Monday, October 03, 2022

Monday day stuff

 * Something random I noticed. We have less custodial services right now ("no one wants to work".....for the wages we can offer) so things build up. There's a cobweb right now in a corner of the window of the ladies' loo. Because of how the room was retrofitted one stall is right up against the window. ( I doubt it was originally a restroom, or it may have been a men's room, back in the days when this was a USDA facility). 

Anyway, from the facility you can see the cobweb. And in the morning, when the sunlight strikes it, it's all rainbow colored and interesting. But in the afternoon, when the sun has moved on, it's just a plain cobweb again.

There seems to be something metaphorical in that.

* I'm sort of tired and whoa can I feel like I'm emotionally sensitive today. Can't tell if a thread on twitter I saw is two of my mutuals actually fighting, or teasing-fighting. (At any rate: I don't like and can't do the teasing-fighting thing some people do. Teasing pretty much always feels hostile to me, probably because of my experience in school.)

I don't know. It's not how I interact with people at any rate. And I am sometimes bad at guessing "tone" in things, so I tend to "hear" things as more hostile than they are. 

* Also still struggling with the masking thing, because more and more I feel like the weirdo freak when I walk into a store and I'm literally the only one who masks. And I've explained it to people but it seems like no one understands - it does make me feel freakish and weird and catapults me back to my grade-school days when I was a kid with the wrong-branded clothes, or who didn't know the in-jokes, or didn't belong to any clubs, and I feel weird and excluded and just....wrong. And I don't like that. And yes, I hear people elsewhere (someone I know on Ravelry) saying "I'm going to keep masking and if other people have a problem with that, that's THEIR problem" and good for that person but.....I still lose "HP" every time I walk into a store and am the only masked person and especially if someone looks at me kind of funny, which has happened. 

I have always desperately wanted to fit in but realize that my fate in life is that I will NEVER fit in, I will always be that weirdo over in the corner, and no surprise no one wants to talk to me.

* Sometimes these days, I think because I'm alone a lot, random memories bubble up and I try to trace the thread of them. Like: I remember now one of the times I visited Hawaii, my mother and I went to a cemetery. It was one where some Japanese people were buried; I remember seeing small torii gates and Japanese script on the headstones. But now I don't know why we were there. And whether it was the time it was just me and my mom at meetings (so: we would have been in Waikiki and would not have had a vehicle) or if it was one of the times we were on the Big Island (and if so: why don't I remember my dad and brother being there; they would have been there too, unless they had gone off to pick up food or something). But I don't remember why, I just remember the terraced graves and I seem to remember it looked out over the ocean....

I could ask her but there's a chance she wouldn't remember it, I barely remember it and I've less life to remember than she has. 

* Gotta find something to do this weekend. I dislike big crowds and want still to avoid them, there's an Oktoberfest in Muenster, Texas, which is maybe an hour and a half away. But it'll be crowded and going to crowded things ALONE doesn't appeal - if I had a friend to go with, or a group to go with, it would be okay, but one thing I've found now is going places alone where everyone else seems to be grouped up both make me feel vaguely unsafe but also uncomfortable in a way related to the masking thing I talked about above.

I suppose I could just go to the "bigger" grocery store in Sherman, that would be something. 

They're banding monarch butterflies at Hackberry Flats (I did it once before, when they did it at Tishomingo, and would love to do it again) but Hackberry Flats is REALLY far (like 3-4 hours away far), and they may already be done doing it.

I dunno. It used to be I never had enough time to do things; now it seems like when there's time there's nothing to do. And like I said: Sherman and Denison even feel impossibly far away now, after a couple years of mostly not going there. I know there were times I used to even run down there in the afternoon after class let out but I can't imagine doing that now. 

Maybe some of it is I've changed - become more of a hermit, perhaps a bit more fearful of driving. But I think also the world has changed and there just are fewer things to do right now. Maybe it'll come back. Maybe it won't. But I can't spend another weekend staring at the interior four walls of my house. 

(I am also apprehensive we're going to have a *terrible* "winter wave" so I want to get out, and, like Frederick the little mouse in a children's book I read, store up memories for myself so I have something to keep me going when I'm stuck inside)

* Heh. "Frederick." I remember that book. I liked it as a small child because I liked the illustrations. As a slightly older child, it offended my sense of fairness: how dare Frederick not do work and just sit around and store up memories while his colleagues have to bring in the harvest? And now, as an old adult, I think of the story and wonder why the harvester-mice weren't better at trying to take some time to store up their own memories - because if something happened to Frederick, what would they do then?

I don't know. I think the author was maybe making a larger commentary about the value of the arts, but....maybe it wasn't as well-done as it might have been. 

(OH and I forgot: the mice run out of food, and so the idea is Frederick "feeds" them with memories. Yikes. I hope it was close enough to spring they didn't starve. And yeah, maybe there's something to be learned in these times from it, I don't know. But also I know feeding on one's memories is a thin gruel to try to keep alive on)

* One other thing I find myself thinking about. Back around about 1988 or so, I took Systematic Botany (as an undergraduate). My professor was a fairly well-known systematist (well, at that time, and especially for ferns) named Warren H. Wagner. (He was even mentioned in the Walter Matthau-Elaine May movie "A New Leaf"). I talked with him on a few occasions - the class was small, I think at that point he was only teaching one a semester (he was very close to retirement then). My mom had had him as a professor when she was there 20+ years earlier, and he said he remembered her. 

Anyway. He passed away around 2000 or so as I remember. But as I review floral formulas and different families, I wonder what he would think of me teaching systematic botany in 2023. 

I mean, I did pretty well in the class, I think I earned an A. But learning something is different from teaching it, that's something I've learned over the years. 

I also think, about many things, of the line from Lord of the Rings where Frodo comments that "I wish it need not have happened in my time" and I feel that, hard, about a lot of things these days.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

And more blocks

 I think I'm more than half done now. (I have 24 blocks and I need 42, so yeah - just over half done). 

It takes longer than you think because you have to press each intermediate seam or else the blocks come out lumpy. But I did get ten done, and also realized I was one strip short, so I grabbed a piece out of the stacks and pressed it off and cut another piece. (That will be a later block, though - not in these). 

But I got them done this evening

I also got more stuff put away; most of my yarn will now live in the flip-top boxes I have in the guest room closet. I also found some stuff I forgot I had but want to knit up some time now. 

I also got most of the leg of a plain sock knit during Zoom knit meeting. 


Other than that - kind of a hard weekend. Had a headache much of Saturday; I don't know if it was an immune response to the flu shot or because it's been *extremely* dry and dusty here. I also read a Twitter post that Nat Guest wrote about the ongoing grief and frustration with the pandemic. She lives in the UK and so had the harder lockdown than we did (though people like me who are cautious? Are still not doing a lot of the things we once did): "It's the sort of grief where you're absolutely capable with getting on with life 99% of the time, but when that 1% hits you? You start crying, and you keep crying, and you're not sure where the end of the crying is or ever reasonably could be."

And yeah. Evenings are bad. I get to thinking about things - that my life is more than half-over, I don't know WHAT I would want to do even if I COULD.  And the fact that I've met very few people the past two years, and I've also lost a lot of people to various reasons. 

And I got to thinking about Friday night, when I went to a local place to pick up a pizza (they don't deliver and I don't feel like messing with the Door Dash interface, even though they're supposedly in my town) and I waited. And waited, and waited. And I was the ONLY solo person in the place - there were couples walking in, some in date-night clothes, and there were families, and there was a group that came in because it was a wedding rehearsal dinner. If I hadn't already paid I'd probably just have walked out and gone home  and eaten oatmeal instead.

