testing. It was a cattle-call kind of thing, there were 40 people there, some who applied and others who were recruited like me.

Now because I'm always purposefully vague about what I do for a living, I am not going to tell you the name of the company, but I can tell you that they told us over 75000 people have applied for 1400 positions. The 40 odd who were in that room made it through several cuts to score an interview.

They hired 4 or 5 people on the spot. I am extremely disappointed that I wasn't one of them. They told the rest of us that they will be in touch within the next 3-4 weeks.

What does that mean? Well, on the bright side, it means that they haven't said 'thanks but no thanks' to me. On the downside, which is where I am right now, this could be a kiss-off. I simply don't know.

I do know that I now want the job even more than I did before I came for the interview.

I am stuck in a loop of bummed out thoughts right now. What did I or didn't I do or say that I wasn't one of those lucky 4? Why wasn't I good enough? You'd have barely recognized me over the last few days, as I've been in this sort of state of giddy anticipation.

I was so sure that I was going to get it. So sure that I actually slept well last night in an anonymous hotel room, far from my own warm and snuggly bed and DH.

I know that tomorrow, it will be easier to be holding on to some hope, but tonight I think I will indulge in a good, mature pout.

08 March 2008

Left foot in, left foot out, and ya do

the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself about.....

Now that you'll have that running through your head all day (you're welcome, I'm sure)....

I was originally going to write about being buried under more snow than I remember for a long, long, loooong time, but then, going out the garage to get my 2nd can of soda to mix my 2nd drink, I caught myself dancing a bit and had another idea.

The weather is shit. No two ways about that, not at all. Without t'internets, life would be dull indeed under a level 2 or 3 snow emergency. (I've lost track, and anyway, either one means you're supposed to stay off the roads so that the guv can clear the streets, dangerous road conditions, blah, blah, blah, blah.)

By all rights, I ought to be bored out of my pretty little skull. What's a girl to do other than drink some rhum and zero-calorie vanilla soda? Normally, I don't condone drinking soda at all for myself, its full of corn syrup and other things that are bad for the whole body, not just bad for the diet. But...we're home, not going anywhere, there's a ton of booze in the house, there's no reason not to.

I've also got a whole bunch of yarn, and three or four projects on the needles that just might get finished over the weekend, with nothing better to do. I finished the eyelash scarf, shorter than I planned, but I got bored with just 15 stitches knit every single row, so I cast it off at about 7 feet long and started making a matching hat with the leftover yarn.

But what I was thinking about as I was mixing my drink was that I'm doing much better mentally. The last week has been better. And I don't just feel that way because I've been boozing a little, either. It seems that the Lexapro has kicked in, and with the combination of the two meds added to the fact that things have picked up on the job front, I'm doing better.

My shrink and I had a discussion where she urged me to work on having my sense of self-worth tied to what I do for a living. Still workin' on that one.

My resume has been out on the web on various job sites for years. Since I worked for ye olde evile bank. I left there in 2004, so let's guess from at least 2003. I get e-mails from recruiters for financial service companies all the time...they see my 7 years of banking experience, and want me to come be a securities broker for them. T'anks, but NO. All of a sudden, though, I'm getting hits on the resume from every angle. I have no idea what's changed; the economy's in the shitter (sorry, but how would YOU describe it?) and I've not updated my information on any of those sites since about 2006.

So I'm popular all of a sudden?

Mystifying, but fun.

If I get the job that I'm going to interview for next week in a place far, far away, WellBehaved will be updated infrequently for a little while. Going dark, if you will. But I'll keep ya updated on how that goes.

Am I excited about that interview? Sure. At various moments so hyped that I want to jump up and down like a little kid, and at others, so nervous that I'd like to vomit. I want this job. I want to knock their socks off in the interview. Keep your fingers crossed. I know I will be.

At the moment, though, rhum and vanilla cola are calling me. Loudly. And my hat knitting project, and an interesting movie on the telly....

07 March 2008

AT&T sucks.

