Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's turning into the sock from hell…

I was proud of my sock… I took a picture of it… it felt like I might actually be getting somewhere… of course that was right before I found the dropped stiches and had to frog the SOB for a FOURTH time!! I will not give up… I will not give up… here, sob, sob is the picture I took only moments prior to the last frogging.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Socks are for the Certifiable…

So I got some inspiring sock yarn and decided to use the uninspiring sock yarn instead. The Kroy by Patons is the "uninspiring" yarn, not that it's all that uninspiring… I just don't like the colour as much. I decided to use it though becasue it's got more wool in it and should be more forgiving than the cotton blend yarn in the colour I like.
As it is, I've ripped the SOB out three times already and I haven't even finished the ribbing at the top! I'm working out of several books and a Patons pattern to help me get through it. I considered taking a sock class, but I'm a lefty and as such, get frustrated with things when I'm trying to A: follow along and B: do the direct opposite of what the instructor is doing. Books let me muddle along at my own pace.
It took me forever to learn how to knit at all, this despite a genetic predisposition to knitting (My Mom was a fantastic knitter as is my Dad's sister). When I was a kid, my Mom wouldn't even attempt to teach me… lefthander meant non-starter as far as she was concerned. My Aunt did make the effort to teach me one Summer when I was visiting her. I spent one tearful afternoon mangling little squares of wool and that was that.
Knitting was a bogey man for me, something I just couldn't do and would never be able to do.
Which of course is why at some 40+ years of age, I decided to get a book and teach myself! I figured I was doing all kinds of things I never thought I'd be doing… wearing smaller clothes than I was wearing in my 20's… dating again… raising my son on my own… camping… what the heck, why NOT knitting.
Now, it's why NOT socks and though I have to say at this moment, I am seriously doubting my sanity, I AM NOTHING IF NOT STUBBORN.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Spring Break…

There was a storm advisory for this weekend but it appears to have been a false alarm. I got up today and it was lovely outside so the boy and I packed our selves off to the Calgary Zoo. We ran into some friends on the way in so we hung out with them for a bit. We had hoped to see the baby hippo, but she was feeling shy and had hidden herself away in a corner. Normally, I'm not keen on zoos. I do love the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel where the zoo animals are an integral part of the story and become characters in and of themselves. When I think of zoos, I think of the Vancouver zoo, not as it is now, but as it was when I was little, in Stanley Park with all the animals pacing in tiny little cement enclosures. The Calgary Zoo is different. It's a facility with a world class reputation and deservedly so.

My favourite part of the zoo isn't the animals though, it's the conservatory. It's humid in there and my west coast skin can get some temporary relief from the relentlessly dry weather here in Calgary.

They have a butterfly room…

A rainforest complete with orchids…

And an arid garden…

During the Summer, the gardens at the zoo are lovely, they have bed upon bed of Iris, roses, peonys and all sorts of other lovely flowers and shrubs.

Other than that, I am finally going to start my socks. I had purchased some Kroy sock yarn by Patons in greys which didn't inspire me enough so I picked up some Lana Grossa. I found a pattern with easy to follow instruction and the Lana Grossa is a lovely varigation of pinks and purples that truly inspires me. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Big Interview…

Well, I did everything I could do. Research the organization, practice my interview questions, made sure I was well dressed and looked professional. It's out of my hands now. They are making the decision next week. I thought it went well. It would be a good place for me, I would be a good fit. Ultimately, it's up to them.

So it's back to knitting… and spring break… a whole week at home with my teenage son, lord give me patience! I love him to pieces but boys are so physical and my son is a major extrovert. We have a rather small house and I find him overwhelming when we spend too much time in close proximity. We'll have to get out for some hiking or something.

Rugby season is just around the corner, then he can take all that testosterone driven energy and put it to good use. He use to play soccer but he wanted to play a contact sport, something more physical. Well, it doesn't get much more physical than rugby!! We ran into a rugby coach from last year. My son is now taller than him. The coach wanted to know if he was moving up but he won't be in the next age group 'til next year. The coach looked him over and said, "You'll be playing forward this year for sure, and they'll be calling you--The Crusher".

My son "The Crusher" ooooh… now there's a pretty picture for a non-violent, soft spoken type like me.