Finally, someone said "Oh, we didn't see you, are you waiting on a carry out order" and yeah, yeah I was: pathetic single woman all alone on a Friday night just trying to get her darn pizza and scram so she can eat it in front of the TV. 

Normally in the past being the only solo in a place didn't bother me, but now? After having been alone so much? It does. And I think one way I've emotionally regressed is I've gone back to that teenaged stage where I feel like I simultaneously stick out like a sore thumb (because I'm alone, and someone alone is weird) and yet am also invisible ("oh, we didn't see you")

I know, it was a fluke (the place normally has good service but it was Friday night and they were slammed and yeah, I get it, someone picking up a pizza is less profit than a family coming to get a full dinner at a table, or a wedding-rehearsal group (which probably also bought drinks from the bar). 

But it did get to me. And it does get to me that somehow Denison - a half-hour away - now feels like it's the other side of the world after a couple years of not going there very often. (I probably need to get out next weekend; maybe I will be happier after going, even masked, to do a little "fun" shopping).  

But yeah. Maybe not 99% of the time, but 90% of the time, I'm doing okay and managing. But some times - usually late in the evening, usually when I'm otherwise tired or not feeling great, it all hits me, everything we all collectively lived through, and the realization that my life will never be the same as it was, and it's worse in a lot of small ways than it was before, and I didn't even realize it would get worse in those ways,'s just hard. I cry more now than I did before. I guess that's okay? I don't know. 

I just wish I felt more optimistic about the future, but I honestly don't now. I've heard rumors of a coming winter wave that's going to be bad, and I just do not want. I need to get the bivalent booster but also really wanted to wait until I was at my mom's in case I had a strong reaction and felt really unwell, but I don't even know now, I might not be able to wait that long if it's a bad variant with a lot of immune escape? 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Thursday evening things

* Just tired after this week. I don't know why. Also thinking about some people I've lost contact with over the past couple years and feeling sad. Thinking again about how my life has contracted down and is much smaller than it once was (and it wasn't EVER "big" at all, anyway) and it makes me sad. I don't know how to fix things or to improve things, so I assume the answer is I just get used to it being like this and accept it.

* I plan to get my flu shot tomorrow. I'm apprehensive given the strong immune reaction I had to the second COVID booster (that one was before the bivalent came out; it was another dose of the OG shot). I'm hoping it was just my body reacting to THAT and not that I now have some autoimmune thing going on that will make me sick with any vaccine. (I will also be due soon for a tetanus booster). I'm going to get it right after lunch and then go back to campus because if I start to have big problems there will be someone else there. 

* I am taking home more stuff from the storage unit. I'm running out of room for fabric but decided that all the Christmas themed fabric will live in a big plastic tub in my closet since it's more "specialized." I do have a lot of big pieces of solid colors that I now know where they are. So at least I won't have to buy any fabric for a long time. 

* I also have more of my yarn home and found a couple balls of a nice crunchy cranberry colored tweed I probably bought for a hat, and I'll have to figure out a good pattern for it. (I don't remember what pattern I was going to use). I also found some sportweight alpaca from "Texas Alpacas" (Kaboodles in Denison used to, and might still, sell it). One thing I like is they put a picture of the animal the fiber was shorn from on the label - this one came from Pluro (and is mixed with some other fibers). I want that for fingerless mitts so I'll have to figure out a pattern for THAT.

* Something odd happened this week.

I had seen the "Shinada Global Otter" plush referenced somewhere, and decided I wanted one. I ordered one from Amazon (it might not be echt, as some of those things on Amazon aren't, but I wasn't comfortable trying to order through the website of the company in Japan (even if you COULD). 

It came on Tuesday:

Yes, some stuffed toys Amazon sells come like this, vacuum sealed. (There's an infamous "Garfield-but-not-really" cat that lots of people have posted photos of how weird it looks in the packaging, and how janky it looks out of it).

But I pulled the otter out and tossed it in the dryer on air fluff, and it came out fine

I hadn't named the otter, I thought about calling it Shinada, after the original company that made them, but I didn't think too much about it.

Then, yesterday, after class, I got a text that my UPS package (probiotics that need to be refrigerated - they are shipped with a coldpack but I didn't want to risk it) had arrived so I ran home to put that away before going back to campus to do my systematics prepwork.

But. In addition to my September doki doki crate (Good on Japan Crate - they sent me two August crates by mistake, and when I contacted them they shipped out a new September crate to me. I get to keep the second August crate and already passed one thing I wouldn't use from both of them ("swimsuit bags" that are waterproof) to someone else who can), there was a large, puffy, white shipping bag. It felt like it contained something soft and I was excited, wondering if (a) my brother FINALLY sent the birthday present I was supposed to get the end of February* or (b) someone decided to surprise me with a gift. 

So that buoyed me along through my hour or so of prep, then I came home and opened the package.


Another otter. Packed slightly differently?

I looked at both mailers - they were different - one was the flat Prime mailer, this one a big white bag - the shipping addresses were the same. I checked my orders and I only paid for one otter. 

I consulted with people on Twitter and their suggestion was if I tried to RETURN the otter, they'd refund my money and then the third-party seller wouldn't get their cut. And another person said that the cost to them to ship it back and restock it in the warehouse was probably more than what it was worth to them. And I know from prior experience trying to explain "hey you sent me two, can I at least pay for the second one" they tell me not to bother. So even though my ethical sense was a little uncomfy I decided to keep it.

Which then suggested names

In Animal Crossing, Tom Nook (the tanuki/raccoon, depending on what part of the world you're in) has twin nephews named Timmy and Tommy. So these otters must be twins, except I think Original!Otter is a girl, so her name is Tammy, so it's Tammy and Tommy, the twin otters. (Tommy has a tiny bit of damage to the stitching on one hind leg, so I can tell them apart, though I'm thinking of making a hair-ribbon for Tammy and gently stitching it to her head, next to one ear)

(*In a very small and very petty way, and I know it is, and I know in most families adult siblings do not to birthday presents, but: it bothers me. It bothers me that he apparently bought a gift back in like MARCH (yes, it was late to begin with) and had not been able to bother to mail it to me for, what, nearly seven months? It tells me that I don't really matter. Because if I am sending something to someone who matters to me, I MAKE time to get to the PO. And while my brother is busy, I don't think, from what he's said, that he's really any busier than I am - and they sure to go and do a lot of FUN things as a family, things I don't get to do. And I admit I was thinking about this today, and it made me sad: once my mom is gone, I will have no one to exchange Christmas presents with or get birthday presents from because while I do send them presents, they maybe don't want to do it for me, so maybe I suggest we just stop? But that makes me sad and once again I was sitting there at my desk dreaming of alternate universes where I actually found someone to marry and had kids and then WE could exchange gifts, instead of me eventually just giving the practice up altogether. And I know: it shouldn't matter. Except it DOES. It really does when my life is always just me taking care of me and me only and also no one ever taking care of me so I get a respite from it. And even more - I do a lot of care taking that's not reciprocal; I help students and stuff but there's never really anything concrete I get back in any of those interactions and while I am happy to do it and I get that it's my job to.....still, to come home every night to an empty house, and to have to figure out what to cook myself for dinner based on what I have in the kitchen and to have to constantly cheerlead and rally myself because there really isn't anyone doing that on a regular basis.....well, it gets hard and the occasional promise of even a small gift - heck, even a freaking BIRTHDAY CARD would be enough - but  yeah. Again, I wish I were good enough at being "enough" on my own, but I'm not, I'm really not, and it wears on  me. So it's bigger than just "ha ha I guess he can't be arsed to send my gift to me," there's a lot more there and this is just symbolic)

