Sunday, November 8, 2009

Or maybe Burger King will be hiring, instead.

I failed without even failing. I ramped my stress level up as high as it would go (not intentionally, never intentionally). I began each week with a headache that was bordering on migraine. I passed all my midterms with flying colors. And I screamed the paint off the walls every day, studying until I couldn't process anything anymore.

Clearly I was not made for this.

There were many problems with this major for me:
1. It was super-brand-new. I've never taken Chemistry, not even in high school. But my professors all assume that I have taken something like their class before. Except for my Chinese professor, ironically.
2. I'm not as smart as I wish I was.
3. My normal stress level is so high that only dogs can hear it. I am NEVER not worried about something. Throw three classes I've never had experience with into the mix, and you've got someone having Chernobyl-like breakdowns with admirable regularity.
4. One shot, one kill. I had one chance to apply for this program, and if I didn't make it, then the two years I'd already spent in school would be all for absolutely nothing.

I'm always plotting, scheming, looking for my next move, as if life is a rock wall, and I'm eternally searching for the next handhold. My Plan B was a long progression of options that stretched on into the horizon. There are no easy outs, nothing really looks any more appealing than anything else, and it was starting to come down between community college and trying to get my PhD.

Yes. Community college. Or a PhD. Right. Sort of like saying, "I'm either going to eat a bowl of potato salad or stick my arm down this badger hole." You can't really compare the two.

So I went crawling back to the liberal arts like a chastised dog. I went straight to the head of the History department and told him I'm considering applying for grad school. If I have to teach, it had better be about something I KNOW I can talk about at length. I really do enjoy History, even more than English. I like all the crazy little facts. I really enjoy proving to people that there was no such thing as "the good old days." I love writing papers, and I miss searching things out in the library. Will I enjoy being a teacher? Who knows? Apparently it's what life wants me to do. I'm not good at doing anything BUT going to school as a liberal arts major. And if I'm gonna do it, I might as well do it all. So in a few years I can tell my manager at McDonald's that no, I don't remember how to work a cash register, but would they mind putting "Dr. K" on my nametag?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Freshman redux.

I'm not posting about vacation because it was...overwhelming. It served its purpose, but there was one day where we slept 13 hours straight because we were so worn out, days that are a total blur for one reason or another, and stories that still need to be confirmed by actual eye witnesses. Then we came home, and it was as if I was dumped into someone else's life. I had so much to take care of and so much bad crap poured on me that I spent the next two weeks afraid to leave the house for fear of just One More Bad Thing occurring

I seem to have left most of the bad stuff behind (even if the aftershocks will be felt for a couple more months/years) and I started school on Wednesday. College is college, there's much that hasn't changed. I'm still wondering which syllabus I'll lose first. Books are still more expensive than most surgeries. But when I was in school the first time cell phones were rare. Now everyone has them, and the minutes before class are spent furiously texting. CD players have been replaced with iPods. Mercifully, all my syllabi are online, so I don't have to make copies at the library like I used to. I didn't realize the leaps technology has made until yesterday.

My homework is all online, which isn't entirely new to me. But my B.A. is Sociology. Lots of lectures, discussions, and papers. Now I'm in the hard sciences, which I take with a little more pride and a lot more electronic obligation. My professors will post homework on the website in advance, but all this does is make me feel like I'm going to miss something, like I should be refreshing the school website with the same frantic regularity as my Facebook page. At my first college my huge lecture classes came with three or four TAs and very little homework. Now there are fewer TAs and buckets of work along with the courses. Or so it seems. How would I even know? I can't remember the type of work my Engineer major friends were doing, or how often they actually had to turn in homework assignments. I can't even remember the sort of work required for my first math class in college, which was more about solving puzzles than actual applications of algebra.

Underneath the feelings of dread over my classes, I'm also really excited. The other day someone told me that with my major I will have no trouble finding a job. They said this without sarcasm, without precluding their statement with "What are you going to do with that, teach?" I still have to explain what my major is about, but my explanations are met with appreciative nods rather than snarky chuckles. My history teacher today actually said, "Where are my poor people, my liberal arts majors?" and I nearly died from relief over not having raise my hand to put myself in that category.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

You don't need a knife to clean a blue crab.

