Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sock it to me, baby!


Read through this first if you want to try it, because there are several variations and methods referred to. My hope is that you'll attempt to make socks, no matter your experience, and you'll see why so many knitters today are finding it addicting. If you have knit socks before, I'm hoping this blogpost will show you ways you can create your own unique designs. ~wearingpurple.

Makes one pair of basic socks for Adult, knit top down, but instructions for other stuff below.

Materials: 100g of sock yarn sport weight. A self striping yarn would be great for this basic pattern.

Needles: Sizes 5 needles, optional 3 for cuff. If you are make these one at a time, this will be sets of double pointed needles or 9" circulars. (I sometimes use a Balene brand 9" needle, which was uncomfortable at first, but now I find I can just zip around and round with it if I'm just creating plain socks.) If you knit two socks at a time, you need three circulars of each size.

Cast on 60 stitches. Usually on my double pointed needles set of four, this means I will have 20 stitches on three needles and one to work with. I use the larger needle for the cast on almost always the rolled edge method, then use the smaller from the first row. Also, if I am knitting a K1P1 rib, to create a very neat defined rib, I twist every knit stitch.

Work established rib pattern for 2". (If you are creating socks for a man, you may wish to continue with larger needles in established rib for 7", then one inch in stockinette stitch and then you are ready to turn the heel.) Knit in Stockinette stitch for 6 inches. (Means knit every stitch.)

I use the short row method for turning the heel. It creates a very soft flat fabric in stockinette stitch which will match the toes later. It is worked on half the total number of stitches being worked.

Knit 15 stitches on first needle, turn. Slip first stitch, purl back across stitches just knit, then continue to purl 15 stitches on next needle. * Turn. Slip first stitch, knit across to one stitch before first slipped stitch, turn, Purl to one stitch before first purled slip stitch. * Continue repeating from * to *, decreasing one stitch each side until ten stitches remain. Work these ten stitches for four rows, ending with the knit row.

Now the second half of the heel: *Pick up and knit first slipped stitch, turn, purl to first slipped stitch, Pick up and purl, turn. * Continue to repeat from * to * adding one slipped stitch back in to worked stitches each side until all stitches have been worked.

One thing that I do, and I recommend, is to pick up a stitch between the slipped stitches and knitting it with the slipped stitch, (k2tog) so that any gap between the slipped stitches is removed. If you do this, it is imperative that you be sure you have not added stitches and thrown off your stitch count.

Make sure you have all 60 stitches again. Continue to work all stitches for 6 inches, knitting every stitch.

And now for the toe: Work 13 stitches, *slip one, knit one, slip the skipped stitch over the knit one, PLACE MARKER. Knit 2 together*, knit 26 stitches, repeat from * to *, knit 13 stitches. 56 stitches.
Knit one row around. Continue working as established, decreasing one stitch before and after marker, every other row, until 20 stitches remain. Bind of with Kirchener stitch, so there is a flat invisible and non-creased seam. Repeat from cast on for second sock.

There you have a pattern for average men and women's socks. For boot socks with knitting worsted weight yarn, you'll only need 40 stitches but the measurements are the same.

For a child's sock you'll want to use fewer stitches, 40 stitches works great with sport weight, but you'll need to adjust the measurements depending on child. For instance, for my third grade grandson, I used 5 inches from cuff to heel, then 5 inches from heel to toe. Four inches for his little sister. Check your gauge. For finer yarn, you'll want to use smaller needles, like size 1 for cuff and 3 for rest of sock with a fingering or laceweight yarn. You'll also want to add to stitch count. Sixty stitches with a finer yarn makes great child socks.

Once you understand this basic pattern and how it flows you can change it up easily.

In the body of the sock, you can create a thermal sock by knitting one row, k1p1 around for one row. (Seemed to work best to keep the heel and toe in stockinette stitch.) Great for a solid colored or a heathered yarn. Especially nice in the worsted weight mentioned earlier for boot socks, go for the traditional look ~ a dark brown or charcoal grey with red cuff, heel and toe.

I've created a nice braided sock a few times. After working cuff, mark off 11 stitches on each side of the sock this way, knit 9 stitches, * place marker, purl one, knit 9, purl one, place marker, * knit 19 stitches. repeat from * to *, knit 10 stitches. Work in established pattern around one more time. On third row, work to marker, [ purl, using a cable needle, slip 2 stitches off needle and hold in front, knit 2 stitches, knit the two from cable needle, knit two stitches, purl ], knit around to third marker. { Purl, Knit two stitches, slip two stitches onto cable and hold in BACK, knit two, then knit two off cable needle, purl }. Finish row. Work as established for two rows. On the third, work the 11 braid stitches between from { to }, work to next marker work from [ to ]. Work two rows established. Continue as established working braid every third row, first one direction, then the other for 6 inches. What you are creating are braids reversed from each other on each side of the sock. When you get to turning the heel, do it after the second braid row of pattern, but continue with pattern while turning the heel. This creates almost a cool Celtic knot sort of a turn. Continue with braid pattern after turning heel for foot length, or 6 inches average, but drop the pattern for toe, just continue with stockinette in toe as before. This sock looks very traditional in an ivory color.