* At least the student who was being a bit of a problem for my chair and me dropped my class. So I don't have to worry about them and their attitude.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

More quilt blocks

 I made eight more blocks over the weekend. (With this pattern, for each pair of strips, you get two blocks in sort of alternating colors

I thought about making more during the week this week but it's been another busy week with me getting home later than I planned, and I'm tired, and I could see that leading to errors, even though I will say it gets easier to piece them correctly after you've made a few

The sort of - I thought it was mustard but here it looks more green - print with the school clothes on it, and the red one with the trees are from the original jelly roll; the turquoise one is a tiny 1930s-style print of the Three Bears and their cottage. And the pink one is tickets, it's scraps from a wonky four-patch quilt I made a number of years ago.

One of the nice things about having the fabric organized now is it's easy to find stuff, and easy to find the OPTIMAL stuff I want, instead of "settling" for something that works.

(I think I had been doing a lot of the "precut packet" quilts mainly because I had a hard time FINDING stuff; now with it mostly organized, I can find things)

And here's the other four:

Again, the green/mustard is from the jelly roll - the cat fabric I paired it with was (I think) scraps my mom gave me from a jumper dress she made for my niece. And the grey fabric is basically the same as the mustard/green one in the previous blocks, just different colors - I paired it with a cursive-handwriting print I had a few scraps of from the big Vigniere Cipher quilt top I made (which I have yet to get quilted). 

I admit I wish the script print was more the British style of handwriting (which is different from the D'nealian cursive that this seems to be (That's the style I was taught in school). I wish this because Aneela Hoey is a British designer, and the "school clothes" prints are very clearly more British than American in style. (But you can't have everything. I have never seen fabric printed in the style that my friend Bee writes, or how Jo wrote....)

The top I am making takes 42 blocks; I currently have 14 done. I'd like to do more this weekend if I'm up to it. (I plan to get my flu vaccine early Friday afternoon - may go back to campus after with the idea that if I start feeling really lousy, there would be someone there, unlike at home. I hate that I'm a little vaccine anxious now but the immune response to the second COVID booster was rough.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

one fun thing

 Well, there are "still*" some things enjoyable about my job. I'm doing a soil analysis lab with the ecology class tomorrow, and we need distilled water, so I asked the department chair how to teach me to use this:

Glowy tube go brrrrrr.

I have to go check it in a minute - I don't know if it shuts off when the carboy gets done (there is a timer on the electric that shuts it off at five, after a couple people in the past forgot to shut it down and had to run back in the evening to shut it off)

(*as in, "still for producing distilled water" haha get it?)

Also the person I have been having issues with ditched class again today. I sent  an update about that to my chair (as she had tried to help the person) and she e-mailed back a cry-laughing face and "they probably won't like the grade they ultimately earn, and it will be our fault" so I guess she and I are on the same page about this, anyway.

Monday, September 26, 2022

feeling very underappreciated

 Just need to get it out

the whole "student in the wrong class" issue kind of blew up and now apparently the student is blaming me and implying my class isn't good

I give up. Like I said, I feel very underappreciated and like nothing I can do will ever be good enough for anyone (including me)

It's only Monday and already I want to cry

needing extra grace

I've been watching stuff, mostly from the outside, but it strikes me (as I said on Twitter) that people are kind of brittle right now and likely to go off over small things. Here, in the third year of the pandemic, we're more tired and sad than most of us are willing to admit, and I think that's affecting how we treat people.

I am only going to speak for my small circle; I see what I think of as "greater cruelty" out in the world (read a thread on Twitter about a man going into truly ugly behavior on a plane towards an East Indian woman who MIGHT have bumped his seat taking her tray table down - he went into a racist, misogynistic rant, and abruptly reclined his seat while she was trying to lie her head on the tray table to get a little rest) and I don't know about those, whether they're happening more or being reported more.


I think of the person at church who disagreed with the minister on something, the minister refused to yield or alter the plan, and the person just dropped their responsibility - resigned, and did it through ME, the head elder, which meant I got the added task of smoothing over the "why didn't they come and talk DIRECTLY to me about it?" afterward (believe me: I wish they had)

And I think of last week, when I was called to do a task with assessment on short notice, and did it, and submitted the numbers, and got back a curt "there aren't enough students in the sample, I think you lost some of the scan trons" and spent 40 minutes searching my office, and finally checked the old rosters to learn that NO, none of the scan-trons were missing, and the class really WAS that small and I didn't get an apology back on that and I spent Friday evening just really feeling bad about the whole thing and telling myself "well maybe you just do a bad enough job of it and it will be taken away from you and someone else will have to do it"

And now, seeing a little group of people I follow on Twitter fundamentally break up and one person (who quit following me a long time ago, so whatever) block two of the others over what I thought was an innocuous comment and....well

We're all brittle and frayed right now. I know I cry more easily and rage more easily (I did both while tearing my office apart looking for the scan trons, and I really hope I can find the couple pieces of late work a student who had been sick handed in that I hadn't graded yet now. And yes, I raged in my office - no one else was around, the person in the office next to me is with their sick-in-the-hospital-post-COVID child, the next office down is the guy who retired that we didn't manage to replace, so I might as well be on Jupiter for everyone who could hear me. 

But it does make me sad. Part of it is I can see how I've emotionally regressed: the tight rein I once kept over my temper has slipped, and while I have NEVER been able to yell at a PERSON, I rage now at either inanimate objects or at myself (I don't count to myself as a person some times). I called myself "stupid" and worse when I thought I had lost those scan trons. 

And also, at the same time, I find myself even more desperate for other people's approval/validation. I'm very much once again the schoolgirl who wants to hear from her teachers that she did a good job, or get a gold foil star stuck on her homework. 

But I'm grown up, I'm alone, and I have no one to validate me but me, and I am monumentally bad at that even at the best of times.

I also found the little online blow up reminded me of why I used to self-censor more, and probably should start doing so again: I don't want to lose friends or friendly acquaintances. One thing a lot of my interactions with peers as a kid taught me was:"people don't want to see the real you" which lead me to suspect "the real you isn't actually very likable or palatable." I had let that one slip lately - again, no one to listen to me in "meatspace" so I am more prone to vent online, and maybe I need to stop that and just keep everything inside again instead.

And yes yes, people would be fast to remind me: but your real friends won't mind. They won't set invisible rules that they will drop you over*. Except when I was a kid I had a couple pretty spectacular friend-betrayals, and a few instances of people who did the silent treatment after I transgressed some minor and unspoken and idiosyncratic-to-them rule of "you don't say that" or " you don't do that" - think some kind of minor etiquette thing, like "you started eating your lunch before I did" or some such, only they don't give you the courtesy of TELLING you what it is, or even giving you one strike.

