Oh, no, where does the time go?

•January 20, 2011 • 5 Comments

I’m pretty sure it was just January 15th. Very sure, in fact. So how did it get to be so late?

:::seen on a website::: Caution: Dates on calender are closer than they appear.

I’m pretty near to total freakout. No income, no money, bills still needing to be paid. (Thank God for no car payment, thanks to my brother David for the money to repair the car…thanks, D!)

I’ve not sold anything from my Etsy shop in quite some time (I’ve been posting the last of the handspun yarn in my stash) because traffic is quite slow. I’m not sure what I should be doing to increase it. I’ve done the (pricey) advertising thing, I’ve done the (time-consuming) chatting up other knitters/spinners on Ravelry, I’ve tried subliminal messages (just put your cursor on the Etsy link…don’t click…just read.) After years of moving yarn and roving, I’m not doing well.  I know that the market is glutted, that there are many, many very talented hand dyers out there. Yikes.

I need a job. I’ve got to spend time over the next few days putting in the online apps for all the local jobs. (Everyone wants you apply online. Online only. Yeesh.) I’m praying.

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Why is it that when you know you’ll have to be up very early the next day, it’s almost impossible to get to sleep? I got to sleep after midnight, despite being in bed before 11pm. Today started much too early. Daniel had a pediatric dentist appointment at 7:30am. We had to be out of here 45 minutes earlier to avoid the school bus traffic. Did I ever mention that I don’t do morning?

Daniel has sensory issues. He sometimes freaks about taste/texture/touch. He’s been seeing a therapist for about 6 or 7 months and she’s made tremendous progress with him. Before Christmas, Kate took him to see the dentist for a cleaning. To say that it didn’t go well would be a gross understatement. From what they could see, they supposed the worst, that there were cavities in all four molars, possibly more. The plan was to bring him back today, dope him up and take a better look, hopefully do the fillings while he was under nitrous.

It was a struggle and a challenge as he is 36 pounds of sheer muscle (yay, Gymboree! Yay playing with Daddy!) But we prevailed…5 adults to one 2 year old. And the good news is, after all that, turns out the dark spots were stains, probably caused by the iron in his vitamins, and he had no cavities whatsoever. Go Mom! (She wields the toothbrush around here.)

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My sweet Nicky sent me a box of dyes (just the basics) from my dye kit in the storage unit. I have 8 dyes that I need to use to make many other colors. I’ve got some silk, some SW Merino and some 60/40 Merino/Bamboo rovings waiting for me to make them beautiful. Thank you, baby!

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That’s all the news that’s fit to print. More of the Cautionary Tale tomorrow, perhaps.

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A Cautionary Tale, cont’d.3

•January 14, 2011 • 3 Comments

He walked her out to his vehicle, an old van he introduced as ‘Stan’. Her age estimation of him ticked down a notch. She had been dating men who owned nice cars…their own homes. What on earth was she doing with this…child?

It was clear from his manner of dress that he was far more accustomed, far more comfortable in those shorts and sneakers. And what was it with some guys and laundry? He was clean, but lightly wrinkled from…? Who could tell? But the lean, well-muscled body beneath his clothes made it easier to ignore. She felt just a bit overdressed next to him, wearing her usual bar attire.

He grinned his approval of the way she looked. She was flustered. He couldn’t tell. She hoped.

The ride down I4 was terrifying. He drove fast and ran up close to the bumpers of slower cars in the passing lane. She found herself repeatedly grabbing his arm in abject fear, as if that would somehow improve his driving.

They pulled into the parking lot at the new El Torito. He came around and opened her door. Wobbly from the trip, she eased out, one tall slide at a time. She stood there for a moment, regaining her composure, lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. She turned to him and warned, “The next time, IF there is a next time, I will drive.” She thought back to his offer to fix the brakes, to him saying that he only wanted to drive her car in payment for his work; after this experience, well, they’d have to see about that.

