Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thoughts on Not the Last Day After All, and on Knitting

I am a planner. I enjoy planning and anticipation and lists, sometimes as much as the thing itself. A proposed last-minute trip can throw me for a loop because I wasn't planning that, can I do that? Do I want to? Give me a minute here...

I like knowing what to expect, and having time to get my head in the right place, to plan, to gather what I need, to make lists. I like surprises sometimes, but not always, and not too many.

I started this job mid-May with the clearly stated expectation that it was a temp job, with a clear end date of October first. Nothing was said to indicate anything else. Once in June and once in September, my boss mentioned in the course of e-mails that I did well on a certain project, but otherwise I got no feedback, no information about scheduling or planning, until two weeks before the expected end date. I feel like I knew the path ahead of me and wham! Here I am on a different path, all confused.

Instinct versus reason

I know what the reasonable, sensible decision here is: stay on at the current temp job until I find a better permanent job. What I can't resolve is how I feel about that decision.

Instinct says leave. Go. Last day Friday, as planned. I don't like the atmosphere, the management style, the pay rate, the benefits or lack thereof, the commute. Go. Leave.

I don't know why it's been okay to work here up to now, but feels untenable to continue. Perhaps it's simply that one can put up with a lot when there's a definite end date set. Once that end becomes undefined, it's a whole new ballgame. Plus, I hate not knowing, and being able to plan accordingly. I did expect to have uncertainty in October, but it was going to come with all that time off...

Earlier this week, the stress that arose from the thought of staying was tremendous. I didn't know what to do, and felt almost panicked. I know what I should do, but but but, I don' wanna. Now I feel more resigned, but still not happy.

Meanwhile, my boss continues to be hard for me to understand, this time in that she seems to be assuming that I'm staying on. Tuesday she dropped off a great big in-your-downtime project for me.
I wonder how long she thinks I'm staying?

I wonder what the weather's like in her world?
On a related note, I have a question for you, or two actually. You know, if you have an opinion. No pressure. Just that I'm sure you'd have something to contribute, you clever thing, you.

First, how soon is too soon to get in touch again with the company where I interviewed?

To recap, I interviewed last Thursday, 9/23. I sent an e-mail thank-you note the same day, and mailed a handwritten one Friday afternoon. I'm thinking that next week might be okay: I noticed a trademarking inconsistency on their website, and thought that letting them know about it would bring me (and my eye for detail) to mind. And I could ask what their timeline is looking like.

Please, if you have an opinion, weigh in: is next week good, or too soon?

Second, when the happy day comes that I have another job (or the unhappy day when I don't, but I can't take the current job, or more likely the commute, for another day without an end in sight), what about giving notice?

Normally, I am a staunch two-weeks-notice person. I believe that short of extreme circumstances, it's just rude not to give notice.

In this case, though, I'm kind of pondering. I feel like I committed to October one, and I haven't committed to anything beyond that (nor have I been asked to, straight out). As they say, Massachusetts is an at-will employment state, meaning that the employer can ask you to leave at any time, and legally you can leave at any time.

So, in my shoes, would you give two weeks notice? One week? What do you say?

The Evolution of Knitting Confidence

Four years ago, I read on Knitty about the technique of knitting two socks at once, one inside the other*. I was shocked, fascinated, awestruck, and absolutely positive I would never, ever try it**.

*Imagine twice as many stitches on each needle as usual, where the odd-numbered ones belong to sock A and the evens to sock B. And two balls of yarn. When you're done knitting, there's the magic trick of pulling one finished sock out of the other.
**One single stitch wrong, and you're screwed: you have conjoined socks. Most people do not have conjoined feet.

But I thought of it one morning this week, knitting my (singular) sock on the subway, and realized that I'm more interested and less appalled by the idea now. I'm not rushing out to start it, and it certainly wouldn't be travel or social knitting, but it seems much less impossible.

I think maybe I'll scout around for a more basic double-knitting project, so I could see just how crazy it would make me, holding two strands of yarn separately. And then we'll see.