So I've found yet another reason not to start knitting my first pair of socks. I'm working on a wrap instead. It isn't very far along but I had to show a picture. Of course the wee beasty is right into it! I can't put anything down.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Perfect Job… Is it fate?

Do you believe in fate? Do we find our passion… or does our passion find us? For some strange reason, I went specifically to this organization's web site thinking If I could work anywhere in Calgary, I'd LOVE to work here. Lo' and Behold, that very day, they had posted a position for a Graphic Designer. It wasn't in the paper, it wasn't on any other job board, just on the organization's web site.

I have already gone for one interview and they've gone through my portfolio. It went really well and they want me back for a more in-depth interview Thursday afternoon. It's in the non-profit sector doing graphic design for youth oriented, educational purposes. HOW PERFECT IS THAT? It definitely falls under the heading of contributing to the community, it's communications oriented and it would be F-U-N FUN!! My gut feeling is that I'm at the top of a fairly short, short list. I may disappear for a few days as I prepare for the next interview. During my initial portfolio interview, I found out it's a brand new position, reporting directly to the director of marketing. I would get to basically do all concept and graphic design work from the ground up for something I believe in whole-heartedly. It just feels right!

Tips, support, all comments appreciated. Keep your fingers crossed! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lovin' Life…

I've been out enjoying a brisk, sunny, Calgary day. Wandered down to Kensington to look in my favourite second hand store but sensibly restrained myself. Stopped for coffee on the way home.

I was up at 6:30AM… not quite sure why… took the young man out for breakfast at Phil's. It never ceases to amaze me just how much a 12-year-old boy can eat!

I took the dog and my hot cup of coffee down to the park. The park in Winter is something special, it's so peaceful. We were cosy and warm in our matching Winter outfits :-D. GInger is such a classy little thing can't you almost here her saying, "I'm Ready for my close-up Mr DeMille."

When we got home, I found my Billy contemplating this newest addition to my stash, another skein of Goldylocks by FleeceArtist
I think she wants to keep it… she may even be plotting a takeover bid.

I love days like this!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Winter Trees…Gingersnaps…and a magical Purple Door

I love it when the trees are coated in hoar frost. It's so magical. I've been out taking lots of pictures lately. It's still cold but we've had one or two nice breaks. I'm almost done the shawl that I've been working on. Plus, I've had some very promising things come up in the jobs area that are keeping me busy.

My book group met last week, several of us have taken up knitting lately so we had to talk about that but we were really there to discuss the book "How to be Good" by Nick Hornby. Nobody liked the characters in the book, even though they were all looking for how to be good (so you'd think they would be likeable but they aren't). It did provoke an excellent discussion on what it means to "Be Good" and where does a person's personal goodness hit the wall. I mean, lets face it, we ALL like to think we are "good" people but… does that mean you personally would take in a homeless person? Does it mean you pick a "Caring" profession like Medicine or Social Work? Do you become a member of the Clergy? Does it mean you abandon your own family to go to a country where "The Children Really Need Me"? It's an interesting concept--don't you think? Lots to muddle over.

Along with some lovely tea… my friend's daughter baked Gingersnaps… they were fantastic too… YUMMMY!! A good book discussion… tea and home made gingersnaps… What's not to love about that?

I love this picture! Don't you want to know who lives here? It's like you could open that purple door and walk into a whole other magical world. I plan to do an illustration of it.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

My favourite things…

My favourite red bra… because it doesn't matter what's over top when I know this is what's on underneath… it always puts me in a good mood!
My favourite top from my favourite 2nd hand store…I love the trim, black is a wardrobe staple for me but the trim makes this top special, plus, it's very figure flattering.
My favourite piece of jewelery… this necklace has a story. It belonged to my mother. She gave it to me when I was 24, she passed away when I was 29. She had it made from a silver and pearl cufflink (the remainder of a pair that her oldest brother had given to my father). I know this necklace had tremendous sentimental value for my mother because her brother passed away not long after he gave my Dad the cufflinks. It holds tremendous sentimental value for me because my house was broken into a few years ago and almost all of the jewelry my mother left me was stolen, it broke my heart. This was always my favourite piece and for what ever reason (probably because it's silver) the thief didn't take it.
My favourite collection… My shell collection… featuring the glass fishing ball I found on a sailing trip with my parents when I was 10-years-old. These shells were given to me by various people over the years. Most of them I've had since I was a little girl when I dreamed of being just like Jaques Cousteau.
My favourite bit of home decor… this little carved box. It's actually my X-husbands but he left it behind. I have a few native or native inspired pieces that I just love but this is a real favourite.
And last but not least…
My favourite thing I've knit so far… this red scarf! It matches my winter coat perfectly and is incredibly soft and cosy!!

