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Aug. 25th, 2015

Between the World and Me

Today was my last 6 am aqua bike class. I have two more classes Thursday evening and two Saturday morning and then I am DONE. I detest those bikes. I teach it, I'm cheerful about it, I won't miss it at all. I could teach regular aqua aerobics all day long, but the bikes, no. Anyway, I'm too damn busy to have a second job, so that's that.

Last month in Asheville, I bought a copy of "Between the World and Me," by Ta-Nehisi Coates‎. I've read him online for a few years - he writes for The Atlantic, and I've enjoyed his style. I toted this book around for a while, and finally read it Sunday in the Memphis airport. "Between the World and Me" is deeply disturbing, distressing, and utterly true. Destroying black people is not racism, it's our heritage in the US, and the police officers doing this are not rogues, they are carrying out policy. I came close to tears several times. Over the course of four hours, I read the first section, took a break, then read the rest. It's that good.

It's in the form of a letter to his son, explaining the life of a black person in this country, and he himself came to understand his reality and that of those around him. It's fascinating, and scary, and beautiful.

I highly recommend it.

Aug. 24th, 2015

travelling

Man, I've been racing around lately. In early July, I went to Atlanta for the International AA Convention. In late July, I went to Philadelphia with David for a job fair. The next week, I went to Asheville for a workshop, and went to Raleigh for the state AA Convention right afterward. Two weeks later, I spent a week in New Hampshire. Last Friday, I went to Memphis for a regional AA conference. Next weekend, I go to Raleigh for another AA conference. I can't recall the last time I mowed the grass. It's been crazy. After this weekend, though, it's done for a while, at least.

When Mom and I went to Harrisville Designs for the ColorPlay class, we drove up. That was tiring, because the two of us have the worst possible sense of direction. It was amazing that we arrived. Coming home, we thought we would never escape from New Jersey. Anyway, after the class got out on Friday, we drove to see some family friends in CT. They have a house on a lake, very pretty. They also had a loom they wanted to get rid of. ~ hand shoots up in the air ~ Happily, that old loom slid right into the back of Mom's car, and came home with me. It's up on blocks like an old car in the carport, because it gets wet in there when it rains. If I ever see a Saturday in my own house again, well, okay, in a couple of weeks, I will tackle the clean up and refurbishing on the loom. (To those who might ask, why don't I work on it during the week? It's a frigging sauna here right now. I work outside between 8 and 10 am, or not at all. Heh. Damn Yankee, that's me.)

It's a 40" wide 4 harness Harrisville loom made in 1983, and it's been in a garage for a couple of years. It needs some Murphy's Oil Soap, some sandpaper, and a lot of new cords. It probably needs new heddles, too. Even the apron bars are rusted. Steel wool to the rescue! Anyway, those things are about $2500 new, so even with the elbow grease, I'm getting a bargain. Once I get the thing back into commission, I'm going to make a throw for the lovely person who was so happy to find a new home for her loom. She's a peach!

David is out of his old job, and an entirely happier person these days, hallelujah. The study materials have arrived for the new stuff, and let me just say Yikes, but it's only a phase. Once he gets through that, he will be on to newer and better things.

Finally, I have given notice at the gym, and this week is my last week teaching aqua bike and aqua aerobics. I never minded the latter, but the damn bikes are killing me, and I can't WAIT to be done. Saturday morning is IT. Sayonara, bikes. No love. I'll go back to taking the classes instead of teaching. Much better.

Aug. 7th, 2015

Back to the ol' grind

So, I'm going to go back to working full time here at the AHEC. I'm not even a little bit excited about it - it's dull, rote work. However, the pay's pretty good, working conditions are good, and I know that I get along with everyone here. This is a valuable commodity in Fayetteville, where we have a large captive workforce. (When I left in December, they got scores of applications for my low-level administrative job, including people with PhDs. So sad.)

The reason I'm going back to work is that David's leaving his current job, and getting into a new one that won't pay as well to start. His current job is a soul-sucking disaster, that pays so well, he's put up with it WAY longer than I would. They call that golden handcuffs, and it's accurate. I'm glad he's leaving there, he's miserable and I'm over it. Also, he needs to get out of the damn house. He spends too much time in the right-wing echo chamber of the internet.

I've applied for other positions, and in fact, I have a response from one recruiter, who asked me to follow a link for an on-line application. The link doesn't work, and I've tried it in three browsers. Their server doesn't respond. I replied to the email to let them know. It might be a bad sign.

I also applied for a manager position here, but another person got it. That was disappointing, to say the least, but that also illustrates how many really talented people in Fayetteville are stuck here working for an hourly wage. Since I have a BA (thanks, Aunt Jean!) and worked here for almost ten years, I make more than most. Man, the economy might be improving (from the wreckage of the Bush era), but not for us common folk.