(*and yes, I know: there are some hard lines. I would say you're justified in cutting off contact with someone who is racist or makes fun of your religion or whatever. But I'm talking here about the weird invisible rules, the "On Wednesdays we wear pink" kinds of things that are not things a "reasonable" person would know. I have known people like that, that if you violated one of their idiosyncratic unspoken "rules," you were ostracized, and you often didn't know what for)

So then I get weird and anxious, like "I'm going to alienate everyone and I'll be even more alone than I am" and I find myself clamming up even more - I'm already doing it in person, to the point where people who know me have commented on it.

We're all broken now, and I don't know how we get fixed. And that makes me sad. I am very much once again, in some ways, the sad, lonesome 12-year-old I was, the person eating her lunch in the dim corner of the lunchroom because none of the other tables wanted to let me sit with them, and who is wondering what rule she violated that makes her so unlovable....

Saturday, September 24, 2022

One little thing

 I did go in today, did two hours of concentrated work (using Pomodoros to break it up) on the systematics stuff, mostly thinking about/taking notes on terminology and magnoliopsid structure. Maybe how I do this is becoming a bit more clear. I can probably ignore or just briefly mention families that aren't common here, but focus on the "big ones" (Poaceae, Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Fagaceae, Juglandaceae, among others) but I also need to do a section on herbarium specimen preparation* and using keys and probably plant evolution in a broad sense

(* the previous person dumped this, complaining "the students don't do it right" but I'd rather them have at least some exposure to it and maybe need more PRACTICE than not do it at all. I hate to say it but I think my former colleague got lazy and burned out in a specific way towards the end. I mean, yeah, I'm teetering on burnout too, but I still feel driven to do a "good job" of things and not just sort of half-@$$ it and say "good enough")

But then I came home (my hand was cramping up from note taking, and I ordered some soft pencil grips like the ones I used back in grade school - I've had either muscular or motor-neuron issues for a long time)

And I realized:: well, I could do one little task that would feel good, by putting up the house numbers

I had thought about "better go buy some doublestick tape" but I decided meh, I didn't want to make another trip out and then I remembered the leftover painters tape I had

So I was able to try out arrangements

I decided on the slightly-idiosyncratic diagonal arrangement. I remember a lot of the older houses where I grew up having this, and the neighbor to the north has them vertical, and the neighbor to the south has them I wanted to be different

It was kind of a pain to hammer them in and the 0 wound up a little wonky but then my life is a little wonky, so whatever:

They're not SUPER visible from the street, but they're visible. And if I trimmed the abelia back a little bit they'd be more visible

Maybe at night, with the porch light shining on them, they will show up more.

As I said, I'd originally planned to do some ritzy artistic thing but this feels right - someone, a long time ago, bought these, and then never used them, and now I've found them, and they're getting to fulfill their destiny. 

I also unloaded the two boxes of fabric I brought home on Thursday. (I didn't get any Friday; no time. But maybe Monday I can grab a couple on the way home). I found six or eight fat quarters of a "classic Pooh" (Shepherd illustrations, not Disney) line I bought ages and ages ago - long before my niece was even conceived but I think I bought them with half a thought of "what if I ever need a baby quilt for my brother and sister in law?" but then I did something totally different when that time came. So I'll probably never use them but if one of you readers who quilts would like them, I could pop them in a puffy envelope. If not, maybe when I gather up all the fabric to donate they can go there. These are all folded up - they were sold in little packets - and are two coordinating sets.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Friday evening things

 * Another difficult day. I went back after lunch INTENDING to work on the systematics stuff after getting some grading done, but then I had to do some assessment data analysis for the upcoming program review. One thing I don't like about life now is that urgent things can come up that push you off longer-term but more-important (ultimately) stuff.

Well, it was woeful. I got it all compiled and submitted it, then the person I submitted it to came back with "that seems like an awfully small number of students, are you sure you didn't lose one set of the scan-trons?"

So I looked. And I looked. I went through all the old batches, I went through the other gen-ed class' batch, I couldn't find any. Finally, in desperation, I realized one set of the forms was from my class last spring. So I looked up the gradebook, and found that yes, in fact, every single one of my students' scan-trons were there, plus nine that were not my students.

I sent back to the person in charge, I explained, I said my class' data were all there, and I had nine other people, I could not find any others, and if I could get access to their online gradebook Monday I could back-calculate the average and get a correct number.

Well, the person e-mailed me a bit after 7 tonight (Yes, I checked, because I wanted to see if they had said anything further): "I checked and actually there was only 1 other class, and it had only nine people in it"

So I did have all the data. ARGH.

I spent about 40 minutes searching, and I fretted, and I raged at myself for being a disorganized mush-brain who loses things regularly now (The pandemic, or something, these past three years, has just made me so STUPID).

I wish I felt better about being vindicated but I don't. I just feel tired and I wasted time I could have been working on my stuff searching. I did do maybe an hour's work on the systematics stuff at home this evening, and I'll try to make myself do an hour or two more tomorrow, but still. 

This is a task I always kind of resist and am irritated by: it does not give me any value even if it has to be done for the department, it's not enjoyable, and I have bad memories of it because it was dropped in my lap literally less than a month after my dad died, so I associate it with the grief for him, and that's bad.

* At any rate: I got the grading from today done (but there will be more Monday), and I got the assessment task handled, but I didn't walk off campus until 5:30 today.Too late to go get any tubs from the storage unit, so I guess there's none of that until next week. (I do have one of fabric I should unload this weekend, and sort.)

I do admit I welcome seeing my supplies come back. One of the yarn boxes I brought back yesterday had some Felici sockyarn in it, in the colorway they called Dragon Boat (which I ASSUME is a reference to the traditional Chinese festival; it's stripes of yellow, red, an orangish red, and two greens)

I cast on a pair of socks and got a bit done on them. Maybe I do a little more while (a) trying to calm down and (b) letting my dinner (a hastily bolted-down frozen stromboli, and I fear I'll regret that later) settle while I remain in an upright seated position. 

* But I am feeling a little crabby and sorry-for-myself tonight. This was a hard and unpleasant week, there was bad news I got, I felt kind of ineffective, and there were some bad human interactions. There's really no promise of "fun" this weekend - I have duties at church and then a meeting Sunday afternoon, and tomorrow I should put some time in on working on the systematics for that class this coming spring. 

But I do feel very much like too little butter scraped over bread these days. 

I ordered myself a dumb thing off Etsy that will be here early next month. I sometimes do that when I'm feeling sorry for myself even though I know ordering a THING won't fix that there's no one to act happy to see me when I get home for the day, or no one to help carry the load at work, or that I don't have that many local friends, and none really in a position to go do stuff with me when I have time to do stuff. 

* It does feel like being a grown up is constantly doing tasks that are never done (the assessment thing felt extra that way when I thought I'd have to recalculate it next week) and tell yourself "maybe I'll have free time NEXT week" for the rest of your life.

* I also hit the "foreshadowing/Chekov's gun" thing in "Anne of Green Gables" last night that sets up for the one big really sad thing (that I vaguely know will happen) in the book, and I don't like that. I might read something else tonight lest I wind up getting to that part, I"m not in a mood for something super sad right now.

* Next week I guess I get my flu shot. I toyed with the idea of doing it today, but, with all the stuff Sunday, I don't want to feel lousy and then have to drag myself out to a meeting in the afternoon. I admit I'm apprehensive this time, given how strongly I reacted to the COVID booster, I'm considering seeing if I can line up a person or two who knows me to AT LEAST text me on Saturday and Sunday after I get the flu shot just to be sure I'm not lying on the floor, a puddle of fever. I think it's important to get it as I've heard this year's flu season might be bad, and with asthma, you don't want to mess with the flu.