I finished the project of DOOM, and instead of feeling relieved, I feel drained. I snipped the last few ends, and then felt so wiped out I didn't even want to click the mouse button on my laptop. I'm not as pleased as I would like to be with this project. It seemed like a really good way to find out what I'm bad at, rather than a display of what I'd like to think I do well.

One way or the other, it's done. And now I have to figure out what's going on for our vacation. I looked at websites for Charleston a couple months ago, but there don't seem to be many resources for finding things to do there. In my mind it was always a fairly major city, maybe not exactly big, but certainly important. But maybe that's just because my mom went there when I was seven or eight years old and LOVED it. Or maybe it's because I've read Gone With the Wind forty-seven times. Either way, my parents seem to have a handle on things, so I think I'm going to let them just take the reins and lead me. My main goals are to have mimosas and get some seafood (one of the few things I miss about living in North Carolina is the seafood).

Richmond will take care of itself, since that's S's hometown. But Boston is giving me problems like Charleston. I normally have an idea of things I want to do when we go on vacation. In Italy we had to see the Vatican museums and I couldn't resist a day trip to Florence, and in Athens you obviously have to go to the Acropolis. But I'm at a loss for things do in American cities that aren't NY. I have ideas of things I'd like to see happen, like having a beer in an Irish pub, or sitting on the grass in Boston Common. There's so much history with the city that I KNOW I should be trying to figure out at least a couple historical spots to check out. But I also kind of like the idea of just walking around and seeing what happens. S is such a ridiculous joy to travel with because he's so easygoing, and often just picking a direction and following it works out really well for us. It was how we found the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain without even trying. It was also how we wandered into that military history museum, which would have been boring in English, but was nearly excruciating in Italian, but I take everything as an adventure on vacation. Who even knows what's going to happen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's not the Guadalupe, it's the Styx.

I underestimated the Hell that this place can be. We moved from a tropical rain forest climate that wreaked havoc on my skin, to a desert climate that is so oppressively hot I feel like my bones are breaking when I walk outside. We do have seasons, and no they aren't Summer 1 and Summer 2 like all the uber cynics here tell us. By October of last year S and I were stepping outside and squealing with glee over the fact that the mercury had gone below 75 degrees. Now the temperature regularly hovers around 105, which I hate with all my being. There's no point in going outside. It's too hot to live. Every day around 6:30 PM I find myself aimlessly wandering in the kitchen for no reason that I can come up with. Then I spot the pitcher of peach iced tea that has become standard fare in our fridge, and I realize that if I don't drink something you'll be able to make croutons out of my dry skin (ugh, there's some powerfully awful imagery for you). I guzzle a huge glass of tea, and immediately I feel better, even though I didn't think I was feeling all that bad to begin with. The dryness of living in a desert climate totally sneaks up on you.

In about three weeks (I'm not paying attention to the calendar, I'm on vacation.) we'll be in Boston, where the temperature is currently a delightful 71 to our obscene 101. I plan on packing all my handknit socks and my new Mary Janes so I can show them off. I told S to remember to pack his sweatshirt, to which he replied, "We both know I'm not going to remember that." I'm sending some things ahead of me to my parents' house (the wedding present of DOOM is too bulky to pack in a suitcase and still have room for my things), so I suppose his sweatshirt will be included in the box. I'm knitting a shrug, because I can't seem to ever finish an entire sweater, so I'm assuming finishing just the sleeves will be easier. It's Malabrigo, which equals aw skeet, skeet in the knitting world. This is the kind of yarn that I buy just because I can, not because I have a use for it. It's actually too pretty to knit. And this particular colorway I'm using is brown, which is boring, but sometimes looks a little purple, has slight hints of blue, and at one point appeared to be green. Color me stoked. It will be done in time for our vacation.