He opened the restaurant door for her, and steered her into the bar area where they found a small elevated table for two. She hitched herself up on the chair, kicked off her shoes and propped her toes on the chair rung. He pulled his close enough to be able to hear over the din of the other conversations and the music. A waiter set a basket of chips and a bowl of salsa on the table and asked for both their IDs. She was flattered. He was not. She took the opportunity to order a frozen margarita…a strong and sweet departure from her usual. He ordered a rum and Coke. He paid, figuring an exact tip. (She’d teach him. Always tip well, lavishly if the situation warrants.)

They hadn’t talked much on the ride. Now he turned to her, fixing her with that beatific smile and asked her about herself. She deflected the question, and with a scoop of salsa’d chip in hand, asked how good midwestern boy like him had come to be living in central Florida.

“How could you guess I’m not from Florida? Oh, right. Accent.” he responded. “I came down here this past January to run the warehouse for my father. He’s working on building a second one, that I’ll manage as well.”

“No kidding,” she said. “And you actually live on the property? There’s no getting away from work, is there?”

“The apartment’s small, but big enough for one. And I have plenty to do around there.”

They bantered back and forth for a while, sipping their drinks and enjoying the atmosphere. But it wasn’t too long before he asked the bartender for the time.

“I have to get back. I promised to pick up a friend from work tonight. We could go out after that though…?”

She looked hard at him. “What’s her name? Is she your girlfriend? Should I feel guilty about having drink with you?”

“Oh, no,” he hastily replied. “Her name is Dawn and she’s just a friend. Her car’s not working so I’ve been taking her to work and back this week.”

She shook her head ever so slightly and sighed. If there was one thing she was really familiar with, it was cheating guys.”So you’re going to go get her, dump her at her house and come back to take me out again? Are you going to be honest with her? Maybe break up with her instead of just abandoning her?”

He turned around quickly, with a puzzled look on his face. “What makes you think…ummm…yes. I’ll tell her. It’s not a serious relationship. We are more like just friends. Trust me.”

Trust me. She despised those words. She couldn’t think of a time they’d been said to her that the person speaking the words could actually be trusted. She was no man-thief. If he belonged to someone else…

He leaned across the table and planted a soft kiss on her lips. She hadn’t been expecting that.  It disarmed and distracted her from the topic of the ‘girlfriend’.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do that ever since I first met you.”

“We have to go,” she murmured. “You can’t keep Dawn waiting.”

“Crap.” He was irritated with himself. How had she managed to get him to admit that?

She tucked a couple more dollar bills under her empty glass. “I already left a tip,” he said, motioning toward the waiter.

“I thought you said you’d been in the restaurant business,” she replied. “Of course you should know how that works, living on tips, right?”

The ride home was somewhat less frightening than the ride there. The drink had made him quite chatty. He talked about time spent living on a boat in the Keys, about posing for Playgirl Magazine, about waiting tables at the Dearborn Inn during college, about playing sax at Montreux-Detroit. She wondered to herself if any of it was true. Time, she knew, would tell.

He dropped her at the door, pulling her into a close hug. She turned her face upward, almost against her will, and certainly against her better judgment, and, wrapping her arms around his neck, drew him in for a kiss.

“I will see you around 10:30 tomorrow morning,” she spoke in a near whisper. “Make sure Dawn gets safely home. And don’t expect another one of those until there is no more Dawn in your life.” She gave him a little push in the direction of the van.

Reluctantly he turned and walked down the driveway. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

She leaned against the side of her car, watching him pull away. She had a curious premonition about this, but her hormones were bent on completely obstructing her ability to think straight.

A Cautionary Tale, cont’d.2

•January 10, 2011 • 2 Comments

She took the paper-plated omelet from Julie’s outstretched hand, digging into it with the accompanying spork. Realizing just how long it’d been since she last ate, she contemplated ordering another. A quick money check indicated that unless it was on the house, or someone else paid for it, she was going to have to head home for some of that left-over braised beef if she was still hungry.

As she sat enjoying the remainder of her food, her eyes swung around the room. This bar had been the place to see and be seen for a very long time. Now the chain restaurants were moving in; already there was a Bennigan’s and a Friday’s and an El Torito’s within walking distance, and several others were getting ready to open. It was the season of the fern bar, those airy, open places that offered free food at happy hour, created specialty drinks, and held backgammon tournaments on Saturday afternoons. The competition for party dollars was getting stiffer. But those places were attracting a different sort of clientele, not the type she was entirely comfortable hanging with.