I got a Blackberry earlier this year. I used to have both a PDA and a mobile phone, but when the PDA (which stored my calendar, contacts, friend's birthdays, oh, only my whole life) died last year, I decided that carrying around 2 bits of electronic gadgetry was silly, and when I replaced the phone, I'd get something that was capable of doing both tasks.

The first few days with the Crackberry were frustrating, but I got the hang of it eventually. Set the phone up so that it could receive e-mails from 2 accounts. Figured out how to sync it with my computer. And then, I was totally hooked. Hilariously, the gadget even eased some of my anxiety, because I wasn't missing e-mails when I was away from the computer. I was reassured by that. No, no, I'm not addicted, why do you ask?

Yesterday, I got home from yet another frustrating day of no new sales (have I mentioned before that this job I don't like is outside sales? I think I have. If not, now ya know.) and found DH wrapped up in blankets in front of the teevee. He's fighting off a second round of the creeping crud. I turn the phone off sometimes when I get home from work. If I don't turn it off when I get home, it shuts itself off automatically at 8 PM. Something I learned was necessary after it woke me up once at 2 AM for a listserv e-mail. I hate when anything interrupts my sleep. That's grounds for justifiable homicide, right there.

Anyway. Home from work, phone shut off. I was exhausted, and we chatted about what to do for dinner, deciding finally to order pizza. I reached for the phone, turned it back on, and instead of making the call right away, I was scrolling through the pre-loaded pictures on the device's hard drive, wanting to show DH a pic that I hadn't noticed before. Suddenly, the screen went white, and the following message appeared.

JVM 454 error.
Device must be reset.
Scroll trackball for options.


So, like an obedient drone, I hit the reset button, and the same message appeared. When I scrolled the trackball, dozens of other options, including a 'sanity test' (WTF?) appeared. I tried most of them, and nothing worked. So I took out the battery, which is how you do a 'hard reset' on this particular phone.

Unfortunately, that didn't fix it. I got the white screen back, and then an hourglass appeared, then the screen went black, and the indicator light, on the upper right corner of the phone, started flashing red. Uh-oh.

So we took the phone to the closest AT&T store.

The heavily made-up chickee that waited on us did the same thing we'd done. Twice. Then she went to the computer and looked up our account information. Slowly. Then she grabbed a pad of sticky notes and scribbled down an 800 number, telling us, "We don't have any replacement phones here. You'll have to call the Warranty department."

I purchased this phone on January 17th. It isn't two months old. I can't be without a phone; besides being the only one I've got, my entire ability to make a living is based on this mobile phone. Outside sales=being in the car, on the road, all day, every day.

Nope, I'm not dependent. Not at allllll.

I think it perfectly understandable that my next action was to bitch at this 22 year old snot. I ranted and raved about the phone being brand new. I hollered and fussed about needing it for work. I pointed out that they DO have plenty of phones in the store, and that she could give me a new one out of the box. No replacement phones, my ass.

Perhaps not surprisingly, she was unmoved. She wasn't rude, but she was very firm that there was nothing further she could do. Also not surprisingly, we left. Without a new phone. Fuck!!

I dutifully called the 800 number from DH's phone, and spent the next ten minutes on hold. The young man who finally came on the line informed me that they'd send me a refurbished phone, and that they'd send it express shipping at no cost to me, but no, they weren't able to do anything other than that.

Here's why this pisses me the hell off. I've been with AT&T since 2004. My whole family, and DH's whole family, plus most of my friends, use AT&T as their wireless provider, meaning that it is free to call all of those folks, because they're within the network. So switching carriers is out. Additionally, I pay my bills on time; my wireless bill is anywhere from $110 to $170. A month. Every month. The phone has been in my possession for almost 2 months; what happened to it is that the hard drive died. DH, trying to amuse me, said, "The crackberry OD-ed."

I called customer service when we got home; I was on the phone for another half hour, explaining to 2 people what had happened, and why I was upset about it. Being nasty to them serves no purpose, so I was calm and polite, but I made it understood that I was less than impressed. How is this good customer service?