(The bivalent booster - I am going to wait on that until I am home visiting my mother so she can watch out for me. Right now local transmission rates have dropped so hopefully we get a few weeks of relative safety)

* Also, I found these when I was clearing off a closet shelf (the high shelf in the guest room closet - I was trying to make space for boxes of yarn).

I did not buy these. When I moved into the house in 2001 there was a crummy decal on the vinyl siding, and I never tried to change it because I figured you can't nail through vinyl siding. But now that the vinyl siding is gone, I could put these up - they're brass, they're the right numbers. 

I had originally thought of getting a house-number plaque, either get one of those tile ones you can order, or have someone make a stained wooden Mission style one. 

They're probably not SUPER old, I'd guess the late 80s at the OLDEST, and they're not QUITE in the original style of the late 1940s house but....maybe it's kind of fate? I didn't buy them; I presume the previous owner (or the one right before her) did. And then the siding got put up and probably they couldn't use them, so just stuck them in the closet? So I do feel like maybe it's meant to be.
Maybe one thing I do this weekend is put these up? I might need to get a little double stick tape to hold them in place until I get them hammered in - not sure whether to put these in a straight line, or a diagonal line like some midcentury houses used. 

On the back it says "Made in Taiwan for Wessel Hardware Corp., Cleveland, Ohio" and it has a zip code (so I know they're not OLD old, also with the made in Taiwan thing).

Thursday, September 22, 2022

so that happened

 I needed a few things so during my lunch break I went to the local wal-mart.

Th. e good news is that they once again have the 60% cacao Ghirardelli chips, which is what I use in my morning oatmeal and had been having to trek to the Target in Sherman to get. 

The surprising thing was.....I got panhandled. INSIDE the wal-mart.

Yeah, I was looking to see what kind of Asian-style sauces they had (not what I was looking for, but Pruett's has it) and a woman walked up to me and said she was running out of gasoline, was parked in the lot, was trying to get to Dallas where a relative (mother, maybe?) was in the hospital.

Now, normally I don't give money to panhandlers. For one thing: I give money to our local ministerial alliance, which helps people like stranded travelers, but has a little bit of a vetting process to make sure the resources are going to someone truly in need. But I guess she caught me at a vulnerable moment. 

"Wait a moment," I said, "I might have five dollars." (I had more than that, but the smallest other bill was a $20, and honestly, that seemed a bit much for a total stranger who might not have been telling the truth). 

I had five singles, so I gave her that. She thanked me and God-blessed me and everything, and left.

And then I thought about it for the rest of the day: Was she playing me? I mean, yeah, if she was, that's on her, I guess, and $5 probably wouldn't allow someone to do MUCH damage to themselves if it was used for drugs, I said I never know what to do. 

 I also found myself wondering: what happens to the whole "you did it to the least of these" thing when the person you wind up doing for actually isn't, and isn't telling you the truth? I mean, I guess again it's on them, but....a person only has so much resources (Well, short of selling all you have and giving the money to the poor).

But I don't know. What I did wouldn't help MUCH if she really was trying to get to Dallas - five bucks will buy maybe a gallon and a half of gas, and depending on the car that's maybe 30 miles on the highway (And Dallas is a good 100 miles from here, so not quite 1/3 of the way). I don't know. 

It is an ethical dilemma, though. And I have heard people - people with strong ethics and strong faith - actually argue both sides of it. And really, yes, something like the ministerial alliance is probably better at this, but, I didn't remember them in the moment, and anyway, whichever church was the one people are supposed to go to THIS week would be some distance from the wal-mart.

But I don't KNOW the "most ethical" course of action in cases like that. If she had said she was hungry, I could have bought food for her. But I was in a hurry and couldn't say "okay, let's go to the gas station here and you can fill up your car and I'll pay for it" or some such. I don't know.

People tell me I take responsibility for things that really aren't my responsibility, and that's probably true. But I can't do otherwise and now that I've realized that I also see that my mom does the same thing, so I probably learned it from her.

I don't know any more. So often it seems when I try to help or do something good it either doesn't come off or sometimes it even backfires. Like, what if I just advanced the tendency further, and now people will feel more empowered to panhandle in the groceries? I admit if that happened regularly - I do NOT like being approached by strangers, and I don't like being hit up for money - well, if it becomes a thing maybe I give up and just do ALL my groceries as "order online, pick up at the curb" even as much as I hate that and feel disempowered by the whole process (I noticed that in 2020 when I wasn't going in to stores because of the pandemic). 

Or yeah, what if she used it to do something to harm herself - or gave it to someone else who used it for something harmful? Again, I guess that's not on me, but. 

I also had the situation today of my chair coming in a little agitated - the student who was in the wrong lab, my chair did what she could to pave the way for them to get into the RIGHT lab but the student had to do a couple small things. Well, the student NEVER e-mailed my chair back (nor did they e-mail me), they didn't show up to lecture or lab, they haven't done the thing they were supposed to do. And now I'm kind of embarrassed I pulled my chair into this and she spent time and effort on something that was basically a waste. 

So much any more, it feels like when I try to do good, it winds up as a waste.

Also I realized: this is how the past couple years has changed me; at one time I would think (not just about these things, I did make a donation to my denomination's "Week of Compassion" (disaster relief) to help out in Puerto Rico) that "well, I tried to do something good, maybe something good will happen for me" but now I realize it was both naïve and selfish of me to think that I might get something back in return; that the universe is fundamentally neither fair nor balanced. (And that the good I can do in no way helps to mitigate the bad). 

But I hope I don't get panhandled again. I might not be so accommodating next time. And I hope that student winds up regretting wasting my chair's time. (My own time? It doesn't matter. As a professor my time matters less than my chair's does). 


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

It goes slowly


I was tired, so after unpacking and sorting the second tub of fabric I brought home yesterday, I decided to do some hand quilting. It takes a long time to get much done  (in perhaps an hour’s work I got a bit more than one block done). Also I have to build my “quilting callus” back up.

 Other than that: just another long day, and a friendly colleague is out because their child developed some scary post-COVID symptoms.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Very "Tuesday" Tuesday

 Someone I know called Tuesdays "stealth Mondays" - because the weekend is still far off, and there are often problems.

I encountered a few today.

A student of mine, who struggled last spring but ultimately managed to get things together and do well in my class, was in two of my classes this fall. But they developed a scary health issue (could be a tumor) and they e-mailed me today that they were having to drop out in order to pursue a clearer diagnosis and treatment in a larger city with a better hospital. I wished them well and said I hoped things turned out well and they could come back in a future semester.

But yeah, it makes me sad. I hope if it's a tumor it's a benign tumor that can be surgically removed. 

I had another student who had a whole bevy of problems, one of which was they got bad advisement and got put in the wrong lab (!!!!) for my intro class, and they didn't figure it out, and are having to be moved to the right lab, and apparently the person who was supposed to be advising them (in the Advisement Center) is having health issues themselves and a lot of days lately I almost feel like there aren't enough of us who are even minimally together enough* to keep things going and I really wonder what's going to happen.

(*I would describe myself as "minimally together" - I get my work done but I'm not really doing anything *extra* and I'm tired a lot and some days I come home and play stupid mobile games instead of reading or knitting because it feels like more effort to pick up a book or a project). 

Anyway, it's off my plate now because my chair and another administrator have to be the ones to sort it out. I guess it was fortunate I found out (because I had to look the student's schedule up for another reason) but it ate part of my afternoon.

