Monday, December 31, 2007

Ornery

I can't be the only person who's completely bitter about having to work today...

See, it's not just New Years' Eve here at WSP (my company - which has a real name, but since I'm planning to whine about them here, will be referred to in initials)....it's month end, which is the end of a billing cycle, and it's the end of the fiscal year, so there's significant pressure placed on us to get as many sites done as possible before 5 p.m. today. The third thorn in our side is an account which the company acquired in June, but whose sites we only started working on 2 weeks ago. The reason for this is twofold: they kept sending back our proofs with changes, and I'm pretty sure our higher-ups dragged their feet on the account in general, because we were also knee-deep in the acquisition of another company at the time. The upshot was 800 sites landing in our queues right before Christmas. Happy friggin' holidays. We have 150 sites left and they're still insisting on double edits for the damn things. I really don't want to be here.

I know, I know, I should be grateful I have work at all...the company's numbers for the 2nd half of this year were abysmal, to the point of scary (as in, crap, do I need to be looking for work?!?!). Still...gives me something to think about, going into the new year. Writing fresh resolutions today...the last couple of years, those have been getting written around Samhain, the Celtic New Year, but then we lost Jordan right before Thanksgiving, and I decided 2007 as a whole needed a write-off.

Knee's doing better, the anti-inflammatory meds are working, which makes it harder to take it easy; but I'm determined to baby the sucker for a full 2 weeks. Although given my size, I should probably wear the brace whenever I walk distances now, until I drop some of the weight. Better safe than sorry...or rather, I'm already sorry enough for what I've done to my body with this extra weight. Yeah, yeah, I know my determination is a combination of reading Dad's hospital file again, plus New Years' Eve...still, you gotta have hope.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rallying

What an invigorating feeling, to be getting back to normal...guess I've been decompressing from the holiday, plus we didn't have my usual breakfast stuff in the house. Don't realize what a slave to routine you are until you're deprived of your daily Eggos with PB&J and your usual flavor of coffee...but I think that's one of the reasons I'm rallying today. Weird. Then I got to work and realized I have a pinch of PTO left over when there's a potential for me to work 8½ frickin' hours tomorrow, so to pacify me, my team leader asked that I work 4 instead. I'll take it. The thought of spending an entire day here on a Saturday was depressing the crap out of me, regardless of what my hours have been this week. Besides, we're not going to make goal; we're only halfway there and deadline's Monday night.

Knee's hopefully nothing more than a soft-tissue injury, like a strained ligament; finally went to my doc. Have to baby it for a couple of weeks, wear a brace, continue RICE with an anti-inflammatory, etc. So naturally I'm itching to exercise, can't stand the fact that this very likely could've been prevented if my body had ::ehem:: less pounds on it. Well, screw it; if I can't exercise the knee, I'll exercise everything but. A month of that isn't going to lopside anything, and god knows I need the habit.

This weekend will be for making lists and getting the house back in order (heh, like it ever was in order to begin with). Pretty as the tree is, it needs to come down soon; but maybe I'll pull a strand or two of lights off for around the house...might spruce things up a bit. The apartment's getting that "packed to the ceiling" feeling again...time for a purge. And there's a Michael's gift card burning a hole in my wallet :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post-Christmas blahs

Warning: LONG post...grab a bathroom break, freshen your coffee...

We're past the holiday and in that fuzzy state between Christmas and New Years...the holiday itself was such a weird mix of happy and sad, that I'm not sure how I'm feeling now. A little tired, a little work-weary...can't complain about the hours really; when push comes to shove, it'll be 40 just like any other work week. A project fell into our laps right before Christmas, which the higher-ups would love completed by the end of the fiscal year, which is, yup, you guessed it: New Years' Eve. There's lots of pressure, it's a very dry (read: BORING) project, which if thought about too hard produces a "this TOTALLY sucks!!!" whinyness, thus the post-Christmas blahs.

Certainly doesn't have to do with a lack o' gifties...I had myself quite a nice Christmas...got some hand looms and a pile of knitting and crochet supplies, a new outfit that fits wonderfully (the MominLaw has developed a gift for buying me clothes in spite of my size, without my having to be there to try it on); some DVDs and books, and I treated myself to a pair of casual ankle boots/sneaks that are way comfy. The stuffed Lorax from LilSis was the best treat of all! He's my favorite Dr. Seuss character and environmentalist! Yes, folks, 38 years old and my best giftie was a little orange dude with a huge mustache who's shaped like a rugby ball.

I understand what killed Dad finally...not that I can put it into words yet. Well, these next two paragraphs kind of illustrate to the contrary...Mom gave me his hospital file, and try as I might have to put it off til later, I skimmed the whole thing when I got home from her place Christmas Day. In another day or two, I'll make some notes for myself with the help of my Gray's Anatomy, and then get the file back to her, because I could tell she was having a little trouble relinquishing it the other day, as it's our only copy. I have some anger to release toward the doctors for dumbing things down for us so much during those 2 days (like standing around scratching their heads and calling it a catastrophic event, when they could've told us the truth, that the several aneurysms in his body were suffering fatal compromise, his left ventricle was operating at about 15% capacity, and his heart just couldn't sustain life anymore), but I realize there's absolutely nothing to be gained from calling people fucking assholes 7½ months after the fact, so I'll find a way to release that rage. So much frustration though...I know all 4 of us (Mom, Meara, Cyril, and I) probably have 4 very different memories of those 2 days, given the as-yet-unexperienced level of grief and stress, but I never heard the words "aortic dissection" pass anyone's lips unless they were talking about 1982...and the fact remains that one of the things that the file tells us is that by mid-afternoon that Friday (he went in Thursday night, passed at noon on Saturday), the docs thought his aorta around the graft was showing compromise, so even if he wasn't already suffering from multi-system organ failure, his heart would've blown and taken him. And the testaments to his strength are right there on paper...we were communicating with him, looking him in the eyes and seeing coherence, when he was already hitting a blood sugar in the high 300s in the afternoon that Friday.

I even get why they could never operate to try to fix his issues...the cardiac system is a very large and dependent system, dependent on itself, that is. Only when they first discovered the problems/weaknesses could they have had a chance at repairing them, because once multiple areas become compromised, it becomes much more dangerous to attempt repair. Can't fix the carotid if the left ventricular artery is also in trouble, can't fix the heart if there's abdominal aortic aneurysms looking for an excuse to blow...and I also accept that there's an excellent chance he was afraid to go under the knife again. He probably couldn't see past the fear, to the advances that have been made in modern medicine since 1982; all he saw was time he'd be out of work, time spent immobile, time spent unable to help his family, not getting how he'd be helping his family by undergoing any procedures. 1982 must've been terrifying for him, only 42 years old and laid flat for 3 months, afraid to sneeze because the pain would nearly knock him unconscious. I don't condone his fear, but I know him, so I'll understand it.

This verbal diarrhea brought to you by Baptist Heart Hospital, who remind you that if you actually want the truth from your doctors, threaten litigation upfront. I don't know what else I could've done. Cyril was our large, formidable spokesperson at times, since he'd cosigned Dad's living will and been living with them for a year; but there were several times when I was looking Stapleton (Dad's cardiologist) in the face and telling him I was medical-terminology-savvy and could he please educate me further as to what was going on, and I got lip service. I got "we're as stumped as you are." And they knew. The time stamps on their dictation are testament to their knowledge. But unless you're actually wearing scrubs, they're not going to take you seriously, I guess. It's an unfair assumption that makes me livid, makes me want to go to med school and major in cardiology. Doubt I'll go that far, but there's got to be something I come away from this with, besides anger.

Wait, I already know I'm coming away with more; I got to the end of that file on Christmas night and felt a great sense of relief and understanding...it was so much more tangible an understanding than when I read his autopsy file - that sucker produced more questions than answers. But his hospital file illustrates what was happening as it was happening, and I finally understood. I can stop bargaining, hop over depression, and try my hand at acceptance. Sounds easy, don't it? Don't worry, I know better.

So we press on, and hold tightly to the good memories and to ourselves. A new year creeps toward us, and there are plans to be made. Finances be damned, we're going to start trying for kids in February, so there's work to be done.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas

Such a strong holiday in our culture. I'm glad that I have this time to figure out the parts I believe, the parts I'd like to celebrate, and how to pull the two together in a way that educates us and our kids without confusion, while at the same time allowing us to create our own family tradition.

Since we traveled to SC this weekend, there was no time to celebrate Yule in the pagan sense. Saturday night his folks went to a party and we kids hung out (we kids being 20-something Ashley, 30-something Allan and Kara, their 17-month-old Kylie, and Les and I), and since we only visit about 4 times a year, it's not like I would've wanted to drag the ole cauldron and candles up there...it was good to spend time with them. They all know I'm a witch and accept it fine, but sometimes there are more important or appropriate things than making sure a ritual is done when the moon's in conjunction with whatever. I don't think that makes me a fair-weather witch...I honor my faith and beliefs year-round in my life actions. On the flip side, I considered myself a Christian when the only effort I was making at church was Christmas and Easter. Faith is a heck of a lot more than how you act on December 25th.