I'm without a phone for at least 2 days, even with express shipping, it is unlikely that I will have the new phone before Monday. When, incidentally, I'm supposed to leave to go for that job interview in a state far, far away. Goddam it! I need that effing phone.


Anyone care to lend me an uzi so I can shoot the one that died? I think that'd make me feel better.

06 March 2008

Take the call

Scene from a day at the olde evile bank.

A telephone rings.

Me: "Stiffs Division, this is Lucy, how may I help you?"

Customer on phone: "Ah, Lucy, is Mr. Smith in?"

Me, after glancing at the phone lines to see if he's on his line: "May I tell him who's calling?"

Customer: "John Doe, on the Jones estate."

Me: Hold the line, please."
Switch to Joe's line. "Joe, Attorney Doe is on the line. Do you want the call?"

Joe: "Sure, I'll take the call."

This scene repeated itself over and over and over during the four or five years that I was Joe's assistant. My duties were primarily secretarial in nature, although there wasn't much that "Joe" did that I didn't do, and vice versa. We were a team, and a good one.

He had the law degree that I lacked, but he was never condescending or arrogant. Funny things happen when you work with estate cases and your clients are the dead folks. We had a good time most of the time. Joe was easily the best boss I've ever had, he taught me quite a bit about how to manage people, taught me how I wanted to be when it was my turn to be the boss someday.

As things progress toward to the next job in my career path, I had an instance yesterday where I had to decide if I was going to take the call and move forward or let it go to voicemail and stop what has become a runaway train. This company that is interested in my Swedish speaking abilities has been moving at light speed, a bullet train that I am not powerless to stop, but something that I've got to run like hell to catch.

I still want it.

I can't believe how quickly this has happened. Two phone interviews and arrangements for travel to a distant city (still stateside, if you're wondering) in the last two days. The travel is for a face-to-face interview.

Striking me speechless is a tough thing to do, but when the second phone interview wrapped up with the interviewer telling me that she was pleased to tell me that I'd passed through the stages far enough to come for a face-to-face, someplace that's about 1500 miles from home, at their expense, well, I couldn't think of much to say beyond, "Oh. Goodness."


05 March 2008


I don't usually sleep well. This is something that I've bitched frequently about, as proper sleep is so important to being healthy. Not just your physical health, but mental health too. Depression makes it tough to sleep or makes you want to sleep all the time, yet another lovely paradox of the disease.

When the depression got really bad, before I got any treatment for it at all, I was sleeping about 3-4 hours a night. When I started getting help, it improved a little bit, to 4-5 hours a night.

In the last week, my sleep habits have improved pretty drastically. I've been taking Ambien for my sleeping trouble for a long time, nearly every night. I'd hazard a guess that I've been taking that on and off for about a year. So I can't attribute this recent improvement to the Ambien.

In October of 2006, I started working out 6 days a week in an effort, initially, anyway, to get better sleep. That didn't help my sleep. I lost weight, and I was hopeful that being more healthy physically would help me sleep more. It didn't, really.

Today, I'm 43 pounds lighter than I was in October of 2006, with about another 20 pounds left to lose. Undoubtedly, I am in far better shape than I was, physically. My whole lifestyle has changed, my eating habits have made a 180 degree turnaround from where they were. I can't attribute the better sleeping to the lifestyle changes, because I would have been sleeping better a long time ago, not just in the last week.

I'm sleeping between 7 and 9 hours lately. Not an un-interrupted 7 to 9 hours, that would be apparently far too much to ask, but un-interrupted two to five hour bursts, and enough of them to get what I consider nearly adequate sleep. Finally.

See, when I was a kid, I slept 10 to 12 hours a night. I need my sleep. My family can attest to the fact that without enough sleep, I'm supremely unpleasant to be around. I've never been ashamed or embarrassed to admit that I simply need the proper amount of rest. Eight hours is good, ten is preferable. Six is about the bare minimum of acceptability. So you can imagine what it was doing to me to get 4-5 hours for just about 2 years. Devastating me, essentially. I have no doubt that my mental health suffered even more because of the lack of sleep.