I did get a few errands run: before coming back to deal with the issue, I did get to the bank and the post office (I had promised some unwanted fabric and books to a couple of friends, and I wanted to get them sent out). Those were the two places that might have closed before I got off campus (as it turned out, they would have, when I finally got done). 

Then I left campus after dealing with everything. (including writing an exam for next week). The storage place was still open so I grabbed a couple tubs of yarn and a couple tubs of fabric. I have one unpacked, the other looks like it might have some "donate this" fabric in it (fabric that no longer sparks joy for me). 

But I also needed to get gas (was down below a quarter tank) and I really wanted to wash the car (there have been a LOT of caterpillars, I guess, and there's tons of "honeydew" and frass that winds up on the car (think caterpillar poop, only this is sticky like sap). I had to go to a second place for gas because there was a line at the first place and I didn't feel like waiting. (Also, a LOT of people were just "driving rude" today - I saw people run four way stops, and also merge aggressively or pull out in front of other drivers - in one case, in front of me)

Finally I got to the car wash. I couldn't go to the "disco car wash" I would normally do, because it's on the eternal-construction stretch of road (the city is threatening to fire and sue the contractor because there have been so many delays, but I suspect firing the contractor is only going to slow things down WORSE). So I went to what turned out to be their sister car wash on another street. Got in line, paid for my wash.....and waited. I was behind a police car and they seemed to be sitting forever. Finally one of the car wash guys came out and talked to the driver....and we waited more. Finally the car started moving, and the guy came to my car and said, apologetically, "We got backed up because the car in before (before the police car) was all covered in oil and we had to slow down [I presume to wash it more] and now we've lost the records of what people paid for" so I just showed him my receipt with the type of wash I wanted and he was able to enter it.

FINALLY I got through, so at least the honeydew is off my car. I also brought the tubs in but I've only emptied one of the fabric ones - I should at least do the other before bed.

Also, Walgreens is sending me nagging messages about being "overdue" for a flu shot, I am going to have to consider whether to get it Friday, or to wait another week. (There is a potluck at church Sunday and I'd rather not feel lousy for it, and who KNOWS now how I'll react to vaccines given my strong immune reaction to the second COVID booster....also next Saturday is Zoom knitting group and one of the people in there is a former nurse so she could at least check up on me after my shot)

Monday, September 19, 2022

New quilt started

 This was yesterday's work; today was just long and tiring and a couple bad things happened.

I had found that Aneela Hoey "Little Apples" jelly roll. I found that the white-background fabrics had a couple of small stains on it (I think because it was up against other things). I tried washing them (handwashing in Oxy Clean) but that didn't take the stains away totally. But also, the pattern I was using (Basket Case by Cluck Cluck Sew) really depends on contrast between the fabric and background so I decided to find fabric that would coordinate but could replace the white-background ones. (I did save them, they might be okay for a binding, I don't know)

I cut all (370-some) of the 2 1/2 inch squares of the white fabric yesterday, and picked out and cut the fabric to replace the "bad" strips. I will say it's pretty brilliant having my yardage actually organized and out on display, it's easy to find something you want, get it, cut what you need, and then fold up and put the rest back. 

It's a more concentration-requiring pattern than what I often do - it mimics a basketweave design so you have to pay attention to the order of the fabrics and I admit I had to rip out a couple seams before it all came together.

But I did get six blocks made (as it turns out, each pair of colorful strips makes two blocks:

Most of the fabrics are from the jelly roll but the scarf print (the one with the pink and red "boxes," which are actually stripes on the scarf - they are like British school scarves) is from another Aneela Hoey line and it's one of the replacement fabrics. 

I don't know how much I'll get to work on it during the week, as I said: you have to really concentrate to get the pieces in the right places. At least this is one where you can do a couple blocks at a time - you just cut the strips as you need them. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Hard week over

* I'm glad this week is done, it was a lot in a lot of ways.

* I took home six more totes between today and yesterday. One of them DID have yarn, which I just left in there - I think maybe my future storage for yarn will be to stack those in the guest room closet. 

* The shelves ARE getting full, but I also found a lot of fabric I could donate. I also found all my unicorn-print fabrics, which makes me happy, and of course I have what I need for the raindrop quilt. And I found some other things that I set aside - "packs" of eight or 12 fat quarters I bought that go together. I think tomorrow and Sunday maybe I start a new top. 

* I also pulled A Sweater for John back out. I may have missed the first front decrease row but it should work out okay. (It's too big to carry for invigilating now, I am on the raglan decreases and then next I do the front bands and the pocket. 

I also have fabric to go out to various quilting friends, and heck, I'll post the first round of "destashing books" in case anyone wants them. (Unfortunately I can only send to US addresses, because of expense)

These are the first eight, all quilting books. Either duplicates or ones I am unlikely to use (because, like for example, I don't enjoy paper foundation piecing)

"Rolling Along" is a Jelly Roll book - for those 2 1/2" strips. It's a duplicate. I have two Thimbleberries books (this one is Classic Quilts, the other one is in the next photo). I find I have these patterns elsewhere in forms I prefer). "Perfect Piecing" is more of a beginner book, and I have never used the Omnigrid book.

Paper Piecing the Seasons - this is foundation piecing, which is used to make pictorial quilts, but I don't love doing it. And the other Thimbleberries book - Book of Quilts (these are both older books). And two small quilt books - one is for about crib quilt sized, the other is for smaller, I think. I don't make as many truly small quilts any more, and it's unlikely I'd ever have a reason to make a crib quilt. 

If you want any of these, e-mail me. I'll send them out media mail, which is economical and doesn't seem to take excessively long. (I also have some knitting/crochet books I'll post later)

If no one wants them I can probably donate them locally - possibly the same quilt group that will take the fabric would want these, I don't know. (I think it's getting a little late to donate to the library used book sale for this year; their sale is usually the very end of this month or the start of October). 

* I also found a mystery piece of fabric. This is a panel, I guess, for either a pillow or the center of a small quilt. I don't know if someone gave it to me or if it came in a grab bag of fabric but it is very much not the style I like

 That nutcracker is a little 😬 for my taste.

* Even though it was a hard week, one good thing at the very end, when I was heading down to go home I found my chair had brought in her lovely sweet Golden Retriever for the afternoon and OF COURSE I had to say hi to Maggie. So I got to pet her and cuddle her a little. I also found out I may not have to teach the intro bio class if I'm teaching Plant Systematics, so I"m not overloaded. (We're still trying to fill that botanist position but I'm not sanguine that we will - heck, I am nervous that whoever we get won't be capable of doing Systematics, as that's a less-specialized-in thing any more, and it will wind up being my class for the rest of my career. The job market has REALLY changed since I was on it - apparently there are far, far fewer people going in to college teaching now, and it's very competitive to get people for a position. When I was on the job market it was the other way around; I applied to like 40 places, got phone interviews at five, and after I had the in-person interview here and accepted then I got invited for another one (at a less desirable place to be, so I simply told them "sorry, I already accepted a post"). 

I like both dogs and cats. I would say I have a slight preference for cats, especially if I were going to have a pet (cats seem by and large a bit better able to tolerate being alone during the workday than dogs are - especially if you get two that are bonded). But a nice dog (which Maggie is) is awfully nice, too.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

I missed yesterday

 * In a few minutes I have to go back to campus and grade the second exam I gave this week, but I'm taking a short breather after lunch

*I still haven't found the "big" (5 yard) piece of grey I thought I had bought. If I can't locate a box with it in it when I grab boxes today (and tomorrow noon, which might finish up the fabric), I will just go and buy a piece because I want to do that quilt now. 