I have also created some very comfy stretchy CABLE SOCKS, using mini cable, very easily. NO CABLE NEEDLE REQUIRED! On the larger needles (skip the smaller ones this time), I cast on about 40 stitches in the rolled edge, then on the first row picked up a second knit stitch with every knit stitch, so that a knit 2 purl 1 rib is established which will be worked throughout sock and still have the 60 stitch count. Work one row established. Before the first purl stitch place marker, to mark start of row. Purl 1, * knit the second stitch on needle without sliding stitches off, then the first THEN slide the two off the needle, purl 1, knit 2, purl, repeat these 6 stitches around. * Basically you are cabling every other set of knit stitches . . . Work one row as established without cables. This next row, you will cable where you didn't before. Knit 2, purl 1, knit the second stitch on the needle without sliding stitches off, knit the first, THEN slide the two off, purl 1, repeat those 6 stitches around around. Now when I did this pattern, the heels and toes looked best to me in a garter stitch, or continue cabled pattern throughout heel, but if that seems too tough, you can either stop the cabled pattern and just finish sock in stockinette pattern, or just cable the front part of the sock and continue the heel through sole and toe in stockinette. If you can continue the cables throughout, you have created the perfect comfy, warm and stretchy sock that a diabetic will love. I have also knit baby sock using very similar pattern, 30 stitches with size three needles, the ankle was about an inch and a half, turned heels on half the stitches, knit through one inch of sole, then toe, very cute!!!

I have created many sock with the basic pattern, (one that I did a few months ago for a co worker was thermal with a mini wishbone that actually looked like stacked hearts up the front of the sock, very pretty!) right at the moment I can't remember them all. You can design your own, too, you just need to select a pattern stitch or repeat that divides into the number of stitches. For instance if you are using the sport weight with the 60 stitches, you'll want to make sure your repeats divide evenly into 60, whether it's two patterns of thirty like the braid socks or 30 patterns of 2 stitches like the thermals or better yet, 20 repeats of 3 like the cozy cables.

I have used the same pattern for toe-up. Just start with 20 stitches at the toe, cast on two stitches on each side every other row until you have the 60, knit for 6 inches, turning the heel is the same, work 6 inches, cuff for 2", bind off with rolled edge. They look almost identical in either direction.

I haven't yet, but I know I can do two socks at a time with this pattern also. I just haven't invested in more than one of each size of circular needles. I understand I would be working across the front of the two socks, turn work across the needle on the back of the socks. As far as turning heels: the last few, I have been working the short rows back and forth without turning my work, which seems cool at the moment, laziness being the mother of this invention, so, if I was working two at a time, that seems like it would be a cool way to go there too.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am grateful for:

1. My dogs.

Maggie reminds me every day that a joyful dance is a must and a sunbath is an extreme pleasure that must be enjoyed at every opportunity.

Dori, my rescue dog, that still is very much afraid, shows me every day that having the most basic of all the necessities is all I'll ever need to be relaxed and comfy in my own skin.

2. My kid, my family and the good memories that go with them. My daughter gives me great satisfaction and many happy giggles, her cousins too, as well as my new nephews. They don't realize how young and full of life they make me feel and how much I feel I age when I don't see them for long periods of time. This was last July, we went to the beach, all of us, which is a very good memory and most likely never to be duplicated as they grow into adulthood and have families of their own, but at the time, I got a really good view of the people they are and those adults they are going to be. My mom and my brothers and sisters, because we have a history and are capable of remembering the good things.

3. The person I am, what I have been created to be.

I realize that I am the kind of person that will see something like this rose in my garden and I will enjoy it for the beauty that it is and will try to hang on to it and try to share it with whoever I can, without concern that they will not care as much as me or snub my joys. That my favorite things are don't cost money like sunshine and the rain that washes everything clean and keep everything green, the sunrise and the beauty of a setting sun. This also includes the fact that I live in a house, where this garden is, that is warm, yeah, occasionally things go wrong, but for the most part, we have a place to be at home in, and SURPRISE, it came with a job, that helps me stay busy and out of trouble, rather than roaming the streets and causing trouble!

4. My husband, Superman.

This picture was of him making me breakfast a couple of months ago. He does his best to take care of me, appreciates whatever I can do to take care of him. He rarely walks past me without giving me a kiss, or hug, caressing my cheek, or some other affectionate gesture. Mostly too, because we talk about stuff. We talk and talk, and talk, about everything. He has the capacity to listen, although sometimes when he's in pain, that's hard to do, but he does try. He also has the capacity to be compassionate, be moved to tears by the actions of others, appreciate heroes, be a hero himself. He laughs at my sorry jokes and enjoys it when I'm being a dork and he lets me use the remote once in a while.

