Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Work it out

(post partially redacted due to clearer thinking)

I've been driving myself crazy working 14 hours a day. Grinding it out because I'm not sure if either work place is going to be able to offer me a full time job. So, I'm home, and dealing with it the best way I know how: chocolate peppermint fudge truffle cake I made myself from scratch (validating that I have mad skillz at many, many things), tea (always good for calming me down), mellow music (Jack Johnson and Freelance Whales), and e-mailing my dad, who apparently I talk to now. For the first time in... my entire life. So... that's a switch. We've been e-mailing every night, sharing pics and little personal things. I told him about all my job bullshit. I figure I spend enough time seeking father figures, I might as well tell it all to my actual father. He reassured me that sometimes the best people don't get the jobs they're best for whatever reason, and it's happened to him. It's nice to have a little father daughter solidarity. And he's really excited to be talking to me. This is so great.

I just checked out some music by a new band, Fitz & The Tantrums. I got invited to join a friend at their concert in January, and I really dig their stuff so far. I'm looking forward to it. He and I both love this one venue, Port City Music Hall, so we go see whoever we've vaguely heard of that comes there. I'm also planning on seeing Eytan and the Embassy next week, who I saw open for Okgo before. I'm really enjoying going to concerts. It's good to be in a place where there's so many opportunities to enjoy music. I saw Dashboard Confessional recently, too. Mostly because I have a friend who would have loved to go but never would have if I hadn't just bought the tickets and said "good, we have a date on the 12th." But it was a hell of a show.

Trying to decide which pictures of my knitting to send my dad. I need some that aren't photographed so shittily. I can only take attractive pictures of myself with my webcam, but then the color quality is off. And my camera may or may not be being held hostage in Boston. It's making me want to actually finish the bunch of things I have almost done right now, if only to get some needles back. My interchangeables are currently holding on to a hat made to donate to a shelter currently overloaded with knitted hats and not really well-sized, half of a fair isle sock, and the beginnings of a chair cushion that was rendered moot by receiving two much better colonial blue chair cushions for Christmas. And let's not even discussion the curtains I've been making for 3 months, which get worse and more complicated every time I try to work on them. Fun fact: I can't cut for shit. I'm currently most invested in a sweater I'm doing right now, which has a fair isle pattern at the neck. I took some time between jobs yesterday to work on it at the Public Market House, drinking flavored cocoa and eating really awesome vegetarian soup that a very cute girl sold me. It was a nice break from this 14 hour day bullshit I've been doing lately.

It bothers me that my most popular tag is "work." On facebook, it's the word that comes up most in my statuses. Jenna... get a life. There's so much more to the world.

Consider that a New Year's Resolution.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Get it over with.

Waiting to hear from a job that any reasonable person would say should be mine. Every day I get up, turn my phone on, check my e-mail a hundred times, try to fish for info. At night, I numb out with Nyquil if I have to. I should have gone to bed an hour ago, considering I have to get up in 7 hours for a 14 hour work day, as I am 100% incapable of saying no to anyone. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to say yes when someone asks if I want to take their shift without even giving me a reason. SURE YES I'M ALREADY AWAKE LET'S DO THIS. At least if I get this job, it would allow me to work less since it's at the place that always sucks me in for those extra hours. Of course, I'll just end up waitressing again. Because I never, ever stop. Nor do I ever learn.

Apropos of nothing:
For at least 6 months, one side of my hair has been significantly longer than the other. Because I'm Cyndi Lauper. What I don't get... NO ONE has ever addressed this. And my clients are the bluntest people on earth. I get compliments. But never "why the hell is your hair long on the right and short on the left?" Which makes me worry that perhaps it's SO awful that no one dares say anything. But I suspect it's more an issue of people just taking these things as a given with me at this point.

Went to the Homeless Persons' Vigil tonight. Cried. Knew I would. Started choking up when my friend started playing bagpipes. Choked up as I was walking. Deliberating on the seriousness of my role in people's lives, while coworkers around me were playing with phones or complaining about the cold. During the moment of silence I prayed for everyone we lost that I knew, that they were finding their peace, finding the home, safety, security, sobriety, food, health care, and services they damn well should have had down here. Prayed that I could help others. Prayed for all I was up against. Prayed that next year, I wouldn't hear the three names I fear the most. Watched someone I'm close to silently hold it together, knowing he was fighting. Lose my ability to hold it together when we addressed that the person whose name I read "would be - no, IS" happy it was me.

I can't really fathom not doing this for the rest of my life.

One person got an apartment today after I helped him get to GA, helped him find security deposits, made the appointment, got him the taxi out there. One person isn't homeless today, of all days. I know I can do this. Have done this 34 times over. But God, it's just a drop in the bucket. And that's very, very overwhelming.

I'll be okay. Whatever happens, once someone finally makes the decision I'm waiting for. I'll be okay.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blogging for Paul.

One of my favorite people on earth mentioned finding my blog recently, and that always spurs me into wanting to write again. I just have been a moderately functional human being for the last 3 or 4 months. I haven't gotten anywhere near the amount of sleep I should, and I was fairly willing to sacrifice that, thinking I was doing fine. But of course, pushing and pushing and pushing catches up with you eventually. I've been doing at least 50 hours a week between the two jobs, and going to class for 6 hours a week, plus studying or researching or paper writing, if I felt like it. There were a few times I was ready to drop out, realizing that I was going home to read about applied psychodynamic theory instead of accepting an invitation to go bowling with a guy I have a crush on, and wondering what the hell I was doing with my life.

See, I'm already living the dream. At least 30 people aren't homeless because of me. Because I've been grinding my ass as hard as I can for 3.5 months to solve a major problem. Because I've been watching some of these people since March and I've always had a "if I want action taken, take it myself" attitude. So my life has been bursting with success stories. My focus has been on what to do with difficult cases. When I was in class, my mind didn't drift to TV or hanging out with friends or relationships. It drifted to "if that assisted living home won't take him, where can I put him?" and "I need to call that property management company to see if they have a 1 bedroom" and "I haven't seen this guy in a while - is he safe?" Eventually I caught myself and got caught back up with work. But for a while there, I felt like I didn't need a MSW, because I'm already doing exactly what I want.

Of course, there will come a day when I'm not doing exactly what I want. In one sense, that day is January 1st, as, due to grant funding, my job is over at the end of this year. In another sense, I thought I was living the dream as a special ed teacher until I found my gift for the homeless population. But maybe I'll find something else. Something that requires an MSW. And then I'll regret dropping out.

So, I stuck with it. And I aced it. I really don't enjoy the thought of having to rearrange my life every 3 months for the next 4 years to accommodate USM's asinine scheduling - if someone's going part time, chances are, they have a full-time job, and how the hell are they supposed to keep it with a class at 1:15 on a Wednesday? That's one more problem I have to solve in the coming weeks. If I have a full time job. I'm interviewing. But there's already been rejections and bizarre interview cancellations. I'll be up for a while longer tonight, so I imagine I'll draft at least one more cover letter. I loathe it, but I just don't feel safe with anything right now - organizations can always surprise you with rejections.

I sobbed uncontrollably in the soup kitchen today when I heard about a client's passing. Perhaps I might not have been so devastated if I wasn't such a mess myself right now. And I hadn't quite realized what a mess I am until that all processed. Sure, my apartment is cluttery and junky and my sink was full of dishes until I finally did something about it tonight. And I hated that yet couldn't work up the motivation to fix it. I can fix everyone else. I just don't care enough to fix myself sometimes.

I always put myself last. I've had very bad relationships where I refuse to acknowledge that perhaps I'm entitled to equal treatment, to also be shown love and support. I just give and give and give because I don't want to see someone hurting, so if there's something I can do, I will. I've actually used the phrase "I don't matter. Let's just worry about helping you." To be fair, I realize the hundred things wrong with that statement. Now. But why not do extra hours when they're needed or a cover a shift for someone with an appointment or come in early unpaid to do more research on apartments? I'm needed. And I've always needed to be needed.

I don't foresee any change any time soon. I'm somewhat at peace with that. It's part of what makes me me. I just need it to be a little less damaging. Or recognize when it's doing me in a little sooner. But as awkward as it is to cry in public, and have clients ask you what's wrong, or ask the person that told you "what did you do to her?!" with a hint of menace, I hope I never stop being that torn up about something like this, and never stop putting my heart into everything I do. It's so immensely valuable not to be jaded. I may only be 24, and may not have experienced much loss, catastrophe, heartbreak, or trauma, but I hope I keep giving my heart to every situation that has the opportunity to produce it. Otherwise, I just wouldn't be Jenna.

And I'm not okay with that.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Heil Seitan.