I finished spinning around 4 ounces of merino, which was also plied, and the twist was set, and it's now drying in my room. That all translates to: I made a functional skein of yarn that you could actually make a socially acceptable, completely useful scarf with if you were so inclined to do so, and I did it with a bunch of wool that wasn't spun yet. From the age of 23 on I have managed to surprise the hell out of myself with what I am able to do. I still have to work on the DOOM (pictures up after it has been given to the intended recipients), which isn't really making me very happy, but I did my best. Then I have a pair of socks on the needles (yellow, because I have about thirty yellow shirts, and no socks to match), and I have some roving given to me by friends for my birthday. Always exciting.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

spin spin sugar

First attempt yarn vomit. You can't really tell how crazy this stuff gets, but the super thick part is a really good indication of how bad it looks. It's thick and thin, and this is not what you're looking for. I think this was romney, but I really can't remember. It'll be stored in a plastic bag so whenever I inevitably have a day where nothing is doing what I want it to do I can look at this and remember where I started.

Number two. The penny is just so you can get an idea of the consistency, which is pretty...consistent. This is falkland, which was so nice and soft that I wanted to sit and pet it like a cat. It's furry. I love it. And it was so much easier than the first attempt that I started feeling super brave. Seriously, I kept stopping just to look at how nice this is all turning out. I'm super pleased.
I'm not done with all the falkland (it's AMAZING how much yarn you get from a pound of wool), but I got this merino in the mail, and hopped on it right away. And I was full of hate for it. The fibers are shorter, so it kept breaking, and at some point it broke and wrapped around the bobbin, and I couldn't find the end. I had to cut the yarn to get a new end, which made me go to my happy place and just chalk it up to a learning experience. My consistency isn't as good here, but it still really doesn't look bad. I'm not terribly crazy about the color. I think this will be my plied yarn experiment, too.
In non-fiber news, today is my fourth anniversary, which is a big 'ol yay. I have my stupid math final today (go figure), but I can get a thirty and still make a B, so I'm not worried about it. S and I have no plans, and tomorrow is my birthday, which is a little like having your birthday around Xmas in terms of S buying presents, and we never know what to get each other anyway. But it's still ultimate happiness to wake up to a hot sweaty guy trying to smother you with hugs under the down comforter in the middle of July muttering, "Happy four years, Woman!" at 5AM. Really.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When the zombie apocalypse comes, I'll spin yarn for sweaters.

A box from Ashford came today, which was pretty exciting. My first birthday present of the year, from New Zealand, no less!

All assembly required. They make the parts, and you get a nice Ikea-esque instruction manual, no words, just pictures. I expected this, though, and with my newly civilianized schedule, I had all afternoon to work.

The cats were just hoping this meant we ordered them a new box to play in.

A couple billion hours later, most of which were spent trying to figure out how to get the hole lined up in the handle for the wheel pin (answer: turn the wheel around), I had an Ashford Traditional wheel. Very exciting! I've been eyeballing wheels since last November, and been looking forward to getting this for months, ever since my mom asked me if I would use a wheel if they got one for me. And now, here it is, all the pieces are in order, everything is where it should be, I have practically a whole sheep in my knitting room waiting to be spun...

So I went to the library. I went to the store. I called my mom. I played a computer game. I ate dinner. I checked the snail mail. The wheel might as well have been a cactus. I walked around it. I sat down in front of it. I pushed the treadle a little. I got up. There was a spider I had trapped under a glass that I wanted to show S (I'm a little like a cat, I find these gross, creepy things and I save them for him until he comes home). I swear this thing had fangs that were so big you could have milked it like a rattlesnake. Instead of spinning, I slid a piece of cardboard under the glass and took the spider outside to be free. What is wrong with me?!? I hate spiders! The only reason I didn't immediately obliterate that one was because it was too freakishly buck-toothed not to show at least one other person. I stopped just short of doing my math homework. I had to face this thing. Just sit down and spin. People do this every day, they have been for hundreds, thousands of years.

So I gathered my supplies and my courage, and I started. Well, I kind of started. The yarn wouldn't go on the bobbin. I fiddled, I twisted, I pulled, I turned, I talked to the wheel. Didn't help. I sat back and asked myself what would Brian Boitano do? I went online. All the stuff they suggested was stuff I'd already messed with. What was I doing wrong? I thought about getting some ice cream. I thought about getting a rum and coke. I changed my search criteria on google. And BAM, there it was. Too much twist in your wool. Too much twist, the bobbin won't take it up, and you'll sit there accumulating twist in your wool until the tension creates a black hole in the universe and we all blink out of existence. It's not good for anyone. Once I got past that, I made this:

It's a yarn-like substance. I wouldn't knit with that. It's kind of ugly, there's no consistency in size, and it keeps breaking in places. But it's okay, because it's got twist, it's on the bobbin, it's wool, and I FREAKING MADE YARN. Sort of.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Aw fleece fleece.

