May Round-up

Yet again, the last day of the month falls on a blogging day. A “Muse on Monday” this month so I’m being retrospective rather than introspective:

  • 2 F.O. – Better Mousetrap Socks, Baby Blanket for Bootie
  • 3 WIPs-not-whupped – GlenvarAgin Cardigan (insert sigh here!) in fairness, I finished the body, only the sleeves left to do; Chemo Cap #1; Bamboo wash-cloth;
  • 2 Meet-ups with others that I’ve only previously “met” online – Annie Modesitt’s Workshop on Combination Knitting and meeting Averil in Café Bell;
  • 3 new techniques learned: Combination Knitting, Grandma Cast-on; cabling without a cable needle – Cinderella-style (all at Annie’s Class);
  • 2 U.S.A. (unplanned stash acquisition) – after each of the meet-ups mentioned previously – no really, I didn’t plan on buying yarn, honestly!
  • 1 S.E.X. – online expedition to The Yarn and Fiber Company; carried out in April, delivered in May
  • 1 Major House Task advanced: went out to Tender for demolition of garage and building of deck (yay!)
  • 1 hall floor re-floored and phone-line found (double-yay!)
  • As a result we now have broadband – which means I can access spinning tutorials on YouTube (triple-yay!)
  • 1 birthday cake made – a big hit
  • 1 DD turned 8 and birthday celebration went off well

It’s been quite a month, as you can see. It’s not every month you get taught by Annie Modesitt; or learn a new techniques – that you actually go on to use.

It was a very special month to have finally got the chance to meet with Averil too. Other Ravelry names that I finally got to put a face on in May include: Samsaradh and Anonany; I was in the same room as MaryL at Annie’s class but I didn’t realise it until later.

I haven’t been great at keeping track of the knit-o-meter these days. I suspect, with all that Stash-Enhancement (planned and otherwise), I’m way off my plan to knit or give away more yarn than I buy or gain. Must try harder!

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It’s been 6 weeks since my last confession…

I did not love Blog when:

  • I promised to write specific posts and then completely …eh… didn’t!;
  • I did all these fantastic, blog-worthy and craft-related things and never told you about them;
  • I allowed real-life time-pressures to get in the way of blogging time…
  •  

For these, and all my sins, I am truly sorry.

For my penance I will try to write circa 20 catch-up posts over the next two weeks!

I have to apologise for my prolonged absence from my blog. It all started when DH got stuck in San Francisco because of the Ash Cloud. I was due to write a blog post all about my adventures to The Yarn Room in Wicklow the previous weekend, and meeting Irene Lundgaard for the first time – and being taught by her – but the heart just wasn’t in it.

When DH is away I still work full-time and have to get myself and the three crazies up and out the door in the morning; and fed and put to bed each evening. It’s a bit like living on a treadmill but I can do it by just getting on with it. I cut myself a break or two by easing off on household chores, such as laundry, for the duration. My knitting buddies are a great help too, as they often “bring the Mountain to Mohammed” as it were, by coming over to my house for Knit-night.

I have huge admiration for single parents, let me tell you; I don’t know how they keep themselves going. I know I only have to hold it all together until DH is home again and usually we’re only talking one week. I liken it to running a marathon: it’s a hellish run but you keep yourself moving, knowing the finish-line is in sight.

On Thursday 15th April the world woke up to the news that a certain, unpronounceable Volcano in Iceland was – quite literally – hell-bent on wrecking everyone’s plans. DH had been away since the previous Sunday and was due to fly home on Saturday afternoon. Sure enough, Mother Nature had different ideas. From my perspective, it was like someone had taken the finish-line and just run off with it. I had no choice but to keep running the marathon; but there’s something disturbing, psychologically, about not knowing when it will all end.

On Saturday night, DH suggested that he could be stuck for another five days. Strangely, rather than being horrified and distraught at the news, this was exactly what I needed to gather my energies and keep myself moving. He had given me a glimmer of ribbon that I could focus on and move towards. As it turned out, his prediction proved correct and he flew in on the second flight into Dublin Airport on Wednesday 21st April. It was amazing to see a single con-trail in the sky while simultaneously listening to a news headline reporting its arrival. We were thrown back to the early days of Flying!

So he’s been home now for a month… how do I explain the past four weeks?!?!?! Hmmmmm!?!?

The problem, for a change, was not having nothing to say (if you follow me). The problem was absolutely, over-indulging in crafty, blog-worthy adventures; to such an extent that I’m spoiled for choice. The problem with this is that I haven’t yet learned how to make time – I can only make the most of it; and I’ve certainly been doing that lately, as you can see below!

As it’s Sunday Miscellany, I’m just going to list all the excitement, somewhat in chronological order. These are potential blog-posts that you can look forward to. I have a plan for when I’m going to write each but I’ve learned from my mistake – I’m not going to tell you when to expect them in case I don’t follow through and disappear from my blog again out of shame!