It was a hard weekend, but a good visit. The cleaning lady came Sunday while it was raining, so there were some times there where it just felt like there were way too many people in the house and no easy means of escape. But Mom J and I bonded over cookie dough, Dad J. was all lit up over his new job, a lateral move within the SC State Department of HHS, writing and approving grants; Kara remained civil most of the time, and the baby was once again a wonderful education to look after. Feeding that age while they're teething is an exercise in patience, and it reminded me of how I used to feed Meara (holding both her hands at the wrists with my left hand while I shoveled it in with my right)...knew that wouldn't fly with Kylie though, she's a very willful critter, and I'm not enough of a fixture in her life for that kind of change to be acceptable (read: she'd have freaked and let me know it). Being raised by 4 people instead of 2 is making her quite clingy right now...you'd think that that would give her more stability, but the people who should be her center points aren't doing their jobs well at all, so she's left at loose ends as to who to turn to at times. Les and I both wish we could do more, while at the same time experience relief that we're removed from the situation by distance.

I'm glad to be home, there's presents under the tree, money in our pockets, and the promise of a nice time tomorrow with Mom, Cyril, and Meara. My knee's still not great, but I can't do anything about that until at least Wednesday, so nothing to do but press on. I'm stuck at work til 8ish, so the husby's making dinner and we'll relax tonight. I'm feeling lucky and happy.

Friday, December 21, 2007

RELIEF!

reliefreliefrelief...

Bonus landed on my desk late Thursday afternoon, cleverly disguised in company Christmas card. Not as much as we need, of course, but it'll do. It means a comfortable trip to SC, gifts for those we hadn't bought for yet, and a pinch left over for bills. It means paying the car loan on time, and actually buying a nice gift for my mom. I'm very happy.

Three hours left to work, and then we escape to the wilds of SC, where you can hear the birds, the air tastes a pinch cleaner, and my niece plays innocently with little clue of how tightly wound the house she lives in is...I know Les is bumming a tad that we won't be there ON Christmas day this year (his first time ever missing that), but by the same token, we're both a little relieved this is a short visit. The place is a pressure cooker, and will continue to be so, until his LilSis and her baggage get an adult-sized clue and move the hell out.

Heck, I'm only bringing one knitting project, because I'm figuring on doing a quick shop Saturday morning with Les, and then spending the rest of the day helping Mom J. cook. I'm going to try and stay away from the booze and just spread a little joy. If May taught me anything, it's the importance of the relationships we have, while we have them (of course, I say that and I've barely talked to my own mom in like, 2 weeks...no reason, just letting life get in the way...one of those things; easy to say, a whole other story putting into practice...we only neglect the ones we love).

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Home stretch

Seriously, can the weekend take longer to get here? So. In. Holiday. Mode. Got gifts to wrap, baking that ain't getting done, epic piles of laundry...i don't have time for this work thing! But there's still a glimmer of hope for a Christmas bonus from my company, so I guess I'll hold out patience for one more day. Half day tomorrow, then we're heading out. Tonight I'll organize clothes and pack. Saturday I'll do laundry and help with food, hopefully get in some of my own baking so I can leave them with some treats since not everyone's getting gifts. We won't know until we're up there whether a) we're coming back Sunday or Monday, and b) whether Les is staying for the holiday. Since we haven't any means to celebrate it with each other, so to speak, and don't care much about the religious ramifications of not celebrating it, we're not missing anything by not being together necessarily. His family's going through a significant bit of tension and it might do them some good to have him around for a bit; we'll see...Tuesday we'll hang with my fam, then I work a half day on Wednesday and things get back to semi-normal.

I learned this season about how I'd like my pantry stocked, how I'd always like to have certain things on hand to throw together this or that on a whim. I like having a full cookie jar, though I need to investigate healthier recipes. I like making my own bread, and having fruit and veggies handy. Such simple things. So easy to neglect when it's just you and a husband...I'd never think of keeping the larder as bare as we do if there were a small person in the house with us. Ridiculous double standard.

I want to frog the virgin wool scarf and use all that yarn for knitting soakers. I want to always have a pair of socks on the needles. I want to knit a sweater for Husby and mittens and gauntlets for myself. I want to take more pictures and rearrange the dining room. These are things that are doable.

As a Celt, I try to take stock around Samhain, write resolutions, look forward and back. But we lost Jordan right before Thanksgiving, which rounded out 2007 as a suck year in my book. So I'm doing some looking forward as we hit the end of the year, but for once, it's for small, realistic goals that do right by me and my little family. I see what real debt is, and it'll give me the clarity of focus necessary to never let things get this bad again. I feel my body reacting in its small ways to the extra weight, and it'll give me the motivation to get stronger. We'll take care of Fig better, because we don't ever again want to feel the level of guilt associated with Jordan's loss. People may not necessarily change, but we do have the capacity to learn.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Looks like I'll live

Man, colds suck! They're just the most miserable things. You're laying there, breathing through your mouth because there's a No-Thru-Traffic sign on your nose, and your ears and throat are connected by this throbbing pressure and you think to yourself, I'm never going to feel better...and you're not even trying to be melodramatic, but that's how it feels, and if you were a whinier person, you might groan aloud...

But give it a week (that feels like a month)...and thank the dear lord for the extra antibiotics in the house, because I'm convinced it's why I'm feeling better so quickly...and I'm perking up considerably and ready to get baking again, and just in time, because there's how many days til Christmas? I can't even gauge it according to when the blasted holiday hits, because we're heading up to SC Friday afternoon, will be there until Sunday night or Monday morning, then I work a full day on Monday, Christmas Eve :( Tuesday we'll meander over to Mom's for a slightly strange Christmas. I say slightly strange because, well...it will be. Once we kids hit adulthood, Dad stopped putting forth much effort where holidays were concerned; the exception being the years he was in the mood to do the train set. It was all on Mom and Meara, bless them both...I haven't done Christmas with my side of the family in probably 10 years! (which means I baled on them when Meara was only about 14, so we won't dwell long on that) So I have a feeling we'll be missing him more than is logical, considering he wasn't into the holidays. As if there's logic in grief...didn't think I'd miss him as much as I am...just plain doesn't make sense to miss him around Christmastime, because he just couldn't stand any holiday where presents were involved. But there it is; he's gone, I want him back, and not having him here sucks. I'm thinking of giftwrapping a box of Mallomars for him.

Thankfully none of us on either side of the family can afford much Christmas this year. That's depressing the crap out of Mom J., who really oughta have "Born to Shop" tattooed somewhere on her person; but hopefully I can spread enough sunshine while we're there to keep things festive. Hell, if I have to wear a sandwich board that reads "It's All about Family" while I'm there, I'll do it. Our gifts this year are handmade, secondhand, or culled from our own belongings, and it feels good somehow; and infinitely easier than plowing through a mall or department store searching for the latest gadgets. I liked looking around at stuff on Black Friday, and sure, some items have merit (the alarm clock that rolls off your end table and away from you, so that you have to crawl out of bed and chase the sucker down, thus waking you up, is ingenious), but for the most part you find yourself saying things like, yeah, it's cute, but do I really need a voice-activated R2-D2? If it'll fetch me beer and clean the cat box, maybe, but otherwise...

So since my cold's almost gone, my knee got worse...I try hard not to subscribe to Murphy's Law type of thinking, but sometimes I wonder...it's been stiff for about 2 weeks now, I think (should look back over my posts); and yesterday tried icing it down again, elevating after work, you know, the stuff you're supposed to do when you sprain something...so naturally it was worse when I woke up this morning. I have a brace, but last time I wore the silly thing was about 75 pounds ago, so I think an upsize is in order...toes haven't turned blue yet or anything, but I'm probably doing more harm than good. I'm thinking bursitis, but really I haven't a clue; that assumption is from Internet research and the fact that it doesn't hurt so much as it's definitely stiff and bordering on unreliable. The pain comes if I try to crouch down at all or kneel on it, and when I tried to get up from that position the other day in the grocery store, I had an "oh shit, this is gonna require coordination" moment...as if I need any incentive to feel fat and useless around the holidays...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ho, ho, ::sniff:: ho...

Blocked ears. Stuffy dose. Nice voice, kind of Kathleen Turner meets Polly Draper with a little Debra-Winger-in-Made-in-Heaven thrown in...that movie reference is so friggin' obscure, the only other person on the planet who may get it is my LilBro...grabbing more cough syrup at lunchtime...and Drixoral...and maybe a stiff drink...

Turned the heel on Broadripple...started and frogged another pair twice this weekend, couldn't decide on a pattern and was trying patterns with too much complexity for my foggy head...but did fall in love with the colors of the Sock Garden from KnitPicks (a mix of pinks and purples with some hyacinth thrown in) that I was using, so whatever does get made from that may go to me as well :) Dirty job, but somebody has to do it...was REALLY nice putting my big handmade hat on this morning to keep my wet head from giving me pneumonia...only getting up to 50-something today...I'd enjoy it more if I could hear out of both ears...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Grab some cheese...

Cuz I feel a whine coming on...