Pictured above is two pounds of corriedale roving for spinning. This is a corriedale:

And this is me at my first and only attempt at spinning on a wheel back in November.

Yesterday I got a text message from my mom saying a spinning wheel is on its way for my birthday. Hooray! I'm pretty stoked. The corriedale came early, and it's keeping a pound of falkland company on the bottom of my yarn shelves. I tried the drop spindle thing, which was all right, but not really yielding the same results you can get with a wheel. Part of the problem is that my inital attempts at spinning on a drop spindle were with cotton, which has a really short fiber compared to wool (Yes, I'm geeking out on fiber talk.). My second attempts were with something like romney, which is easier, but not as easy as lambswool, which didn't have the natural lanolin washed out of it. It was kind of sticky...actually very sticky, which not only made me feel like I was spinning with honey, but made the spinning process much easier. The fibers tend to want to stay together, so it's harder to break your lead.
Yes, I've come to accept the fact that I'm a severe yarn geek. We all have our addictions.
So I've fairly conquered knitting (the title of this blog came from a compliment I got from a random British woman when she found out that I taught myself how to knit). I still don't do lace, and I have yet to finish a sweater, but it's mostly because I'm an avid sock-maker, and a knitter could spend the rest of their lives making nothing but socks and never get bored. Now it's time to see if I can make yarn, actual yarn, yarn that can be made into other, useful objects.

Monday, June 22, 2009

And a side note.

We have hummingbirds. The level of mix in this feeder has gone down by half in less than two weeks of sitting in our back yard. I can't ever get a picture of them eating, but I love it.

A little piece of DOOM.

I had lunch with a former co-worker on Friday, and she asked me what my schedule is like now that I'm not working. I paused to think for a second, then said, "Well, you're looking at it." I have about as many responsibilities right now as I did during any other summer vacation, except there's not a chart dictating which chores get done on what day, and I don't have the Price is Right to keep me company. It smacks of the time in the tunnel when the resident mom-of-Irish-twins was telling me I had no responsibility. I quickly corrected her by letting her know I have plenty of responsibilities in my child-free life. I have to make myself a margarita when I get home. I have to make sure the salt and tequila are put away so that the cats don't jump up on the counters and knock things off. And I have to make sure I pass out in a part of the house where S won't step on me when he gets home from work.
Oh, I know from responsibility. And sarcasm.

I have become infinitely more productive, though. I do laundry, I make dinner, I empty the dishwasher. I'm thinking of getting an apron and a couple dresses to accompany the pearls I wear when I vacuum the upstairs. Today I did some yoga, folded the Matterhorn of laundry, and blocked. What's blocking? This:

When you knit things have a tendency to not want to stay straight and flat. So you pin it down, spray it with some water, let it dry, et voila, it looks nice. I did this for another two-ish hours (there's a lot of measuring involved, it's a pretty tedious process). And I'll probably continue working on this knitting project for a good part of the day. But first I have to walk down to the mailbox and check the mail.
I am continuing to enjoy my freedom a billion times more than I thought I would. For the first time in almost a decade I'm not wishing my life would fast forward to another point. I'm actually getting things done instead of sitting slumped down in my chair hitting the refresh button every five minutes in the hopes that new news stories have been posted. I can't even begin to convey how stupidly boring my job was. I don't even want to talk about it. I prefer to channel my energy into more knitting and yoga. And margaritas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A mathematical rush.

Whenever I ran in earnest, actually made a point of pushing myself and giving it a bit of effort, I loathed the endorphin rush afterwards. I would have much rather had a valid excuse to not have to run. During the run I always felt like crap, and this was a feeling I never got used to. Afterwards in the shower I would feel really alive. It felt like a betrayal. Couldn't I feel better while i was trying to do something good for my body? I suppose very few things really work that way.