She peered through the cigarette smoke toward the bar and saw familiar faces, male and female. How long had she been coming here? It seemed like forever, though it was only six years. She supposed that was a pretty long time in the life cycle of bar denizens.

Nothing appealed to her tonight, not even offers for drink and dance. She realized that she had been thinking about the cute guy for most of the day. What was his name? She searched her memory. Nope, nothing came to mind. Had he even told her his name? She supposed that he must have. She’d just been paying attention to…well, never mind that, she thought. She’d see him soon enough, to work on her car. Not thrilled about spending so much of Friday’s paycheck on her brakes, but the thought of spending a little time with the cute guy would compensate.

Finishing up her drink, she bid an early ‘goodnight’ to her bar cohort and retreated for the car. With the top still down, the evening dew had settled on the seats, making them damp and chilly. But she left it down because Altamonte and longwood had so many orange groves to drive home through. She headed up Douglas Road, taking the back way instead of I4. The air was positively perfumed with orange blossom, alternately filling and clearing her head. What was it about that guy? She never left the bar early.

No one was up when she arrived home. Grabbing pjs from the bag behind the couch, she tiptoed to the bathroom, stepping gingerly over Canus, her parent’s’ Great Dane, who was sprawled across the hallway. A quick change, tooth brushing and washing of her face and she collapsed into…

Nope. She had to pull the couch out, make it up, set her alarm for 9am and finally, she collapsed into bed.

She didn’t actually need to be up at nine a.m. but she wanted some sun time before showering and leaving for work. Today was a short day, just one p.m until five thirty. She wasn’t closing tonight, and she had tomorrow (Saturday!) off. She just wanted to top off her tan with a bit of color before tomorrow. She dropped her pjs on the bathroom floor, pulled on a bikini and headed for the coffeepot. The house was quiet, save for the dog. Everyone else was at work or school.

Fresh coffee in hand, she headed out for the pool deck. One of the perks of living at home was enjoying this water pit in the parent’s back yarn. Shaded from neighbors but open to the Florida sunshine, it was private enough to sun bathe au naturel, though it never seemed like a very good idea to her since brothers and friends could show up unannounced. She settled back, sipping her coffee, calm on the outside, but jittery on the inside.

The phone rang. Jolted upright. It rang again. Pitching out of the chaise, she clambered for the phone on the kitchen wall.

“Hi! This is Scott from the warehouse…””

Silence. She’d forgotten to speak.

“Hello?”

“Oh, hi. You woke me up. I was just lying out by the pool,” she lied. “How are you?” Scott. His name was Scott.

“Great. I wanted to offer to go with you to get the parts, unless you’ve already gotten them? I have a friend who manages an auto parts store.”

“Sure. Can we do it tomorrow morning? I have to work this afternoon.”

“No problem. That will work out fine. But that’s not really why I called.”

“Ummmm. Okay…”

“I wanted to know if I could take you out for a drink this evening?” he faltered. “Maybe when we both get off work?”

“I get home around six thirty,” she said. “I could meet you somewhere.”

“That’s okay,” he responded. “Just give me your address. I’ll pick you up.”

The day took a million hours or fifteen seconds to go by. It was one or the other. Sometimes it was both. She wandered through her work day in a daze. What was this all about?

When he arrived to take her out that evening, she realized that he was much younger than she’d first assessed. She’d figured him closer to her own age…but now she guessed he was more like five years younger than she. That was alright, she reminded herself. If anything was going to happen, it was only going to be a summer thing. She had a fellowship and graduate assistantship waiting for her in the fall. ‘Nobody’s gonna break my stride, nobody’s gonna slow me down,’ had been her mantra as she started and finished university in under three years, and she had plans.

She had NO idea what she was heading for.

Christmas giftie to myself:

•January 9, 2011 • 4 Comments

…membership in the Southern Cross Fiber Club. I’ve never joined a “—- -of the month club” before, but something about David’s fiber made me willing to come up with a few bucks every month for someone else’s handdyed. Especially when getting in takes so long. (I think I was on the list for about 9 months before a spot opened up.)