Having a Moment…

So I was at the computer looking at job boards and all of a sudden, dashes started to fill the address window of Safari. I exited and reopened it went to my e-mail was about to start typing and again… dashes… ---------- filling the e-mail. I shut down the computer thinking OMG my computer has gone haywire!!! No… I'm the one who's gone haywire. I set my coffee cup down beside the computer and the handle was pressing down on the - sign on my numeric keypad. I can't believe I did that.

It's another cold wintry day in Calgary but I think I'll put aside my knitting for a while, bundle up and go outside to take some pictures. I use to do a lot of water colour painting and illustration and I'd like to start painting and sketching again. I've done some volunteer work with my son's scout troop. When the boys go camping I go along and show them how to keep naturalist journals. we do studies of plants and wild flowers and sketch animal tracks. It's quite interesting and the boys seem to enjoy it. Unfortunately, these 40+ bones of mine aren't too keen on sleeping in a tent anymore. Usually I'm tired and sore for a couple of days afterwards :-).

My son and I were looking at a book on birds this morning. He loves the natural world and we are looking forward to spring when we can do some hiking and bird watching together and get back out in the garden.

I've applied for some great jobs… so I'm less out of sorts than I was. I know now what to stay away from: Advertising!!! I want to work in the non-profit sector. Somewhere where my design talents are contributing to the community. I've been applying for jobs related to my field at the local colleges and university, non-profit organizations and museums. Places where they are doing something positive! When I took my career course, the career counselor looked at my Myers Briggs (INFJ), my values and my interests and said, "No wonder you were thinking about leaving your job even before you were laid off, it was a horrible fit for you. You're a true idealist, you need to do something you can believe in." She was right. I absolutely DO NOT believe that people need to buy overpriced high end electronics or any of the other crap I was designing ads for. I'm into recycling, environmentally friendly, hand made, ethical practices, fair trade NOT materialism. When I was there, I was having anxiety attacks on a daily basis. The atmosphere was so focused on consumerism it felt like I couldn't breath!!

I had to show what happens when I leave any knitting unattended for even a minute. The pets move in!! My dog Ginger (isn't she the exact colour of a gingersnap?) got right into the shawl I'm working on. Good thing she didn't snag it or pull any stitches off the needle or she would have been one sorry little wiener dog. The only time I really yell at her is when she gets in to my knitting. The cat is just as bad but better at not getting caught.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Letting the plants go wild…

The job thing is getting to me and I haven't even received my first EI cheque.

I did have kind of a nice thing happen the other day though. I ran in to a friend I hadn't seen for a long time and she asked me out for coffee. She kept looking at me and saying "You look so great, I'm so proud of you!"It's always nice to hear.

She asked if I was seeing anyone. I said not really. There is my friend "the hanger", the problem with him is he doesn't like kids, doesn't want them, doesn't have them, doesn't want to have them. I have a 12-year-old son, in the 2-1/2 years that I've been friends with him, "the hanger" has made sporadic efforts with my son but never really warmed to him. I don't see us ever being one big happy family so for 2-1/2 years now, I've been hanging out with a guy there's no real future with. At first it was great… someone I love spending time with who poses absolutely no threat to my independence, he has his life, I have mine, sometimes they cross over. Lately… I don't know. It isn't like I ever meet single men, married men yes, the guys who coach rugby and scouts, friend's husbands… I just don't run in single circles anymore. I made efforts to date for a while but oh the guys… too controlling, too fussbudgety, too stuck in their ways, too interfering. I keep ending up back at the hanger. Sometimes I think I'm just meant to be alone.