Coming home tonight, the T was absolutely mobbed. I knit, standing up (leaning against the door), because it was that or get off the train. As usual, 90% of the remaining riders got off at the next to last stop. I looked up to see just one other person remained in my section of seats, and as I said to her, "What are the odds that the last two people here are both knitting?" Because she was! A scarf. We talked about knitting, and hand-knit socks, and it was a nice moment after the madness.

Sometimes, while knitting on the T, I think about all the answers to the seldom-asked question, "What are you doing?" Some possibilities, more and less literal:
  • knitting
  • making a sock
  • turning the heel (casting on, decreasing for the toe, etc)
  • self-tranquilizing
  • staving off a claustrophobic* panic attack
  • not thinking about how much I hate people
*Side question: is it in any way dismissive of people who are diagnosed claustrophobic, if I refer to myself as a little bit claustrophobic? It's not a condition/diagnosis that I've ever officially gotten, and I don't want to imply more than that serious crowds make me anxious. Really, really panicky and anxious. (Do I sound like a nutcase tonight or what?) (More than usual, I mean.)

For that matter, my knitting confidence has increased during my months knitting on the T. I have cast on, and worked on heels and toes, while riding the subway, without causing crisis or angst. How about that?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Let's Talk About Something Else

Thinking about my friend's mother who died, and the corresponding thoughts of when my dad died, is depressing. And right now, job and job-search limbo thoughts are depressing. Let's go with a random, bulleted list of Anything Else. Shall we?
  • When I was listening to the Bruins preseason game from Montreal last week, the announcers cracked me up a few times. Not being a close follower of Montreal's Tomas Plekanec, I found it funny that they mostly called him "Plek", not that the nickname doesn't make sense (and when they used his full name, they pronounced it differently than I've heard it, which is PlehCANitch [in Montreal, they said it more like PLEKanick]).
  • I am, however, used to my favorite Bruin's name, and our announcers don't pronounce his name Bear'geron.
  • The funniest one, though, wasn't a player name, but a term. When a team's power play is almost over, their goalie will bang his stick on the ice so his teammates know time's running out. I've never heard that practice named, but apparently (?) it's called "beaver-tailing". Learn something new every day!
  • I've lost a little more weight this month. Not much, but after stalling for months, it's nice to see the number finally go down again. And no, I didn't change a damned thing. Crazy.
  • When I had dinner with a friend last week, the first thing she said was that I'd lost weight. I saw her in July, and I haven't lost much since then, but still the validation was nice. Put down the cookies.
  • I finished the little shawl/neck-warmer that I made for work. I have to get some pictures of it on, to show the full effect, but I like it. Here it is, before washing, and blocking (under supervision by the pin-checker):

  • It's a wee bit prickly, but over time I'll pull out the guard hairs, and that will improve.
  • Fall is really coming here. It gets cooler at night, sometimes much cooler, even when it's hot during the day--and often it isn't hot. Also, the leaves are starting to change here and there, and it's beautiful. I'll try to get some pictures up soon.
  • It was, however, quite sickeningly humid yesterday (granted, it rained on and off too; hard not to be humid in the rain), and this morning wasn't much better. Not too bad now, but it's supposed to rain again later tonight. Naturally.
  • I was in Providence Saturday night with friends (we saw Camelot at Trinity Rep, it was really good), and one of the topics of conversation after dinner was what we would do if one of us won the lottery. I was just thinking about what to say, when I looked up and saw the following, and my train of thought completely derailed.
  • Understandably, I think. The conversation naturally veered as well, we walked on, and it was a good five minutes before I remembered to give my idea. I opened my mouth, and there it was going by us again. I kind of felt like this extremely bizarre thing was following us, waiting for me to think about winning the lottery.
  • Though I don't know why he'd care if I won the lottery.
  • No, I don't know why Caprio is campaigning with a rocket car.
  • The Bruins are currently down 1-0 in tonight's pre-season game against Washington. In last night's game, they lost 3-2. Ah, well. It's not even half-way through; they have time.
  • The team leaves tonight for Belfast, where they will play an exhibition game against a local team.
  • Then they go to the Czech Republic, to open the season against Phoenix.
  • The two games they play there are over Columbus Day weekend, when I'll be in New York for Apple Festival. Piffle.
  • Time to get on with the evening. I did return a nearly-overdue library book and get groceries, so it hasn't been a wasted evening, but I should perform some routine kitty maintenance before bed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blue (not job-related this time)

My friend's mother died today. It was not unexpected, but still I'm very sad for her.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Body Is Trying to Hibernate

It was not a fun morning.