First shipment was SW Bluefaced leicester (I’ve dyed and spun it before) in the ‘Oasis” colorway. he fiber prep was impeccable and the first wash after spinning/plying gave back very little exhaust dye. The colors (he dyes 2, on different fibers each month) are chosen by David and you don’t know what you’re getting until you get it, although there’s a spoiler thread on his Ravelry group.

My beauteous handspun, spun on my Majacraft Rose, 2ply/18wpi, 102g/165m, 3.6oz/180yds:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s more handspinning (I try to spin daily) but I’m tired of the computer tonight. (Sry.)

I’ve got a question for those of you who’ve read my cathartic posts of the past few days: Do I continue? Are they too lurid for my PG-13 blog? I’m trying to tell it as it actually happened, adding dialogue as closely as I remember it. (My daughter says that reading essays is boring but reading dialogue is more interesting.) I was thinking that if it’s offensive, I can move it to another blog page and keep it more private… Please let me know. I figure to post again tomorrow, so comments tonight/tomorrow would be most helpful. Thanks!

A Cautionary Tale, cont’d.1

•January 7, 2011 • 2 Comments

It had been her own idea to give up her apartment and move back in with her parents. “Just for the summer,” she’d thought. “Just until August, when I can head for Tallahassee and find a place near campus.” She counted herself thrifty, saving the money from rent and utilities and groceries. Her parents were mostly reasonable people, usually willing to overlook an occasional night when she arrived home after breakfast (she was an adult.) Despite all that, she still felt the need to slip into her ‘daughter’ persona as she pulled off the dirt road and into the drive. Would she ever shake that?

Scooping up her bags from the passenger seat, she just as suddenly dropped them into her lap and flopped back in the seat. Gazing up through the Spanish-moss covered, overhanging limbs of the huge live oak tree that shaded the drive, she thought for a moment about the cute guy. The summer held potential. She was still seeing someone from college, only occasionally now (the term ‘booty call’ was not yet part of the culture) so it might be fun to have a boy to party with until she left for grad school.

“What was I thinking, giving up my apartment so early?” It was only money any way, but now she was stuck on a pull-out couch in her parents living room, her comings-and-goings loosely observed by parents who really didn’t care how old she was, only that she still followed house protocol about phoning home, and overnight company. “But what they don’t know can’t possibly matter, eh?” she giggled, thinking back to a morning last month when, in spite of her delectable bed company, she had grabbed the ringing phone to answer an expected call. Still in a very compromised position, she’d held a conversation with the university registrar while…”Ooooo! That was good!” But way too close.

A slammed screen door interrupted her mildly pornographic reverie. “Mom wants to know if you’re going to be here for dinner. And you have to pick up milk.” Trop mundane.

Kicking off her sandals, she slipped through the screen door into the kitchen, where her parents were making coffee and working on a crossword together. The aroma of braised beef simmering in the crockpot met her nose, reminding her she hadn’t eaten since breakfast. She mentally crossed her fingers for leftovers.

“No, I’m not here for dinner. I have to work at five o’clock. Give me a second to toss my stuff behind the couch and I’ll run for milk. I met a guy today.”

“How is that different from any other day?” her younger brother inquired, coming through the door. “You’re always meeting guys.”

“I dunno. This one is…” She shrugged. “He’s going to do the brakes on my car. He’s nice. He didn’t make a pass at me.”

“Are you complaining? her father grinned. “Give him a little while. I’m sure he will. Shall I make enough coffee for a cup for you, too?”

“I’m ignoring you now,” she said, sticking her tongue out at her dad.  “Yes, thank you, to-go, please. And I’m gonna go get milk.”

She shoved her brother out the door. “C’mon. It’ll only take a minute. Come with me.”

“What’s this about?” he asked. “Something I ought to know about?”

“You’re nosy. And you know too much already. That’s why I wanted to ask you about this guy I met.”

“What are you talking about? Are you going out with someone I went to high school with? College?”

“Remember when you took my storage rent money in for me last month while I was working? That guy. The one running the storage place.”