UPDATED: I found first a plain solid "flat" gray in a five-yard piece, then the next bucket yielded a mottled/variegated grey five-yard piece! So I have my pick. (Right now, I think I prefer the mottled look - more like a cloudy sky)

* I'm sort of tired and a little melancholy. A lot of people I care about are hurting, watching even a very limited bit of coverage (or rather: listening to, on the BBC app) the whole funeral process for the queen brings up memories of losing my dad, which is not something I was prepared for. I would like to sit and quilt and listen to it but there's SO much funeral coverage I can't right now. (And no, I don't want to try to find podcasts)

* Meeting last night that was kind of fraught. Can't go into detail but I will say it was less acrimonious than I feared but didn't end as cheerfully as I had hoped. It kind of boils down to one person being rather hardheaded and wanting what they want despite the feelings and inputs of others, and I suspect the person who expressed the greatest hurt over the situation is also dealing with other stuff in their life that may have made them more sensitive.At any rate, it's over for now, and I'm relieved it is. Tonight I don't have to go back out, I can just haul home some boxes and sort fabric and not think about the outside world. 

* One thing I ran across on Twitter that I liked, from the anonymous author of the Plague Poems account, was this:

"When the pandemic began

artists covered the walls 

with bright posters

the images along the sidewalks

assuring us we were in this together 

exhorting us to protect each other 

but that was long ago 

now the walls are bare 

and the only thing 

along the sidewalks

are discarded masks."


And yeah. I feel that. I know the pandemic is still here (two students missed the exam yesterday because they each have a roommate out with covid, and they are now waiting to see if they've been affected (they do not live together). And I'm contemplating when to get the bivalent booster - at this point my plan is to risk waiting until Thanksgiving or Christmas break, as I would prefer to be somewhere where I was around another person (my mother) in case I have a bad reaction to it. 

And yes, I still (mostly) mask in public, but I feel very alone in that. I feel very alone in a lot of things these days and I don't like it. (It is one source of my melancholy). 

 * I ran to Pruett's this afternoon. Will make picadillo (well, my modified version of it) for dinner either tonight or tomorrow - all I needed for it was ground beef, I had the seasonings and tomato stuff and the raisins (yes, traditionally it has raisins, and also green olives, which I leave out as I don't care for them) and canned beans and tortillas. 

I also bought some dry split peas with the vague idea of making split pea soup at some point. (Also bought a can of spam - yes, really - to cut up and put in it in place of ham, since spam has a longer shelf life than refrigerated ham). I'll have to consider recipes; most of them call for carrots and celery as flavoring but I'm allergic/sensitive to those so I must leave them out. I can do the onions and garlic and thyme that are typical, but I may need to figure out some other addition for flavor. (Perhaps a bit of white wine, at the end? That might help)

I wish fall would get here. We might be up around 100F a couple days next week and that feels very deeply wrong (though I suppose we will have to get used to it, climate change). I want rain and cooler temperatures and not to get out of breath and sweaty when I do things outside.  


* Did a dumb little thing for a gag on Twitter.


You know what this is?


 It's a Disk Horse, get it? I looked up Twitter's color code to give her the right body color, and she has a Changeling horn because they're kind of into violence and stuff and I think a Disk Horse would be.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

This and that

 I took five more bins home today and unloaded them. Found a few fabrics I will find a new home for (I've asked a couple people who specifically might want them, I'm waiting to hear). The rest I put on the shelves and now I'm seeing some potential new projects. I think with the fabric organized, I can see more scrap-type quilts I want to make. 

I still haven't brought home the bin that had the big piece of grey fabric in it (At least, I hope the smaller piece I found wasn't what I was remembering, because it's too small) because for a while I've wanted to make the Cloudy Days quilt from Tula Pink's pattern book, and now I see all the blue-green fabrics I want to use for the raindrops in it.

I also see I may designate one of the two unused shelf spaces for another shelf of green; I have more of that than any other color. (I have a lot of pink, too, and brown - I definitely have favorites among the colors). 

(I also have tons of the precut packs - I keep finding ones I had packed away in the boxes). 

One small "splurge" (from Society 6) came today:

A new clock for in there - years ago I had a cheap clock but the battery in it corroded and it stopped working. This is called "Atomic Cats" - definite midcentury influence there. But this is nice, now I can keep an eye on the time when I sew.

I also put a few stitches in the quilt in the frame in there but found that the replacement 1/4" tape I bought is a "wash off" tape for holding down applique and it's no good for hand quilting - so I wound up trying to eyeball it and then ordered some online. 

I also started a new project for invigilating exams the other night - I give the first exam tomorrow so I'll have to be sure to take it along with the measuring tape and pattern and what I need.

It's going to be a very simple vest, an older pattern for a v-necked cardigan vest by Amy Loberg. I"m using Stahl "Big Mexico" which is from deep, deep in the stash - I bought a bunch of it on closeout from Elann or somewhere years ago because I liked it, couldn't quite get enough for a sweater, but I DO have enough for a vest

I'm not very far on it yet - this is just the ribbing on the back - but it should be a fairly fast knit since is't really all stockinette. (And I think I even have buttons on hand that would be good for it, so this will totally be a stash-reduction project).

Monday, September 12, 2022

Adapt, overcome, something...

 So I wrapped up work around 3 pm, grabbed five more tubs of fabric from the storage unit. Got home, pulled up into the drive. 

Oddly, my porch light was blinking. It's one with a sensor that will turn it on at dusk and off at dawn. I thought "huh, wonder if one of the geckos ran over the sensor and made it react (we have Mediterranean House Geckos here, they're all over outside). 

I kind of mentally shrugged, went in, went to check my e-mail when suddenly.....booooooooop. All the power went off. I didn't realize it at first because I'd downloaded my e-mail and the computer was charged, but I noticed the lights were out. 

At first, I thought "oh no no no is something wrong with the house wiring" because somehow I thought not EVERYTHING was off. So I sighed, decided to see if I could spot a flipped breaker, and went to the kitchen. (It's light enough where the breaker box is - near enough to a window). 

I had to shove over the washer/dryer because they were blocking it

Nope, no breakers thrown.

Shoot, I thought. I hope that doesn't mean something's really wrong with the house wiring, I don't have the money for electrical work right now.

I called it in to O G and E anyway. Then went outside and tried to see if anyone else had lights on, but as it was about 3:30 pm at that point, of course no one did. Then I remembered I had contact info for a neighbor across the street, and while some times one side of a street can go out and not the other, I texted her: "is your power out?"

A few moments back: "YES!"

So okay: it's not my house. That's a relief. Then O G and E texted me: ETA 4:58

Okay, fine.  I had CWF tonight, it was our salad supper, so I have to make the salad, but I better do that NOW so the beans and corn and jicama have a chance to marinate. Fortunately nothing needed to be heated, and the beans and corn are out of cans, but....cutting the jicama would be an issue, my kitchen is DIM that time of day (only north facing windows). 

Then I remembered the headlamp I bought early this year when they were talking about bad ice storms and maybe power outages.

So, okay, I thought, I can cut up the jicama like this

It worked well enough. The power came back on just as I was getting done.