Math is becoming like that. During class I tend to have moments of panic where I frantically flip through the book trying to find examples of what the teacher is doing. Then I look up and realize that during all this searching I missed the point of what he was trying to teach us. I stare at the board as if I'm trying to shoot lasers out of my eyeballs, and then, there it is. Not quite clarity, but something close to it. I grab onto my tiny corner of understanding and climb until I'm securely back on the plateau I fell from. Days I'm in class don't feel so great. But the day after is always a quiet, happy reminiscence on how I pulled myself from the wreckage of confusion and managed to solve a problem and get a right answer without any help.

Last night on the patio S looked at me and said, "You know you can do this, right?" He does this every now and again, offers an unsolicited ray of hope. He tells me I'm okay, we're okay, everything will be fine. We'll do better than simply survive, we will be triumphant in our daily lives, and we always have each other. Somewhere in my mind I most certainly know that I can do this. It's still nice to hear it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

This is fun.

Maybe I try to find more things to identify with than the average bear because my family is nearly microscopic. My grandmother described herself as the black sheep of the family, and I nearly shot Coca-Cola out of my nose. As the only person in the family who has managed to get married exactly once to a man she super-loves, who has no children in or out of wedlock, who has never been divorced, and who is an ATHEIST amongst a legion of mega-Christians, I would prefer to believe that I would be the sheep most likely to be camouflaged in a coal mine. My parents can tie with me, since the only difference is that they had a kid and I refuse to procreate. My grandmother still talks to most of the people in our family. I've never met almost all of them.

Anyway, I found out that my great great grandfather was Amish, meaning I'm distantly related to people who don't use electricity. Out of curiosity I looked up "Amish" on Wikipedia, and found out that they are mostly Swiss by ancestry. Neato. My grandma's maiden name is not German, as I had previously believed, but Swiss-derived. Now I'm not gonna go run out and buy a Swiss flag and start wearing lederhosen or anything, but it's nifty to learn these things about your ancestors.

Not nearly as nifty is to learn things about less distant relatives. The ones whose front window had a shower curtain of the Texas flag hanging in front of it. Those who had a couch in their front yard. S asked, "Is it the sort of couch that should be outside? Like maybe she meant they had patio furniture, and one piece wasn't a chair but a couch." I said, "No, she meant that those people had a sofa on their lawn." Not to mention these people live in a state that sees a lot of weather. I can only imagine the state of said furniture after a couple seasons.

It's forcing me to think about how I had a Sociology professor who asked us how many of us had grandparents who were farmers, and how many had parents who were farmers. There were more hands up for the grandparents than parents, and he commented on how we are only about a generation away from being a country chock-full of farmers. His point was actually deeper than that. But my point is that how far removed am I from those people? Not farmers, I have nothing against growing food. know. Those people. I have learned to appreciate tiny Southern towns more than anyone my age really should, and I was nearly in tears over North Carolina barbecue last summer, but I made a point the entire time I lived there to not acquire a Southern accent. I may be able to enjoy the occasional glass of tea, but for some reason I shun the idea of throwing sugar into the mix. Our house is bright, with only indoor furniture, and shower curtains in the places you would expect to find them. But if I take a step back or diagonally I'm running into what a friend and I referred to as "number 3s," a reference to the death of Dale Earnhardt. I'm not afraid of turning into that which I make fun of so readily and so often, but seriously, I'd much rather just keep mentally associating with the people in my family who drive horse-drawn buggies to the store every day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I know, I didn't want to be her friend, either.

I strive to live as normal a life as possible. Normal's not the right word, but it's my idea of normal that I'm aiming for, so it's the word I use in lieu of arguing semantics.

There's something in me that is deeply disturbed by my life prior to May 2003. In that life I had no idea what was going on. It could probably be argued I wasn't even a real person. I ached for happiness, I inwardly died for adventure and mischievous chaos. Every minute spent awake past 2AM doing something besides reading a book was monumental. Ice cream for dinner was an act of daring that I flaunted like it was a competition in the X Games. I remember fake-smoking Swisher Sweets, my hands shaking at how bad I was. I was pretending to smoke a wannabe cigar, how devious.

I look back at her, clueless me, and I wish I could stab myself in the face. Give myself a few scars, get my bar fight signoff for my life JQR. That girl who avoided any and all pain, but who would lose weeks of sleep over anyone in the hopes that there was a possibility that they cared about her. The girl who took pictures of her bruised knees because she couldn't remember the last time she had been so physically injured. How fantastically lame she was. No wonder the only people I've found who went to college with me lost touch with me the second I walked out the door. I wish I could have lost my number and address, too.