I've lived in what is essentially the most hipster neighborhood in Maine for a month now. I know, hipster + Maine = does not compute, but just trust me on this. Accordingly, I have a fridge stocked with PBR at all times, I'm attempting to learn to ride a bicycle (yes at 24 shut up), my landlord must think I never leave the house because my car never moves since I always walk everywhere, I wear skintight jeans pretty exclusively, I do a lot of journaling, I listen to music no one's ever heard of, and I throw tea parties. So it was only a matter of time until I became a vegetarian.

I've reached a point in my social circle where it's weird for me NOT to be a vegetarian. I opened myself up to lots of other food options, since I often finding myself attending things like Vegan pot lucks. At first, I was overwhelmed and stressed at the prospect of what to bring to one of these, but now I see that as long as I'm mindful of ingredients, it's not too hard, and there's so much good food out there that's still respectful of animals. I even have favorite brands of veggie burgers now, and I know lots more about Vegan baking and cooking thanks to the terminally adorable Vinny, who I will miss incredibly when he moves to Oregon, having just started getting to know him. Back in college, I decided I wanted to go a week without meat, since I was finally a place where I could control my own food choices. I ate so much grilled cheese I'm surprised I didn't cause a blockage. And the worst part is I made it 6.5 days but then crapped out on the last one because I had a very rare date with my then-boyfriend and I decided, in 20 year old wisdom, "it's lame to eat salad on a date." Granted, if we ever went to places other than TGI Friday's maybe I could have eaten something more substantial. I always wanted to try again, but living with my grandmother, who is an incredibly picky eater, and will not cook herself something I don't want to eat, I just sucked it up for the greater good.

This all got started again after a 95 degree day when I felt it necessary to make a hamburger. I'd bought meat during a "oh my god i have MONEY" grocery shopping trip, and was all proud of myself for deciding to thaw it out, cook it, and eat something besides canned soup. Of course, when I got home from work that night, the damn burger was still frozen. Fuck it, whatever, the oven will thaw it.

This is where it becomes essential to note that I have a gas oven, and have never used one before moving here. At my last apartment, we had a sweet oven with a digital thermometer which was nice enough to count down and beep when the oven was ready. Now I'm pretty much just winging it. So I set the thing on broil, because that's what I've always seen my family do and I was unaware of this "cook a burger in a frying pan" phenomenon. Put the burger in the oven. Done.

As stated, it is 95 goddamned degrees. I'm lying on my fake suede couch, watching Arrested Development on Netflix, sweating to death, and feeling a lot of pain. My eyes are stinging like hell, but I assume that's from the sweat causing makeup to drip into my eyes. As most people assume. It's really getting bad, and eventually I get up to go in the kitchen and see how this burger is progressing, because fuck if I know how long this will take. And oh snap the kitchen is full of smoke. I yell "oh shit my house is on fire," open the windows, turn on the fan, and find myself happy I had never plugged the smoke detector back in after I replaced the battery because that would just be an aggravation I don't need right now.

The best part? I looked at the burger, and the outside was still red. What the hell?

I turned the oven off, but the more I thought about that still-red burger, the more it seemed like a waste. I started googling "how to cook in gas oven," because google is my problem solver. Apparently there is such thing as a broiler DRAWER. I thought I just had a bizarrely small pots n pans drawer. Look at this shit:

Fuck if I know what that's all about.

With it getting later and later and me running out of food options, it occurred to me that I had a can of black beans and a bag of rice. Let's get it on. Since I can't cook, I just add hot sauce to everything to mask the taste of "burnt" (burnt rice smells like peanut butter). I ended up with 3 or 4 meals worth of rice and beans, and I actually found it totally enjoyable. I kept bringing a tupperware of it to my new job (that's a whole other entry) since I no longer had the luxury of just eating whatever's being served. After 3 days of eating nothing but rice and beans for dinner, pb&j for lunch, and cheerios and milk for breakfast, it occurred to me that I was eating like a vegetarian and still totally satisfied. Decided to try the one-week experiment again. I didn't find it too limiting, since I had some good staples on hand. I cooked three servings of pasta and brought those as my work dinner every night, combining them with a can of spaghetti sauce I had as well as some spices I got super cheap at Big Lots. At one point, I cooked ramen, realized that while the chicken packet probably contains no actual chicken, I shouldn't take the risk, and so I threw it out and flavored my noodles with, naturally, hot sauce. Probably greatly reduced my sodium intake, too.

Last night, after having made it a week, and starting to run out of non-vegetarian canned soup, I decided to treat myself to a trip to Whole Foods. Last time I went there I almost cried because everything was so expensive and I felt like this was a life I could never have. Then I got a huge pay upgrade at the new job. I decided as a celebration, I could buy whatever I wanted, as long as there wasn't a reasonable substitute at the regular grocery store. I had a great time picking out tofu and veggie burgers and frozen stir fry mixes. I've finally accepted that even though it's cheaper to buy vegetables that aren't cut up, and do it all myself, I'm just not going to. I always have the best of intentions, and then I forget, and the food gets wasted, and so I feel bad and rarely buy fresh produce. If I have it all cut up in the freezer, I'll not only actually use it, I can forget it for a month and no harm. I have a myriad of ingredients for stir fries, lots of kinds of tofu, and all sorts of snacks I hadn't considered before. It's not like I usually ate meat, meat, and more meat, but just walking around the store was giving me lots of good ideas, like reminding me how much I like grabbing a bagel and going in the morning, and that I'd be treating my metabolism better if I was getting more breakfasts in in the mornings.

So, the obvious question. Why am I doing this?

  • To some extent, it's a personal challenge. With so much else out there, it's kind of lame to default to meat. I want to expand my horizons and try everything.
  • I have so many friends that are Vegan/vegetarian and I want to be respectful of their culture by giving it a shot. While I definitely don't have it in me to be Vegan, I can totally do vegetarianism for a while. And maybe I'm working on wrangling a date by inviting someone over for some tofu.
  • I watched Food Inc. Yeah. Enough said.
  • Before that, I read The Jungle, and I'm pretty sure standards haven't changed since then.
  • I'm concerned about the environmental impact of meat, such as how much grain is required just to get a pound of meat.
  • Although I have no issue with meat eaters, or humanely treated farm animals, I feel a little skeezy encouraging the meat industry through my purchases at the grocery store when I could just as easily make some vegetables
  • I think a vegetarian lifestyle is just healthier overall, since you have to try a little harder, and that tends to result in eating food with much better vitamin and nutritional content

And no, I don't think I'll do this forever, 'cause I really do get into a good buffalo burger with bacon and blue cheese, or some sushi, but for a while, I want to rock this and see how I adjust. So far, I'm not missing anything. If I was trying to go Vegan, chances are, I'd already be dead, but thus far, my willpower has been strong enough to help me avoid the "temptation" of hot dogs from a homeless shelter. Since this all started by accident, it's been easy enough to keep it up, since a lot of this is how I would have been eating anyways.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I knew this would happen

I am an eternal optimist. I believe the best about everything, I think everything happens for a reason, and I have faith that everything pans out exactly as it's supposed to. So there was no hesitation in my mind at all that once I moved to town, I'd be a much better friend and a much more social person, once I no longer had to weigh my interest in driving back here after work, didn't have to worry about making sure I was safe to drive home, and didn't have to consider the feelings of a person who shouldn't have any say over my social life. Accordingly, I've become incredibly social, ad my life has become that much more fulfilling. This week, for example:

Wednesday: The most epic night of partying ever, starting with a couple of shots with a coworker friend in my living room, progressing to beers at the Crowbar, meeting up with 4 other friends, and then going back to my house to, as one does, do shots of rum in my attic and cut my best friend's hair. And then, because a friend and I are still so wasted, stay up until 6 am, realize in horror that it is 6 am, and then pass out. Proceed to get 3 hours of sleep.

Thursday: Bowling and perhaps hopefully some dancing for my coworkerbestfriend's birthday

Friday: Knit night before goth night. Of course.

If I live to see Saturday, it's gonna be an accomplishment.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Still here

After Bic reminded me that oh yeah, I haven't blogged in a while, I've been itching to write again, but that doesn't mean I ever actually remember it when I'm at a computer. I've been doing a lot more paper journalling, and I find that when I'm doing that, I'm not writing online, and vice versa. I'm sitting on MY couch in MY living room at MY apartment, and have just a few minutes before I have to get in MY shower and run to work. It's all still sort of surreal. The first days, I'd just pause, choke up, and mutter "I live here." I know it seems like it could be lonely, living alone, but as someone who's used to doing things on her own, it's not a big deal. I'm also someone that can easily become a hermit, so I use it as an impetus to push myself to be more social. Since I can finally have people over without a grandmother monopolizing them, I do invite people over, and I also get out of the house, whether it's for a tea date with a friend or even just taking a walk. I live near a little beach and trail, so I go down there a lot when I have days off. Not that I really have days off... afternoons off.