See, I rarely get sick. Got a great immune system. Love it. Call it mommy training (when I was a kid, I didn't think mommies got sick). Husby gets a bug seemingly every quarter; I was going on 2 years with nary a sniffle. I think I've become a carrier...I catch stuff at work, feel no symptoms, and bring it home to him. Can't wait to see how that works when we have kids bringing bugs home to us. So I'm kind of like a guy when it comes to being under the weather...I don't take it well, turn whiny, grumpy, snap at people with zero provocation and wish I could shove the words back from whence they came (geez, what's with the flowery prose?)...anyhoo, I think I have tonsillitis and it sucks. I recognize it because for reasons that baffle, I became prone to tonsillitis since coming to Jacksonville, have had it at least half a dozen times in the last 8...10 years. NEVER had it as a kid, which certainly lends a smidge of credence to the argument that I'm more susceptible thanks to living in close quarters with a smoker, but hey, what're you gonna do? So my mood's gone a little black...my ears are blocked and my sore throat stretches up to my left ear, I'm exhausted, have no patience for work (yeah, i know, nothing new there), and just wanna be home either a) knitting in my chair with something soft wrapped around my head so the ear thing quits bugging me, or b) sacked out in our WONDERFULLY comfortable bed. However, I have 4 hours of work left, and my idiotic company decided THIS year to stop having any PTO roll over, so if you don't use it, you lose it, so my boss has been meticulously making sure we use as much as we can that we have stored up, but the upshot is having very little time off now going into the end of the year...

So, ok, wah...taking Les's antibiotics in the hopes they'll nip this sucker in the bud fast, and Advil seems to take the edge off the pain, but naturally since talking strains my voice, my boss would love for me to train as many people as I can in one of the tools NOW...::sigh::...is it Friday yet?

Been plunking away on the Broadripple sock and the strap of the Cascade bag...the strap feels like it's taking FOREVER, but I'm planning to do it a bit long to be safe, plus so there can be an excess bit stitched in (unless I can figure out how to pick up stitches where I'm attaching it and join it, maybe kitchener style?). It's funny how I work things out in my head while I'm writing this stuff...the grafting idea is definitely a lightbulb, and probably how the average pattern would describe attaching a strap like that. Then it'll be my first attempt at machine felting, and I'm thinking of lining it too...grabbed a piece of cardboard from the back of a legal pad today to set aside for a potential bottom (to be covered in the liner material), and I'll have to hit the fat quarter sale bin at Joann's or troll my pals' fabric collections for something to line it with. The sock is so easy and fun, it's causing delusions of aptitude...thinking of starting a 2nd pair in the KnitPicks pink and purple self-striping for Lil Sis using my #2s...

Must go blow dose...3 hours to go...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday

See, one of my baking issues is my attempts to substitute ingredients without doing my homework...and my tendency to do this with a) a new recipe, and b) a group of people rather than just myself, or me and Husby. I made a gingerbread cake last night for the first time, for the Holiday shindig my team's doing today. Fudged it in 2 significant spots...
1) Recipe called for shortening, which I never have on hand (can't stand the stuff), so I subbed with half butter, half vegetable oil.
2) Only had half the molasses called for on hand, so added corn syrup as well.

That second one's the worrier...have a feeling it'll take from the ginger flavor and make it too sweet. Hopefully I can encourage the whipped cream on top and hide my shortcomings...it looks terrific; hope that fools people...

7 months today...I seem to have slid back into denial a bit, because it just doesn't f*ing make sense that he's gone.

Sharing Husby's antibiotics in the hopes of nabbing the tonsillitis before it gets ugly...tried Airborne last night too, with surprisingly positive effects, though it tasted like effervescent ass...

P.S. Gingerbread edible, complimented even! Wasn't too sweet, but I think it had less zing with less molasses, so would try not to make that mistake again. A touch crumbly, but that's par for the course with gingerbread, ain't it? I'll check the Southern Living cookbook for alternatives on that front.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rather be knitting...

Didn't like handknit cap on top of tree...have replaced it with little purple and gold stuffed dragon...

Don't wanna be at work...yeah, what's new, I know...wah, wah...very little work to do here, so kicking myself for not bringing my knitting...

Made the idiotic comment to Christy exactly a week ago, that I hadn't had a cold in like, 2 years...tempting fate, I know...woke up this morning with sore left tonsil...recognize it b/c I've been prone to tonsillitis in my adult life...seems to be waning, but if it turns into anything, I'm going to be significantly pissed. Already feeling a pinch off my game, because my right knee has developed a stiffness out of nowhere in the last week...

grumble, grumble...

Weather's frickin' gorgeous, supposed to get up to 79 today. I wanna go home and lie under my Christmas tree.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Love my digicam :)

Unitarian tree...couldn't find the star for the top, so there's a handknit cap there instead



The mothership...it approaches...


Take. The friggin'. Picture. Already.


Sacked out in my catch-all corner...

15 shopping days...

If Charles M. Schulz was bemoaning the commercialism of Christmas with his Charlie Brown special back in 1965, then he must be spinning in his grave this year. Certainly I'm more prone to resentment this year since our financial sitch is dictating such a frugal holiday, but it's definitely more than that. The blatant TV advertising tactics of retail establishments have me ashamed to be an American. The greedy little cuss on TV who wants to stay up just 5 more minutes so she and Mom can pick some more things out of the Toys R Us Big Book doesn't strike me as cute, and I think it's sending a piss-poor signal to kids by illustrating that level of avarice as ok because it's the holiday. And what's with the jewelry ads?! I think Christmas is beating Valentine's Day this year for the number of diamonds being hawked...and all I can think when I see those, is if I don't need diamonds 11 months out of the year, what makes December so different? If we were to win Lotto tomorrow, I can't see my views changing a whole lot in this regard...I feel so much better about knitting Lilsisinlaw a pair of socks this year than getting her the usual gift card for a DVD or something. It's just hard to understand the level of unfettered purchasing that's encouraged, especially when you think about the number of devout Christians out there who can't afford to eat, let alone indulge in some holiday cheer. Trust me, this ain't a witch vs. JC thing; it's about knowing and encouraging knowledge in the value of a buck.

Sleep patterns sucked this weekend. I realized I tucked my grief into a corner and shut it down for a while. Unfortunately realized this after dream upon dream where Dad was alive, but comatose, so there was the elation that he was still with us coupled with the fear that we were going to lose him—basically like living the last 40 hours of his life all over again. I'd wake up unsure whether he was gone or not. I think the shutting down occured after Jordan, because the anger and guilt that accompanied his passing was just more than I could bear at the time. So I did some thinking, some writing, and some crying; and plan to be more cognizant of what's going on in my head in the coming days.

Tree's up! Pictures tonight hopefully. It needs more ornaments. Using the random wrap as a tree skirt :) Finished Lilsisinlaw's socks! Gotta update Ravelry...also frogged a fingerless gloves project because I started 'em way too small, and started Broadripple socks in that yarn instead. It's working up nicely, and the pattern's perfect for my needs: repetitive, but not so boring that I lose interest. Still don't really trust myself with anything too complex...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fridayfridayfridayfridayfriday

Bliss.

Well, would be if I weren't at work, and destined for hours of training in a tool I'm already fairly proficient at...

Found a blog last night (http://snowedinn.blogspot.com) from Yellowknife in the NW Territory. Now that's snow! That's "we ain't f*ckin' around" snow! It's helping keep my mood light; we'll see if that still works this weekend, when the weather's supposed to be frickin' gorgeous (high 70s, no rain...personally, I'd be happier with high 40s).

My whole body hurts from female stuff, but I took something and am beginning to rally. Did something to my knee too, but if it doesn't actually hurt (just stiff and swollen), is it worth whining about? Probably not.

Les is hoovering the banana bread, so I'll do some more baking this weekend, finish Lilsisinlaw's sock, and we're getting that tree up!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Are we there yet?

Coffee. NOT! Working! Damn hormones.

Thursday and already my mind is on the weekend, things I'd love to get accomplished. I think it's an open weekend, meaning no real attachments or crap planned. In December, even for closet cases like us, that can be a rare thing. Next Friday is the company Christmas party, which we haven't decided on yet (they're advertising karaoke.....::shudders::......maybe we can hit the free food and get out before anyone grabs a mike...), and that Sunday is Flash your Stash with the KB gang, and the weekend after that is SC. Holy crap! This weekend I'd love to get the tree up, finally get the books to Chamblin's, and lay out on paper how the frick we're gonna make Christmas work. Then there's bringing in the aloe plants and cooker, downsizing Figaro's litter boxes, tossing the bikes, and every other little thing that I've talked about lately and blown off for one reason or another...like writing down what I'm planning to plant in the spring, making a true list of my containers, what they're good for, what I'll need to buy, how the planting may lay out time-wise, and how I can accommodate the fact that there's an excellent chance that when I'm wanting to do this, I won't even have a porch to do it on (because they sent out a flyer recently letting us know that everyone's getting screened-in in the near future, which means probably tearing our entire porch down, because it's a poster child for wood rot and has a substantial crack in the concrete slab)...you know...small stuff like that...

In my defense, it's been a weird week; anything that takes me out "on a school night" leaves me a shade off-kilter for a day or so...add raging PMS to that, and I probably shouldn't be out in public for long periods of time. My body develops an internal hum, and I don't react well to change, like someone asking me a frickin' question. Probably a good thing the caffeine doesn't feel like it's up to par this morning, or else I'd really be flying. But there's a snap in the air, which puts a spring in my step, so I press nose to grindstone and mark time 'til the weekend.


I'm actually in a really decent holiday mood this year...taking a lighthearted unitarian view, where the spirit of the season is what counts, everybody's entitled to their beliefs about what went down this time of year, so screw it and pass the eggnog! One of the local stations changed to all-Christmas music after Thanksgiving, and I can listen to it for the most part without wanting to impale anyone with a plastic icicle...with the exception of Paul McCartney's "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime"...that melody gets on my last nerve, always has. There are paper snowflakes on my desk at work, and I made a cream cheese banana bread last night that kicked butt. It's the little things...

