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Category Archives: Life in General

Is there life beyond knitting? Let’s find out, shall we?

A new post (!) on a rare non-knitting topic

I couldn’t agree more with Mary Cathryn Ricker, President of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, Local 28. Please read this and think about it.

http://www.marycathryn.blogspot.com/

 

 

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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Life in General, Work and Home

 

Looking forward to Autumn Leaves

Well, here I am again (finally), putting up another (possibly dull) blog post. Hehehe. It’s been a crazy-busy summer, with not a moment to myself to even think about blogging or knitting or anything but work. I’ve been ‘berserk with work’ all summer long, as a matter of fact. I love my job (most of the time, LOL!), but wow – really long hours, lots of work to do. For much of the summer, an often frustrating re-planning process has been going on at work. Such is the life of a project manager, though, so I really can’t complain (much).

In addition to all of that, it was a pretty rough summer for me, as I had a health scare going on. To make my long story a bit shorter, I went for a normal eye exam for new glasses on July 31. This included a dilated exam, since I’m well over the age of 40. During that exam, the optometrist (who is probably young enough to be my kid!!) saw an amelanotic nevus on my left eye. Basically, that’s a colorless mole on the eye. I didn’t even know that one could have a mole on the retina! He referred me to a retina specialist, because these things are nothing to fool with – they may be innocent and benign and may have been there your whole life, but they may also be a melanoma and trouble and a big problem. It took a month to get in to see the retina specialist, who did another dilated eye exam, looked at the nevus from every possible angle (ouch, my eye muscles!!) and declared it ‘possibly nothing’, but that we needed to have it further checked out to be sure, particularly since I am a smoker and have a family history that includes both retinal separation (maternal grandmother) and cancer (mother and maternal aunt). Yes, Mom’s side of the family was a really wonderful gene pool – brains, curly hair, ‘the fat gene’, and plenty of health problems. Oy vey. So, a week later, I found myself at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute being dilated again, and having several dozen photographs taken of both of my retinas (both of them) as a baseline, and an ultrasound on the left eye to get ‘more information’ about the lesion. All I can say about that experience is that, if you can possibly avoid it, please do. Even with numbing drops in my eye, having an ultrasound pen rolling on my eyeball was possibly the most unpleasant thing since childbirth! At any rate, the films have been viewed, and the lesion has been judged to be benign. Very cool. Dr. Retina Specialist still would like my internist to do some more tests, just to be sure, because these eye things can sometimes be a metastis from some other part of the body. Oh, joy!

In the world of knitting, I still have the Lily of the Valley Scarf from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush in the works. It’s very nearly done – I have four pattern rows and then the final few rows of preparation to graft the body and edge together. Woo-hoo! That poor scarf has been on the needles so long, I’m surprised that the yarn didn’t completely bond to them! I should, however, be able to wash and block it by next weekend, if not sooner, which is great. After that, I think I may start some holiday knitting for friends and colleagues. Maybe. I’m an awfully selfish knitter by nature, so maybe not! One option, though, it to make a couple more of my Sheepless in Spring Hill cowl, so that I can be sure I have the pattern down pat. If that were the case, then I could go ahead and ‘publish’ it, here and/or on Ravelry and then, like a zillion other folks around the world, I could call myself a ‘designer’ (not really talented enough to be one – not even by half – how about an unventor??) Oh, phooey – just realized that, once I finish the scarf, there’s a second sock just waiting for one more row of ribbing and a bind off, and the Emerald Isle Cardigan I started last fall that are both waiting for me to return to them. I really want that cardi for the winter this year, it’s really tailored and professional in appearance, so I guess I’d better frog the messed-up button-band front piece, start it over, and get the sleeves done! Ah, well, so much for holiday knitting, hehehe!

In other news, my younger son started high school (!) back in August. Yes, my baby is a freshman this year, and loving it. He’s off to a good start, as well, bringing in five A’s and a B at the first 4.5 week progress report. He’s even doing really well in his German I class, where the teacher’s weekly e-mail newsletter is constantly harping that the kids aren’t studying and aren’t doing as well as he had hoped. I’m tickled about the grades, since his transition from elementary to middle school was a bit rough. 🙂 On a less-happy note, I discovered today that the poor guy will be transferred to a different high school starting next year (re-zoning with the advent of a new high school in town). Downside – he loves his current school; upside – he’ll be a member of the very first graduating class at the new school, which is pretty darned special. 🙂

My older son is in, um, transition, awaiting his parents to get their _____________ together and ensure he has a vehicle so that he can go back to school and get a degree/certificate in something or other. At the moment, he pretty much has his heart set on a degree in Digital Animation from the Art Institute of Nashville, an investment of 3 years and $90,000…for a mere $20,000-ish more and another year of his life, the guy could have a degree from Harvard, but hey, it’s his life and his loans!