I'm still, as expected, working a million hours a week - no one tell my boss, I'm over yet again since I miswrote my schedule and thought I could easily pick up a shift elsewhere - and juggling positions. I just started waitressing instead of hostessing. It's better money and keeps me moving around. As a hostess, there were plenty of nights where I wasn't really doing anything, but as a waitress, I'm going all the time. Granted, my first night, I was one of two servers, so it was a much bigger customer load than I was expecting.

It's pouring today, which bums me out, since I really like to walk to work. I've been considering saying fuck it and walking anyways, but... it's raining. And I have a car. I just like to avoid using it as much as I can since I'm so close to everything now. I'm also incredibly sanctimonious and think things like "walking to work in the rain will bring me closer to empathizing with the struggles of my clients!" but it also results in working from 9:30-6:15 and being soaking wet. Granted, either way, I'm going to be soaked, since 5 hours of that is hanging out in the courtyard, begging people to talk to me. Generally, I enjoy this, because there's some real characters out there, and I get to meet people that don't usually open up, but they don't tend to be out in the rain.

Either way, I've got to get ready. Hair and makeup seem a little superfluous, and really, so does showering, so I suppose it won't take me too long today. Expect more and better posts again soon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gearing up

I'm moving! For real! On Sunday, August 1, I finally move into my own place. It's in the same city I work in, so my life is about to get much more convienent. I'm so tired of driving home on 295 every single night, especially lately when it's night time and there's so much construction to drive through. And I hate having to go home tired.

I was paranoid about how telling my grandmother that I'm moving out was going to go. I was sure she'd get incredibly upset and make my life hell for the next month. Turns out, she was happy for me and excited. Well, at least outwardly. Had I known it would go this well, I probably would have planned on moving out sooner. But I don't think this apartment would have been available then, so everything for a reason, really.

I'm nervous about everything, since that's my style, and right now my current obsession is the fact that the apartment has absolutely no closets. No bedroom closet. No linen closet. No coat closet. Nothing. I know this is workable, and all I need to do is buy some shelves, and put up with looking at some things I might prefer to keep in a closet, but it's just weird to go from always having something like that to not having it all. You kind of take for granted that you can put your towels in a closet and you're not constantly looking at them. So now I have the added expense of looking for shelves, baker's racks, and garment racks. My landlord is leaving a wardrobe in the bedroom, but that won't even touch my monstrous quantity of clothing. The room I'm in now has a bedroom closet that stretches the entire length of the bedroom, so I've been able to not only hide things away, but to shop without restraint, since it never looks like my closet is bursting. And I'm way too attached to everything I own, so the cleanout process has been unpleasant, to say the least. That said, working in a homeless shelter makes things easier, since when I decide on a few shirts or something to get rid of, I just throw them in my work bag and bring them in. Much easier than the big wicker trunk of crap I'm coercing my friend into hauling to Goodwill for me. The fact that I have to actually look at all my stuff instead of just shoving it in a corner of a closet does make it easier to decide to part with it, at least.

Part of me wants to go shopping and get all the essentials and cute things and buy stuff like crazy so my apartment will feel whole right away. The logical part knows that this will just result in having to move more stuff. It would make more sense to just buy it all once I get there. I had to restrain myself from buying toilet paper three weeks in advance. That will probably still be available.

I'm excited, definitely. Happy. Proud. Just nervous as hell. I'm glad I'm doing it before I'm in school, but now it feels like a month isn't enough time to really be able to adjust and enjoy the place before I'm thrown back into the chaos of school. The closer I get to really starting grad school, the more I'm losing interest. I'm seeing jobs I can get without my MSW and seeing how much this is all going to cost, and I think I'm freaking out a little. I know school is the right thing to do, but I guess I'm a little overwhelmed with everything else going on too. If it weren't for the internship, I'd probably be a little more relaxed, but since that'll take up a good portion of my time, it inhibits getting another job or taking the casework job I've been thinking that I really want. Of course, the internship is the most valuable part of school, since it'll pad my resume and actually get me the field experience I've so needed. I'm just paying someone else for the privilege instead of getting a paycheck.

I've thought about going down to part time, and doing this over four years instead of two, so that I can explore different work opportunities, but really, in the grand scheme of things, two years isn't a very long time, and I'd rather be stressed out for 2 years than for 4. I'll have to do a lot more juggling and a lot more at once this way, but at least before I know it, it'll all be over, and I'll have my degree and one more thing I can say I've accomplished. And I'm so glad I'm doing it at USM, instead of one of the big name Boston schools that I was so sure I needed to go to. For one thing, the years of financial destitution could be much worse, and another, I've actually grown to like Portland a whole lot, and there's too much here that I don't want to leave behind.

Gah. Maybe in 2 years, I'll stop being overwhelmed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Silly Hats Only

Pattern: Porom by Jared Flood
Yarn: Kollage Corntastic
Needles: Size 4 for ribbing, size 6 for body
Completed: June 26, 2010

Modifications: Only did one inch of ribbing instead of the usual 2. I decided that I wanted the pattern to be more noticeable from the front and all that ribbing was really cramping my style. I screwed something up pretty hardcore on the decreases, but I did a fantastic job of covering it, so the mistake, wherever it was, blends in very well. It's just like when I make a pair of socks and fuck up the second one - I get overconfident.

Made this one largely because a coworker gets a kick out of my silly hats. I loved the raspberry one so much, but it's hard to find colors that it goes well with. Fortunately, off white goes with everything. This yarn is so nice, too. So much nicer to work with than cotton.

Get the fuck ready.

I'm trying it again.

This time, I'm using butter to grease the muffin cups, and at no point will a turkey baster be involved. And I know where to locate the pan. All I need to do is avoid getting myself stuck to a vermin trap and it'll be a massive improvement over last time.

One of my best friends is having a birthday tomorrow, and one of my coworkers is having a farewell party on Friday. Because I feel this obligation to bake for all things, I'm going to see what I can do before I have to work at 2:30. I did tell the coworker I'd make her chocolate chip cookies, but, there's nothing I enjoy more than disappointing people on their last day of work. (honestly my cookies have been going right to hell lately and I have no faith in their ability to come out successfully) I'd like to vegan up the stuff for work, but, I know this recipe works, and I honestly have very little interest in figuring out a way to make vegan buttercream. Chocolate buttercream is the only frosting I can make that doesn't have a horrible consistency, off color, and runny consistency, so I know better than to mess with a good thing.

12:23 pm: 1 hour later: Update: I only had 1/4th of the chocolate powder I needed. So frosting them will have to wait until I get home from work. I made up the difference for the cupcakes themselves by melting chocolate chips. Let's see if they suck.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shamed into action

"How's your Spanish going?"


I kind of hadn't studied at all in a month. So, I actually did a lesson when I came home. I worked on question words and professions. We'll see if I retain any of it, but at least I put in the effort. I need to make myself practice verb conjugation more often, though. I have a Spanish for Dummies book - I should really go through that.

I got accepted for an apartment, but, like, man. Apparently it's the last place in Portland you want to live. So, I thought I had a good thing, but apparently I don't, but I do think a lot of people are overreacting, but still. It's all very confusing. And then today I saw the most beautiful apartment known to mankind, but it's a little expensive, but I'd be willing to pick up extra work just to try to afford it. It's so incredible. I applied. I'm hoping and praying.

I have no idea what I'm doing any more. I just know that I saw one that had a filthy oven and stained carpets they weren't going to replace and that was just a total turn off. If you care that little to show the place, I can only imagine how efficient your maintenance is.

Working on a small Summer bag in Plymouth Kudo. It's a good little distraction. And it uses my cache of rainbow yarns. I meant to start this a year ago. Oops.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I dislike this.

Maybe I'm unusual, but I feel like, if you're going to move into an apartment, it's good to have some notice of when you'll be doing that, not just something you look up on the internet, say that'll do, and then you move in 2 days later. But apparently this is how it works. When I was first looking for a place in May, for an August 1st move in, it became readily apparent that this is not the way the world works. I thought maybe in June. Nope. Middle of June? Nope, still everything is for July 1st. I'm someone that wants to know things in advance and be able to have a plan. So this is killing me, knowing that this is all going to be fairly last minute. I mean, I understand it, from a landlord's perspective. Why get someone signed up for an apartment 3 months in advance when you can get someone that wants to move in right away and make 3 more months of rent out of it? At least one prospective landlord was polite about turning me down and agreed that it feels better to do this stuff in advance.

There's no right away to deal with this, as far as talking to my grandmother about it. If I do it far enough in advance, that just maximizes the amount of time I have to spend with her making me miserable and trying to talk me out of it and trying to convince me that I can't hack it. If I wait too long, it's OH MY GOD THIS IS SO LAST MINUTE WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? No matter what I end up doing here, it's going to be the same. So my best option has been to just prolong the inevitable as much as I can. Which is how I approach many challenging situations. I know, it's great.