There is much for me to be grateful for, I think, for us all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My knitting and I

It's gonna be nuts around here, probably you might think it's because of the holidays, but really just a bunch of stuff happening all at once. Fun times living at the storage place!

I have been thinking a lot about what knitting does for me.

Usually, when I think about knitting, I am focused on what I could do for someone else. It seems evident that I probably overthink it because I'm sure that few recipients are understanding what has been done for them or just how much thought has been put into it. For instance, one of my knitting acquaintances is working on prayer shawls, pretty cool. The thing I found interesting about it is that she is journaling all the hopes and prayers for the recipient that she is having while in progress. I know with my knitting every stitch feels like a hug, a kiss, taking a hand and caressing it with the other, a conversation over dinner or coffee, a walk in the park, sharing a good memory. I can only imagine that a written document of all the knitter thought about while creating a gift for you would be overwhelming.

I read another post where a woman lamented that she felt she couldn't knit in church services and it was hard to pay attention without her knitting, which made her feel guilty. I can understand that too, because I don't feel I can sit for any length of time anywhere without desiring to pick up something. I feel productive that I my time is not gone to waste because I was working on something to comfort, cover or keep someone warm at every moment I wasn't doing something else, like housework or office work or walking a dog. Even as I sit here at the computer, trying to blog, I have my knitting in my lap for the spells where I have to stop and think, what was I going to say? It a very high level of productivity for me, I feel I'm a contributing member of society while I'm knitting.

I learned to knit from a book. My mother crochets and I guess she knitted a sweater when we were little, because there's a picture of my brother in a chocolate pullover with blue argyles on the front, but she's crocheted so many afghans I can't begin to list them. Somewhere in her sewing was knitting needles and a how-to book that I must have dug out in a school-break boredom and sat down with to figure out. Ever notice how easy those books and instructions look? You put the needle in here and the yarn should go around there and TAA-DAA!! you have made a stitch! Do it again, again, again, you have made a row, do it again, again, again, you have made a hot pad, hat, scarf, sweater, afghan. Because my mom did so much with yarn, I never was afraid or thought it was somehow beyond me, I did every stitch I read about fearlessly. After a while I started borrowing books from the library, looking at magazines in the newsstands for more stuff that I could magically create. It wasn't until much later that I realized several different things:

1. I am a picker. There is whole political coalitions that believe unless you are a thrower, you are not a knitter. 'Throwers' are what you see the housewives in the old movies and Donna Reeds on television, where the right hand is moving over the work and putting yarn on the needle. Picking is often referred to as 'Continental' and throwing is called 'European'. For a couple years, I trained myself to learn this throwing method, but it took a whole year to make a child's sweater, so, I got frustrated with how slow it is and went back to picking. This means that the stitches are picked up from the left hand, like a crocheter, which is a smooth, automatic way to pick up. It is the method used by the woman that hold's the record for World's Fastest Knitter, by the way.

I don't believe there is anything wrong with either method. A picker is a more prolific knitter, a thrower is more precise. I wish I was more patient, that yarn in the stash and the shop didn't call out to me, books and magazines that I come across didn't have so many things that would be awesome to complete. I wish the list of things I want to make wasn't so long. I wish my stitches were precise and had a machine-knit perfection. I do work hard to have a very clean finished project, that the seams and edges are quality made, but I like that, even so, it is hand made. I have found too, that all that time spent learning to throw hasn't gone to waste either. I can adequately demonstrate to a knitter that throws how to cable or make increases and decreases. I have been doing some color change work, where I am picking with the main color and throwing the contrast color, which is turning out very nice and makes me very happy.

2. I am the yarn anti-snob. This is a discussion you do not want to start in a group of knitters, by the way. It's like starting a conversation about politics or religion. The one group that I meet with has knitters of many different backgrounds, unfortunately no men, yet, but some real fiberistas, the ladies that sheer the sheep, take the fleece and clean, card, spin, dye, knit. Fiber-choosey. Some of the rest of us are living in the macaroni & cheese economy and are patiently happy to knit with whatever we can get our hands on, and create something wonderful anyway. That would be the unemployed, the older ladies living on Social Security, young mothers who are more concerned with food on the table and shoes on the feet that if the yarn on the needles is wool or what. When the conversation starts about 'Oh, my God, how can you stand to knit with that acrylic!' I am ready to leave and go home.

It is my belief there is a place in the world for all fiber, even man-made ones. One of our ladies travels to Mexico, when she takes the easily obtainable acrylic from home, the knitters there go crazy for the quantity and the colors. I imagine a big part of that is that they finally have something to knit with. There is also the thought that you would give acrylic to a new knitter until they are able to create with enough quality to be allowed wool or other natural, more costly fibers. The only argument to that I've heard is that is cruel to start someone with such nasty stuff when the better quality would inspire them to continue to create, but I've only heard that from a yarn store owner. Another of the ladies in the group is a currently unemployed engineer who has been knitting up all the stuff she had in her stash inherited from her grandmother, complains how rough it is on her hands.