“What!?!” he looked mortified. “He’s way, way too young for you. I’d bet he’s younger than me. You’re weird.”

“Thanks,” she responded. “I don’t think that’s exactly what I was looking for, but you’ve given me something to think about.”

A glance at the clock on the dash put some speed to her actions. Returning home, she threw the milk in the fridge, grabbed up some slightly more respectable clothing and her makeup, and a pair of absurdly tall purple suede slides for dancing, after work. She strode to the bathroom and within twenty minutes was heading down I4, sipping her coffee. The highway, always under construction, always congested during regular commuting hours, was remarkably traffic free at this time of day. Working the evening shift at the bath shop in the mall had its benefits. For one, she was done and out by ten pm. Second, just a change of shoes and she was dressed to go out and three, she was right near the action.

By nine forty five the shop was cleaned, the register balanced, and she was rearranging and restocking towels, contemplating her route home. She checked her wallet for cash. She only needed enough for one drink wherever she wound up, because most times she didn’t even have to buy the first one, but she always tipped.

She flicked the shop lights off, pulled on the door handle to make sure the lock held. Walking to the car, she observed how curious it was that the town could be dark and bright at the same time; this was her favorite time of day.

She steered the car toward the parking lot exit, pausing just long enough to drop the roof. There was something so heady about the nighttime smell of the orange blossoms wafting across the highway. Suburban Orlando was growing at a ridiculous pace, but there were still groves all around. The time would come when the land was worth much, much more as real estate, but not yet. And she loved that scent. She stopped at a light before the on-ramp, pulled down the visor and checked her reflection in the mirror.

Blond and long. It wasn’t natural, but her hair looked good. In a few months she wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of being blond, but for now…whoever had said that ‘blonds have more fun’ was right. It was an attention-getter and she played it well.

She stepped on the gas, heading up the ramp, suddenly remembering she had intended to run by Church Street Station first. What was wrong with her? She didn’t ever goof up her route once it was planned. She sighed, remembering the braised beef and that she’d had nothing but coffee and a handful of Rollos since breakfast. That settled it. She would head for the Why Not in Atamonte Springs and partake of one of the made-to-order omelets that Julie created right there in the bar.  Smart marketing, it was, kept people dancing and drinking instead of heading for Denny’s. They were darned good, too. Julie could put a Western omelet together in a second. For a buck. And a buck tip. Mmmmm.

The bartender caught her eye as she crossed the threshold of the room, and had her drink, Bacardi and club soda, tall and with a squeeze of lime, on the counter before she reached the bar. The guys were three-deep. Becky was that beautiful…and that good at her job. But they parted for her, and one of them tossed a couple of bucks on the bar for her drink, patted his lap, motioning for her to sit. She thanked him for the drink, put her own tip on the bar, and declined his lap. She sipped her drink down a bit so it wouldn’t splash as she walked, then went in search of food. As the band came back to the stage, several seats opened up as people got up to dance. She made her omelet request, set two dollars on Julie’s counter, and found a chair. It was too loud to think. She was tired.

A Cautionary Tale, Full of Sidetracks, Which Does Not End Well

•January 5, 2011 • 7 Comments

She had spent altogether too many years metaphorically floating downstream, going wherever the water might take her.

This same thought will be revisited many years hence, but for now, suffice it to say that she felt it time to step out of the stream, to attempt becoming someone. Too many years spent tending bar, waiting tables, suffering the slights society inflicts on its ‘help’ left her wanting something different, something more, finally willing to spend her energy at whatever work it might take to attain.

She was going to college. She would make something of herself and when she did, she would always tip well.

School was a breeze. The hard part was being alone. There had always been a man…men…for comfort, for dinner, to help pay the electric bill, but there was no time for that now.

Knowledge was heady, and she reveled in grasping concepts she’d once thought were above her understanding. Debates, long nights spent arguing the finer points of some esoteric theory or another with classmates, study groups for exams…she excelled. In what seemed far too short a time, she was walking up an aisle to receive a diploma, with honors.

Grad school was next on the docket, because an economist needs more than a BA to be taken seriously. And there were so many good schools to pick from, so many offers of graduate fellowships. Chosen for its exceptional program then, she decided she would head off to State in just two short months. Moving out of her college apartment, she found a spot to store her things until it was time to leave.

