Saturday, October 31, 2009

T is for Tink which is knit spelled backwards

I've been doing some tinkering around on the celebratory socks. Several of the patterns I have picked out have been regretably small for my feet/calves. Regretably. After a gauge swatch, one cast on and several printed out patterns, I think I'm going to check Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks back out of the library. I checked this out and scanned it when I started learning to knit and if I remember what I read, she tells how to take measurements and adjust the pattern to fit. The funny thing is that I will probably still have these socks cast on before I have a start date...

Okay and since this is a photo challenge, here's a pic of my sweater and bootie gift set recipient modelling the goods!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

S is for Special

Malabrigo Sock in Archangel, being wound for my congratulatory job socks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R is for Retrospective

This is off my theme of being fiber-related, but on my theme for catching up!

One year ago today, I lost my job, for the second time in a year. I lost a big part of my identity that day, as a working mom, a software engineer, a career woman. Day after day, Deuce reminded me that the biggest, happiest, most rewarding part of my life is motherhood.

Today, we did the same things we were doing this time last year - children's museum, playground, playing in the leaves. We hugged and high-fived. I marveled at his intelligence, cuteness, constant motion... that he was part of me, that I am part of him, that he loves me despite my failure to hold down a job, despite the anxiety, despite the disappointment.

DeuceDad was there too, supporting me and teasing me through the best and worst moments of the last year, always reminding me that we have a happy marriage and a beautiful son.

I feel such a sense of relief knowing that many of our troubles will be behind us in a few weeks. Soon I'll be busy 9-5 and bringing home the bacon again, questioning my decision to work outside the home, ordering pizza and getting up early again. I need to remember the gifts - the last year I've had to share Deuce's every moment, the fact that I have him and his loving father, this job that could be everything I've been looking for. These are all gifts in my life. I can't be a SAHM and a WOHM at the same time, but I've had the opportunity to do both, and I've enjoyed it.

In retrospect, this year has been the best I've ever had. I was able to do something I never thought I could do, and I'm stronger and better for it. But I'm ready for my next move, knowing I'll have amazing people by my side.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Car Seat Shopping, and oh by the way I got my job

Let me start off by saying I GOT THE JOB!!!! I'm really ecstatic - and totally in planning mode.

Among the things on my list to prepare for my return to work is get a second car seat. We've always just had one, but DeuceDad and I are going to stagger our schedules so Deuce's day at daycare is shorter than a full work day, so that means two seats.

I did a lot of research when buying Deuce's infant seat, and settled on a Graco Snugride, even after reading the flawed side-impact crash testing results. His model isn't produced anymore, and we don't have his anymore because it was in an car accident.

As an aside, it is very important to destroy an car seat after a "moderate or severe crash", because its strength may have been compromised. The seat should be destroyed by cutting all the straps, making it unusable. In our case, our insurance company reimbursed the cost of the seat, and needed a photograph of the cut straps as proof that the seat would not be reused.

After the accident, we bought a Britax Marathon based on word of mouth recommendations. We have been very happy with the seat as far as comfort and ease of use. It actually is rated at 3 of 5 stars on the NHTSA ratings (see links below), which I was shocked to read because we really like it.

This time around, I would like to pay a little less if possible, and I need to know if there is another level of seat that we will be able to use longer than the Marathon as he grows.

My search for child seat safety laws didn't yield anything particularly helpful - I tend to err on the side of caution and the laws are a bare minimum. I decided I would use the 2009 Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to get a list of possibilities for comparison.

I scanned down the list for seats with 5-point harnesses, a weight range that included Deuce's current weight, and went up to 65lbs or above (so at least as much as the Marathon), and earned at least 4 stars in the NHTSA rating in both forward-facing, and booster set-ups if applicable.

Here's my list and how I narrowed it down further:

Cosco Traveler
I could only find this for sale online, and I want to be able to try installing it in the truck before we buy, so this is off my list.

Eddie Bauer Deluxe 3-in-1
Toys R Us $190 This looks really comfy and has a cupholder which is cute to me. This is staying on the list, but we'd need to put it in the truck to see if it fits.