I did not watch the GOP debates last night, as I'd rather not have a stroke. The lying and blatant pandering makes me bellow at the tv, and it's upsetting to the dog. (The cat just ignores me, as cats do.) I have very little hope for politicians in general, and mainly wish they'd all shut up and do their damn jobs. Sadly, they view their job as a) do whatever the campaign donors say, and b) get re-elected. Representing their district is way down on the list of things to do.

When I was living in Syracuse, I had two friends whose voting philosophies were opposite, but equal. Tracey disliked watching or reading the news, so she would ask me who to vote for each year. (Doubled my vote, hey!) Fred felt that both parties are just two sides of the same coin, and paid for by the same people, so voting is a waste of time. I'm starting to see Fred's point. The right wing has pushed politics so far right that these days, the center is to the right of Eisenhower.

It's all very discouraging.

May. 25th, 2015

Memorial Day

Thank you seems like a lame thing to say to all the people who have died in service to our country. What else is there to say? Thank you, Captain John Ryan Dennison, for being killed in the prime of your life in Iraq. As Patton said, let the other guy die for his country. I wish we didn't have to have wars, but it seems that it will always be with us. David, meeting a pacifist who claimed that war never solved anything, replied, "Yes, except for slavery, facism, communism, and Nazism." Not a small detail.

Since last I wrote, I've taken a couple of weaving workshops, done a lot of AA service work, and taught a lot of aqua aerobics classes. I keep my calendar full, but today I have nothing scheduled until 6:30 tonight. David is peacefully playing some video game on his phone, and I am futzing around on the computer. I may venture forth later to buy some curtains. My rose bush is blooming again/still, the nasturtiums are blooming, the peas are coming in, and the lilies are covered with buds. I planted a dogwood, but it seems to have died directly. Damn it.

Last week, my old job called to say that two people were leaving at once, and would I work part-time on a temporary basis. I agreed, and will start on June 1. Because one of the people leaving is my former supervisor, I think they'd just like to have someone around with some institutional memory of the department. I told them that I have a lot of travel already scheduled, and I will need to work around it. Anyway, I will get to test my theory that I could do that job in two hours a day. Once you get the system in place, it's pretty easy to manage. I hope the system's still there.

Mar. 7th, 2015

Almost daylight savings time?

Tomorrow, we spring forward. Unlike most people, daylight savings time does not make me mad or even inconvenience me in any way, and I fail to appreciate the biannual histrionics. For heavens' sake, people, this has happened twice a year for your entire damn lives, get over it already. I may be a little unsympathetic.

Last month, I took a weaving class as an advanced beginner. I learned quite a few things, and got some new weaving tools, and I'm looking forward to using them. One is a kit to convert my four treadle loom to six treadles, and that will be a big project. I look forward to getting that done, and winding on and warping again. I wound three warps at the class, and threaded and rethreaded several times. The last three times, I had no threading errors, which is unprecedented. Practice is a good thing!

This weekend, I'm staying with my dad while mom is out of town. It's a low-key commitment - his aide is doing all the heavy lifting. We mostly hang out with our respective electronics. I met up with my cousin and his kids today. (Anonymous because I'm sure my cousin would prefer it that way.) I got a tee shirt for the boy and a box of cute candy bunnies for the girl, and they were both thrilled. They are great kids, and I always enjoy seeing the whole family. While I'm at mom's, I'm developing a relationship with their new kitten, Annie. She was cool at first, but after a few days of dishing out the wet food, she's warming up to me.



Look at those crazy whiskers! Man, I need a kitty at home.

Jan. 26th, 2015

Getting in a new routine

I'm finally starting to get organized at home. I've got the two floor looms warped up and in progress. I finished the first of a set of 5 dishtowels today. I hope I get that many out of the warp, anyway. If not, well, live and learn.

I started my January with a few playdates with doctors. Welcome to fifty two, whee. That's all over with, at least. I have three AA service positions, as well as a service position in my weaving guild, and that's a bit time consuming. Still, I'm getting a few things done. I did cut some of the fabric off the Saori loom the other day - that's one of the neat things about it. I can do that with the regular loom, but it would not be pretty. I promised David that I'd make him one thing and repair another, plus there are the usual pile of knitting projects awaiting my attention. So I'm not running low on things to do.

David and I are getting along fine. He spends all his time on the phone, as expected, and I do whatever I need to do - weave, go to a meeting, walk the dog, what have you.