(When we're listing reasons Lucy doesn't have kids, sleep is up there on that list. Baby=no sleep.)

What's changed? The only thing that's different is the Lexapro. My job stress is just as bad as it was at the non-profit, although it is a different sort of stress, it is just as high or higher than when I knew that the non-profit was on the verge of closing. I'm exercising less lately than that gold standard of 6 days a week. (It pains me to admit that. I'm not sure what is the de-motivational factor there, but I need to get the fuck over it and back to a regular 6 day a week schedule to lose those additional 20 lbs and to get in shape for the May 2 race I'm going to run in, a 10 K.)

Dr. H gave me samples of the Lexapro with instructions to take 1/2 of a pill daily, 5 mg. He also told me that when I had a handle on whether or not that was going to help (a week or so) to adjust the dosage up or down as I thought necessary, as long as I kept in touch with him so that he knew what I was doing. Half a pill was helpful, but damn, still not enough to push me over the edge into being able to get out of bed and be back to being me. So I upped it to a whole pill, 10 mg. About a week ago.

Isn't that interesting?

So Wellbutrin+Lexapro+Ambien=sleep.

A friend who is a nurse reacted with alarm when I told her about the addition of Lexapro to the Wellbutrin. She told me that over time, those medications work less well, something that I think I can attest to, as I've needed to up the dosage on the Wellbutrin several times to get it to the right place. She also warned me that sometimes the side effects of the meds can become permanent, and that they're often very difficult to discontinue taking, when you think you're ready to get off of them. My one and only lingering side effect is the hand tremor, which is worse some days than others. I'd rather that didn't become permanent. It makes me look nervous when I am not, and it makes me feel like I've got Parkinson's. She asked if maybe the cure isn't worse than the disease.

Emphatically, no. Unconditionally, no.

Getting the proper amount of rest has been unbelievably helpful. I wake up feeling still tired for a little while, but about an hour after I get up, I'm refreshed and nearly ready to face the day.

The addiction to the Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee might be something we need to talk about, though, because before that cup o' decaf joe, facing the day is unthinkable.

04 March 2008

Workin' It

I'm on the fence about what to do about a few potential job offers.

My RL friends are rolling around on the floor laughing right now, as I've been bitching so much lately about my current job. I'm sure they're in disbelief that I'd even hesitate on taking anything else.

Once upon a time, in the non-profit world, there was a board of directors that I reported to. Last week, I ran in to one of the board members, and told him about my unhappiness with my current job. He suggested that I send him my resume.

I like this guy. But I don't know if I want to work for him. So as of yet, I haven't sent it to him. I don't know if I want to.

I use yet another e-mail address other than lucyarinatgmaildotcom for my job searching; and because I get so much junk from Career Builder and Monster dot coms, I don't check it daily, nor does it come to my crackberry. I did check it today, and I have an e-mail from a company, suggesting that my Swedish language skills are much in demand.

HA! That's the first time in, oh, MY ENTIRE LIFE that I've ever heard that my Svensk abilities are in need anywhere in the world. Swedes, after all, by and large speak pretty flawless English. So although my language abilities in Swedish are just about at the level of a native speaker, no one has ever told me that they needed those mad skillz.

I'm not sure what to do about this. Run with it, or ignore it. Somewhere in the middle?

Throughout my entire life, I've taken the path of least resistance. I worked for ye olde evile bank in college, and once I graduated, it was far easier to look within the bank for a new job than search elsewhere. Even so, I stayed at the job I was at through college until nearly 6 months after graduation, because nothing exciting in the internal postings caught my eye. When something finally did, the transition was flawlessly easy.

When I left the bank, that was a leap of faith, but also an easy choice. Working in the non-profit world was deeply satisfying, although extraordinarily stressful. When I was unemployed last summer, I looked hard for work, but my current job was also something I just kind of slid into.

Methinks it is time for a change in that line of thinking. I keep replaying the lyrics to that Eminem song I'm so fond of over and over in my head.

Look, if you had
one shot
or one opportunity
to seize everything you ever wanted
one moment
would you capture it?
Or just let it slip?