And so, I leave my 3 readers (hehehe) with a Fall-inspired song from a long, long time ago. Nat King Cole’s voice is like warm honey – smooth and sweet, and I love this song.

 

Summer Breeze

As I grow older and older (and older!), I find myself ever more nostalgic for the more innocent times of my youth. And yet, at the same time, I’m happy to be where I am, as I am. Odd, huh? Still, my craving for old music and old movies is huge lately. Heck, last night, I was watching Fraggle Rock on Netflix! (Can anyone familiar with the Fraggles even believe that the show is 25 years old now?) Anyway, the soft rock/pop music of the 1970’s is really appealing to me lately. I’ve always loved it, but in recent weeks, I’ll gladly take Carole King over Taylor Swift, America over Sugarland, etc.

Nothing new on the knitting front – Estonian lace in Sea Silk is still kickin’ my butt – I’ve frogged sections of this scarf more often than anything since my earliest projects…except “Hey, Teach!”, which has been on ‘time out’ forever and a day. 😛 Working hard at my new (temporary) project management job, and it’s causing serious brain-fry, which limits my usable knitting time. Plus, my commute is fairly long (1.25-2.25 hours each way, depending on traffic), which also eats into my knitting time. 😦 Not much else to talk about, so…

I’ll close with a taste of my taste in music lately, one appropriate to the season:

 

The uncertain glory of an April day!

The quote above is from Shakespeare, because I couldn’t think of a witty title tonight. It fits rather well, because there *is* some glory, but it’s rather uncertain. I know that it’s been Forever and Two Days since my last post, and that’s because I haven’t had much of anything to say – no new knitted FOs, no job on the horizon, and I was getting pretty darned down about it. But lo and behold! I sit before my computer now, an Employed Person who is also knuckle-deep in a new project. 🙂

Last week, I started a contract position as a project manager, working with the systems testing team on an (outsourced) application development project for my State. It’s very interesting, since I’ve never done anything in apps development before, always sticking in my little contact center world when it came to projects. All new people to get to know, lots to learn, and a crazy-messed-up-behind-schedule project to manage. That’s the Glory part, and I should be in heaven, right? Especially since I’m getting paid pretty well, as hourly rates go, to do this. Right?

Well, not exactly. This is where the Uncertain part comes into play. The job is only for six months right now, but it could be extended longer (the project has an additional 18 months or so to run after my piece is done), or it could possibly work into a regular employment position. Maybe. But that “maybe” part makes me nervous, of course. And the company that is contracting for my services was recently acquired by a large global firm, which also makes me nervous, coming on the heels of my bad experience with being a victim of a merger-related workforce reduction. 😛 And finally, the commute is awful for me, because I’m a spoiled-rotten brat who got awfully used to working either from home or 10 minutes away. Now it’s an hour-plus each way, and I’m exhausted. I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, but man, this working-for-a-living thing is really eating into my Ravelry and Facebook time! (not to mention my knitting time!) LOL

The new knitting project? Well, that’s going swimmingly now that I have my brain screwed on straight about it (I did do quite a bit of frogging in the first couple of repeats). It’s Lily of the Valley Scarf (Ravelry Link) from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia, a beautiful book that is simply chock-full of gorgeous lacy-goodness to knit. Oh, the joy of the nupp! There’s nothing quite like trying to P5 slippery little devils together to make you feel like an Accomplished Knitter. 😉 I’m making mine in a single luscious hank of Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk, a gift from a Ravelry friend. I adore this yarn. It’s pretty much the Holy Grail of Sheepless Knitting, as far as I’m concerned, and I want more of this yummy stuff. NOW! Sadly, none of my LYS carry any Handmaiden yarns. But I will get some, I know that I will! Possibly as soon as I get a real paycheck! 😀

That’s it for now. I will try hard to post more often, but not makin’ any promises – right now, at 7:54 PM on a beautiful Tuesday evening, I’d like nothing more than to just fall into bed and sleep for several days. 😛

 

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Something for everyone (or no one)!

So I have not blogged in a long time.  That’s because I haven’t had anything much to say, since there’s not been much new.  But my dear friend CYR came to visit last weekend, we had a blast, and I really wish I’d been smart enough to take some frickin’ pictures (duuuuh), since white space with black text makes Marla’s blog a dull document.  😉

1/29-30/10 Snowfall, Middle TN

1/29-30/10 Snowfall, Middle TN

I do have some interesting pictures of snowiness, since we’ve had a couple of bouts with it in recent weeks here in Middle TN.  And yet, our snow was very small compared to so many other places in the U.S., so I’m almost embarrassed to post them (but I will show them anyway, LOL!)