Graco Nautilus
Toys R Us $180 Goes from carseat to high back booster to seatbelt positioning booster and weight up to 100 lbs. This is the highest weight rating in this price range, so to me that's a good value

Jane Indy Plus
Found online only. Again, want to be able to test it out.

The First Years True Fit
Target $180/Toys R Us $190 The manufacturer's website description doesn't have an option to compare to the next model up. I guess this doesn't have the uber-safety bar that the premiere has. It's also $100 less.

The First Years True Fit Premiere (The only seat rated 5)
Amazon $265 Pricey, but top rated. I struggle to justify spending less on safety, but... I just don't think this is reasonable for us right now. (Yes, these words coming from the mouth of a Britax owner. How times have changed.)

Based on this, we have 3 models to test out - The EB, the Graco and the less expensive First Years. The deciding factors will be (in order)
  1. does it fit in the truck
  2. how comfortable is Deuce in it
  3. how easily do the straps adjust (primarily tightening the harness, but also adjusting the height)
  4. how easy is it to install/remove
  5. how to remove the cover for laundering
Stay tuned for part 2 when we have a winner!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In other news...

I have a second interview for a job today. In 1 hour and 48 minutes to be exact. I am so nervous, but going for "cool, calm and collected" on the exterior.

I am just dying to talk about this job and the possibility that it requires a - dare I say it - move (eek!), but I'm trying not to think about any of the implications besides what is required of me today, which is showing up, looking professional, acting confident...

... and describing what I'm looking for in a job so that they can make sure they're placing the right candidate in the right position.

I'll tell you what I'm looking for. A PAYCHECK!

Not to put too fine of a point on it.

11 months ago I was all about finding the perfect job for me, a career position that would give me all the challenges I need to keep my interest with all the responsibilities that I'm good at, great benefits and work life balance.

This job has both. This job is what I've been looking for all year long, and it's so close. I got very encouraging feedback from one of the interviewers who seems to be the main decision maker, and obviously I was selected for a second interview - third if you count the phone screening. I am as confident as I can be considering I've come this far before and had the job go to someone else, or get closed out due to budget concerns.

I'm putting this out here now, 1 hour and 42 minutes before the interview starts because I'm not sure what I'm going to do if this thing falls through. I mean, I know what I'll do. Come home, make dinner, keep applying to jobs, eventually find something. But this! This is the one! And I think if it doesn't come to fruition I'm going to need to vent a little bit.

I have done all my preparations, and it's time to get dressed. I'm ready to make this happen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Q is for Quantity

My stash contains vast quantities of kitchen cotton, including, but not limited to, this huge skeins of Sugar 'n Cream!
I mean, I like knitted dishcloths, but this is ridiculous.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

P is for Photos

I love looking at Ravelry user's FO photos, but I'm not great at posting photos of my own projects. I really like an action shot, and I guess I just rarely remember to do it. So after finishing the Econo-Shopper bag about 2 years ago, I finally snapped a pic of it!

It came out with very long handles, that stretched slightly after putting items in the bag. Initially I planned to make another one with shorter handles, but that just never came to be. I did try machine washing and drying it (it's 100% cotton), which cleaned it up nicely but didn't really shrink the handles.

But then I found that the design is good for something after all - hooking over the stroller handle! Word to the wise - don't put a watermelon and a winter squash in there with it on the stroller. Turns out you can tip your stroller, even with your solidly built 2 year old in it. Darn physics. I was right there though, so no 2 year olds were harmed.

Anyhow, this is just a cell phone picture, but it's a picture, and definitely something I need to work on doing more of!

Monday, October 12, 2009

O is for Old Yarn

"Old yarn" is kind of pushing it, but I need to get caught up, so I'm using it.

I bought this Noro Kureyon over a year ago. I bought 3 skeins online and was so excited to use it for some kind of a project that would really show off the color changes. I first crocheted it into a Rook Hat. Mine was a bust. I tried the scarf too, but I was kind of sick of it, so I ripped the whole thing out.