Dad still sneaking up on me...he's in the back of my head usually, but then something microscopic occurs to pull him to the front...and we're talking microscopic: yesterday it was seeing Fels Naptha soap on a shelf in the grocery store (which he used, along with Lava, after a heavy-duty day in the garage), and before that, it was seeing the word "dungaree" in a word game. Cyril and I used to get the giggles because Dad called jeans dungarees. How the hell can he be gone? I am at peace with it, in the sense that his visit with me on Halloween served as Neosporin for the sucking chest wound that was my grief (waxing metaphoric again), but we still don't REALLY know what killed him, so I have a feeling I'm going to hit Bargaining again really soon (in the five stages) and go searching for answers. Was going to grab his hospital file last time I visited Mom, but I forgot...but what I really want is his cardiologist's file.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Status quo

Been a little wired lately. Think it's hormonal.

Had a really nice visit with Christy last night, my best friend from high school. She's developed a side business of jewelry making that is truly showcasing her eye for color and depth for intricate work. Her pieces are breathtaking stonework in silver and gold with an emphasis on beading. Her prices reflect her admiration for the good stuff, which makes them hard sellers in places like St. Augie, where her show was, but I just know she'd do well if she could find an outlet where she lives in East Hampton. We talked about me building her a website. She gifted me a pair of earrings last night that I just adore, and I really wish I could've come away with more.

Money sitch is manageable, which is such a relief. I know our credit's taking a beating with the bank account being the way it is, but with no way to remedy that just yet, there's no point in worrying about it. Man, I love Paxil. You do not sweat the small stuff on Paxil.

35 degrees F this morning :) Nuff' said.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Doing right by me

Went for a walk today. Call the papers.

Talk about mental. I think it's easier for me to go for a walk when there's a purpose behind it. I went to the store, recycled plastic bags, and bought a Sunday paper, loaf of bread, and donuts. The fact that I went the long way to get there and kept a good clip is secondary somehow.

Dawned on me this afternoon that the aching I've had in my knees all week was gone, and I'd gotten sun on my face.

Nice.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meandering thoughts

Thursday already...sweet! Haven't gotten nearly enough done this week, so I'm looking forward to the weekend. Have to move the plants in and toss the bikes, and decorate for Christmas this weekend. Hope we can splurge on a box of candy canes!

The manic highs have definitely left the building for a piece, but I'm not scraping the bottom of the well either, which is nice. It's odd though, how easy it is to not take proper care of yourself. I've never been an exerciser (yet......OPTIMISM!), so it's easy to understand when that falls to the wayside; but stuff like eating habits, I never get a clue until the blinding headaches have started again or the scale starts to creep north. I'm 38 frickin' years old! (she said, as though age had anything to do with it) Should have a handle on stuff like this by now...anyway, that thought was precipitated by the fact that I curled up for a little nap after work yesterday, and woke up 4 hours later. Clearly the body needed something the brain wasn't checking in on...and when I think about how naps like that won't be nearly as accessible (as the mothers that read this blog go, "naps? what's a nap?") when there are small people afoot, it punctuates how very important it is to keep a handle on your own health. I think I need to stop giving blood for a while; I'm pretty sure I can link some of my issues this week to the fact that I'm down a pint.

Speaking of 38, it's getting a little aggravating to still be getting carded to buy Husby's smokes. Wanted to climb up on the counter and grab the collar of the 20-year-old in question, while screaming "1969!!!", but figured that'd be a bit much...

Yarn Harlot's funny today :) I do hope she gets enough reassurance in the Comments section, that there's plenty of us out there who are just as tweaked as she is...

The problem with an ovulation clock that's outta whack is you still keep time as though it was normal. So you expect a little PMS around X, and then when it actually occurs around Y, you realize you have no excuse for acting like a raving lunatic during X...luckily the spouse already knows I'm a few blueberries shy of a muffin basket.

I need to knit myself some headbands. This glorious mop o' mine is heading toward one length again, so it's full and thick and completely unflattering with my round face; but I've been wearing it down more to keep my ears warm...

Fig's been adorable, quite clingy. She's still a persnickety cat...if you pet her certain ways, you're liable to get scratched for your trouble. But she's a little more talkative, and just so pretty...her coat is lush. I'm learning to give her more affection; I'm the disciplinarian with her, so she's a bit wary sometimes, but the dynamic is shifting a bit with Jordan's absence. Love that picture I took of her on the magazine, so I put it over to the right. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

False hope

Just thinking out loud here.....probably idiotic of me to do so, what with identity theft so rampant...I like to think my common last name keeps the threat at a minimum, but that's likely naive...

To have things be as bad as they are for us right now financially, and still be manageable, provides a false sense of security. Phone and Internet got turned off Monday, and full cable is probably set to go within a couple of days. But if we keep up the minutes on my cell phone somehow, we won't be cut off from the world entirely. The library's right down the street from our house for Internet, and of course, I have access to it all day at work. Having dead TVs for a while will certainly hurt Husby more than me, because he's home all day. Between the knitting and reading I do in the evenings, the TV is little more than a distraction anyway, with the possible exception of my Tuesday night viewing, which can certainly be caught up on with Internet and other media once we have them back. Hell, if the writer's strike doesn't get resolved soon, there won't be much more of the regular TV season anyway. I'm being overly optimistic about this though; I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune when I'm missing new Kyle XYs in '08...

Our bank account's in very bad shape, but with the holiday next month and our planned trip to SC (which there's really no way out of; I mean, we're talking family tradition here), I'm not willing to deal with the bank account until my mid-January check probably, which means quite a bit of dealing in cash, but at least the important bills will get paid. Actually, maybe not so much dealing in cash...there's plenty of vehicles out there for situations like this. Places like ACE Cash Express...it looks like I could cash my payroll check there, get my rent in money order form, and stick the rest on a prepaid Visa card for less cash work and totally manageable fees. Which really makes me wonder how many folks out there live by the seat of their pants like that, but I certainly can't complain, because it could be getting us out of a serious bind. Sonofagun. And there you go, false sense of security...what I mean is that I have that "everything's going to be alright" feeling, when I don't feel I deserve it, especially when our account's so far in the hole, we need a backhoe and a mountain climbing course to get ourselves out of it. Waxing metaphoric again...

Nothin' to do but soldier on...I'm halfway through the 2nd sock, trying to do 14 rows a night, and brainstorming for fiber-induced Christmas present ideas...but I'm pretty realistic where that's concerned. Everybody on our so-called Christmas list may end up getting books, as we still have that monster box in the trunk of our car, just waiting to be traded in at Chamblin's. Thank goodness...I mean, me wanting to be all idealistic about less consumption during the holidays is one thing, but Husby's mom loves having stuff under the tree.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fresh start.....again

Hard to think of the end of November as being a place for a fresh start...fresh starts are for spring or the beginnings of months...well, maybe this one has a better chance of holding because it's at an unusual time.

Thanksgiving was a bit mopey, but I guess that's understandable. I get that I needed to come down a bit from my month of good feelings; just wish the fates didn't have to kill off one of my cats in the process. We kept it rather simple; the food was delicious, but it felt mediocre. The rest of the weekend sped by rather disconcertingly, but parts of it were good so I'm not as pissed as I'd normally be when that happens. Friday I spent some time with Mom and Lil Sis; we went to the St. Johns Town Center and just window shopped. It was naturally jammed with Black Friday folks, but I must've been in a good place because it didn't depress me that I couldn't buy anything, and the crowds didn't make me want to smack anyone...well, except for this one mother who was admonishing her kid loudly in public. I realize I'll sing a different tune when I have my own urchins, but when I see stuff like that, I have to hold back from going over to the woman and asking her if it's ever dawned on her that if she disciplined her kid properly at home, maybe he wouldn't feel the need to act out in public. Sometimes it is as simple as teaching them right from wrong. Of course, I say that while thinking that one of the reasons that Cyril and I were so well behaved in public as kids, was plain fear of pissing off Dad. I don't want to rule with an iron hand when the time comes though; I have to believe there's a happy medium. Maybe it's time to do some reading on the subject.

Saturday was mope around day, which left me feeling quite vile, but I rallied Sunday with a trip to the Westside to see the brick we had placed in the grotto behind the Catholic church in memory of Dad, and breakfast at Mom's. Got home mid-afternoon, puttered a bit, made cookies, and relaxed the rest of the day, which was nice. Poor Husby was working through the latest migraine, so I kept noise to a minimum, got up to the calf decreases on the 2nd sock, and read a bit. Really helped make Monday morning easier somehow, though would've helped even more if I'd gotten off my butt and fixed myself lunch for the next day, but I made do this morning. Baby steps.

This week is rearranging the apartment to put up the tree and laying out the finances for the end of the year. We're so far in the hole, I took myself off direct deposit so that we can actually pay bills. But Christmas bonus or not, there's a good chance we plain can't afford the holidays this year, so we're warning people now. It's about time we change the way the holiday goes anyway; I'm so beyond the idea of blowing money on things people don't need. I'd so rather make a donation in someone's name than get them something they won't use. This financial lousiness couldn't have happened at a better time.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am thankful...