The good news is I was then able to take the remaining hour or so I had and empty the bins. I found the Paddington fabric I got a long time back (I think it was one of the anniversaries) and put it on the little shelf with a vague plan to do something with it soon. (I said I wasn't going to keep as much "juvenile" fabric but Paddington is eternal and for all ages, in my book). 

At any rate: I'm glad I'm bringing my fabric back home, glad I can organize it. Not sure if I'll have room on the shelves for ALL of it but I am trying to "edit" as I go so pieces I love less will wind up being donated. 


*ETA: a transformer blew up on the south side of town, knocking out power to some 1200 of us. There was video of it on the local news, it was pretty scary and spectacular. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

this weekend's work

 Saturday, I went to Sherman. Decided to try the Home Depot for shelves.

Fortunately, the ones I wanted were on a bit of a sale, so I got all I needed for about $300:

I did also go to Quilt Asylum; found a fabric that's perfect as a backing for this top: it's the same line as the grey sashing but a slightly different pattern - similar colors, but smaller print, and I decided to buy it even though it was kind of expensive given that I was spending more money than I normally do on things:

Still haven't decided whether to consider handquilting that one, or take it in for machine quilting. (Now that I have the frame set back up, I am thinking more about handquilting again).

I also went to my favorite barbecue place; it was not busy so I decided to risk eating a meal inside (they still have outdoor tables set up, but I didn't feel like maybe fighting wasps

Yesterday evening I started putting the shelves together. I didn't finish until today because the first one of these is always hardest - when I realized I could set up the first two shelves before screwing in the second part of the uprights, it made things easier.

Yes, they kind of dominate the room, but I need somewhere to store my fabric. Actually, I think this will be a good way; I am "finding" things I had forgot I had. I unloaded about five boxes. I have a lot more and will have to do more "editing" (I kept one empty bin to toss pieces I want to donate in). But I'm thinking maybe I can grab a couple boxes every day on the way home from school and just slowly unload the storage unit. 

But for now, I've got them started:

Red and orange, yellow, green, pink on the first shelf. Second shelf is blue-green, purple, blue, big pieces of solid colors

Little shelf is pieces that "go together" for use soon (my Ed Emberley prints, and the "Cats in London/Paris prints") and on the bottom, fabric designated as backings for quilts I have ready.

The third tall shelf is grey and black, brown, white backgrounds and tan, multicolored fabrics, and then very large pieces (more than 2 yards) of prints that would work as sashing or as backing on small quilts. I am *debating* on that children's-book one - I have multiple yards of it so it would work as a backing, but I'm asking myself if I will ever really use it? Maybe it would be better to donate it. (I think the church I am taking fabric to does Project Linus along with other quilts)

My niece is beyond the age for juvenile quilts, I am not going to be having any other niblings, and I'm not close enough to the rest of the family to make "kid quilts." At this point it would probably take either one of my *very beloved* friends having a child or a new grandchild, or me dating a man with grandchildren to consider making kiddie quilts or crib quilts again. (As much as I'd like to do Linus quilts....well, I don't have time to sew up the fabric I bought *for myself* these days)

Eventually I'll run out of room on these; I can see that now. I think my plan will be to edit as aggressively as I can force myself to, and I also have a couple of flat boxes that could go under a bed. 

(And then there's the yarn, too, yikes. Probably for that I clear out the walk in closet and knock down the falling-apart shelves and just stack the bins in there. But that's a future thing, right now I want to focus on the fabric)

Friday, September 09, 2022

slow process home

Today I began the slow process of moving stuff home from the storage unit. Part of it was, I hadn't been out there in nearly 2 months and wanted to be sure everything was OK (I went AFTER going back to work and doing the necessary grading plus working some on SysBot stuff, because I thought "if vermin got in and destroyed stuff, or if it had flooded, or if someone actually broke in and stole stuff, I would then be too distracted to work*"

(*I had a bad experience in college with storing some books in a storage unit that flooded. The place's response was "eh, not our problem" and renters insurance didn't cover it. So I just wound up throwing out a lot of books, a few of which were important to me).

But no, everything was fine.

My precious!

mostly sockweight yarn, this was all in a tub but now I see I also had it in plastic zipper bags. Now I want to start a new project but I'm going to force myself to finish something else first.

My precious!

I had taken most of the stuffies off my sofa, in case they had to do window removal - so now I have Strawberry Dog and my Corviknight and also the sequinned fidget-toy unicorn back. (I also have another tub of stuffies in there but I think it must be one of the opaque ones, I couldn't quickly spot it. I know I happen to have a second corviknight and maybe I take one of those over and kind of hide it in my office; there have been a few days recently where being able to give a stuffed animal a quick hug would have helped)

My precious!

Two (of many) tubs of fabric. I know one of these have my "cats go to Paris" yardage in them - I also have "cats go to Venice" but that's for a "five-yard quilt" that one of the quilt shops up by my mom used to do. But: if I run short when I go to make the Venice quilt, there are some of the Paris fabrics that coordinate. (I want to do that quilt top soon). I do need to sort these and be kind of draconian in what I keep, so hopefully I can fit it all on whatever shelving solution I hit on. 

 I also decided to measure the wall space in the sewing room to see what kind of shelving units I could eventually buy for fabric. The longest part of the wall is 75", so not QUITE long enough for two of the widest units. The short space under the built in bookcase is  33", and the other section of the wall is 48". The shelving units I was considering are 47.5 inches wide. There are also 36" wide ones, I could fit two of those side by side and one on the other side of the built in bookcase. I will have to think on it more. 

So I could get two of the wide units and have wasted space, or figure out some other configuration, or, I don't know. The problem is getting stuff is HARD - we don't have a Container Store, the nearest IKEA is in Dallas, and so I'm stuck with what Lowe's has or maybe the Wal-mart or the Target. I may have to special order. What I want to do is eventually fill as much of that wall as I can with shelves that fit** because I want to stack my quilting fabric on there so it's VISIBLE and accessible. (The yarn, I don't know. I still want to try to repair the shelves in the walk-in closet; yarn is lighter than books or fabric so it could go there). I could also look at Target or Home Depot tomorrow, if I feel like taking the time, they might have some better choices. 

(**As I said: if I had unlimited money and unlimited tolerance for people tramping around in my house, I'd hire someone to build those bracket-and-board type shelves for me, but I don't and I'm not handy enough to consider doing it alone - I know they'd not come out level, and I don't feel up to asking one of the very few people who would be physically capable of helping me to help, because they are all busy themselves - the main person I would ask is finishing up their OWN home renovation and preparing to move and then sell TWO houses - one she had, one she and her now-deceased husband lived in, and she's moving to a house that apparently had been in her family years ago)

But for now: I have a couple boxes home, I have some of my stuff back. I can kind of sort the fabric and consider what if any of it I prefer to donate (perhaps bringing a box or two home at a time, and sorting it HERE, instead of sorting in the hot, dusty storage unit is preferable - I'd have to consolidate it all in a box ANYWAY to take it down to the Baptist church that would use it)

Also I may have the issue of having a LOT of plastic storage tubs that I bought (some of them at $15 a piece) and either having to dispose of them or store them. I don't want to pay a storage unit to store empty tubs, but if I get rid of them I'd rather get SOME of my investment back and sell them. I'll have to think on it. (The other option - clear out the "potting shed" behind my garage and stack them - they nest - and keep them in there with the idea that maybe some day I will need them, or I will have someone in my life I really care about who needs them).