I wrote down a million phone numbers of apartment rentals that I couldn't just e-mail about. I hate phones. Texting was the best thing ever invented for me, since I can stay social and make plans without ever having to ever actually and awkwardly talk to a person. Part of me doesn't even want to bother making these calls in the 45 minutes I have left before I have to go back to work, because I just know I'm going to get shot down and told to wait until July 1st anyways.

Also, I really have no desire to rent from someone who uses "u" and "plz" in his e-mails. You're not Prince, buddy. (If anyone is, I am) I'm not feeling that great about you handling thousands of my dollars.

Torn between bliss and frustration so much lately. Work itself was nice today, so far, on my 2 hours out of the 9.5 total, but I had a few crappy interactions with other people that threatened to sour the whole time. Feeling pressured about some other non-work things. But very happy otherwise in that situation. So I don't know. I'm sort of waiting for the inevitable breakdown. It's just going to be a long wait until August 1st.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Raspberry Beret

Pattern: Porom by Jared Flood
Yarn: Plymouth Galway Worsted
Needles: Size 6 for ribbing, size 7 for body
Completed: June 11, 2010

No modifications, aside from the fact that the original uses DK and I used worsted, but it seems like everything came out the right size regardless. I've felt compelled by my love of Prince to make my own raspberry beret for some time, and one day a friend was terribly amused by the whole idea and brought me out to the yarn store so I could finally put up or shut up. Then another friend invited me to a silly hats party and I really did have to make it. I absolutely love how this pattern turned out. So simple, but with just enough i it to keep you interested as you're moving along. It's very well-written and the directions are very clear. I'm already crafting a second one. I think I did Prince proud.

Monday, June 14, 2010

blah blah introspection whatever stuff and stuff

Shit, when did this blog get to be all FEELINGS and shit? I thought I was here to talk about yarn.

Just kidding. But I suppose I could write something more substantial than "look how depressed I'm not anymore" and actually tell people what I'm up to. I'm still keeping up my lots-o-hours at Preble Street. Subbing technically isn't over, but it seems teachers are sucking it up and just working this week. I suppose taking a day off now is like getting tackled on the 1 yard line. I just hoped someone would want to use up the rest of their sick time and earn me a fast $75 on a day I might happen to have available. But, instead, I'm doomed to just sleep in, read, level up on WoW, and make muffins. Tragedy, I know. And my last day of subbing was the perfect way to close out my career. I did absolutely nothing. Literally. Not only did I never teach anything, I never stood up. I sat at the teacher's desk all day and did the following:

* Drink tea
* Use a laptop
* Gossip with someone that used to be an ed tech in Yarmouth
* Read over 100 pages
* Text friends
* Eat a sandwich (roast beef, pickles, mustard, pepperjack cheese, warmed up in the microwave so the cheese is melty)
* Do an entire crossword puzzle
* Text my friend to inform him that I did an entire crossword puzzle

That's it. This guy teaches study hall. And if there's ever more than one kid in the room, there's at least one, sometimes two, ed techs in the room. So I had absolutely nothing to do. Allegedly this guy has a reason to have a job, but I wasn't seeing it. That said, AWESOME. There was absolutely no reason for me to be there. But there is no better reason to get woken up at 5:15 am. (I got back to sleep, MERCIFULLY.)

I fell out of the knitting zen for a while, since I got absorbed in other hobbies, as well as totally bored with my current projects. I was making that cowlneck endless stockinette sweater seen in the previous post, as well as a 3x3 ribbed knee sock. I finished one sock but needed to graft it, and meh, who wants to do that. I also had to cast on the next one after that and I just couldn't work up the effort to pay attention to when I should decrease to match the original sock. I got way into reading again, going back to my 300 page a day habit. It's easier to kill a couple hours when you're absorbed in a book than when you're knitting, since you're not looking around or just making the same motion over and over. I'd been reading in the library, my car, Monument Square, down at the waterfront, on the beach, at a park, really just all over Portland. I feel like there's so much reading I have to catch up on, seeing all the amazing books at the Portland Public Library I want to read. It doesn't help that I was recently introduced to Longfellow Books and would be happy to buy out the entire store. (A Portland, ME bookstore)

My zest for baking has returned, as well. I used the time I had today, with not working until 3, to make vegan apple cinnamon muffins. Originally, I was just going to follow a non-vegan recipe in my Pillsbury baking book. This book has never once failed me. I put the word out on Facebook that I was going to bake for my coworkers, and the first and immediate response was from a vegan coworker. I mentally facepalmed, picturing me bringing in those muffins and he not being able to eat them. I wondered about how shitty that must feel to have to pass on something others are enjoying Every. Single. Time., and decided that, out of respect for Sean, I was going to make some damn vegan muffins. The first link I looked at had a super simple recipe. All I had to do was buy bananas, and since I'm a turd and had forgotten to buy apple juice when I bought the apples in the first place, I had to go back to the grocery store anyways. I even scored a couple of Empire apples last night when I was flirting with the fruit guy. He had them hidden out back and brought them to me when I took issue with how shitty all the McIntoshes looked. To his credit, they were indeed absolutely perfect for the muffins. I'll have to go back and thank him for succumbing to my feminine charms and getting them. Vaginas are powerful, man.

The muffins were easy to make, and allowed me to get my prep cook on by dicing up the apples and mashing bananas, both of which were highly therapeutic. And, now there's apple juice in my house. I doubled the recipe, since I knew if they turned out to be any good, they'd go fast at work, and I'd still want to leave some home for my grandmother to eat. I ended up with one muffin shy of 3 dozen. I also covered myself in batter, but that's just obligatory.

They were so well-received at work that I can't wait to make more. I even got high praise from someone who told me that this was literally the first vegan snack he's ever enjoyed. And most importantly, Sean loved them. I did good. And, I even loved them! A lot of times I lose interest in what I baked, since I have high standards and can taste when a cake just isn't right, or I'm too annoyed with how a cookie came out. But these are awesome. That muffin pan is about to get some serious use. If only it wasn't a total bitch to clean.

Working on the sweater in the previous post right now. It's a bit below belly button length now. That means I'll be switching over to 4x4 ribbing soon and then the body is done. Just sleeves left. I got a huge chunk of the body done on Friday, between getting out of work at 9:45 and going into super focus mode when knitting at the bar with my friends Megan, Brian, and Matt. It grew like crazy then. I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere. I got my knitting mojo back by making a new slouchy hat, and I loved the pattern so much that there might be another one coming soon. But for now, I'm sleepy. See you tomorrow, internet.

Wait. One more thing. The other day, just because that's how I am, I started answering the phone at Preble Street thusly:

Preble Street, this is Liza, can I help you?

Sometimes it's best just to give in and go with it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pff, done.

I like my sweaters to have a lot of underboob.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Goodbye, 23

11:03 pm, Sunday, May 16th. My last post as a 23 year old. I'm writing it listening to Robbie Williams, and I've just turned off the television, since there's so very little I'm interested in. I pay too much for cable, to keep my grandmother entertained, but I rarely put in the effort to see what's actually on the channels I pay too much for.

23 was such a strange year. I changed so much. It was a good year overall, great really. But from the way it started, one wouldn't expect it to go that way. I lost two jobs right at the start, I spent an obscene amount of time unemployed, and I felt pretty alone. And then I decided this was not okay any more. And that got me on the path that got me that license. And then I got The Job. And I made friends. Have dated. Am dating. It's all a bit surprising, but it's also way better than 22.

24 has so much promise for me. I'll be in school, I'll have my internship, I'll still be at Preble Street, I'll be retiring from subbing, and I finally came out about wanting an apartment for the fall so hopefully the ball will get rolling there soon. I have faith. Wherever we end up in life, whatever happens, that's what needs to happen in the grand timelines and plans of our lives. And that's pretty fucked up coming from someone that works in a homeless shelter, I realize. But that's a place where I gain all my strength, taking it in from the wonderful people I work with, seeing how they persist, and taking in their stories as my motivation to change the world. I see hundreds of people a day, but there are so many that I know I'll never forget, like the gentleman that keeps three journals of the inspirational words of others, so that when he one day gets his kids back, he'll have this wisdom to pass on to them. Or the people that, despite their circumstances, are always full of happiness and joy. I try to make sure they all know how much they mean to me and how much I enjoy them. I think a lot of them know. I get a lot of comments about how I'm people's favorite or how I'm good at what I do or how nice it is to have me there. When my favorites get housed, I always have an awkward conversation about how this is gonna come out wrong, but I'll miss seeing them around. I think I got one guy damn near misty-eyed with that one. It's true. Just like I'll never forget my "surrogate daughter" from my 6 months as a teacher, I will never forget so many people here. Whether they're teaching me Spanish, commenting about how they love my style, or just chatting with me for a few minutes, they add so much to my life that I try to repay in whatever little way I can, whether that's wearing neon colored outfits I know they get a kick out of, checking in about a job interview I know they had, or greeting them by name. So, maybe some of these people pass through my doors just to give me something to draw on and to help me ground myself and figure out who it is I want to be and what it is I want to do. I love my role as the unofficial sunshine girl of the shelter. Sometimes if I need to hang around later for something I don't bother putting it on my time card if I'm already over my allowed hours, because whatever, I'd hang out and chat anyways.