I would prefer to use all natural and more costly fibers. That would be a Dream. Come. True. And certainly, I have been told that the quality of my work is of a higher standard that the materials I work with. However, the reality of my life and financial situation, and those of approximately half of my knitting compatriots has not been conducive to being so single-minded. So, I have sought to be smart with what I use. I will not knit an acrylic pull-over unless it's for a toy, as that would be like wrapping a living creature in plastic wrap. I use it for cardigans, usually for babies and children, so that the wearer is not completely sealed up in it and can breathe, and it can be worn, washed often and worn again, passed down to a sibling or hung onto for the next generation. Kids grow so fast that to keep them in handknits is expensive, so, a less expensive acrylic helps keep them from being naked, too. I'm sure a pull-over would be fine in acrylic for someone in the far North, maybe Siberia, but I don't know anybody there or if anybody needs a sweater there, so I knit for those I do know who need it and can wear it, whether or not they do is another story. Acrylic is terrific for afghans. My house is not the cleanest, I'm a klutz and spill often and I have dogs, so, the convenience of an acrylic afghan is that it can be cleaned and put back in it's place. I have to say that I am brand loyal with the acrylic because some of it pills and looses shape and I won't use it.

I appreciate that the qualities of wool are that a knitted garment can be worn in the rain and still feel warm. That is why the fisherman's sweaters were always made of sheep wool. There are people with wool allergies, how sad, and for them we can work around it with other natural fibers like linen, silk or cotton, in the meantime they are already cuddling up on a cold evening in an acrylic blanket.

Years ago, I had for several years, gotten sick in September and stayed sick through till spring. I couldn't leave the house and laid on the sofa for months. Knitting kept me sane, although I wasn't only knitting, I was doing a lot of crocheting too. I made several heavy afghans for kids who slept in basements, so much yarn double stranded, till they were too bulky to turn over and had to be shipped out with a crane. Also, large oval rug on the living room floor that was about 10 foot wide and about 15 feet long, scraps went to smaller rugs, like a heart shaped one in my daughters room, and others in front of the door, the kitchen sink. All out of acrylic. I can only imagine what life would have been like on that sofa without something to work on or work with.

3. I don't think I'd be a very good teacher. Like I said, I learned from a book. I read a lot of material for improving techniques. It doesn't seem like other people do, they learn one method of doing something, such as cast-on, and that's the only one they'll ever do. I think that in combination with how easily it is for me (being diabetic) to loose patience or be short with someone who doesn't know me or understand I'm trying to encourage them to be unafraid of untouched techniques that is maybe somewhere I shouldn't go. Yesterday, I finished a helmetliner (the same as the charity project, check out this link: ) for my nephew. I made a few of them in the last few months because I understood that my group was doing this as a charity project, but I think they must be at the tail end of the fun part of it as there doesn't seem to be too many getting done. Either that or I ruined it. I get so excited about finishing it and seeing a nice rolled edge at the start and finish and not a line around the edge that may be too tight or too loose and ruffled, that my edge will make it comfortable for the soldier to use repeatedly forever, that when I finished this one yesterday, I didn't have anybody to show it to. That cast on and off line on all the edges of every finished project I see frustrates me ~ especially in the books and magazines that recommend designer projects that you too can complete so easily. It's like having art class and seeing other students still start coloring by putting a heavy line around all the shapes to color in. At some point an art student stops drawing those lines, but not so with most knitters.

Last night, one of the other moderators on my local group on posted that Our Group has decided to do a project together. Hmmmm, guess that was a mistake on my part to let my husband who is in terrible back pain doze a little longer in his recliner and thus miss going to the group knit together, cause I missed out on that vote. The project is an afghan, done in squares, one each month, with books and yarn all bought from the local yarn shop that we are all trying to support. I got kinda upset about it, and that was bad form, I have been kicking myself about it all day. I love that group knit-a-long thing, I wish, though, that a little more thought, a little less restriction had been attached. For instance, I can think of at least three regular attendees of our group who can't afford the prescribed materials. (Actually, I can think of more than that, but those were all attendees who only attended once, listened to length conversation about wool verses acrylic, or aluminum verses handcarved needles and have not been back since. I liked them, I miss them, I wish they'd come back.) Earlier, I stated my preference for acrylic in afghans around the house, so I'll stop that part of the vent there. I went off and checked the project books, and while they are great as far as working out untried stitches, perhaps, they are not very attractive and I'm thinking even if donated to charity project, probably would rot before they were used. Actually, what I found were various degrees of hideous, that made me cringe to picture in my head how my local lovelies' would feel to turn out this stuff. . . . .