Nothing went wrong, nothing was seriously out of whack, and the bus wasn't even a factor, since I drove to the T (in order to have the car after work). But it was chilly and rainy and depressing. I hated to leave the cat snuggled in bed and get up in the first place. It was too chilly not to wear a jacket, but too warm on the T to wear it, so I had to carry it along with my umbrella and bag of purse/lunch/shoes/book/water/knitting. The bag that Just Kept Slipping Off My Shoulder, until I was muttering curses, ready to dump it by the side of the road.

This doesn't really sound like much, I know. I can't even explain what was so unpleasant, why I was so depressed by it. Maybe it still relates to the roller coaster of the last few weeks, as I went from expecting my job to end October first to:
  • finally finding a job listing I want, applying for it
  • they called me!
  • I got voice-mail when I called back
  • my boss says she's filing the paperwork to extend my position, that I'm doing a great job (news to me that she thinks so)
  • talked to the recruiter, get set to arrange interview
  • set date for interview
  • boss says position is extended through the end of 2011, if I'm interested
  • interview
  • post-interview nerves, with a side of thank-you notes
Ten days of a little too much excitement. And now I'm in limbo, and this was supposed to be my last week at this job (but it looks like it won't be), I should be feeling kind of scared and kind of excited, and looking forward to some time off as a consolation: I may be out of work, but at least I can sleep in! And get stuff done (from the mundane, like scrubbing the litter boxes, to the delightful, like maybe, after Apple Festival and Rhinebeck, I'd be able to visit my mother). Wear jeans, or even sweatpants. And not have to take the T to work.

Yeah, I guess that didn't help me face a rainy Monday morning. I'm feeling conflicted, can you tell?

Honestly, some days are just grumpy, anyway. Today I felt like my skin was oilier than usual, and more hairs were falling out (and tickling my ears or eyelashes on their way). Even wearing my Abrazo vest and hand-knit socks didn't raise my mood. And isn't there enough caffeine in a 20-ounce Coke to keep a person from yawning through the rest of the day? (Apparently not.)

I'm going to go find this guy and go to bed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday night again?

This morning was a very peaceful feeling. It was the first day in two weeks where I didn't have one thing planned, nothing that I had to do at a particular time, which felt grand. I've been doing a lot of fun things, don't get me wrong, but I need to recharge a little more than I have been, lately.

I think that's part of why I don't want to keep working at my temp job while looking for a permanent one: I've really been looking forward to some time off in October. Staying on is the sensible thing to do, so I'll probably be doing it (with time off for trips to Apple Festival and Rhinebeck), but I don't want to, you know? That's the difference.

Anyway, this morning felt good, but now it's that "end of Sunday, work in the morning, didn't get everything done" feeling that isn't quite so nice. I did get a lot done today, actually, both practical like dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and more fun, like reading Blameless (it was good!) and washing and blocking the little shawl and spending time with the furry sleeping on my lap. But the day winds down, and even with applesauce bubbling on the stove and tuna noodle casserole in the oven, I can't help feeling that I never get everything done. Because, you know, it's never all done.

Of course, some people don't believe in "trying to get anything done" because what's the point?

Friday, September 24, 2010

In My Head, This Friday Night

First: oh Friday night I love you. Love love love. And the only thing better than Friday night is knowing that I don't have to get up early Saturday. Sleep, bless├Ęd sleep, you are mine.

Next: Interviews. Ah. How I hate them.