I was scared to turn 23. It felt like I had done so little with 22 that now I was getting a little older and it was getting a little sadder that I still hadn't gotten my shit together. I am not scared to be 24. I will enjoy it and embrace it. I will continue what I started recently of pushing myself and challenging myself, socially, emotionally, psychologically. I take every day as an opportunity to do something that makes me a little more of a well-rounded person. Last night that was going to a new bar instead of the one my friend and I always go to. We sat in leather highback chairs drinking chocolate martinis. It was the highlight of my day. Other little big-deal experiences have been getting my piercing, choosing to go to a concert/benefit instead of knit night, going to a party and meeting new people, coercing myself into making small talk with whoever I ended up sitting next to at the bar. I appear to have gained a partner from the latter, so certainly, whatever decisions I started making halfway through 23 have been working out well. I have always been shy, nervous, socially reticent. I am choosing to change that.

I can't say what 24 will bring. No one can. I didn't know what 23 would. I hoped, certainly, I'd get a job, finally get my license, make a friend. That's all I wanted. Just one person that kind of liked me that once in a while maybe I might meet up with to see a movie. I've been more than blessed in that regard, and it's one way that 23 turned out so much better than I could have ever imagined. I can't even imagine what 24 will bring. There's so much opportunity, thanks to my impending educational plans. I have great faith, it's going to be a special year for me.

My aunt, who was initially against my attending graduate school, and who raised an eyebrow when I bought a USM window cling for my car ("why don't you go and see if you like it first?") bought me a USM t-shirt, coffee mug, and water bottle. It's starting to click how important this is for me and how proud I am for myself.

Pride. That's a major change and improvement in my life. I recognize the work I put into getting into graduate school, especially considering how I applied before even having my job at Preble Street that would give me better experience that would make my application more attractive, and I recognize what I'm about to do and the gravity of it. I think I deserve a lot of respect for it, and the fact that I'm not brushing it off as no big deal says a lot about how my self-worth has improved since 22.

I got a sweet text today, after I mentioned how someone was always nice to me. "You are adored by all, Jenna." I know this person is into me, but my reaction to it wasn't simply "tee hee, someone likes me," but actually feeling like I not only believed it, but I already knew it. It's not the first time I've heard it, after all. I know I'm valued at my workplace, by my clients, by my coworkers (I'm often told how I do a good job with the clients and that means the world to me), and I know I'm valued by my friends, and I know I'm valued by my partners. It is no longer surprising that people I encounter like me. I expect it. I'm at a very good place in my life and exuding confidence, and I think people are finally picking up on it.

I do treat my birthday like it's a national holiday, and maybe I'm a little old for that, but it's nothing I'd ever change. I finally value myself, and if a birthday is the one day out of the year where you should be the most self-involved, then I will be very happy to carry myself with a swagger tomorrow and find ways of working it into conversation. A birthday is about being special. It just so happens that I finally feel special on the other days of the year, as well.

I find myself continually surprised by who I am. In a relationship with a new partner, I am catching myself having potential to fall into the "let's spend every possible waking moment together" trap that I created in college. I know that didn't work, and I know it made me an awful friend, and so I look to avoid it now, by keeping myself from being slavishly devoted to one person, insisting on girl-specific time, and not giving myself to the idea that once I find a person that likes me, that is certainly the only person in this geographic area that ever could, so I better do everything I can to keep them interested, even if there's other things I want to do. I was scared to date again, having been out of that world for a while, but I see now that the time I took to myself helped me figure out what I was doing wrong and gave me the time I needed to grow up. And that's what 24 will be for me. Continuing to grow and improve upon the facets that needed work. But right now, I'm not seeing too much that I'm doing wrong. Little by little, I've been becoming a functional, well-rounded adult, who appears to have a remarkable control over her life and emotions.

Perhaps this is nothing to be too proud of, and perhaps "no longer being a hot mess" isn't a major accomplishment, but for me, I feel like I've reached this Zen plane where I am just totally okay with who I am and where I am in life. I know I'm doing things right. I know I've made the right choices, and I trust myself to continue to make the right decisions, no matter how complicated or potentially messy. This is a vast improvement over my previous "I do everything wrong" and "I'm a fuck up" schema. No. I'm doing awesome and I'm really great at being Jenna.

What a bizarrely introspective entry. I haven't even been drinking tea (and I have five new Teavana teas and a fantastic infuser mug, birthday presents) or walking in the woods, times which I tend to contemplate the meaning of life, or at least, the meaning of mine.

12:01 am, Monday, May 17. I am 24. And I am happy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In which my yarn blog resembles my high school Livejournal

Last night, after a really, really interesting day, I found myself lying in bed, thinking about the grand scheme of things. My birthday is on Monday. I'm going to be 24. At first, I found this prospect horrifying, as being 23 and living at home and not having your shit even remotely together is one thing, but at 24 it's starting to get sad. But now I'm going to school, working what could best be described as "pre-industrial revolution hours," and researching apartments because I can't take this place any more. So there's nothing to dread about 24. I fully expect it to be awesome.

Somewhere along the line, my personal, social, and professional life became incredibly satisfying. Mostly all for the same reasons. Thank you, Preble Street. I'm meeting awesome people there, and working with great new friends. Some people are my age and I end up partying with them. That was the thing I wanted the most when I was unemployed - a social connection. And even people that I only see at work are just awesome and light me up when I come in and see them, even if it's only in passing as I relieve them of their posts.

I wish I could go back in time and visit High School Jenna. Reassure her that really, it's all gonna work out. Dudes are going to like you, chicks are going to like you, you're going to have friends, you'll drive eventually, and you'll get a job you love instead of a job that's giving you ulcers. It's the same reassurance I give to people in emotional crisis. It might not be today, it might not be next month, but's going to get better. Really. It's just a matter of faith and trying.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Holy shit, that's orange!

(picture forthcoming)

Pattern: It started as a Drops pattern, but that pattern was written so strangely that it became, as all my Wollmeise does, a stockinette Akimbo. Then, I did a picot bind off.
Yarn: Wollmeise in Sonne
Needles: Size 3
Completed: Sometime around the end of March or beginning of April 2010.

Oh dear God I got bored with this. I enjoyed working on a massive swath of orange, but there's just so much stockinette that one can do before brain rot sets in. I also had plans on doing a picot bind off to simulate the sewn-on crochet edging (fuck no) of the original pattern. The first picot went awry and came out like a tiny yarn dick. I'm okay with that. I was happy to do that. Of course, the rest came out like picots, aside from one in the middle, so I'm not too sure what went wrong there.

Ah, but nothing went quite as wrong as my blocking experience. I don't have blocking mats, so I block my stuff over a piece of foam core. This usually works, if you aren't a moron. The board isn't as big as some of my pieces, so I have to block part of them on the other side at the same time. This is fine for rectangular scarves, and if I go over the flat side. It is not fine if you pull your scarf over the actual corner of the board, thus blocking a giant scarf nipple into it. At some point I'll take care of that. For now, I'll just enjoy OMG BLINDING everyone at work. They get a kick out of my style. At this point, it's become a challenge to see how glowing I can be.

Bianca's Baby Hat

(picture forthcoming)

Pattern: My own creation, estimating from some basic baby hat measurements, making the slip stitch pattern up as I went along
Yarn: Sadnes Garn Mandarin Petit in purple and white
Needles: Size 1 for the hat, size 3 for the ties
Completed: Officially May 6, 2010, but the ties were finished a week before that and the main hat weeks before. I just kind of got lazy for a bit.

I made this hat for my boss, who was due last Saturday. She's still working, and unless things get moving tonight, I might be able to give it to her tomorrow, after weeks of forgetting to actually finish the damn thing. Not that it was on a deadline or anything... And the less I had to do on it, the more I procrastinated on it. I also came up with brilliant plans like "I'll just sew the straps on at work," as if I wouldn't be busy... working. Well, at a large portion of my jobs, I wouldn't be, but that's beside the point.

This hat also used up the purple cotton from my stash. I knit it from the top down, magic loop style on my Addi Turbos. I hope it fits an actual baby. There's really no guarantee.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I swear to God I will just straight up murder the next person that says I look like Liza Minnelli

To make it even more interesting, last night someone referred to me as "he" multiple times, yet STILL said it. HONESTLY WHAT THE FUCK I CANNOT LOOK THIS MUCH LIKE HER.