One of my favorite friends sent me a great quote "A woman without a Man is like a Garden without a Fence" may be she's got it right… Let the Plants grow Wild!

Anyway, I'm feeling out of sorts so mostly what I've been doing is knitting. Another shawl, this one to go over the back of the couch and wrap myself in when I'm reading or watching TV. I'm so in love with the yarn--Goldilocks by Fleece Artist that I'd like to get more to make gifts with. Knitting keeps me sane, it forces me to turn off my brain and sometimes, as Martha would say, "That's a Good thing."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I think I need help…

I have become a wool addict. I admit it. Somebody help me!! It's become glaringly obvious that I can no longer walk in to a store that sells knitting supplies and walk out empty handed. My safest bet is to stay away from them all together. I was on the way to register my son for rugby and there was this little knitting store I'd never been in before and they had the most gorgeous hand dyed wool. It's all shades of amythyst and cobalt mixed in with warm hazels in a mohair/silk/nylon blend. I have this colour/texture thing. I see certain colours and I fall head over heels in love. I know exactly what I'm going to make, and it's an inexpensive project. Still, I shouldn't be buying wool period! Bad! Bad!

There must be some kind of 12 step program for people like me. May be I could find a sponsor who will sit on me whenever I get too close to a store that sells knitting supplies. Perhaps they could whack me over the head with a bamboo needle! I could make the excuse that when Rugby season starts, it'll be lovely to have projects to work on during the practices and games. Last year I missed one practice and no games but it's cold sitting watching the boys (even though I always bring a huge thermos of coffee) and knitting would help pass the time… no that's what the sock project was going to be… Ahhhgh. Friends and family will be getting shawls and scarves and who knows what else… just to justify my habit.

Balls of wool should come with warning lables just like cigarettes do.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Isn't she the most…

Ridiculous thing you've ever seen? Love it! The cuffs aren't done yet but you get the idea. I can't wait to take her out in it. Her coat matches my scarf and winter coat perfectly. It will be hilarious--and all the other dogs in the park shall mock her.
Well, it's another cold snowy day in Calgary. Worked out this morning and now I am putting off looking for work. Ah yes, nothing like procrastination…

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Strange but true…

I love doing my Taxes. I know. That classifies me as a FREAK! I do though, I love getting all the information slips, filling out all the forms, adding everything up, checking everything. In fact, the minute I got my T4's, everything else was ready to go, I filled out the forms and they are done and already in the mail!

I was feeling some what discouraged this morning so I took myself off to the Mall to mail my taxes and wander around (it's a cold snowy day in Calgary) I got back and a friend had e-mailed me a tip on a GREAT job so I applied for it and am feeling much better.

I'm suppose to be looking for work…

Did I mention I was currently "between jobs" no probably not. I was laid off recently. I do not like being unemployed, it makes me go a little crazy.

I've been combating the anxiety that comes with spending every day looking for work with frequent trips to the gym. I run, work on the weights for a bit. Work on my Abs--the fit ball is the best invention ever. I knit and… I blog.

I took a 3 day career course last week. It told me I am an INFJ--for those of you into Myers Briggs. I should look to a career as a teacher or counsellor or in the field of communications. Well, I would LOVE to go back to school, in fact in a perfect world I'd win the lottery and spend the rest of my life going to school!

In the real world, I'm a 40+ Graphic Designer. A pretty good one. Unfortunately, every person who owns a computer and a pirated copy of Photoshop thinks they are a Graphic Designer. My SIX years of Art School training don't amount to much when companies are posting jobs for "Graphic Designers" that pay $10-$13 an hour and require no training just an ability to use the software.

What I'm finding is, that in a two income household, I made more than enough to keep things rolling along nicely. In a single income household--things are not rolling along quite so nicely, in fact recently, they have become positively bumpy. My X did not help the situation when he moved away and took a job that paid half of what he was making here. Nor does it help that the federal child support guidelines haven't been updated since 1997. Hello! the cost of utilities alone eats up what I get in support. I have a wonderful, supportive family THANK GOD not in Alberta mind you, but in a pinch I can call them. So now I am spending my days trying to figure out how I can take the skills, education and experience I've got and somehow make it pay more.

I'm not looking for an immediate solution to this little crisis--mostly just venting about it. It helps.