Oh, that dog - he follows me around like he's on a two-foot leash. It's a little much, really. He does obey when I tell him "enough, go lie down" but he flings himself to the ground and heaves a big sigh in disgust. It's pretty funny.

Last night, he was curled up in his family room bed (what?) and a little mouse came out and paused right by his nose. David said, "Wake up, Jake," and the dog opened his eyes. It took him a minute to figure out what this new thing was, but I am pleased and little amazed to report that Jake caught and killed that poor thing. (It may have died of fright in his mouth - it didn't seem to have any bite marks.) Jake didn't know what to do with it, so I tossed it outside. My goofy dog, how I love him.

So things are different but good, and I'm adjusting to life at home.

Dec. 31st, 2014

It's the last day

The last day of 2014, and my last day at work. Gads, it's hard to imagine. I turned in my keys and my name badges after lunch. My poor replacement got a data dump this morning when I showed her how to add a class in the database and then make a flyer in Word. We're going to make a few invoice requests this afternoon. At five, I'll be off like a prom dress. No more time clocks, no more dress clothes.

Since it's New Year's Eve, David and I will celebrate in our usual fashion, by staying the hell home. We might even stay up until midnight, if we can. Tomorrow, I'll make collards, black-eyed peas, ham, and corn bread for the new year and my new start.

Dec. 26th, 2014

Countdown: four days

The holiday was lovely, but I'm still glad it's over. It was more work than fun this year. I did spare myself the marathon baking - I planned to make a lot of cookies and two pies, and I just skipped it. I bought a pie at the grocery store and (gasp) Cool Whip, and called it good. It was fine.

I'm a little stressed about my big change coming up, but I'm counting down the days until I leave my job. I work today and Monday through Wednesday of next week. There are so many things I want to make. I'm keeping a list on my phone.

I've been at this job for nine years, and I have a pile of stuff here. I've been taking it home piecemeal for a couple of weeks now. I actually dreamed about taking my stuff home the other night. I don't know where I'm going to put it all at home - I may end up tossing some of it out, or giving things to a thrift store. Whatever works.

Dave's looking forward to me being home so I can take care of his admin work, and go with him to job fairs. He also wants me to go to the gym with him every day. We'll see if that happens - probably not right away. Jake's going to get a lot more exercise, too. We can all use it!

Dec. 19th, 2014

no regrets

Just in case I might regret my decision, at the holiday party, the marketing department played a video of the party in 2005, when I got roped into singing the Redneck 12 Days of Christmas with my boss. That was also the year that I realized that not entering a competition wouldn't keep them from adding me to it.

This morning at the division birthday party, one of the planners decreed that you couldn't get a piece of cake unless you sang a line of a song first. Most people don't want to sing, especially in front of a group like that. I left the room. Boundaries, people. Learn about them.

I'm going through various projects, trying to get some things done for the poor slob taking my place. Today, I'm making 36 copies of a training manual for January. There's another one to be done next week, for another class. Six more days and I won't have to fool with that stupid copier ever again.

Dec. 15th, 2014

Short timer

Good LORD this month is moving slowly. I still have 10 days to work and zero motivation. Come on, New Year's Eve.

This week at we have the division holiday party, the agency-wide party, and I have my weaving guild party. I baked some bread and a pile of banana bread for various things. I still need to make brownies for the Guild party, but I know better than to have that stuff lying around the house any longer than it must.

This past Saturday, I went to Durham to see my folks, and we went to some kind of special holiday craft show thing at a German restaurant. Bratwurst for lunch, yay! They had several vendors there with different items, pastries, jewelry, fiber art, paintings, ironmongery. I could totally sell a pile of woven scarves here. I will check into how one gets to attend that event. There was a meadery selling mead, so I got David a little something from them. They seemed surprised that I declined to try a sample. No thanks, I have somewhere to be in January.

Jake lost his old ID tag, so I got him a new one. This one reads JAKE!, because he deserves the exclamation point. He's a sweetie pie. I got out and walked him a few evenings last week, and once I'm off work, we will get out a lot more. My hips just aren't up for the big multi-mile hikes anymore, but the dog park allows him to run off lots of energy without requiring me to walk distances. That's a great feature.

The loom room is pretty crowded right now. The Christmas tree is sitting in the living room space where the floor loom goes, so that's tucked in the loom room. I also have the wrapping paper and boxes in there. The table loom's back in the family room, at least, where I can work on it while watching TV. David doesn't mind that there are looms all over the place, which is good, because there sure are swords all over the place. Anyway, once the floor loom is back in place and the Christmas stuff is all put away, I may have room to pull out the craft table (thanks, Aunt Jean!) and block some projects that are waiting their turn.

Come on, 2015!

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