And now I have to stop writing this. I just went all kinds of mean that I didn't want to go to. That's why I don't think I can teach this to anybody. Makes me very sad to think about it actually. Especially, now, realizing that my mother is loosing her eyesight and someday that will happen to me. All the knowledge and techniques I have gathered and use will someday disappear with me, because of my inability to share.

AND THAT is the part that made me write this. All this time, I thought, I was knitting for others with love and researching so that what I made was absolutely the best that it could be, even with what I can afford to use, and really, I'm unable to share. I want to, I can't be the gatekeeper to all of this, I can do so much more than help somebody understand the puzzle that is a pattern, I just know it. I guess what it all comes down to is the same principle that applies to everything else: You've got to want to. I can help somebody if they really want it. I am a good resource to others like me. I don't know who they are or where they at, but as long as I want to share, someone who needs me will find me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oh, now, not FOOD again

I've decided I have a love/hate relationship with food.

I love it when my belly has something in it, especially when it was hot and filling and makes me want to lie down and take a nap. Apparently, that doesn't happen often enough.

Mostly, I hate food. Years ago, I was single. Three years between the time I had to try to decide my food options with other's food preferences attached. At that time, my grocery list was so very simple. V8 juice for breakfast, for lunch I took mixed nuts and dried snack meat, frozen fried chicken and frozen green veggies preferably brussel sprouts but sometimes they were not available and then it would be broccoli or perhaps green beans for dinners, popcorn before bed or general snacking. I would go and stock up on this stuff every couple of weeks and that would get me through Monday to Friday. On the weekends, I would do maybe a canned soup, craved garbanzo beans, occasionally corned beef hash, perhaps ate out at least once over the weekend, particular favorite was a prime rib cafe a few miles from home on a Friday or Saturday because it meant leftovers on Sunday.

My diet plan was easy, few decisions to make and never did I have to think out 'What's for dinner?' because it was the same everyday.

Diabetes is nasty hard on a food plan with limited budget. My personal diet is compounded with other variables too. A food aversion to eggs. Any eggs. I can't stand the smell of them and cannot eat anything if I can identify eggs in the contents. I have a hiatal hernia and it is very uncomfortable with anything dairy, so that also rules out milk, cheese, ice cream, etc. I try to avoid anything spicy, because it upsets my stomach and with the constant worry about stomach stuff it's just easier to stay away from them. My inability to cook also limits my creative food ideas but I think the worst part is that I don't have an appetite. I cannot tell that I'm ever hungry and often just forget to eat. If I wasn't watching a clock all the time, I would probably forget all together.

With all that in mind, now, imagine being married to the grandson of a restaurateur. That smokes. So, food has to taste good, but the poor guy can't taste anything. And there must be a variety, because he gets burned out from eating the same thing too often. Where as I don't care what I eat, it's all just food. Again. So much time spent making it and in just a few minutes, it's gone.

It takes longer for us to decide what we are having for dinner than to make it AND eat it.

I have never been a menu person. Yep, I don't get Martha Stewart. So, I feel shame when I say this: On my refrigerator is a magnetic dry erase board of all the dinner options we currently have. Since we just went grocery shopping last weekend, there are enough dinners listed for two weeks or more.

Last week, the last few days before the paycheck came, the board was empty. The last time we'd gone shopping we failed to actually think up some dinner options, so those few days we kept wandering into the kitchen and not finding anything, like little lost cows that can't find the barn. An endless cycle of wandering in and out of the kitchen all day long.

Right now, in my office is a food barrel for the local food drive to stock up the food bank. My company allows us to offer a discount to tenants that contribute to the food bank. I went to the food bank a couple of times the last time I was unemployed. Watching what is being donated and remembering what it was like to go myself, I am feeling really bad about having a full list of dinner options right now.

There are times when I want to put the whole list in the barrel and get some fried chicken and brussel sprouts. So simple. Easy on the blood sugar. Uncomplicated decision making. Ah, those were the days.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I think I love my job

There are times when I'm pretty fairly convinced that if I was fired at that very moment, I would jump up and down excitedly and clap my hands with glee.

However, for the most part, I really do like where I'm at right now. I want to write it down so I can come back to it in the future (when I'm having one of those earlier mentioned incidents) and remember that I do like my job. Maybe not strongly enough to believe that it 'my purpose' but that for some people, at the right moment, I am where I needed to be.

I like being where I'm at because when a person is having a really rough patch, I may have the ability to help them. The other day, I met a man who I imagined would like his job, because he could help people when they were having a truly bad day of it. In my head, I imagine the feeling would be like hands on the hips, chest out, wearing the tights and cape and singing the theme from 'Mighty Mouse', here I come to save the day! When I asked him about it, he said that was true the first year, but since then, not so much. How disappointing would that be? I have since taken to wondering, can that feeling of being a hero be preserved and made to last a long time.