Yes, having passed the day-of feelings (nerves before, relief and hope after), I am now into day-after downer thoughts. Why didn't I say this, ask that, mention the other? Or why did I say/ask/mention that? Was that relevant? When she said that, was she trying to tell me something? Why don't I have a portfolio? What if they don't pick me? Telling myself that hey, I wouldn't want to work there if they aren't smart enough to hire me is ... curiously unconsoling. When will I hear from them?

I e-mailed her a thank you yesterday: should I have? They seemed fairly casual*, but is that too casual? I called her Ms. LastName; should I have used FirstName instead? Was I too formal?

*At least, a pool table in the break area isn't terribly formal. And jeans, chinos, capris are not formal business attire.

Would a too-casual containing a too-formal become neutral?

If I sent a paper thank-you note as well (and I did), is that too much, or just right to remind them of me? Was putting my proofreader card in the note, and writing on it that I'd love to trade it for a TheirCompany card, corny? Cause I did that too.

Am I over-thinking this? Of course I am. It's the day after an interview for a job I really want. After applying, I heard back in a ridiculously short amount of time (less than 48 hours), so there's no way I'm not going to over-think every minute between 9:30 yesterday morning and whenever I hear from them again, assuming I do.

What a week at work, with proofs for the 520-page catalog and the 650-page catalog both coming in and needing review and all those last-chance corrections that seem to happen. I would like to think it wasn't scheduled to happen this way, but intentional or not, whew.

It came out today that my boss didn't even notice* that I came in late yesterday, which is kind of impressive, since it was three hours later than usual. She is something, all right.

*I did tell her, in an e-mail, but she asked in the course of conversation today if I was leaving early, was that today? Wasn't I leaving early one day?

I finished knitting the first of the latest pair of socks on Wednesday night, did I mention that? And am well into the next one now. Plus my little capelet is almost done. Photos soon, I hope.

I picked up the new Gail Carriger novel, Blameless, from Borders today with a 40% off coupon. (Those vixens at Borders, constantly tempting me with coupons. It's to the point where they'll have a 25% or 33% off coupon and I think, "That's not enough, I'm waiting for more." Greedy, but it always comes.) I really (really, really) want to start reading it now, but I have problems putting down books in the middle, at least new books I've been waiting for. I don't want to be up half the night, and I have afternoon and evening plans tomorrow. I think I'd best leave it for Sunday.

Oh, I hate waiting, though. And I can't even tell you why I'm dying to know what happens without major spoilers if you haven't read books one and two (Soulless and Changeless)(and why haven't you read them? why are you denying me someone to talk to about these books? Werewolves, vampires, a woman without a soul, steampunk, Queen Victoria, what more do you want?).

If you need me, I'll be over here gnashing my teeth.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Wish the News Was More "!", But For Now It's "..."

So, who guessed from the blog header that September 24th is National Punctuation Day?

Just me?

Ah, well. Throw a bone to the word nerd, all right?

The interview went well. I think. Who knows? I didn't feel that it went badly, but since she didn't offer me the job right away, we can say that it could have been even better. Still, nothing turned me off the job in question, and nothing made me think I was eliminated from contention, so we'll call that good. Hopefully I make it to round two, and hopefully round two happens soon. (Thank you for all well-wishes, by the way.)

Because I don't want to keep working where I am, and continuing to work there is the smart thing to do in the interim. But I don't want to. But I should. You can see I haven't worked this out yet.

I had dinner tonight with a friend from my old workplace, and it was wonderful and I had to tear myself away and I'm so tired. And the cats are all confused: You left an hour later than usual this morning! And then you were back two hours later, but then left right away*! And then you were late late late getting home! What's going on?

*Changing out of the "I had an interview" outfit before going to work.

Basically, I'm going to bed. Happy Friday (eve).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Briefly, of Interview Prep and Hockey

Fortunately, I was in a pretty good mental state this morning, because of course, my boss came to see me first thing, partly to ask about the catalog proofs, but also to tell me that my position was extended through next year's budget, meaning through Dec 31, 2011, should I be interested.