It's been a suck year, but I am thankful...

For Les, Mom, Cyril, Meara, not in any order...

For the little black cat that's chewing on the plastic bag right next to me...

For the time I had with Dad...

For the time I had with Jordan...

For my friends in Jax and online, past and present...

For books and knitting, Paxil and Lithium, and all the other things that keep me sane...

For cold weather and the breeze on my face...

A roof over our heads and food on the table...

Gods bless, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rage

I'm so angry and guilty and sad...I can't think of him as being in a better place. It's my/our fault. We knew he wasn't right, but we just didn't have the money to give him what he needed. If we'd asked about more comprehensive nutrition therapy back in April when he first started having the health problems, could we have reversed things? He may have been too far gone even then; there just aren't enough decent tests to be done in the non-private practice vet offices, and the private offices cost a fortune. The Banfield folks at PetSmart, while ok vets, I'm sure, thought he was on death's door in April, and the only advice they gave me on his diet was let him eat whatever he wants, because he was too thin as he was. He held out for 7 more months, but we've definitely learned that cat does not live on chicken breast and cow's milk alone, and that when they start getting finicky about food, it's not a problem, it's a PROBLEM, one that requires immediate attention. I get it now. We thought he was rallying, but he was probably feeling like shit for 7 solid months, otherwise he would've eaten more, eaten actual cat food, looked better, gained more weight. We were fooling ourselves, and that damn sure will never happen again. He was such a beautiful cat. I'm finding myself weeping openly at work over this. I'm so angry.

Figaro's getting insured, and we're putting her on a lower-calorie diet. She gets plenty of exercise tear-assing around the house, but the silo's got to go, cuz she's a little furry black piglet. And we're so in the hole over this, that I've no idea where rent's coming from in 2 weeks, and there's an excellent chance they'll be holding Jordan's ashes hostage until we can pay for them. Merry fucking Thanksgiving.

Sorry...not in the greatest place right now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My dad has someone to play with now.

The skin over my Dad grief has been pricked by a cat claw.

Apparently I wax metaphoric in times of deep sadness.

We euthanized Jordan, my 12-year-old, part-Siamese cat last night. It was a painfully pragmatic decision. A combination of diabetic neuropathy and renal failure made his legs give out completely yesterday; when he walked, it looked like he'd gotten into the liquor cabinet. We took him to the kitty ER. There were plenty of contributing factors leading up to this that we're trying not to dwell on right now, not the least of which is that he and Figaro, our 4-year-old shorthair, never truly meshed. And the truth was that prolonging his life would have been very costly, painful for him, and ultimately futile.....but I'm having trouble thinking that way right now. It's still too fresh, and feels too much like a financial decision. The very good listener of a vet was explaining to us that we were probably looking at a form of intensive care for him this week to get him to rally, and then more medication therapy, including insulin, for the rest of his life, and when I found my voice, all I could say was "what you're explaining, we can't afford." That hurts like hell, and we're both blaming ourselves; but I know in a day or two I'll be more amenable to the fact that he's not hurting anymore.

He was my first pet literally; I didn't grow up with animals. I got him from a colleague when I was living in Fort Myers. Found Les 2 months later. He was a very easygoing cat, a bit of a bulimic, but not a complainer. Very pretty markings...it dawned on me last night that his back was really similar to my White Buffalo Seal Heather Brown. Dark brown tail and ears; white belly, chest, and feet; and a patch of coffee ice cream on his right shoulder.

Within a month of my acquiring him, I brought him home to Jax to meet the folks. Dad played with him on the floor with a piece of string, and commented on how aloof he was. I remember Dad getting a kick out of him, how low-maintenance and friendly he appeared. So that memory has attached to Dad, Neil, and Poppy now, working on cars in the garage. Jordan is hanging out on the car hood with them.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good stuff

In no particular order...

Mood above average again.
Lots of energy.
Cold expected later today and tonight.
Payday tomorrow.
Thanksgiving next week.
Short work week next week for Thanksgiving.
Meara's home next weekend.
New license plate's on its way.
Knitting in the park on Saturday.
Native Sun Open House tonight.
Happy.
Nice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ebb and flow

I wonder if normal people wake up in the morning and recognize whether or not they're ok. Cuz for those of us who require medication to determine this, we develop an internal gauge...it's hard to explain, especially since if you're a depressive, you're so used to it, if you notice it's a down day, you basically trudge on, because you know that no amount of positive thinking and sunshine is going to help it, so why try? May sound defeatist, but it's realism...when the energy expended to get out of bed is enough to get you frustrated, why pour more into a warm fuzzy that hasn't a chance of breaking through what the medication can't...

So I took yesterday's dip in mood in stride. It pissed me off, but I was too busy dealing with the symptoms to really vent, and I wanted to know why. Why after nearly a month of feeling really damn good, do I suddenly take a dip? I know everyday can't be sunshine and roses, but nothing had changed with my medication, no PMSing, no serious changes in my diet, I thought; so why was I suddenly crawling out of my skin, hating my reflection in the mirror, and working with the concentration level of a Mexican jumping bean...I'm still not certain. I think it was diet and PCOS messing with me. That wheat bread I'm making may be better for me than the white, but when you increase your consumption as a result and already have candida issues, you're asking for trouble. And I had one of those "ding, fries are done!" moments when I remembered that somewhere in my bookcase is a little reference book dedicated solely to the topic of PCOS. I found it at Chamblin's and thought, what a great resource, and promptly shelved it. I can't be the only one who does stuff like that. Anyway, it's time to dig it out. I have a feeling it's as simple as what I'm stuffing my face with :(

Today appears to be better. I'm wearing comfort clothes just to be safe, cuz I REALLY hated what I was wearing yesterday and the only thing wrong with the outfit was that the top's starting to show its age. I think it's also cuz in the back of my head, I'm trying to look more professional on the off chance I run into anyone from HR (while I'm in the running for this position), but I need to chill...there's an excellent chance I'm not even qualified enough for what they want in the position, so no point in making myself nutty over potential fashion issues...yeah, ok, the jumping bean part of yesterday has stuck around a bit...though those who know me will say I'm always like this :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just keep swimming.....

Headline for a website: Fresh Meat Home Delivery

All I could think was, it's either a meat market that ships, or a hooker that makes house calls.

It's gonna be one of those days.

Woke up a little ornery, had stress dreams after my 4 a.m. P break, but I'm confident I can shake it off. Still operating on the up side of manic though, which is nice. Weekend was pleasant...caught up on sleep, did some knitting (finished a sock!), relaxing, and organizing. Spent Sunday cooking: my loaf of wheat bread for the week (gonna try and make that a weekly ritual), a mediocre beef stew, and some rather disappointing oatmeal butterscotch cookies (won't use that margarine as the oil base again). Still, I had a blast and every error is a learning experience. Made a meal plan from the week (that we're already straying from ::sigh::), and thoughts regarding food are also taking on the warm tinge of Thanksgiving planning. Mornings have been gorgeous...just gotta will the thermometer not to inch up so high in the afternoon :)

Applied for a position within my company that, given the 3½-page job description of responsibilities, better be an increase in pay grade. I'm technically 1 year shy of qualified for the job, but I'm hoping my tenure will get me in the door for an interview at least. We'll see...

I'd have to dress like a girl though...yeesh!

So here's a question: if the doctors and experts say that your metabolism slows down and your body's aging speeds up after say, age 35, and you're out of shape and overweight anyway so that's putting added stress on joints, bones, etc., and you notice you're achy like, pretty much every morning and it ain't the wonderful bed you're sleeping on, then is it your body telling you to get in shape because you're reaching a certain age where things don't bounce back as fast, or is it society's power of suggestion telling you you're getting old?

Yeah, I know, nice try blaming it on society, but start exercising NOW!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just ain't normal...

See, I'm not your garden variety bipolar...in fact, I'm pretty polar :) My meds allow me to hover just below the median mood range for "normal" folks, and without 'em, I'm just down. Make that DOWN, sluggish, slugslime, you want me to do what? Sorry, but getting out of bed is requiring a giant act of will, so if you're wanting anything out of me other than the bare minimum, may I refer you to my complaint department between my first and ring fingers? I used to have impulse issues with shopping during the down times, but the bankruptcy helped get ahold of those...so I consider myself just plain polar (big, white, fuzzy, yup, sounds about right) with a lithium deficiency.

This manic ep has been going on for at least 2 weeks now. I'm feeling strong, I'm getting organized, I'm able to be sad about Dad without going to pieces at the thought of it...it's just a headscratcher...

Finished the blue hat, hoping it'll shrink up a pinch in the wash, because it's too big even for my head. Getting the urge to make soakers out of the leftover virgin biege and Cascade in my stash...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Organizing...

Last night was decent TV, so I made pumpkin bread just for kicks, and then parked my butt in the knitting chair. Got 2 Kathy Reichs books from the library though, and the darn things are so well-written, they're interfering with my knitting time. I knit a row during a show, read during the commercials, switch projects,...Dad's shaking his head at me again...used to make him nuts when I'd be reading and watching TV at the same time.