I'm a little proud of some seriously bizarre things. I have no gall bladder. I have titanium plates connecting my upper jaw to my skull. I've broken a finger. I have stories about me in other countries. The past me would have died, absolutely keeled over at the prospect of a needle. The past me would have moped about how her parents always said they were going to a place and then never followed through, instead of being proactive and booking a whole trip for herself. Past me would faint to know that I married a man who's been in a bar fight.

I'm also a little proud that our furniture matches, as do our plates and utensils. I don't want my home decorating theme to be 20th Century Garage Sale Find. I have some jewelry from Tiffany's, I have a purse that's so insanely expensive that the thought of something happening to it makes me physically ill. On Saturday mornings we get up and go out for Breakfast Bagels, do the crossword puzzle, plan our day. My socks match. Each other.

Essentially, I'm proud because I'm living my life the way I want and then some. I don't know why I am so currently sad about losing touch with certain people. The fact that people have fallen out of my life does not make me special or unique. Not the way heterochromia, a super-ethnic last name, and a story about finding a Chinese man late one night in Athens do. Possibly because I want to apologize to those people for putting up with the past me, who had so little about her that was special that she swooned at the idea of going to a movie with friends because it was all just so normal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The end is the beginning.

My last day working for The Man ended relatively anticlimactically. I came home to a sleeping S who swore, despite the mountains of boxes and desert gear, that he had cleaned. A thunderstorm last night set our a/c settings awry, so it was 78 degrees downstairs, 178 upstairs, and the unbearable heat and mess made me feel irritable and lazy.

But earlier today I was escorted out of the building, having just signed my good-bye papers. I could see the static display through the glass doors, the same airplane I've been staring at since August. But seeing it today gave me a thrill. Today was an ordinary day for everyone in the building except me. I was never coming back. I wanted to yell and run out the door, but I don't think security would have been nearly as excited as I was.

It was a far more pleasant exit than the one I had in the tunnel. The person I gave my badge to there seemed to think it was strange I didn't have anyone to call who could escort me out. My people worked nights on the floor, but that didn't seem to make my situation any more understandable to him. He commandeered someone from another cubicle to walk me out. We made small talk as we moved down the hall, and after holding the door open for me past the check point he unceremoniously slammed the door shut so hard I thought to myself, "Nobody gets in to see the wizard! Not no way, not no how!" No goodbyes, no farewell, nothing. S got a picture signed by the people he worked with and a really nice plaque. I got a pair of noise-cancelling Bose headphones, because I lack the moral fiber to feel bad about not giving them back to the tunnel.

At my final out today the girl was not excited about my paperwork. She made copies of everything, handed me a stack of papers, and softly said, "Good luck." I'm sure that this happens every day for her, watching people coming and going. I grinned at her as I left. After I turned out of the doorway I looked down the hall in all directions, and skipped---yes, skipped---all the way down the hall. Free! I sped all the way to the gym, rendering my final salute to the man in the car next to mine as I grabbed clothes out of the trunk, ripped off my uniform, changed into civvies, and scampered back out.


After the wretched heat of the house was fixed, and some boxes were stacked more neatly in the closet, we went for sushi. I mentioned to S over our potstickers that my feelings are swinging long and wide, between terror and elation. Strangely, though, I never had a second thought about this decision. Once I came to grips with the fact that this really is what I want, it was scandalously easy to begin making the transition. I'm a little sore about the fact that I managed to make one (1) friend the entire time I worked here. But over the past six years I've met more awesome people than I can count. I can't be too upset about it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Strange things I'm really excited about.

1. Flash drives. S is looking at getting me a teeny tiny new computer for my big new life, and if I'm going to have a computer that small I'll need a flash drive for files. Now that I'll be allowed to carry one around, I'm super amused at how nifty these things can get. Like:

2. Carrying around my cell phone. I often wonder how I managed without a cell phone. Considering how hard-core people seem to be at screening their calls, life was probably much the same, minus standing around muttering, "Pick up the phone..." That being said, the need for a cell phone has been rather dire this week. S has things to do, I have things to do in the same area, so we carpool. Lines of communication are scrambled, or non-existent, and we spend the next four hours trying to figure out where the other one is. Soon, in a matter of days, I'll be allowed to carry my phone at all times. This doesn't mean I'll get a hold of people any faster, it just means I have one more thing in my arsenal to throw when I get frustrated while looking for those people.