There was this very cute young guy running the storage place. It had been, she mused, an eternity since she’d enjoyed the company of a cute guy. As she pulled up in her classic drop-top Chrysler Town & Country, he met her in the driveway.

“Great car! And you’ve got a new ragtop on it, I see. Mind if I take a look?”

It was warmer now than when she’d moved her things in the month before, and being hopeful that he’d be there, she’d worn her cutest new outfit, red and stripey, with short culottes and a snug top that hugged her close. And what did he have eyes for? The car?

“I will never understand men,” she thought to herself. “I wasted several hours this morning trying on clothes, only to be upstaged by an old car.”

“It’s beautiful, but your brakes are making a lot of noise.”

It was true, they were, frighteningly so. But she didn’t really have the money to take care of them, not until the fellowship money started coming in next month.

“I’ve got a lot of experience with cars, brakes especially. You buy the parts and I’d be happy to do the work for you in trade for an opportunity to drive this baby.”

She looked down at him, where he was kneeling next to the car, suddenly aware that he was dressed only in a pair of red shorts, and a lot of lean, tanned muscle. His hair was light brown that glinted blond in the sun, curling across his forehead. His smile revealed a brilliant flash of white and his eyes were incredibly blue.

That smile… She had no idea how many tight spots that smile had gotten him out of, how many pairs of panties it’d gotten him into.

“Sure!” she replied, shaking her head to clear those thoughts. “That’d be wonderful. Thank you.” She scribbled her home phone number on a piece of paper, then realized that he already had the number on her paperwork, but gave it to him anyway. “I have to work tonight and tomorrow afternoon, but maybe Saturday morning?”

“My time is flexible,” he responded, taking the slip of paper. “Saturday would be fine.” He stood up, complimenting her outfit and remarking that they both were wearing red, flashed her that grin again.

They stepped into the office where she paid her monthly storage bill. Thanking him, she took her receipt and left. Driving off, she said to no one in particular,  “This could be interesting. I wonder how old he is? “

Sometimes an ordinary day is a good thing.

•January 4, 2011 • 1 Comment

I’ve been listening to The Daily Audio Bible for about 8 months now. It resets on 1/1, and  reads through the Bible online in a year. I mean, it’s read by someone, out loud. It’s grown into a world-wide community with forums and mission outreaches and now, a WindFarm coffee house in SpringHill, TN. After my family and friends (and in their absence) I can turn to my DAB online family and friends for more spiritual strength and support. Just threw that out there for those of you who might be interested. You can even listen in Hindi, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish (sometimes I do this just because…) with more languages coming on board shortly.

After coffee and the Word, I try to get in a bit of exercise. My knee has been a mess for more than 14 months (no insurance = no ortho/no cortisone shots/continued swelling and pain.) So in lieu of running and the gym, I’ve been pulling up Billy Blanks on YouTube and getting a good 30 minutes of mainly cardio, then switching over to free weights. Sometimes, just hauling around the 36 pound two-year-old is workout enough.

I’ve been baking regularly again. We’ve had good, healthy oatmeal/honey/whole wheat bread daily. This week I tried a cinnamon/raisin loaf. Nommy.

Trying to get my 2011 planner in order. There’s always so much to transfer over from the previous year, y’know? I’m awful about birthdays anymore. It seems as though FB’s reminder has taken the place of a card for many of us, though it’s better than forgetting or overlooking, right?

I switched insurance companies and saved more than $200/6 months. I feel like a freakin’ commercial just saying that, so I’m not telling either company. But saving that much money is a good thing.

Knitting…I’ve gotta finish the things that are languishing in bags and bins. I have roving to dye but no dye. I’ve quit looking at yarn because I simply can’t afford it. Trying to knit with what’s here. (My stash remains in a storage unit in Michigan. Very sad.)

Working on keeping the cheerful side up. It’s been 18 months since he left and I thought I’d passed through most of the stages of misery, but it appears that divorce is completely different, despite a long separation. Not happy about this.

:::off to investigate the source of shrieking in the kitchen. Hugs to all:::