I want this chance to use my Swedish skills.


{This may be the understatement of the year. Possibly.}

It may not be everything I want it to be, or everything I expect, but if I never even give it a shot, I'll never know.

Time to seize.

03 March 2008


I'm not a patient woman.

That is one of the many reasons that I've decided to not have children; I think I'd be a terrible mother due in part to my lack of patience.

Somehow, though, when it comes to unraveling knotted yarn, I can put aside my impatience and gently, carefully, slowly work it out. If anyone you know is into the fiber arts and they tell you they've never had to work out a knot, they're either lying or just learned how to knit/crochet/spin/cross stitch/whatever yesterday. Because the rest of us have had the dubious pleasure of having a ball of yarn deteriorate to a mess like the above, or somehow ended up with a knot in whatever the current project is.

I joined yet another social networking site; this one for knitters and crochet fanatics. Ravelry has quickly become someplace that I'm spending lots of my online time. The cool tools they've got!

Part of the fun has been cataloging all of the yarn that I own. Which has forced me to spend some time organizing that which I own, again. Finally, finally!, I have it separated into a more reasonable manner, and can find what I'm looking for quickly in the boxes. Hilariously, though, I don't need to look in the box to see what I've got; I can look it up on Ravelry. Also entertaining is the fact that among the bits and pieces that I have leftover from various projects are small balls of yarn that I haven't the faintest idea where they came from, what they are (i.e. brand of yarn and or fiber content...are they wool? Cotton? I don't know). In some cases, what I used them for is also a mystery. Did I make E's scarf with that burgundy and black? What the heck did I use this ugly blue stuff for?

They're all in the bottom of the box, waiting for there to be enough of them to make a stash sweater or other project like it. I used up some bits and bobs in that blue/green/yellow hat I made a week or so ago. But the ones that I didn't use were in sad and sorry shape indeed, knotted and a mess. I spent nearly two hours winding each of them carefully into a nice ball, so that when I want to use them, they aren't in worse shape.

Yarn, apparently, is like the wire hangers left alone in a closet; abandoned to its own devices, it tangles and multiplies, making a general mess of itself. I'm astonished that it took me nearly two hours to work through all that stuff, and that I did it without getting stressed or anxious, or angry. There have been times, when faced with a mess of yarn to untangle, I've chucked it rather than mess with it. A hot pink yarn that was scratchy and cheap particularly comes to mind. I remember spending about 2 minutes trying to find an end to the yarn, where I could start from, and failing that, tossed it in the trash.

The knots I get from stress, in my back, shoulders, and neck, are not so easily worked out. I have a magic massotherapist that I see when it gets bad, and it takes him usually about the same amount of time--2 hours or thereabouts--to get rid of them for me. Usually over several days.

Several things about that are interesting to me. One, I can't fix those knots myself. I don't care how much time you spend in a hot shower, or lying with a heating pad, or even sitting in the sauna, nothing gets rid of those sore spots like my magician. Two, although he uses the same terminology, as in, "Man, your shoulders are knotted up!" there is no untying of the muscular structure. Three, it requires as much or more patience to work out those knots than it does the yarn knots.

I see the massotherapist on average about once a month. One of the indulgent things that I do for myself. Well, sometimes its indulgent, and other times it is a necessity; there have been times when I've walked in to his office barely able to move my neck, or with my shoulder so torqued that it is twisting my whole back into a bad shape.

What he does, deep tissue pressure massage, hurts. Make no mistake, this is in no way similar to a massage at a spa. This isn't a relaxation massage per se; what Mr. Magic does is therapeutic massage. Sometimes, yes, I do leave his office more relaxed, but usually I'm hurting as bad or worse than when I went in, just in a different way. Which, of course, begs the question, why on earth would I continue to go see him? Because several hours later, or sometimes the next day, you feel like a million bucks, pain free.

I wonder if my yarns feel the same way, relaxed and soothed after being untied, and placed in orderly color-coded rows. I know it makes obsessive-compulsive me feel better that they're finally organized.