3. Earrings. I don't usually wear earrings, I don't own any plain enough to wear at work. Before this job I wore them all the time, four gauges that you could see through. I don't think I'm going to get back up to that extreme. But I am getting my cartilage pierced, and I can't effing wait.

4. Oh my god shoes. Who can't wait to wear cute shoes all the time? This kid. These shoes:

Because they don't look like you could comfortably run two or three miles in them. And that's awesome.

Monday, May 18, 2009

His X-man power is keeping us on the grid.

Now S is back, and things have started working again. Rather than being pleased, I'm kind of infuriated. It's not that he's fixing anything. Most of the stuff he just turns on and it magically does what it's supposed to. Like the paper shredder, which I yelled at and gave the finger to for a solid five minutes after S shredded 135 days' worth of junk mail. Or his mouse, which started working when he was playing with his new computer monitors at 3AM (jet lag), so I wasn't there to witness the frustration of that little electronic miracle.

With five business days left, I'm feeling messy and out-of-sorts. Outprocessing has turned out to be anti-climactic. Ninety percent of outprocessing is automatic, making it the easiest transition I've had to make in the past six years. It's ironic.

I'm not really sure what I'll be doing until school starts in August. My leave ends at the beginning of July, at the end of July we're going to a friend's wedding, and then school. It feels like it'll all be just that fast, too. My first summer vacation in years, and it's just gonna zing on by.

When S left I filled my time with projects, and I took two math classes. I'm pretty sure this trend will continue into the summer. I have the wedding present to finish (The Afghan of DOOM, as I call it.), and my June math class. The closet needs...firebombed. But I think I'll settle for simply organizing it. That's a monumental project in and of itself, I may well need my entire summer to finish.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Typing on the last working computer in the house.

Part of what sucks so hard about your significant other being goddoesn'tknowhowmanythousandsofmiles away is how it just absolutely screws with your life. It's like being in a really awful sitcom, where you're sure that someone is pointing and laughing at you, and if you find that someone you're going to punch them until you can't lift your arm anymore. I would imagine that if Nancy from Weeds was a real person, this is how she would feel in almost every episode. And I admit, when she realizes her new dude works for the DEA I howled with laughter.

Aside from what can only be described as rips in the space/time continuum (more on that in a minute), there is an unbelievable amount of stuff that I take for granted while S is here. I'm a self-sufficient human being, I have to be to have made it this far, but life truly is easier when there's someone else you can lay a burden or two on. He does the yard work, he knows how to work our thermostat (which is harder to program than a nuclear missile), and computer stuff...don't get me started on all the problems I've had with the computers.

There's also the here-I-just-saved-you-from-something-unpleasant factor that comes with living with him. A couple weeks before he left he came up to me and handed me my iPod. "Look what I almost washed. Good thing I checked your pockets." Good thing indeed. About three weeks after he was gone, there was a mysterious thudding, banging noise coming from the dryer. An inspection of the contents revealed nothing. That would be because my iPod was securely contained in the zippered pocket of my jacket. Three days after that my first thought on waking was, "I WASHED MY IPOD." The realization was sickeningly clear, and as I blearily pawed through the clothes in the dryer I felt it. When I unzipped the pocket little pieces of the headphones tumbled out, and my iPod refused to come to life. Dead, dead, dead. And nobody to blame but myself. Sure, I got a shiny new iPod out of it, one that I like infinitely more than my old one, but I would have rather spent that money on something else, something that didn't make me feel like a complete waste.