She didn't put the question into words, but she sort of looked it at me, so I answered: that I appreciated it, it's nice to be wanted, but that I'm not loving the commute into Boston, and also that I would like a permanent position with all the benefits thereunto appertaining, etc. Didn't exactly say yes, didn't exactly say no, in other words. She said that making the position permanent was possible down the line, but not yet, which I can understand. Hopefully the interview will help me see my next steps.

After I got home tonight, I drove up to the interview company location, even though I knew where it was, just to see how long it would take and so on. Now I'm home to have dinner and get all my ducks in a row for the interview, papers and outfit and all.

As a good distraction from nerves, the Bruins' pre-game show in Montreal is playing on local radio (isn't the internet amazing?), so I got to hear the Canadian anthem for the first time this season, and now the Bruins scored already, so yay to Nathan Horton and go team.

Remember to cross your fingers tomorrow, won't you? Ta ever so.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Start Practicing the Crossing of Fingers, Please

My interview is Thursday morning at 9. Any positive thoughts or crossed fingers you can throw my way at that time will be oh so gratefully appreciated.

I feel really good about the opportunity, but very nervous just the same.

I will be taking tylenol pm tonight, and tomorrow night. Right now I'm really tired, but pretty sure I wouldn't sleep well anyway.

My boss has been out of the office yesterday and today, but will be back tomorrow. I'm kind of hoping that she's busy enough tomorrow not to ask me what I've decided about staying on longer. Because what should I say?

I think it would be getting ahead of myself to say that no, I won't be staying past next Friday, I have something else lined up before I've even had the interview. If I don't have another job to go to, the smart thing is to stay there and keep looking for something that's permanent and not in Boston. But I don't want to tell her on Wednesday that I'll stay, and on Thursday (hopefully) that I won't. So, I'm hoping that the 520-page catalog proof waiting for her to review will take up all her attention Wednesday, and allow me to talk to her Thursday afternoon, when I'll know more about how the prospect looks and feels.

I'm trying really, really hard not to get ahead of myself. But the signs have been so promising! Such as:
  • The Guy telling me that the director looked at my resume and said my experience was just what they were looking for.
  • The fact that the previous person who had the job had an over-confidence problem, which is not one of my faults.
  • And oh yes, when The Guy e-mailed me to confirm the interview time, he attached the job description, directions, and their benefits summary. That's not something you just throw in there if you don't think the candidate will need it! Right? It's a good omen! Right?
Just say yes. Thank you.

Now, just to end on something completely random, the other day in the shower I had a piece of hair stuck to my fingers, so I dislodged it onto the wall. And then I looked at, the way it shaped itself:

And I thought, "What does this shape remind me of?"

Do you see it, too? Or am I really that crazy?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Step Forward; Hockey Fun

Brief note: I talked to The Guy about The Job Opening today, and it went well. We're going to set up an interview (eep) for this week: he's going to check with The Woman I'll be interviewing with about her schedule, and I checked with my boss about whether she'd prefer I make my "appointment" such that I come in late or leave early. (I don't think you can go wrong, when setting up an interview, by showing some respect for your current workplace. Any company that didn't like it when I'm trying not to leave my employer hanging is probably not a place I'd be happy working.)

We'll talk again tomorrow and put the pieces together, and then I will tell you when the mass finger-crossing time is.

Meanwhile, I want to write about the fun of the Bruins rookie game that I went to last Wednesday, and I've already let it get pushed down the list, and must write now! Before it is ridiculously too late.

I was sooo sleepy Thursday morning. Oh, so sleepy. It was worth it, definitely, but (yawn).

We got to the Garden early enough to pretty much have our choice of seats (it was general admission), so we sat at one end, three rows back. In other words, this close:

Very fun, though to be honest I wouldn't choose to sit there if I won the lottery and finally got those season tickets I've dreamed of. For one thing, I like to be up a little to get the overall view, and more to the center to see both ends. More specifically, though, I disliked the aluminum stands that are apparently fill-in seating for hockey, and which felt flimsy and noisy to me. Every move of your neighbors vibrated through, and the stairs are not all of the same height, which was weird (and made carrying beer that much more of a challenge). It is kind of nice that for once, I wouldn't want the most expensive choice!