Tonight I'll sort Husby's home medical file to determine who his FL docs have been for his pain management (there've been several, going back 10 years, and not all are still in town), and if I can stay away from the TV, I may park in the dining room and purge the filing cabinet a bit. I'm eager to put together the household notebooks that I'm compiling material for, and having the filing cabinet in a workable state would help. Another thing I absolutely have to invest in is a 12-month expandable file for the bank receipts and statements, because the "drop it in a box" method I currently have is just nuts. I'll bet there's half a dozen shoeboxes in that place with receipts and none of it's sorted by year or anything. Lucky we haven't been audited yet...How the frick have we survived this long this way? Well, the answer is, we haven't really; that's why this reckoning is occuring.

This weekend I'm going to empty the kitchen cabinets, inventory them, wash 'em out, and restock. Also clean the fridge and organize the freezer (which mainly means the wedding cake is getting a smaller container so there'll be more room in there). Also want to do a plastic container sorting, toss stuff that's mismatched.

So frickin' pleased with myself for making lunch rather than caving to junk food...now the trick is to make it the night before rather than in the morning. If I keep making and eating my homemade whole wheat bread, it'll be even more feasible, because my bread's dense enough not to get soggy overnight in the fridge. Better yet, the MIL was talking last visit or two about unloading her bread machine, because they're just not using it enough - I'm going to suggest she give it to me for Christmas, save on a gift.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm not questioning, but...

Seriously, how is a person, who has worked through/with depression from age 16 to the present (22 years!), supposed to take it when life suddenly takes a dramatic upswing, in the face of mind-blowing grief, no less!? I recognize that I'm growing as a result of Dad's passing, and I recognize that my ritual at Halloween brought me to a level of peace with it...but I'd been feeling good for almost a week before Halloween, so maybe the ritual sealed the deal...don't get me wrong, I totally get that I ain't done grieving, that it could even be a type of lifelong process, reconciling myself with him being gone...I'm reminded of a "thirtysomething" episode (of all things), where Gary realized he was in love when the ache of loneliness had subsided, and instead of reveling in being in love, he felt he'd been robbed and took it out on the lucky lady..."that's my ache," he said to her half-jokingly, "how dare you take it from me..." That's what it feels like. I'm not waiting for the other shoe to drop, for once; I'm feeling too strong right now to waste time looking over my shoulder. And if Dad's the one who took the ache from me for now, he's getting a huge thank you. But it takes getting used to...in an email to Lil Sis, I likened it to wearing a coat that's too small...

Anyhoo, didn't get outside much last weekend, but it was a good one...mainly puttered and relaxed. Got truly started on Husby's SS paperwork (because all claims to the contrary up until now have been bullshit), ignored the plants, did bake 2 loaves of wheat bread (which kicked butt, probably my best yet), and I'm working LSIL's sock and a hat for myself right now. Our financial issues have been remedied for now, and I'm setting goals for them to never get that bad again. It truly has woken me up to how slack I've been, how very important it is to run a household with some degree of efficiency. The Internet's been a gold mine in this endeavor; I'm finally reading sites about menu planning, creating a household notebook (since we still don't have the Windows operating systems necessary to do it right on computer), and learning how to keep the house clean so I don't get scattered so easily. Deep down I've got a lot of Dad in me, and I'm a Virgo besides, so I need things to have a place, be in order, and when they're not, I just plunge and don't even realize that it's a symptom of what's miring me, keeping me from acting...relax, people, I'm getting Husby's help too; I know it's not just me.

Spent 2 hours online last night working SS again, and we have just one section to go before we hit Enter, so to speak, get his medical file to them (because that's gotta be faster than letting SS do it, and they need copies of his birth certificate and other stuff anyway), and start crossing our fingers for an expeditious denial, so we can work on an appeal. Sounds pessimistic, but it's more realism...migraines have come a long way as a plausible disability, but we know we've got our work cut out for us.

I've got about 28 rows left to the foot of the first sock and then the toe shaping, so there's a really good chance I can get that done this week. I know how quickly November's going to go by if I let it, and this just isn't a project where SSS (second sock syndrome) can occur, so the only other knitting project getting attention right now is that hat for me, and that's just because I'm psyched it's finally cooler around here. Weather's been windows-open at night and mid-70s tops during the day. I definitely have some form of reverse seasonal affective disorder - this weather has me happier than a pig in poop!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Quick update

It's a rather glorious weekend weatherwise, so I'm trying to get out some, play with my plants, but this weekend is mainly a puttering one. We're having a serious financial crisis, the worst one yet, and it's opened my eyes to how much things need to change for both Husby and I. I put my resume into several positions on Friday, and I'm thinking hard about a 2nd job, while Husby's getting his file sent to SS and looking for part-time work himself...it's been so long, that's all I want him to look for initially, because his head pain's still not quite manageable, so why set yourself up for failure out of the gate by not being able to hold the hours of a full-time position?

The stress of our sitch has thrown off my sleep again, but my head's clear and I'm still feeling strong. I'm in the home stretch on LSIL's first sock, and the only part I'm not happy with is where I picked up the stitches...may do some light mattress stitch after it's done, just to reinforce. It's reintroducing me to the fast gratification of sock knitting, and once I'm done with Jade's gift, I'm looking forward to doing a fresh pair for myself.

For all my wishing and talk, I've done zero baking this harvest season, so I'm thinking about making some soup today with an apple bread for dessert. The next 2 weeks or so are going to require some creativity foodwise, so I'm culling the cabinet for ideas of stuff I can create and freeze. It's time for another bread baking too...I'm trying to eat healthier lately (with mixed success, natch), and the simple things like homemade whole wheat vs. Nature's Own Butterbread do wonders for my spirits.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy New Year

It really does feel like a new year is upon me.

One big problem, when you haven't done ritual in ages, is the danger of trying to cram too much in, but it's a fluid process...if you've cast yourself a big enough comfort zone to begin with, the gods aren't going to care if you drop one part or add another. Creating the blue sphere (in Feri tradition), I liken it to casting a fishing net; it doesn't have to be OCD-perfectly shaped. So as I came to something that needed to be dropped, I was able to, without feeling like I was taking something away from the ritual. I was wrestling with my wards before I started, because Celtic dieties for the most part are a bitch to get a handle on in the first place...they didn't have written language for the most part, so everything you read about them is hearsay to begin with. Makes it hard to put your faith in them...like one of the first things you read about Druantia is that she was the mother of the Irish Tree Calendar, but any reconstructionist worth his salt will tell you that the tree calendar didn't even exist...it's a neopagan invention, so how much stock can you put on the rest of what you read about Druantia after that? But then it dawned on me that I've acquired the most personal guardian I could ask for this year, so I asked my wards to step aside and give Dad the job for awhile.

The Dad portion of the ritual was easily the most powerful I've ever experienced. I'd pass the rest of the ritual off as mediocre, because while I was able to center quite a bit, there's still no substitute for being outdoors. While I do believe in my religion, I don't really believe in the dead's ability to communicate with us here on earth...and yet, even while I say that, I'm not willing to completely laugh off what I experienced as the overly emotional visualizations of a grieving daughter, so...I guess I am opening to possibilities. I'm feeling so strong from this, and the past week, that I told Dad it was ok for him to concentrate on Mom, Cyril, and Meara, because they definitely need him more right now.

So I honored Samhain, honored Dad, and rededicated myself to my studies with an emphasis on the Reclaiming and Feri traditions. I'm more than a little excited about it; I haven't cracked open my books in a while, and it's definitely time to actually concentrate on what it means to follow those traditions. Plus, I just know the trancework will help with my grief.

Took a walk after work yesterday at the Julington Durbin Creek Preserve. Opinion: guarded. What I mean is, I think I've lived in Jacksonville too long. The sandy flat areas were refreshing, but once I hit the woods, I got a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. I couldn't relax, kept thinking that it was the perfect environment for a pack of teenage males who wear their pants too low to hide out and smoke weed, or for a homeless guy to be lying in wait or something. Thing is, that actually is silly, because the path was surrounded on both sides by serious swampland (homeless guy would need hipwaders, and gang of punks wouldn't risk their $100 Nikes in that terrain probably, she said, stereotyping)...in fact, I only went about another 1/4 mile before I had to turn back because the swamp had flooded out the path...and when I stopped my imagination long enough to concentrate on the vibes of my surroundings, I did feel pretty completely alone out there. Still, if/when I go back, I'll stick to the open areas if I'm still uncomfortable, and I'll come better prepared with a) walking stick for negotiating sand, gauging mud depths, and fending off imaginery bad guys, b) bug repellant, c) plastic bag for picking up trash (only saw 2 or 3 things, but it made me want to scream), and d) paper and pen for drawing a map of the paths. There's a couple of wood signs and one of them has the paths mapped; I know I'd feel better if I had more of a clue where I was headed. The paths are quite well-marked, but it was brand new and I'm really out of practice at traipsing through nature...I mean, compare the varied walks I've taken in SC with the time spent gallavanting through our back woods in Warren, and it's been 20+ years since I've done any serious hiking. Plus I think I'm just so used to more northern environments; I'm used to keeping my eyes peeled for deer and furry critters, not deer and movement in the water cuz of gators and water moccasins. Florida hiking may as well be on a different planet from SC or CT. Come to think of it, I'm wearing pants and socks next time too.

One thing that definitely woke up in me though, is the desire to get walking again. I keep having dreams where I'm jogging, and while I know walking does just as much good and provides much less chance for injury, I also know I'm selling myself short by thinking my body won't ever be that of a runners. Last thing I want to do is hurt myself when I'm just starting out, so I know I'll take it carefully...but man, it feels nice to look forward to exercise. I'm physically exhausted today, thanks to the monthly hormonal enslavement, but I'm still hoping to get outside after work.