Now, keep in mind, I have had many different kinds of jobs. The most helpful any of them have been was to remind a person they may have wanted a larger dose of fries with that. The last job I had before this one was helping people improve their credit. It was really hard for me to sort out the people who really wanted the help because they had made mistakes and turned things around and could use some help erasing things, from the clients that were the ones that hadn't learned anything from their 'mistakes' but that they could continue to do all kinds of damage and it would be taken care of by someone else. To me, that was like doing housework as an occupation. Of course, when I did housework for hire, I worked for slobs who made messes because it was somebody else's responsibility to clean up. These clients continually trashed their credit because they knew they could throw enough money at someone else to clean it up later. For me being that someone, I had a goal to fix the issues, but it could never get fixed because of this individual lack of personal responsibility. Now, the business owners probably thought that was a good thing, business-wise, but as the employee it was beyond aggravating. The cool thing about that job was that it was a constant mind bender to figure out, kept me motivated mentally, if for no other reason.

The mental motivation is seriously lacking here. Yep, I know that's a lot to expect of myself in the position of Self Storage Manager. I read everything I can find, which isn't much, about my industry, including online blogs and trade magazines. I have been especially focused on them during this economy mess, trying to find ways I can market my facility when my company doesn't seem anymore interested in doing it than in the upkeep of the facility, or the upkeep of me.

I really do like many aspects of this position. One of the biggest ones that attracted me when I first started here was that I was at home all day, because I live onsite. Of course, that is a big drawback when people are banging on my door or wailing on the doorbell on my time off. But I am home all day to get the laundry done, start a good dinner and pay attention to the dogs. I watch a lot of tv that wasn't available to me before, like 'Oprah'. (That was an exaggeration, I probably watch her once every couple of weeks, but I can see the attraction to watch it everyday.) My favorite thing to do is plug in a DVD and listen to a story without commercials. Usually, I watch the 'Dog Whisperer' program, follow news, but mostly listen to music all day, because the rest just seems to be a white static noise that irritates in a short time. The thing that I didn't used to do a lot of that I seem to be doing now is reading, knitting and taa-daa computer time, like blogging.

I'm really glad about the commute. I turn off the lights in one room and walk into another room and that's it, I'm home, just cannot compare. Seriously, driving myself home was near suicidal before. Of course, the jobs within walking distance were always way cool too, because the open air seemed to wash away the grit off my soul before I got home and could enjoy being home.

Another plus was in this job is that I would have benefits, like healthcare. What I did not know was that the benefits are so minimal that I cannot take care of myself or my diabetes. I guess with healthcare being so hot a topic, I should be grateful that if I was suddenly struck down, a catastrophic event, I would have some help.

I'm here to answer the phone for anybody that calls, I have the house line so my Mom and anybody else in the family can call me anytime of the day. I run away sometimes to the library, or just OUTSIDE INTO THE SUN, if it's convenient, often not, but it's those rare moments I cherish because not every job is like that. Packing apples in a dark and stinky warehouse for one. Clerical work was painfully asinine and I wish nobody had ever given me one of those jobs because the constant shuffling of the same paperwork really grates on my nerves from every direction like the cutting up a beautiful forest (for this crap?!?) to the manic need to keep documents of every nothing that never occurred.

So, color me happy, because here I am, now I'm off to take care of the filing. Wait, what?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Just for fun, I found some questions in an article that I thought would be cool to try to figure out answers for, then go back and analyze like the aricle said. Only now I can't find the article. Oh, well.

1) What makes your heart beat with excitement?

I find my heart beats with excitement for a lot of things. It happens most often when I see my husband smile, because he has this look that makes my brain sees as happy-golden-boy that is so extremely supreme, I melt. When my dogs run with joy in the sun, when I hear babies laugh, some songs on the radio or in the stereo, the big reveals on the make-over shows, that moment when Barbra Streisand steps up to the bandstand in 'HELLO DOLLY' and Louis Armstrong turns around (which is just like Olivia Newton-John tap dancing with Gene Kelly in 'XANADU'), when Patrick Swayze says, 'Nobody puts Baby in a corner' in 'DIRTY DANCING', the moment that Buzz Lightyear flies, that moment when Wall-E and Eve connect ................... that kind of stuff.

2) What would be that one thing that would make you happy?

I would love to hear that my cousin has been cured of MS, or that there is a cure for diabetes, or Parkinson's Decease, Alzheimers, etc, that my husband and my brother can completely recover from their injuries and all care and cures available for FREE.

3) What are you constantly thinking of day and night?

I guess the short answer is myself. I am constantly thinking, What can I do about my husband (usually the pain he's in, either emotionally or physically), what can I do to help my Maggie-dog stop being such a freak about getting attention and/or food, What can I do to help my Dori-dog to be less afraid (I wanna love on her so bad), What can I do to better the numbers at work, What can I do to help people I know that are having such a hard time, What can I do to speed up my knitting, What can I do to be closer to my daughter, I miss my daughter, I miss my mom, I miss my grandma, What can I do to make my sister get over whatever I've done to piss her off and answer my messages, What can I do to help my brother not be so depressed with his pain and disabilities and feel like the man he wants to be, How can I convince him I don't want our father in my life, no how no way, because even if he doesn't believe what happened all those years ago, I know that they did happen but I still admire him for wanting to believe the best about everybody, who's looking for me and how can I prevent them from finding me, How are the people I have loved doing and do they know how much I love them,...............