(also I made this sweater and look how amazing it is)

I always felt that, just like how in 2008 a bun and glasses made me Sarah Palin, eyeliner and short hair make me Liza Minnelli, and people just go with random characteristics but I do not at all resemble this woman. I hope. But dear God, now I'm starting to see it. I have better hair, as well I should, since you know, hair is kind of my thing, but Christ, I kind of see what they're saying. I just don't get how this many people that I encounter every single day are familiar with young Liza Minnelli. I continue to be grateful for the guy that said I look like Anne Hathaway (although the next day he said I looked like Super Mario so maybe I shouldn't put too much stock in his assessments). Maybe it's just time I embrace my inner Liza and make a living as an impersonator. And I kind of want to go to her show in Portland in September just to show that we can be in the same room together and are not in fact the same person. And I just pray that I don't someday end up with this wedding photo:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Illegal immigrants aren't taking all the jobs.

I am.

I picked up job #6 on Monday. It's another shelter affiliated with my original shelter, so all I had to do was call up, say I'm interested in getting some hours there, and boom, the next day I was in for my first of 2 6-hour shadow shifts. By day 2 I pretty much had it under control, although it's very hard to be confused by "eating chicken and rice while a woman talks about how someone at her last job sabotaged her" and "watching people watch The Young and The Restless." Incidentally, that show is not even remotely worth the money I got paid to watch it.

I have my first "real" shift on Sunday. I hang out from 10 am to 6 pm. Then, I run to my other shelter to supervise dinner. I might accidentally be doing crazy overtime again this week, but I'm currently pleading ignorance.

To be honest, although it's possible for me to work 40 hours a week at this shelter, I'd rather not, because I love the day shelter so much. As soon as I mentioned picking up time over there, the face of one of the awesome guys I work with fell and he begged me not to leave. I'm not. I can't. I love him and a bunch of the other people, and the clients, and it's not the same at the women's shelter. I just can't get the hours I need at the day shelter, and the schedules aren't made nearly as far in advance, so it's hard to say no when I'm offered a 9 hour shift, especially when I might end up with a one hour shift at the day shelter.

The best part of this whole situation is that it clears the way for subbing to be a "fill in the open time, just once in a while" sort of thing for me, instead of my full time job. I can't tell you how sick I was of subbing, and how liberating it felt to be away from it for a week last week. That's when I realized that there was no way I could go back to it, and if I could get enough hours elsewhere, damn, that's fine. I had a great time hanging out in Portland last week, visiting the library and taking walks, so it'd be fine if I had a weird shift setup that left me with a few open hours in between. As long as it's not randomly SNOWING like it did for three minutes today. Yes, seriously. Goddamnit, Maine. Cut the shit.

So, abrupt subject change. The theme of the week, well, really, my life right now, has been "say fuck it and do what I want." And accordingly, I got pierced, I called up the women's shelter about hours, and I went to a concert by myself. I saw Against Me! at Port City Music Hall last night, and it was an incredible show! I'm actually a little cut up from the mosh pit. I wasn't in it, per say, but a guy did fall on me. He apologized for knocking my glasses off my face. Aww, polite moshers. I had a fantastic time, and I'm so glad I took the risk of going alone instead of saying "well, none of my friends want to go, so I guess I'll just stay home and feel sorry for myself." I did start talking to a guy, but he wasn't terribly interesting, so I focused more on dancing and enjoying the show instead of HERE'S A MAN, I MUST MAKE HIM MY CONQUEST. I'm just hoping if I go to more shows, maybe I'll start meeting more people and making more friends. At the very least, it'll be a new hobby for me. And I desperately need a hobby that isn't a little embarrassing (see also: title of this blog, URL of this blog, main subject of this blog.)

The ear is healing up nicely. I can move the jewelry around to clean the hole much better now, and it didn't even really hurt when it got bumped when someone pulled me into a hug the other night. If I wasn't so embarrassed by my panic attack wooziness, I'd be running back to Nate for a tragus next. I guess I should at least let this one get halfway healed first.

I think it's time to change my "about me." "I'm a 23 year old knitter and substitute teacher, usually in special education" isn't quite the story any more. Shit, being 23 isn't even accurate in a couple weeks. That's a little bit horrifying. And at some point I'll deal with that sidebar about FOs, actually post about them, and actually link the other ones. If I sum up the effort/am home for more than 2 hours at a time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Look at my ear.

I got a helix! My very first piercing by choice. When I was three, my mom had my ears pierced, and she says she did it early so I wouldn't remember the pain and be scared by it. This backfired, as I later became afraid of everything, pain included. So although I admired piercings, I could never bring myself to even consider it. My best friend and former college roommate had plenty of them in her ears, and I admired the helix in particular, but again, I'm a wimp.

Then my mom got her nose pierced.

If my mom can get pierced, it'd be pretty sad if I can't handle it. I did text her and make her encourage me today. She had been trying to get me to get my nose done for years, but I totally saw through that. She just wanted an excuse to get hers done. And I always worked in places where that wouldn't fly.

Then I started working at the shelter.

I fucking love this place. As I said last time, it's just so fun and low-key and awesome. I swear, everyone I work with speaks Spanish (working on it), has tattoos (some day, but I'm prone to sudden loss of interest in passions), and has piercings (ta da). If my boss can have a helix, so can I.

A friend had offered to go with me, but this was one of those "I have to do it right now or I never will" things. So, with the time I had to kill between jobs, I did it! I'm embarrassed that I got woozy, but I suppose that's nothing surprising to them. And honestly, it didn't even hurt. What hurts is when I accidentally touch it or when I'm cleaning it, that's totally nauseating. I'm a little freaked out by this "it takes 6 months to heal" thing and I'm not terribly sure what constitutes healing, since it's not like this is streaming blood or something, but I guess it's strangely reassuring that my ear might be fucked up for a long time. At least I won't assume I'm dying, as I tend to do.

For anyone in Portland, Maine, I got this done by Nate at Hallowed Ground. He was a total sweetheart and got it done super fast.

Monday, April 19, 2010

There's a good chance I'm five.

I wasn't hungry for dinner today because I had a really big milkshake at lunch. I felt obligated to eat something, so I had cookies and milk.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Haircuts, fail, and turkeys

I have this completely kickass job working at a day shelter (not officially a homeless shelter, because it's just open during the day to hang out, get showers, meet with caseworkers, etc. Like a big community room where you can also get social services and toothpaste.) and I am madly in love with it. I grab every hour I possibly can there. I just can't do it as my sole job because the shifts are weird (Tuesday I get to work 7:45 - 9:30 and then again 3-4:15) and I can't afford to work a random hour in the middle of the day and lose the day of subbing pay. But, the scheduler is really cool and just puts me on for 3 pm - whatever and lots of weekends. So this lead to that awesome 25 day stretch without a day off, but at no point did I feel overworked. I just love this place. It doesn't tire me at all. It's the third job ever (out of... ten?) where I'm always stoked to go to work. I have the most awesome time talking with clients, and I absolutely adore everyone I work with (hi Liam) and am always happy there. Of course, like every facet of my life, I end up explaining that no, I am not 16, and yes, I know you think I look like Liza Minnelli.

And just to make that a little more interesting...

May God have mercy on me.

So, next story, genderforking FAIL. Although I have a very female presentation, I never really saw myself as what's displayed on the outside. I used to look in the mirror and be surprised that was what I look like. With the more I learn, the more I like to explore things like that, and, push-up bras aside (not that there's even anything to push up), I've been digging a genderless presentation lately. With that in mind, I chopped the shit out of my hair. And for the first time in a long time, I was able to look in the mirror and say "that's what I wanted." Look.

And the sweet thing about this cut is it's something different every day. Yesterday I had it in much more traditionally masculine style. The day before I took it high femme:

(That day, I felt like I looked like Prince, which made me feel like ten thousand times hotter)

It's pretty good flat on its own, too.

And because I'm am-aaazing, I totally did it all myself. I'm pretty fearless with the scissors. Considering I wanted to just shave it off in the first place, I wasn't too concerned about going too short, but really, with hair like this, it's pretty hard to feel bad if I fuck it up. It'll grow back in a week. Between the amazing stylability, and the drunken requests of my best friend, I know I'm never going back to long hair. That, and I tried it once, and I couldn't handle the mullet it was totally growing into in the interim.

So, back to the fail. First, It's not that I'm actively attempting to be identified as male, I just dig the idea of being a person, not necessarily one labelled thing. Just one of those odd things about me you wouldn't necessarily know, unless I was three beers in. Just trying to figure out who I am, and being a little in between makes me happy. But yeah, ever since cutting the hair, the amount that I get hit on at work has drastically increased. I always got a lot of comments like "you look nice today," but now I'm having to set boundaries and shit. I also tend to get a lot of comments about my shoes (leather sneakers, wtf?) but I have no idea what that's about. So, so much for making myself look less feminine.

God, epic baking fail today. I was tasked with making my grandmother's birthday cake. I checked it, it seemed close to ready, but I decided to go sit down for a minute to make sure it was cooked. And then I forgot for a half hour. It ended up cooking twice as long as it was supposed to. Glorious. Somehow, it looks like I managed to avoid burning it, but yeah, not good. It looks like it's fine, and I can still ride on that little kid "lookee what I made you! I tried my bestest!" appeal. I'll just make a pound of frosting and all sins will be forgiven.