And then the time thing. I don't even know what we do when we're together, but my days usually end with me going to bed two hours later than I had planned. Sometimes I wonder why we even have a house, because we'll spend hours away from home doing...what? I don't even know. When he's gone all that busy-ness goes with him, and I have nothing but obscene amounts of time on my hands. I remedied this by registering for a couple classes, giving myself some big knitting projects, loading my Netflix queue with mindless brain candy, and making some new non-work-related friends. In spite of this there are still weird spaces in my days. I look at the clock and think to myself, "I need to leave in an hour." I don't know where this hour goes, I don't even move, but I suddenly look up and see that I should have left ten minutes ago, and I'm not any closer to being ready than I was when I told myself what time I should leave. I have more time, but I'm doing less with it, and so it escapes me in big amnesiac gaps. Not all the time, though. More often than not I'm looking at the clock and screaming, "OH MY GOD IT'S ONLY FEBRUARY???????"

I get really tired of people telling me the time will go by quickly. Maybe they should be more specific about what part of time they're referencing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The guy who got shot down over Russia.

13 business days to go.

In my line of work, quitting is like going through the Stargate. At the risk of undue amounts of geekery, hear me out. You don't know what it's like on the other side. You see other people do it, and they seem to be okay, but you still wonder if it's for you. And nobody ever really comes back from it.

So, maybe not like the Stargate? I don't know, I've only seen the movie. But you get what I'm saying. I've seen people quit this job and go onto another life, a life that's usually thousands of miles away from where I am. Most of those people seem pretty happy. They're still alive (always a plus, right?), and they aren't living in an institution. So by all means I should be all right when my comes, too.


I registered for some more classes today. I'm going back to school as a science major, which is particularly terrifying for me because, until recently, my highest grade in math usually hovered between a C and a B. That's not terrible, I've never failed a class, but having been told from a very young age that I'm "just not a math person," I stuck that label on my forehead, owned it, lived it, loved it. I could shrug off not being able to cook something because I couldn't subtract, add, multiply, or divide fractions. How important are numbers to someone like me, someone who loves to read, who enjoys art museums, who was practically born to be a liberal arts major?

The answer, in case you haven't been paying attention to the world and finance, is pretty effing important.

If you believe the hype that you can't get a good job without a college degree, then let me add to that by saying that the college degree you have better be science-related. As someone who sailed through college and walked out with a beyond useless B.A., I am completely kicking myself for not trying harder, for believing any person who ever said to me, "Well, it's all right. Math isn't for everyone."

I'm the type who can't forgive people who chronically misspell words, or whose grammar is practically indecipherable. People who don't understand basic geography KILL me. My soul honestly hurts when I hear someone say, "Who is Francis Gary Powers?" If this is the type of thing that's making me lose faith in humanity, how can I expect to skate by not knowing even the most basic of math skills?

I've picked a major in the medical field, and I have to have precalculus. The highest math I've ever taken was Algebra II. In high school. Thirteen years ago. Jesus. But I'm happy to report that I've gone back to class, and my last two math grades were both A's, and not even struggling, oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-the-miracle-that-just-happened A's. I took the class, I understood what was going on, and I did well. I think that it might even stand to reason that I can no longer say with confidence that I am not a math person. It may not be my favorite subject, but I can survive it. And yes, now I am able to figure out fractions.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

in the beginning

In my worst times I come to the Internet for advice, because that's what everyone with a computer and a connection to the intarwebz seems to do these days (it's why Web MD is super popular). I'm sure all of those people were also confronted with what I found out every time it's 2AM, I can't sleep, and I'm frantically asking Google things like, "What should I do with my life?"

The Internet doesn't know the answer to this any better than I do.

But people do this every day. Isn't there a blog somewhere with someone in the exact same predicament as me?

Aside from this one, I mean.

I don't like talking about my job. Not just because I'm not supposed to talk about it, but because there's a whole slew of people out there waiting to judge me because of it. But if you understand what "terminal leave" is, and you get it when I say, "I have 15 business days until my terminal leave starts," then you have an idea of what I do.

Air. Not ground or water.

So, here I am, on the cusp of a new beginning. I'm quitting my job, and in August I'm going to school (the fightin'...Road Runners?) for Clinical Lab Sciences. Huh zah. When I'm not crouching in the corner in fear over what the future holds, I enjoy knitting and reading. I'm also a huge fan of random information, reading Wikipedia, British royalty, and Pearl Jam. I've seen the latter four times in concert. I have two cats and a husband, who I heart immensely.

And I have never been so terrified or exhilarated in my life.