4) What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

Actually, I am so very OK with my life that I can't imagine ever doing anything else. The only exception is I would like to travel. Anywhere. Preferrably by train. Mostly within this country as there is so much of it I've never seen.

5) What makes you feel successful when you do it?

I feel I am a huge success when I can make someone laugh, or walk away from me with a brighter attitude. It is a truly wonderful feeling when I realize that someone who has been traditionally negative to me starts to be friendly and seems to look forward to having to deal with me. Also, being in a position to offer suggestions to people and have them listen to me about things they can do to help themselves, or to help them myself.

6) What are your obsessions, passions?

Chocolate. Knitting. Sunshine. Things being organized. Getting letters or messages from anybody, just for me, then getting to answer them and knowing that they are waiting for the answer and care to hear it. Roses in the Garden, Tomatoes on the vine, happy Pansy faces for sale in front of the store.

7) What one thing makes you jump for joy every time you do it or see it done by others?

I get really happy when I see people doing something for another person that is the very thing that was NEEDED and probably cost nothing or not very much but was given with a smile or a hug, true genuine humanity. I don't get to do that as often as I would like.

Whew, that was fun. OK, back to work.

WRandom Wednesday

1. I have just added updates to the two recent blogs about having the crisis with the car and the unfairness of having a credit card with Citibank. If you are a regular reader, you may have read them already, now you can go back and read 'the happily ever after' outcomes. (Please note: that was me being snarky just now.)

2. Occupancy here has fallen to a new low, 80%. I am waiting for something to happen to make me feel better about this, but at this point, the only thing is that there are some who just moved out who were having a very difficult time keeping up with this payment, who now don't have to worry about it anymore, or me about them. I need to write a blog about all the things about my job I'm grateful for, to remind myself that I am grateful and that a good feeling is more powerful than a bad, but right today, with everything else rolling loose in my head, I don't have it in me.

3. I watched 'Oprah' today, and am feeling pretty angry with a total stranger. The episode was about thinking outside of the box, meaning, doing things we normally wouldn't do. For example: they went and participated in Roller Derby. Then, they went skydiving. That was were I got upset. One woman, who happens to be from my area, got so anxious, she passed out in the plane and then when she woke up, puked, didn't make the jump. (Later, they went skinny-dipping.) The thing was this: This was a nationally televised program, all kinds of safety measures in place, probably all kinds of kids watching (like OUR DAUGHTERS and other women in desperate need of encouragement) I am pretty sure I would have jumped. Seriously, I hate flying, because that insecurity is always there that this is the plane they will be talking about tomorrow on the news for some tragic reason, and if I was in a plane that was in trouble, jumping would put me in that same anxious state. But each woman had an experienced jumper strapped to them, to whisper all kinds of encouragement, they went through a training, there was a camera guy there for each woman and there were FOUR other women going through the same thing at the same time, you were not alone by any means. PLUS, Oprah doesn't do anything for anybody that is less than safe anymore. Where was your focus???

4. I have been thinking about my Heroes (again) and I have to add all of those people in the US television audience that watched the news program about an orphanage in Iraq, and have donated or is sponsoring one of the 150 children.

5. My daughter and her cousin (of a brother-like closeness) came over and brought 'his' two boys. I say 'his' as there was never any proof that they are his, and now they have become the children of his heart. (I find that happens more often than I used to think it did, to my Superman, for one.) The older one is about a year and a half old, the baby is about six months old. Baby is a very happy boy, smiley about everything, doesn't fuss too much. Big brother is so very smart, sat on the floor with his car in the kitchen counting 1, 2, 3 GO! My mom has spent some time with him, says he actually can count to 5 as he has laid out all the coasters on the coffee table to count and puts them away again. Likes our spaghetti too. It was so cool to spend time with my daughter (she's almost 22 now, and busy with work and friends and stuff) and my nephew (who just started driving truck ~ he showed me his first driver's log, he was literally all over the country) as that doesn't happen often enough in our busy, busy world, but it was pretty cool, too, getting to know someone new. They went home with a sweater that I knitted a year ago, and didn't think would fit big brother anymore. I am working on a bigger one, still have sleeves to go, but it made me happy he went home with one anyway. Before they left, we had news that another of my nephews has a son now, too. Monday was a big day.

4. We have been watching the World Series. I can't seem to figure out why they are so disappointing to watch, but at the same time, on they night they don't air, there is nothing to watch then either. I'm thinking it's possibly because the team I know is not playing, but even still, that doesn't satisfy either.