Starting some socks for Sarayu. The pattern had a short row toe, and, just, no. I mean, I'm a good knitter, and I have MAD SKILLZ, I just don't need to flaunt them with bullshit like a short row toe. Turkish cast on all the way. I did 2 rows of it. Seriously. Megan and I went out to a sports bar and didn't want to be those weirdos knitting, and once we got to knit night, we felt kind of isolated behind the guys playing cards, so I took a risk (ah, God love my intense shyness that no one believes exists) and got up to join a conversation on the other side of them. I was too busy talking to care about knitting, so I just never bothered. I had a fun night, too. It was a good day off. Oh, that's right! NEW PARAGRAPH!

Yesterday was my first day off in a month! And yet I still woke up at 8 am. Because my body is now totally incapable of sleeping. I didn't feel like getting out of bed, so I did the only reasonable thing and read my car's owner's manual, which is naturally next to my bed, and learned how to use my air conditioner. It was 37 yesterday. By the time I got off the couch to take a shower (cough 4 pm) my ass was sore from sitting still. I kept wanting to call work and tell them I can come in, please please please. Having a day off felt weird and wrong. I did make something of my afternoon when I found a website that shows Mystery Science Theater all damn day, so I finished this baby hat I made for my boss and watched MST3K all day. My evening was a little more exciting, since I met one of my awesome girlfriends to go to a sports bar and watch the Sox game. We shared some spinach and artichoke dip, had some beers, and then went over to knit night. I got to see everyone I like, stayed until close, and had a great time.

Ok, one last story. So, you know you live in the middle of nowhere, when... your grandmother makes you get out of the shower to come check out the turkey fight in your backyard. PSA: Turkeys are fucking huge. I do not need them getting all territorial and shit in my backyard. Like the outdoors isn't scary enough already. I'll just be in the fetal position on the floor of my closet if you need me. Then, last night, I was late to Megan's because I went to get in my car and GIANT FUCKING TURKEY just wandering around. I hauled ass back inside before it could peck my eyes out as vengeance for the sandwich I had Thursday night. And intimidate me with its freaky neck penis.

Seriously, what is that?

I have many more bizarre stories about my Life of Perpetual Work, but, they'll wait, so I have fodder for more entries.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I keep wanting to update, but I'm pretty much just perpetually exhausted. I'm up to 5 jobs. Yet somehow it's always questionable if I'm going to get 40 hours of work a week, and I'm still carefully guarding my money, trying to avoid dipping into savings. I don't know how this happens, especially without credit card debt, but welcome to 2010.

I'm subbing in three districts, hostessing at a hotel's dining room on Saturday nights, and working at the homeless shelter. I wish the shelter could be my full time job, but the shifts are super short. After subbing today, I drive into Portland for a rocking hour and fifteen minute shift. I was going to hang out with a friend after, but between the perpetual exhaustion and the downpouring rain, I think I'd be better off just getting home before dark.

At least there's an end in site for this lifestyle. I've decided to attend the University of Southern Maine for graduate school this fall. I know it's not the glamorous place I was hoping to attend, but Portland has grown on me, and I have faith that we end up exactly where we need to be in life. The decision wasn't made by a desire to be with someone, or a fear of moving to a big city. It was, just like undergrad, all about money. I had calculated the total cost of Simmons horribly wrongly, and there's just no way I can afford to go there. If they won't give me financial aid, there's no way BC and BU will, so I decided to just decide fast and commit to USM. I'm looking forward to it. I know it's what I need.

What I need is also not to be working two jobs a day, THIRTEEN days in a row. Jesus. Granted, Saturday's work day was a whole hour and a half, and that was after I had an absolutely amazing time hanging out with Colin, so it wasn't like it was a horribly trying day. It's just weird not having a day off. Ever. I know if an opportunity to work at the shelter comes up for Sunday (my current light at the end of the tunnel, potential day off), I'm still gonna take it. I like the money, I like the experience, and I can sleep when I'm dead. Which, at this rate, will be pretty soon.

I'm a horrible teacher who is totally typing this up while "supervising" a student's free choice time. Yes, any of those three districts is lucky to have me. I mean, if there was any actual work to do, I'd be doing it, but if my duty is basically to sit and stare, I might as well pass the time.

Since I've been working so much, and also reading more during my downtime subbing, I haven't gotten as much knitting done. I did finish my alpaca/wool St. James sweater, and I made an orange Wollmeise triangle scarf, but I haven't been as prolific as usual. I keep attempting to pick up something, and then oops, I did nothing for an hour. I'm just having a hard time focusing right now. Which might have something to do with never knowing what day it is or how many jobs I'm supposed to be at that day.

I'm pretty sure my in-town knitting group is going out to lunch on Saturday. I never made it there last week since some people were out of town and I had man plans. But I'm pretty sure that's what we decided to do. This will result in me inhaling an entire Pat's pizza. The chicken alfredo one, probably. Success.

I'm having an amazing time with my Portland knitters, as always. I continue to meet new people that are fantastic, practice my social skills and small talk by chatting with other patrons, and expanding my horizons by trying new beers. Sometimes we go out to dinner, usually when I organize it, and that's always great too. I really adore these people, and I love that thanks to my car, I've had the opportunity to go out and meet them. I look forward to it all week.

Better head down to my lunch duty. Then, my lunch! That leftover pizza better sustain me all day.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jenna, the neglectful blogger.

Sometimes my blogging mojo dissipates for a while. Which is generally because I'm knitting a lot. Fancy that.

I've been able to work a lot more lately. I even had a 5 day week. Last week was 4 days, but it probably could have been 5 - it's just that all the schools were closed on Friday. We've had some seriously fucked up weather lately. Oh, nothing will happen, BAM 60 MPH WINDS AND 5 INCHES OF RAIN. Oh, it's gonna come back tonight, HA JUST KIDDING NOTHING HAPPENED AND YOU STAYED HOME FOR NOTHING. I can't follow it any more. It's like May all over again, with the added bonus of potential freezing. So even though Friday was lovely, there were a lot of power outages and flooded roads from Thursday night's opening of the hellmouth.

On Saturday, I went to New England Textile Arts' Spin, Knit and Spa. It's a little bit like a craft fair, but just yarn and fiber and notions. People come up here and stay, and hang out in hotel lobbies and knit and spin. I went last year and I spent an obscene amount of money, back when I actually had some, and back when I felt a moral obligation to bolster the economy. Now, not so much. I had actually made a goal about not buying yarn until March, and of course had forgotten about Spa, which is the next-to-last day of February.

I actually didn’t buy any yarn – I just bought one batt that I will eventually spin into yarn. It was expensive, but I’ve been coveting it for a while. And I only bought the one thing, deciding that instead of buying the other one I wanted as well, I’d see if I’d really spun up a lot by this time next year. I did go home and do some practice spinning on my practice roving. I think I'm getting a little better at it, but I'm still pretty much doing worsted singles with my spindle. But it's something. Someday I'll be brave enough to set a twist. I'm not even going to pretend I'll knit with it any time soon, though. Let's be realistic. I'm kind of a hoarder.

I had originally said “March” for my goal because I was planning to take a trip for a “knitting weekend” with some Yarmouth knitters. I’ve since cancelled that trip and gotten a full refund. Basically, it was shaping up to be something like $300 before I ever spent a dime on yarn. And it’s in my same state, not across the country. I could see if I was making a big road trip of it and going down to WEBS, but not for something that's just an hour and a half or so away, once I started thinking about my current financial situation. And none of that included food, booze, or gas. And those are my three favorite things. So after March, I guess my no-buying goal will just be a “see how long until I break” kind of thing. I really have enough to keep me going for a long time, and it’s so satisfying to watch the stash bin start to fall down a little. When I decide to have willpower, it's scary how good I am at self-denial. I’ve also been knitting more gifts, so I’m getting this stuff out of my house for good, not just changing it from a yarn stash to a scarf stash.

I finished a bunch more stuff lately. I'll put that up in separate blog entries, but I've got a sweater, some sockmarks, regular socks. Working on another St. James sweater right now - this time, with 3/4 sleeves and in alpaca/wool blend.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fair Isle Socks

Pattern: Sort of my own - someone on Ravelry had put up something similar with instructions, but they were wrong. I stared at it until I had an idea of stitch counts and drew it out by coloring in boxes on Microsoft Excel.
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock. God, it's so awful. And so not ideal for skin contact. But I keep buying it because it's pretty.
Needles: Size 3
Completed: January 19, 2010

I really wanted to challenge myself on some socks, and I was bored with looking up things in stitch dictionaries. I found the socks I had originally favorited, and was disappointed when I realized the instructions were wrong. I did get the hang of it, and I learned a lot on these. A friend taught me what it means to "tack up floats," and that made a big difference, especially where I had 10-stitch floats. Unfortunately, sock #1 came out too small. I wasn't brave enough to try it on until I was at the heel, and at that point, I wasn't going to rip this all out. I managed to force it on and off my foot a few times and now it's wearable, just not that easy to slip and slide out of. I adjusted my stitch count accordingly for the foot, as well as for the second sock and that fits just fine. I wish I had made them a little taller, but since fair isle eats up more yarn, I was a little paranoid. I still have quite a bit extra, but not as much as usual.