The yarn just sat in myself for a year and then finally I decided to just make a pattern that over 9000 others have made - Calorimetry! Finally got to use up some old yarn!

Please excuse this shot of my second chin...

I actually knit this on sz 5s because a lot of people commented that it came out wider than they thought it would. Even on the smaller needles it came out really wide, wider than it seems to look on the pattern model. Oh well, it's warm and I think it was a good use for some old yarn.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Scrappin'

It's been slow going, but all my getting ready to scrap this fall preparation is finally paying off! I have had my 4th of July pictures printed for a month, and the page layout drawn and journaling written for 2 weeks, and today I finally did the deed!

The background is plain cardstock with the swirls stenciled on. The 4 is chipboard I covered in paper. I think it moves pretty well visually considering there are a lot of pictures on there. I do see one blank spot that I have just the perfect embellishment for... maybe the cat's sleeping on it.

I also finished a layout I’ve been working on for literally weeks. It came together over about 2 weeks of just leaving it out on my table and sketching out different stuff. It was near done, but I wanted one last thing – an admission sticker from the children’s museum. I know we’ve had dozens of them, I just didn’t happen to have one on hand. Deuce often takes them off and sticks them different places or crumples them, but I finally managed to grab one in decent condition.

Phew, now I finally have "Eight days a week" out of my head!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What I hate about Sundays

There was this country song that was popular some years back "What I Love About Sundays." Sundays are very lovely for some, I'm sure, but I hate them.

This morning I woke up early (blah) to my messy house (who cleans on Saturday night?) needing to let the dog out (DeuceDad out of town), then wrangle crabby toddler into dry diaper (dog barking to be let in) while hopping around with legs crossed (peepee dance) until I get a chance to relieve myself (easier to suffer than clean up everyone else's puddles).

The middle part of the day was fine - church, fire department open house, where Deuce sat in each of 6 emergency vehicles twice, lunch. Then Deuce wouldn't nap, but I think we've covered that here. I decided he needed quiet time, at which point he destroyed his bedroom. So we picked that up, and now he's watching 1 hour of TV while I rot my brain on the internet instead of doing anything productive.

But now, it's Sunday night. There's no where to go, I don't want to cook, and definitely don't want to make any messes. Deuce won't nap or watch football, I don't have anything great OTN. I could scrap, but there's a pile of filing on my table... who files on Sunday night?

Every Sunday night is like this. If it's not just me here being bored, then its DeuceDad and I each bored and trying to pawn Deuce off on the other one (an adult can only play play-doh for just so long).

I've tried making social plans for Sunday nights, but the rest of the world "values" their "family time" and "likes" to spend a "quiet evening" "together". (air quote that!)

I think we'll wander Super Target and get Chinese takeout. Those places don't care that it's Sunday. Then I can make a scrapbook page about Play-doh with authentic fingerprints on it. Win-win.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Follow up phone call - Check!

Waiting to hear back on this most recent job lead is getting tough. According to the interviewers, they were hoping to finish first interviews this week and contact people next week about second interviews, if not their decision.

I decided Monday that I should contact them again, as I was one of the first interviews.

On Tuesday I tried to write an email but deleted it.

On Wednesday, my mother (an HR Director) suggested a quick phone call.

On Thursday Robbie didn't nap, and I had decided I would make this call during his nap.

It is now Friday at 2:30 and I just made this phone call. I got voice mail. I left a message.


I have so much anxiety over this job it's not even funny. I WANT it. I'm trying very hard not to WANT it or THINK about it because if I don't get it I am going to have to MOVE ON. And I will. We've made this work for a year, there's no reason to panic. But I LIKE this job. I like the project. I like the people. I like the location. I like the benefits. I don't know about the pay, but the vacation... government employee vacation is scandelous compared to the private sector.

DeuceDad and I have held our heads high and weathered going on a year of my unemployment. And we've had some storms during that time. We haven't suffered any catastrophies, but we haven't caught any breaks. I need this break. We need this break.

It's pouring rain outside, and that's how I feel - like I'm stuck outside in the cold and pouring rain. It won't hurt me, but I can't stand it forever.