  • Trip to the Yarn Room Co. Wicklow
  • Met Irene Lundgard
  • Learned Tunisian Crochet in the Round
  • Made a pair of wrist-warmers using what I learned
  • Went to the April Spin-in at Powerscourt
  • Stash Accumulation after the April Spin-in
  • Chose between finishing my April Socks and making a hat for a co-worker
  • Attended Combination Knitting Workshop by Annie Modesitt at TIK
  • Met Samsaradh and had great time catching-up with SusyMcQ
  • Stash Accumulation after the Combination Knitting Workshop
  • Met Averil
  • Stash Accumulation to celebrate meeting Averil (yeah, I’m totally out-of-control, by now!)
  • Choosing Crochet over knitting lately
  • Some Chemo caps I’m making and why
  • Choosing not to cast-on until current WIPs are whupped
  • Progress on Better Mousetrap socks
  • Progress on GlenvarAgin
  • We get Broadband means Spinning Tutorials on YouTube
  • Stash Accumulation from The Yarn and Fiber Company
  • Getting into running, the “Couch to 5K programme” and The Flora Women’s Mini-marathon

That’s kinda enough to be getting on with, I think you’ll agree!

I am a WIP

Yes, I said I am a WIP not wimp! Considering I had the cahoonas (or bare-faced cheek) to tell Annie Modesitt that we’d love to see her when I saw her tweet that she was coming to Ireland. Turns out: she’d love to see us too and she’ll be here from 1st to 23rd May. She then sent me a “DM” with her email address so I replied. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens but it pretty-much made my week!

I’m a Work-In-Progress. The older you get the more you realise how true this is. I am ever-changing, ever-evolving, ever-maturing, ever-mellowing. The more I learn the more I understand how little I know. I rarely talk about work here. In part it’s because Ireland is a small pool and – as my old boss was fond of saying – everything you write is “discoverable” (He was referring to the Freedom of Information Act in Ireland but it’s sage advice re the InterWebs too – one you’d wish more people would take heed of!) These days I don’t feel like talking about work because lately it’s just “Shitty-shitty-Crap-Crap”.

One thing I know about myself is that a high proportion of my self-esteem is tied up with how much job-satisfaction I’m getting. And the big-thing that gives me job-satisfaction is getting my job done well and being acknowledged for it. The latter only comes very rarely  – most managers forget to say thanks or to even notice if you pulled out all the stops – so you make do with what little you get. Lately, I’m getting nada, zip, zilch. The former – getting to do my job well – has been made nigh-on impossible for me lately, by the powers that be. I’m at the point where I’m throwing up my hands and I’m dangerously close to throwing in the towel altogether.

I’m trying to flag as clearly as possible that certain tasks, which have been requested by our clients, will not get done unless we put staff against them. I’m being really clear in my language too. A recent, direct quote from me: “the priorities in this team are arse-over-tit!” You couldn’t get clearer than that. What do I get in return? A vague promise that Architect F will be assigned to X-project in the future, whenever he finishes the project he’s currently working on. Has that happened three weeks later? No. What am I doing about it? Well, ranting here… at DH… at my Knitting Buddies… at my close work-friends… and otherwise simmering just below boiling point.

And it’s not just having the rug pulled out from under me regarding X-project, which is – by the way – an extension for a family who are living in dire conditions of over-crowding and with a severely debilitated grand-mother (hence my vitriol about the skewed priorities in the team). I’ve recently realised it’s pointless to draw-up a work-plan for my own week’s work because of the amount of fire-fighting my boss (oops, nearly typed “superior” – HA!) likes to engage in. Picture yourself and how you behave in a recently-stocked yarn-shop. Everything’s shiny and distracting and squee and you dart from one squeeze of squishy to the next. Imagine now, trying to have a debriefing with someone who will answer any phone that rings, start reading any email that flashes up, engage with anyone who comes up to his door to ask him a question and who is quite likely to get up and walk away to deal with their query instead.

With my old boss, I’d bring him a list of queries; we’d run down through them and he’d give me a steer, guidance or advice on each item. I’d be out of his office after ten minutes and ready to work my way through my list, acting on his advice. I’ve given up bringing a list of queries to my new boss because I get as far as item one and he’ll lift the phone to try to deal with the whole issue there and then. One word I’d love for him to get to grips with is “Delegation”. That, and “Focus!”

Another thing I know about myself is that I won’t put up with crap for very long. “Grin and bear it” just doesn’t wash with me. In the past I’ve jumped ship altogether and I’m already considering a few options in that regard. In the meantime, in a move to do something constructive and positive about the situation, I started seeing the counsellor that my workplace provides. I had my first session with her this week and it was really useful to talk to someone who – unlike DH or my knitting buddies – knows some of the characters involved and has an insight into the environment that a public sector job entails. At the same time it’s not like talking with my work friends about the situation because that usually just turns into a bitch-fest about the main “villains” of the piece: a rewarding activity but not necessarily productive.

I’m having another session with her in two weeks so it’s a Work-In-Progress. Who knows how it will finish up. Now, aren’t you glad I rarely talk about my work?