Monday, January 11, 2010

8 is 8


Pattern: Loop stitch, as learned from The Knitter's Bible, and following a setup from Super Stitches Knitting
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease. I'm so sorry. It's just all I had for red yarn.
Needles: Size 8
Completed: January 10, 2010

Can't give details on this just yet, as it's part of a larger, secret project.

Fabulous People

Pattern: None. It's just seed stitch over 11 stitches.
Yarn: Cascade Magnum
Needles: Size 19. It actually gave me shoulder pain.
Completed: January 9, 2010

So on Christmas Eve, I ended up getting drunk with a 16 year old boy. That's how my family parties. Jordan isn't technically family - he's my mom's boyfriend's son. I'd never really talked with him before, but as the champagne flowed, and he kept refilling mine, we really got on well, and ended up having this fantastic drunken conversation about numerology, the Bible, and destiny. Sometimes when I drink too much I end up insisting that I'll knit things for people, especially people that give me hugs, and that's how we got here. I had bought this yarn in October, and charming as it is, it's nothing I need. Returning it for store credit doesn't help my yarn situation, so I knit it up in a matter of hours. I'm going to give it to him as a very-early-birthday present, since mid-March is too late for a massive wool scarf.

The name comes from a song by my favorite band, Electric Six. You can check it out here. I think, if anyone can rock this scarf, Jordan can. I just hope it doesn't clash too much with his orange skin.

Skulls, Death, Cables

Pattern: Celtic Cable Neckwarmer by Lindsay Henricks
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Profundo
Needles: Size 8
Completed: January 8, 2010

I've had this queued up for so long. I bought yarn for it in February 2008, then got the counter and realized it wasn't the color I was going for. But I bought it anyways. I was also intending to buy the skull buttons at that time, but totally forgot them after I walked away from the button area, not wanting to carry the tube around with me the whole time. A friend of mine went to the anniversary sale in May, so I asked her to pick them up for me. Really, this whole thing was an excuse to use these buttons.

I can't believe how fast I wheeled this thing out. Really, it was only a few hours. I got really into the rhythm with the cable chart. I just sat at my computer with it, zoned out listening to my music (especially Robbie Williams, who I have a real affinity for lately) and going like crazy. I really enjoyed it, and it was a very well-done chart. If I had a request to make another one for someone, I would do it with no problem. I wouldn't make myself another one, because I really don't think I need more than one, but as a gift idea, it would be great.

Akimbo Again


Pattern: Akimbo by Stephen West
Yarn: Wollmeise 80/20 Twin in Birkenrinde as the main color, with the bright red parts of a Cranberries Zauberball as the contrast color
Needles: Size 4
Modifications: The scarf was worked entirely in stockinette, and the color pattern for the chevron was done with 4 stripes of the CC instead of 2. I still used 2 stripes of the MC.
Completed: January 8, 2010

I loved this pattern so much that after finishing it, I knew I wanted to explore how it would look in stockinette, and I wanted another one in a totally different color scheme. I wanted to use my Wollmeise, so I dumped it all out on my stove. My house doesn't have any overhead lighting, so it's the best place to look at it under light. And it was night time. But I picked out a bunch of pairs of Wollmeise, and the one I liked the best was Birk with a bright blue. Then I put the Birk on my swift and realized I actually had what's called "piggy birkenrinde." Instead of being purely cream and black, parts have a pinkish cast. It's more of a red brown, and you really don't notice it in the hank, but once I was aware of it, it was all I could see. I hated the idea of a red, white, and blue scarf, so this put me into a little bit of a panic mode. Thanks to Ravelry's new "search your stash by color" feature, I was able to find a nice red yarn. Because Zauberball is an evolving yarn, it isn't just bright red but also a burgundy/maroon color. While I liked that at first, in practice I wasn't too fond of it, so I cut off parts that weren't the bright red I liked so much. I ended up with a Zauberball and 4 little zauberbabies (just in case when I make socks with this I end up running short).

This looked like crap fresh off the needles, but as soon as I soaked it and pinned it to block, it looked fantastic. I wore it the next day and everyone commented how nice it looked and how well the colors went together. I've tricked my knitting group into believing I have color sense. No, I just have a lot of yarn, and eventually, by the law of averages, I'd hit the right combo.

I will probably make another Akimbo, just because I have the pattern and I know I like it. I think I'd stick with this stockinette version, since it shows off variegated yarns so nicely. I actually like pooling - it's an adventure to me.


Pattern: Akimbo by Stephen West
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Abril, with Bristol Yarn Gallery Buckingham in black as the contrast color
Needles: Size 4, bound off over 5s
Completed: January 2, 2010

I didn't do any modifications to the pattern, but towards the end, decided I was unsure about the garter stitch. Really at the point of no return, though. It worked out for the best - I'm very happy with it. Actually, I'm wearing it to type this. The black works well with the variegated purple. I'm just a little disappointed with the saturation level of Malabrigo Sock - the garter stitch really shows off the white in the yarn. It's not too noticeable at a distance, but it was kind of grating to notice as I knit it. I don't think I'll be buying this yarn again. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to buy two hanks of the same color of it. I might try to sell one, since I've already got one FO out of it and I get bored working with the same color twice.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

In which I talk about my boobs.

I got to sub today. I taught elementary school special ed. Cute kids. Although one of them looked just like Victor from Family Guy:

He was creepy.

So this school has a big room that’s a combo work room/staff room. It’s like the combohole of classrooms. There’s a woman that has her own desk there. I’m not sure what she does exactly, but there she is. She’s older, probably early 60s. When she saw me come in today, she looked right at me and said, with a smile, “two fried eggs.” Bwa? Bear in mind, I was not eating eggs. I was carrying a travel mug of hot chocolate , which is similar, but there weren’t eggs anywhere. She tells me that being flat chested is like having two fried eggs on your chest. Her husband once gave her a t-shirt with a picture of two fried eggs right at chest level. She was not amused.

And a good morning to you, too.

As far as I can tell, I didn’t walk into the middle of a conversation. I’m thinking she may have looked at me and immediately decided she should comment on my chest. Which is… well, coming from an old woman, sort of horrible, sort of hilarious. I did have a bulky sweater on today, but I’m pretty sure I at least have SOMETHING in there. I realize there’s such thing as boobs so big it’s the first thing you notice, but so small? Looks like I’ll be using my sub pay to get implants.

You be the judge. I’m in PJs and no bra.

They’re not much, but they’re SOMETHING. My projectile ribs don’t help this situation. It’s like I have 4 tiny boobs. Even at my heaviest (Calculating for how much my old scale underweighed, I may have bee ~150 at 5’2”) you could still count my ribs. I’m built strangely.

Should the human body even do that?

Just for Toni.

Who's on pins and needles waiting for me to post something about the minutiae of my life.

2010 has been kind of awesome so far. I've gotten a day of subbing and had two job interviews. One of them was for subbing, for a district I was already approved for in grades 5-12 (but they made me interview again for k-4), so really, there was no way I could screw that up short of snorting coke during the conversation. I managed to hold off. The other one was for a bank, as a part time teller. Not exactly the career goal or the amount of work I want, but I kicked ass at it. Unfortunately, it's not in the hands of my interviewers. They make recommendations and then "corporate" decides. Ah, bureaucracy.

I worked today at a middle school. It was special-ed-style stuff. Not really cognitive issues, just needs some one on one support. I did nothing. Literally. Nothing. My kid didn't want to work, I was told not to push, so I just hung out with him. It was great. Then I switched to another kid who didn't need me for anything so I watched him watch his class in a geography bee. They both go home early, so I was out early. Insanely easy day. Now, if I would just get called more than once a week.

Nothing much on deck for the rest of the week. I never know when I'm going to work, since the two new districts ever e-mail anything in advance. And I think my usual district is mad at me for already being committed to another town when they called once. Try giving me work more than once a fortnight, or other archaic measurements, and I wouldn't have to look elsewhere.

At this point, I'm just applying for the most ridiculous shit I can find. Last week's highlights include secretary of the hospital's cleaning department, flower department at the grocery store, and furniture store manager. I was this close to applying for one whose main qualification was "sufficient education to be able to read and write." I opted to wait until the moment of absolute financial destitution for that one.

I am almost completely out of tea. Additionally, I am also almost completely out of alcohol. Please send help.