5. The other day, at my knitting group, one of the women came in, sat down and announced that her husband was leaving her and she was OK with that. That was interesting too. However, I'm feeling guilty because I think I don't care. I have reasoned it out, backwards and forwards, and haven't concluded much yet. At the time, I thought for her, that it must be a relief, like sometimes those situations are when they have a conclusion, which made her just plop down and announce she's making an announcement. But I don't know him, or her, really. It's hard to know what's been going on, they seemed to be companionable, as she has been telling us about a trip they took recently, and when he said, no more yarn shops, but at the next town, found her another one. . . . To me, that seemed like they were getting along. So, it was a surprise, probably to her too.

6. My nephew the soldier boy in basic training, wrote me and said I can write him one more before he gets out. I have started a couple times, but find I can't get it done. I am worried that 'one more' won't be good enough, I think. I don't know why, it doesn't make any sense, to have this huge writer's block right now.

7. My husband's complaining that the house is a mess. I can't decide if that hurts me, because maybe I'm expected to be the one that gets it done. I really don't care if it's sanitized clean, don't profess to be a clean freak, but I do try to keep things neat, I like things to be where they belong, if they can't belong someplace, then it's just crap hanging about and my inclination is just to toss it. And believe me, being a Self-Storage Manager, I know about the conflict of crap.

8. Things coming up. Next week is our anniversary of being at this location. My daughter will have her 22nd birthday. There is a holiday weekend this month. After that, the discussions about sending gifts to the grandkids as expected for Christmas. The company office party (more on that next item.) Then we will have our actual wedding anniversary and some more holidays off. Meaning, at home without opening the office, and trying to ignore people who bang on the door.

9. That Company Party. I really don't like office parties. I don't much care for any organized gathering, people get too close to me, make an appearance when they are sick and should have stayed home, and all that anti-social stuff I worry about, but this one is especially tough. First let me say, I feel like I HAVE to go, because after years of being their employee, I don't know these people very well. (One of my co-workers says, Don't you prefer it that way?) The problem that has surfaced that they appear to be uncaring the rest of the year. Recently, we had a problem with the water heater, and after reporting it to the supervisor, expected we would get a call to check on us. Especially, because some of my personal artwork was ruined. Nothing. For the two company parties each year, they put it all out there to feed us a catered dinner, tearfully tell us as a group that they appreciate us, at the Christmas party laugh at us participating in the White Elephant (which is where everyone brings a wrapped gift and puts them in a big pile, a raffle ticket is drawn, each ticket drawn gets to pick a gift from the pile, each successive contestant then either takes a previously chosen gift (thereby that person has to go choose another) or choose another from the pile with the chance they will loose that gift to each successive contestant), and while that sounds like fun, I don't enjoy watching how greedy grown adults can get. There isn't any alcohol served, so that's a blessing. If we decide to go, the next hurdle for me to climb will be having to decide what to wear. Bother.

10. The dogs. I am really in turmoil over this. Maggie and Dori. Love them dearly. Hate being allergic to them. I know they need me to touch them, Maggie constantly insists on it. Dori needs it too, being a rescue dog, but is fearful of contact of ANY kind. We've had her for nearly four months and can't tell that we are making any headway. I recently watched the videos we made of her the first week we had her and I don't see that there is any change. Now that the days are getting shorter, we are not walking them in the park in the evenings, which is bad for Maggie as she doesn't always go with me in the morning either. As the weather becomes more inclement, Dori doesn't go either. To me, they seem to need to walk, even if they don't get excited about going. Walking Dori every morning really wears me out. Surprisingly for her size, she really pulls me hard. I know that what is needed is time. We know she needs for someone to do stuff with her and wait for her to get over whatever fear she is having at that moment, but it literally could take hours, if not all day. We know this because we have spent hours trying to deal with her fear of noises. We walk past an industrial area, daily, but daily is not cutting it. I can't stand there for the hours she will stubbornly fight us. We know that this stems from her survival of her first home. Being one of 200 dogs that had to fight for food, water, comfort, it is very apparent that Dori has used fear as an escape from having to deal with anything, any situation. She can outlast, while in fear mode, any situation, because she did it for so long before. She dominates us with her fear. Totally dog psychology, I know, but that is Dori, and that is why there has been no improvement. She can't allow herself to be a dog to sniff, for instance, a normal dog will sniff out a place to do it's business, Dori will go where she's standing, sometimes while she's standing. She doesn't investigate, she has never wandered the house, she stays in her crate all day until we sidle up to her to attach her leash, then moves only when we pick up our end, so she has never asked for food, to go out or anything. After four months, we still have never heard her vocalize, except that while we are waiting for her to cope with her fear, after about 5 minutes we do hear her softly moan, a small whine (so soft that Dad can't hear it), to attempt to say that she needs to be moving again. Still no barking except in her sleep and that still sounds like a much bigger breed of dog than she is. We knew it was going to take some time. It seems incredible that after four months, we see no improvement whatsoever.