Can't afford to hit KB tonight, so I'll tuck into LSIL's sock after my walk...it's been a couple of days. Starting reading Dreaming the Dark by Starhawk as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Samhain

Can't exactly call it happy, but I'm feeling at peace today. No, actually, I can still call it happy. I could get used to this.

Thought briefly of wearing my funeral outfit to work, but I knew it would distract me too much and make me ache. Instead I'm in my black shift with my sun/moon wrap tied 'round my waist, and my black cloak. The Celtic Tree of Life hangs 'round my neck, and I'm wearing the earrings from the funeral, because they remind me of infinity symbols, of everlasting life.

My hair's all one color again :) My personal colorist (Husby) drenched it in 2 bottles of gunk last night, and today I'm quite the pretty brunette. I'm going to go for a walk and a grounding after work at the nature preserve right near my work, and then I'll do the ritual at home. I couldn't see dragging my stuff outside, never mind that candles never stay lit outdoors, it'd probably rain on me, etc.

Have a great Samhain everybody! Honor the past, look to the future. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day 4

Ok, seriously, I'm not trying to complain, but...

Still flying high! Woke up slightly grumpy because I didn't get enough sleep last night, but 3 hours into my workday, I've reorganized some lists on my SCMoving site, updated a project or two on Ravelry, done the busywork they claim is real work at my job, and am looking forward to lunch.

We have our closet back!!!

Serious floor space in the bedroom!

Man, that feels good. Definitely missing some hangers and maybe some clothes...hard to tell what was kept and what was purged over the last 10 months, but the main stuff is like, hanging! I'm hilariously happy at this development.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Something seriously weird is going on.....

We're going-on Day 3 of me being in a decent mood.

Actually it's longer than that...I was talking about this buoyancy of spirit late last week, but I guess I didn't start counting it until the weekend; had to gauge its staying power or something. It's unsettling, lemme tellya. Hard to imagine grieving and feeling good at the same time, but it's most definitely what I'm doing. Doesn't even make sense, because I'm used to doing things rather consciously, but I think what's going on with me is the power of suggestion infiltrating my emotions in a surprisingly positive way. Explanation: the grief book I'm working in just hit on the need to embrace grief (not in a wailing-wallowing-gnashing-of-the-teeth way, but in a way that brings grief into a comfort zone in your life). Like I can miss Dad, but from that ache also blossoms a deepening of my love for him. All I know is I may still cry and rage at the unfairness of our sitch, but I'm coming away from that with more peace of heart somehow. I was hanging clothes up in our closet on Saturday (false alarm, it turns out; maintenance guy didn't bother to make sure both ends were secure...I swear to God I'm ready to rehang the thing myself!), and when I went to hang up my funeral outfit, I just broke down completely, which surprised me a little, because lately when I cry, it's because I've been consciously thinking about him. But that outfit was so damn pretty, so personified my nickname with him...

Anyway, I'm up to the calf decreases already on the first Pippi Kneestocking! It's still a realistic holiday goal! Also dug a Kathy Reichs book out of the mominlaw stash...when we told Mom J about Chamblin's, she culled her bookshelves for us (she and Grandma H. are romance novel junkies), which resulted in a serious pile of Heather Grahams, Luanne Rices, and other paperbacks with bare-chested men holding swooning women on the cover. Kathy Reich is the author who created the Temperance Brennan character for the TV show Bones, and while the TV show is far afield from the novels, I'm finding it to be a good read the likes of which I haven't had in a while. I enjoy a good airplane book now and then, but I seem in recent years to have grown out of the John Grisham and Vince Flynn style. Looking forward to hitting the local library for more on this character...

Seriously Halloweenie out...dark, blustery, rainy...kind of hope it's this way for Wednesday...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Weekend

Hell, just the anticipation of the weekend buoys my spirits. And thank goodness, because it's dark and gloomy enough out to bring on seasonal affective disorder, if I wasn't so delighted by the minor drop in temps.

Imagine moving everything out of your walk-in closet and having to keep it in the bedroom proper for more than a day. And we have little floor space in the bedroom to begin with, because our bed's a king size. One of the maintenance guys came by late Wednesday, reattached the old hardware in a not-very-sturdy manner, and said he or someone like him would be back the next day to fill the holes with spackling compound (when the original hardware fell, it took pieces of the wall with it). Naturally we saw no one the next day; and while I'm afraid to put any boxes on the new shelf, I'd dearly love to hang our clothes, which have been sitting in boxes and suitcases for the better part of a year now out of laziness, late rents (I feel like I can't ask anything of them when we're behind with them financially), new landlord, etc. Yeah, yeah, excuses are like assholes, everybody's got one...this inconvenience has forced a bit of reorganization; I've already purged 2 boxes and 2 suitcases worth of crap...but if they don't show today, I'm gonna say screw it and retake my frickin' closet. It took an act of contortion last night to unearth my #2 dpns.

Why did I need to unearth my #2 dpns? So glad you asked. In my yearly fit of holiday delusions of aptitude, I'm trying to knit a pair of sox for LilSisinlaw for Christmas. I must be out of my mind. I've truly only knit one pair of sox in my life, and while the shape of the foot did turn out ok, they developed holes out of nowhere after one good washing...they were for me anyway, so I wasn't broken up about it. I've also finished one sock from the ruthee yarn, which a) came out too short in foot and shaft, and b) now suffers from second sock syndrome. So socks ain't exactly a field of expertise yet.

But I'm feeling the need to do a project with a pattern, while recognizing that I still don't have quite the patience or brainpower for full-blown lace. So Pippi Kneestockings it is, from Debbie Stollar's SnB original in KnitPicks Felici Firefighter (soft!). Gotta love self-striping yarn; wanted to do stripes, but I have a hard time trusting spit-splicing...I'm a knot-tyer usually (pause while the purist knitters cringe), but I knew that wasn't going to fly for a pair of knee-highs. So I got the yarn in the mail yesterday (and we won't even go into what an aphrodisiac THAT was), read over the first parts of the pattern, which are relatively painless, cast on and tucked in. If I bring it to work and ignore all my UFOs, there's a chance I'll pull it off by Xmas. And thankfully, my LilSisinlaw is about 5'4" and built like a twig, so I won't have to vary from the pattern at all. Only change I made is it calls for sport weight and 3s, but since I'm using fingering weight, I felt safe making 'em in 2s.

Man, I love me some Internet...just did a search for Pippi Kneestockings to gauge difficulty, and saw a majority of folks who liked 'em but changed the heel (which I may agree with them on, b/c I haven't done a stockinette heel yet, but I can imagine a more comfortable way to do that)...so I'm looking on Ravelry for advice. Ok, just kidding, Ravelry not helping yet...checking Knitting Pattern Central for ideas, and somebody mentioned Nancy Bush...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Veeerrry frustrated

Work's been boring for years; it's plain dry stuff. Read websites, make corrections, repeat. Our team's been cross-trained in just about everything we can do from an editing standpoint, so there are several projects to tackle in any one day, which does break up the monotony a tad; but it still leaves me wanting more. I'd rather be a drone than in management, don't get me wrong; but is it too much to ask for the work to keep me awake?

And then there's busywork (called Special Projects), which is usually assigned lately when we plain don't have enough work to go around. Higher-ups swear it's just a blip on the radar, this decrease of sites, that the company's fine, we're going through a transitional period while we merge with another company, blah, blah (and we're the mergers, not the mergees, which only begs the question how bad off that company was to be weak enough to get bought, how viable/positive an acquisition it actually is, but I digress...). I've been around this company long enough to know where to keep my ear to the ground, and there've been no rumblings (you know, using words like "restructuring," "layoff," etc.), but it's definitely serving to punctuate that if I were to go to work for them remotely, I better absolutely have a decent job going on the side, because there's no guarantee that there'll be work in the queues. It's gotta be maddening for the remote workers right now (folks who work from home), logging on and finding nothing to do. Sure, the economy and business ebb and flow, and 2 years from now, things could be quite different; but it's important that I'm bearing witness to this now...it could influence my decisions later.

Anyhoo, back to why busywork makes me want to scream...well, this issue has several heads, such as: a) I'm currently out of PTO and so I can't be sent home without it affecting my pay, b) there's a danger of us being put on the phones to "help out" and I literally haven't had to deal with customers/clients for years now (thankfully this hasn't occurred yet), c) the higher-ups are so entrenched in getting us merged, they've stopped offering explanations for why the queues are so low. Heck, we barely see them on the floor, which normally would be nice, but right now it only enhances that feeling of being cut off from the action.

But today's busywork just pisses me off...part of creating websites is adding keywords and phrasing (and then using those keywords and phrases in the site), so that the search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) will pick up the site. Getting this part wrong is one of the main reasons that the designers are getting their sites returned by us for further work apparently, so since the design queue was decent (over 100) this morning, they wanted some folks in QC to help out by creating and inputting the keywords and phrasing on sites. The HDIC thinks it'll save time; I say yeah, great, but how are they going to learn to do it right if we're doing it for them? Why not take the time to train 'em properly? And by the way, 100 isn't a decent queue; 250 is...which tells me there either has been a layoff that I haven't been privy to, or they just haven't been rehiring in design as people have quit, because 100+ sites in a day didn't used to scare them. The guy serving as HDIC lately isn't enough of an outside-the-box thinker IMO, and I've been here longer than he has, so I have a little trouble respecting him. So it's mouth shut, head to grindstone, go with the flow, and pray I'm experienced enough to continue being considered useful to them.