So I wouldn't buy there, but for one night it was great fun to be up close to the action. In fact, we were close enough that the small boy sitting in front of us (maybe three? or four?) got scared by the noise of bodies hitting the boards, and cried for a few minutes before his dad got him distracted.

Little guy:

It was a good-sized crowd, a fact of which I got proof:

The second game, Thursday night, got over 14,000, making twenty-five thousand hockey fans coming out on a weeknight to watch the rookies. Not bad!

The pre-game announcements were kind of silly:

But the atmosphere was good:

I love the sounds of the game (which you can barely hear behind the arena rock, but trust me):

By pure luck, we chose the end that the Bruins warmed up in, and they scored a few times in the second period, when we were at their offensive end, so we were right in the action.

And you know what else? I got *carded*! This is pretty exciting for someone who hardly ever drinks (I don't want to say never ... but I don't remember when the last time was), and who's a month short of 42. My friend forgot her ID, so I bought her beer. She's certainly of legal drinking age*, and I know for sure because we worked together in the early 90s, but it still felt illicit somehow. And awkward, since I didn't know what I was doing (when the vendor asked me for ID, I thought she wanted the money), and had trouble carrying the darn things without major spillage. It was a different experience for me, for sure.

*Her daughter is of legal drinking age, which is bizarre to me.

I was pleased by the end result, but also by the general energy and hustle the players showed.

In positive news, my hearing seemed to be back to normal the next day, after feeling half-deafened post-game, and I didn't seem to be hoarse from all the yelling. I was a little sore, which is weird given that the most exertion I got was standing up to cheer a goal, but for whatever reason, definitely a little achy.

Well worth the time, effort, and (not much) money! I hope that they do them in Boston again next year.

And, even in my sleep-deprived state Thursday morning, something nice happened on the T: I talked to another knitter! I was working on the blue sock, and a woman asked me what the pattern was. She pulled out her hat-in-progress, we talked knitting and notions* and it was really nice.

*She told me that you can get a dog tag with the instructions for kitchnering on it. Fun! Much more fun than the 3x5 card I have it written on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not So Much a Review as a Summary

When I lived in NC, I went for several years in a row to the Carolina Renaissance Festival, and enjoyed it very much. So when I moved back to MA and heard of a similar-sounding event, King Richard's Faire, I thought about going. However, being the frugal sort, I was turned off by the much higher price tag, and didn't end up going until this year, when I got a discounted ticket.

I don't remember how much the Carolina festival cost when last I went, but I know it was less than it is this year ($19). KRF is $26 this year, but I got a $15 ticket through Groupon, deciding that the savings made it worth trying it out. And I did enjoy the day, though not enough to say with certainty that I Must Go Every Year.

What's it like? Well, there's a lot of this:

Which is especially cute on the shorter folk.

There are entertainments to thrill and impress, like this guy:

Who got crazy with only a little help:


Have you seen living statues?

He was a very convincing statue until someone came along:

There was plenty of shopping, mostly of the leather/crystal/costume ilk. This pottery was very pretty, and I like the mug display:

Some things can't really be explained.

Some people's choices can't be explained, at least by me.

There was a falcon...

And an owl.

And while at home I left this cat:

They had big cats. Four-month old tigers, adult tigers, and a liger weighing over 900 pounds. The exhibit of the young ones and the show with all of them was definitely my favorite part.

Of course cats are cats.

Or in their case, kittens.

How cute am I?

Come on, how cute?


They like their milk.

You got a problem with that?

The spots on the back of the ears confuse predators into thinking they're looking at them when they're not. The ultimate eyes in the back of your head!

All ages love the milk.

My bottle!

Ooh, I got an itch! (See the back leg?)

You out there, would you taste good?

Kid, stop chewing my leg, would you?
Just a little more...

That's it, right there!

I love you, milk-bringer.

You can see that the liger's 900+ pounds are not all muscle.



Good furry fun.