These two are “morning after” photos, I think, so January 30, 2010, in front of my house.  That’s about 2″-3″ of snow/ice – a very, very frozen crusty top there, and very slick.  I have some more of the husband shoveling the driveway – all driveway contents were shoveled into the Dodge Dakota pick-up, which has a less-than-happy rear end and needed the weight to prevent fish-tailing.  🙂

Husband shoveling the walk in front of the house, 1/30/10

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I’ll be 51, a venerable age for one who is among the last of those born in the Baby Boom years.  I’m feeling rather introspective and perhaps just a little bit “down” about the whole thing just now, which is probably a product of the much-longer job search duration than I had hoped to incur.  So here I sit in my house each day, scanning the on-line job boards, networking on LinkedIn, trying to make actual human contacts with people.  I’ve been in TN for 5 years now, and most of the people that I know in my field were laid off at the same time as I.  Some are still looking for their Next Big Thing, just as I am.  A few are very recently re-employed and not yet in a position to be helpful to their former colleagues.  I have had some very successful interviews and been passed over anyway.  I had one absolutely fabulous job in the palm of my hand, or so it seemed, and the economy put a stop to it.  Certainly, I’ve seen more jobs coming open recently, it’s just a matter of my being in the right place at the right moment to say the exact right words to impress the right person to get the right offer for the right job – gee, that shouldn’t be to difficult, should it?  Hehehe!  😉

Plain stockinette socks for car & knit-night knitting! 😉

I finished a pair of hand-knitted socks recently, see photo at the right.  These are made from Crystal Palace Yarns Panda Cotton, using US Size 1.5 Knit Picks Harmony DPNs.  I gave them to CYR, because they were perfect for her.  Gave her another pair I had knitted last year, as well, and also gave her a lovely re-knit of my new Cowl Me Sheepless in Spring Hill design, this time in a thinner yarn (Berroco Pure Pima in a lovely royal purple that has been discontinued), to make a smaller, more snug-fitting cowl.  Silly me, I failed to get photos of it before handing it off to the recipient, so now I don’t have it preserved for posterity here.  Oh, well, that’s how the yarn knots, right?  😛

I guess that’s about all I have for now.  As usual, I will close with a video, one which suits my current situation!  😛

 

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In a Broadway frame of mind

I was listening to some Broadway show tunes on Napster this afternoon, and this one cheered me so that I had to go dig up a YouTube video for your watching pleasure.  😉

Still nothing new or exciting on the job front, but that’s ok, the market does seem to be picking up a bit with the New Year, as the pundits predicted.  I’ve got lots of irons in the fire, just need for one to get nicely red hot, if you know what I mean.  Unfortunately, the job that I really wanted, which was put on hold in November, seems to have been eliminated altogether.  I guess I’d rather have that happen before I got hired, rather than getting laid off again PDQ.  So there’s a silver lining in every cloud, right?

I finished take 2 of my sheepless cowl, this time in some beautiful DK-weight Berroco Pure Pima yarn sent to me by a dear friend, who will be the recipient of the pretty cowl, once I’ve washed and blocked it.  🙂

Happy watching!

(P.S. – I enjoyed watching Jason Alexander do the made-for-TV version in the ’90’s (I think), but the original is absolutely the BEST – no one was better in this role than Dick Van Dyke!  😛

 

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Merry Christmas after all…just a little bit late..

I’m impressed.  And pleased.  And my faith in the desire for big corporations to actually have HAPPY customers is restored:

In a testament to the power of the written word when it is aimed at the top executive in a company, I actually received a reply same-day from the CEO of Computer Manufacturer not-directly-mentioned in my prior post, saying that he would look into this matter immediately, and thanking me for bringing it to their attention.

And a subsequent e-mail from a very senior executive in the division that “owns” PCs, saying that she would assign a member of her team to investigate and resolve this issue.

And a follow-up message from that same very senior executive to tell me who on her team she had asked to handle my problem.

And a subsequent phone call from an “Executive Customer Experience” representative mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve to offer me the following resolution to my customer satisfaction issue:

  • $700 in electronic gift certificates good at the corporation’s e-commerce site
  • a pre-paid FedEx slip and fresh box in which to return the damaged and not-fully-functional computer
  • a really sweet apology

That is so much more than I was expecting.  Honestly, even when the CEO answered my e-mail, I was hoping for and would have been very, very pleased with a new front cover for the old PC and a free set of recovery disks so that I could fix the little problem.  Or, you know, a free upgrade to Win7 would have worked, too (hehehe!).  So.  I’m impressed, but I also know that I would never, ever have gotten this result had I not sent an e-mail to the very top of the corporate food chain.  Getting the attention of the biggest of the big at a company to say, “Your customer service sucks, and I’ll never buy from you again”, even when you are just Average Jane Consumer, is very effective (and I knew that, going in, that’s why I did it).  Sadly, that’s not an option that is always open to the average, everyday consumer.  I only had that option because I used to work there, so I know the CEO’s name and e-mail address.

But, anyway:

Merry Christmas to all

who celebrate this day! 🙂

 

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