This is probably boring to y'all, but I need to vent so that I'm able to keep a smile on my face at work...I'm just not sure what to think anymore. We are the stronger company, but the management changes that are occuring will put me on edge if I think about them too hard. Went onto Yahoo's stock ticker to see how it's looking (better than it was, but holding at median), and found some new stuff out, like our President is handing over that role to the other company's head guy, but he'll stay as CEO; and that we just lost a key field operating officer, who's been with us as long as I have. They're paying him off with a 6-month severance package and a $30K performance bonus. That made me want to barf in itself, since the bonus is what I make in a year...and I do understand the 6-month severance, because I'm sure the corporate confidentiality agreement they're making him sign will effectively keep him out of the Internet biz for at least the next year, but still...

Point is obvious, unfortunately...I need to better prepare myself for the worst, do some projecting, budgeting, and hunting, and get Les to finish Part I of the SSD paperwork. We're balanced on a fraying tightrope, and if that sucker breaks...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The good kind of purging

I must've needed the crying that occured last night, because I'm feeling kind of terrific today. I've been letting life live me lately, instead of the other way around, and yesterday was just enough already! So I lost it once or twice, while I was moving stuff out of the closet (because there's a chance we're getting new hardware finally!), and watched the end of Less Than Zero, because clearly I'm a masochist, and then grabbed the grief journal and wrote Dad a letter. It's been a while, and it must've helped, because the buoyance of spirit I'm experiencing today is downright refreshing and motivating!

Visions of baking and cleaning this weekend, and making a mask and props for my Halloween costume...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fashion victim

I'm a self-proclaimed fashion victim...have been to some extent since adolescence, though I didn't get it at the time...thought that Garfield t-shirts and fluorescent socks were acceptable in junior high...keep in mind this was a rural school in the '80s please, lest you judge too harshly. Nowadays, and in the inner city, if you can keep your junior-high-aged female from baring her belly and wearing an elastic band that apparently is supposed to double as a skirt, you're considered a good parent. But I digress...

I subscribe to a fairly female-soccer-player-type of fashion sense (except I'm hetero): simple, utilitarian...I'd be a happy camper if my job required me to wear jeans and oxfords (the shirts and the shoes) everyday. I think one of the things I liked about working for AMC fresh outta college is that it was a uniform job and I didn't have to think about what to wear.

But I'm a serious purse horse, and a bit of a shoe horse, so I recently acquired a new pair of oxfords and a pair of mocs for work. I'd been surviving on a rather ugly pair of Skecher oxfords and 2 pairs of ratty dress sneakers (Ked or Converse style) all summer, and it'd finally worn thin; it was just getting too sloppy looking. I mean, occasionally, I wouldn't mind looking 38. Husby doesn't get this. He sees my container of shoes and doesn't get that the dress heels only get worn for X and the New Balances only get worn for Y. Well, too bad.

So I still felt like I was missing something, trolled online a bit, and decided to go to Kohl's (dangerously close to my work) yesterday on my lunch, where I tried on what I thought I'd like, and then found the ideal instead: a nice, pretty pair of clogs that were Miracle #1) comfy, Miracle #2) in my size, and Miracle #3) only $18.99. I snatched them up without a thought. Put them on this morning with my rather spartan capris and black top, and felt like a girl for once. Took my first steps around the apartment...

::FART::

Oh hell.

::FART, FART::

With every freakin' step! Sonofabitch! Must be my flat feet, combined with the leather-wannabe uppers. Pissshitcorruption! I'm too delighted in my purchase to switch shoes, so I go to work in them, while attempting to manuever my feet as I'm walking so that the noise won't be so apparent. This produces a nice pig-on-stilts feeling, which I laugh off while feeling mortified, though I'm sure absolutely no one noticed anything.

::FART, FART, FART::

::sigh:: So at lunchtime, I say screw it and head to the local Publix to reaffirm my fashion-victim status by buying some Peds to eliminate that farting sound. It'll look silly, but I'm too old to be worried about it anyway...it's like when people say that socks with sandals is a big no-no; I say, yeah, maybe when you're my age, but if you're 70, pair it with a "Who Gives a Shit?" t-shirt and go to town...anyway...

No Peds, but plenty of ankle socks that'll look just as bad. Then I see something similar...and frickin' ingenious. No Nonsense makes hosiery that cover just the toes or just the instep; it's designed for added comfort for all those damned minimalist shoes that are out there for women nowadays. I grab the instep ones on faith, fit 'em over the ole bunion back at work, and sure enough, they do the trick! Holy cow! Fashion victim, be damned. I may still lumber around sometimes feeling like I've been dressed by Omar the Tent Maker, but I'll be wearing a pretty pair of clogs with it now :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The therapeutic nature of fiber

Fiber therapy. An actual term in the knitting and crocheting community, one that the average non-knitter or crocheter would probably laugh off as a chick thing and move on. But I have to say, it goes beyond putting yarn on needles and allowing your fingers to do something while you watch TV...

Friends and anyone who reads this blog know that I lost my dad 5 months ago. I've been shoving the grief aside for a bit (survival tactic, nose to the grindstone, etc.), and have naturally found that that means that when it surfaces, it's a pain the likes of which has yet to be measured by existing technology. Spent yesterday with my mom and she made the comment that it just wasn't fair, that he'd been talking about retiring in another year or so. That surprised me, because after they drained their savings in his layoff years back, he used to joke he'd be working until they buried him. The fact that he thought about retirement means he did look to the future occasionally, which jibes against the knowledge that there's an excellent chance his death was a direct result of his fear (of going under the knife for his varied medical conditions). And that just makes me ache.

So I wake up this morning from a dream that has a distinct danger of being recurring: the premise being that there was a mistake, that they'd mixed up the bodies, cremated someone else, and that he'd spent the last 5 months in a coma as a John Doe. I spent this dream elated that he was alive and terrified of getting my hopes up, because he could still die (yeah, yeah, we're all going to die, not the point)...I woke up and it took a couple of minutes for me to separate dream from reality, and reality left me in a seriously black mood. I'm working through another stage of denial, the it's-not-possible-that-he's-gone train of thought. The rage that accompanies the foreshadowing that I didn't hug him last time we were at their place, because it was a dodgy prospect with him, whether it'd be a warm or cold reception, and then thinking as we were pulling out of the driveway that I'd feel bad if that was the last time I had the chance, and IT WAS! Why does God place us in those situations?! Like I don't already have enough regrets about the gaps in our relationship, like it doesn't already make me ache and rage that he never got to know enough of me in this life, that he'll never know my future kids? I do believe that he knows me now, I have to believe that; it's what keeps me from screaming out loud (to the point of being locked up somewhere with padded walls) at the unfairness of his death. But it's not the same.

So I go online to distract myself this morning, and I log into Ravelry...add myself to a couple more groups...there's a Law & Order forum; ruthee'll get a chuckle outta that...and I check my email. Mochimochi Land has a new pattern, a frickin' adorable bathtub with bubbles. It makes me smile, and I click into the whole blog, because I haven't checked it out in a while. There's an even cuter pattern up for grabs, the toilet paper roll. I'm in love; what a hilarious idea! I just acquired a pile of white acrylic from the mominlaw, because even though I'm trying to purge my stash of the crazy amount of acrylic in it, I still have the inability to turn away free yarn. Heck, I'm goofy enough to wear that as a scarf, not just make it as a prank. I read some more forums, and scope the knitting community, and discover that my black mood has lifted considerably, that I can handle the beauty of the day without kicking a cat or being mean to the husby. That dream was a wake-up call that I need to work more diligently on my grief journals, but my hobby also served as a reminder that there's plenty in this world to smile at; you just have to know where to look.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make TP out of yarn :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

More piccies


Sand River in Hitchcock Woods

Limestone cliff in Hitchcock Woods

Devil's Backbone in Hitchcock Woods

Yeah, ok, borderline naughty, but I love this one...she just looks like she needs a caption, something like, "hang on a minute, willya! I'm thinking and playing with my boob!"

Buddhist kitty

Just random stuff from the SC visit...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hitchcock Woods


Forgot I downloaded this...some niece shots coming...got sidetracked by Ravelry last night :) Got invited in yesterday, got home from work, and started taking pictures of my UFOs, stash, and the finished objects I'm more proud of. Uploaded almost everything to the site except my needle inventory...man, is it fun to snoop around in there! My LilSis would be surprised, I think, by the sheer number of crafty folks on that site...it's sort of like MySpace for knitters, and looks like it'll be a neat tool for trading patterns, destashing for cash, etc. I already look forward to approaching the designer of the mermaid fingerless gloves for assistance, when I reach the thumb gusset...when I've started them, that is, LOL! Sooooooooooooooooo many neat patterns.....

I'm in a mood today, so may not go to KB...been in a mood this week actually; can't tell if it's SC trip decompression or the usual orneryness at the holding pattern that is our life. Probably both...I tidied the bedroom a bit early on, which created floor space and lightened my mood, but the dining room is suffering again, and I'm not setting foot near there to clean until we get more cat litter tomorrow, so...patience.