Friday, June 29, 2007

Is my problem delusion or dilution?

I missed my interview yesterday. Because I'm obviously an idiot. I slept right through the interview time, despite Megadeth on the alarm clock. I couldn't sleep all night, but apparently I could sleep all morning. I need a second job. Right now, I might be looking at needing a first job. I just found out something disheartening... once I make it to the six month barrier I've been waiting for, health insurance is going to cost me over $100/pay period. If I had that much money, I wouldn't need the insurance, I'd just pay the doctor. Apparently, my company does not pay jack shit for health insurance and all the cost is on the patient, me. It's good insurance, but that doesn't help, now does it? One of the two reasons I stay here has just evaporated, making me feel helpless and futile and frustrated. The other reason is that I need a block of time on my resume. That reason has not evaporated. But is my resume worth this? I've been cut for tomorrow. At the last minute. Again. And it feels fucking awful. It feels useless and hopeless and scared. I don't like it. I need a paycheck, a decent sized one. Otherwise I'm just digging myself a hole I can't climb out of. And no resume is worth that.
I'm exhausted. I fell asleep on the line for a minute tonight. Yes, we were that slow, and yes I was that drained. It was a blood donor day. So I'm gonna cut this short.
1) Gonna try interview again tomorrow, pretend bad calendar.
2) Need more money.
3) No time to sleep but nothing getting done.
4) Seriously concerned about Eddie's intentions. Now he's willing to pick me up at work on his days off, calls me, wants to come over and wants to buy me things. These are not good signs. I was really hoping I'd found a nice old man, but despite the fact that he has made no advances, I'm afraid dissapointment is emminent. He may well turn out to be just another creepy old man. I would like to hope for the best, but I have to fear the worst.
That's all, I'm tired.


Monday, June 25, 2007

I didn't sleep at all last night

Or many other nights this week. I don't know why really. I just never seem to get around to it. I'm not so tired. You would think I'd be more tired. But I keep finding things to do. Not the things I should be doing, like house-cleaning. But other things for sure... I've knitted a lot of coasters, sent a lot of e-mails, watched some really bad TV. A couple of actual ink and pen letters... and on book!
So I was coming back from my Sunday knitting group with Isabel when we spotted a table on the side of the road marked Free Books. And it was covered in books. Being Bibliophiles, we stopped. Good books, Advance Reader copies, which means stilll in need of editing and pre-srelease. I found a lovely book called " Never Hit A Jellyfish With A Spade". I'm nearly through it and I can't stop laughing. I also have "HOw I Became Stupid" - one man's journey to renounce his own intelligence in an attempt to see if ignorance really is bliss. I'm curious.
I met Jodi, who I really like. Makes sense, she's an AutoCAD designer and god knows I know computer nerds. She seems like fun though, and I hope to get to know her bettter. It feels good to make a new friend. I think that might be what I needed. Oh, and BIG NEWS, I found Jessie! Sarah is gonna be so excited when I tell her tonight.
I've finished my coasters for the coaster swap and a few extras to send out to other peole. I think they're neat. And super easy.
I've also discovered a number of new websites... Couchsurfing Project - in which you loan/ boroow an unocccupied couch while passing through a city. There's already high demand for my couch. Amazingly, most people in New Orleans are not willing to open their homes like they're not willing to volunteer. Big shock, huh? I'm sorry, but I've spent enough time on other people's couches and invited enough people to stay on mine that I feel that this is only an extension. It's goodwill through big velvet couches. And like I always say, you're never going to make new friends if you don't talk to strangers. We all know I talk to strangers constantly.
As well as Warm The World, a charity for "children without families" and soldiers and their families. The neat thing about this charity is all you have to supply is the knitting. They pay for shipping and even send you yarn to do projects. Most recently, I discovered, where people leave marked books places in hopes that someone else will pick them up and read them. Fascinating... again, not popular here in New Orleans. Selfish bastards.
Y'all know me, generous and involved. I know it's uncommon in the godforsaken stagnant pool I find myself in now, but I am me and I refuse to be an asshole just because I'm surrounded by them. Personally, I found a family rebuilding their own house around the corner, and I'm going to bring them drinks next time I see them. I'm poor today.
My camera battery is dead, dead, dead. And I have no money to replace it. And I've discovered that I get some kind of bizarre delay when trying to write in the post editor on this site, so from now on, I'm typing them when my computer goes down and only pasting them into the editor from plain text.
I cancelled the phone and the cable today... replaced by Vonage and Blockbuster online. I save $60/month and a lot of nagging myself about how I'm going to pay for it and why I'm paying for things I don't need/can't afford.
I'm on a hunt for old friends and new ones. And I have an interview for a second job tomorrow morning. If it works, I will be babysitting seniors overnight. Yep, that's right, I sit in the house in case they need anything, or get up, and I can knit and work on my German and I get paid. It doesn't pay a lot, but I just need a little extra to get through the summer months. And it's almost like charity work. I don't mind old people, I'm related to a couple. Speaking of which, my new friend Jodi goes to Tennessee every couple of months and the next time she does it, I'm going to go with her and surprise my Aunt Flo. Perhaps I shouldn't send this package to her, just hold onto it and give it to her when I go? I think so. She'll be very surprised.
The One Brick folks are coming out again at the end of the month and I'm gonna look for a ride again, maybe someone to crash on the couch again. Right now, my priority is to get enough spare dough to fly to Melissa's in August, work on this kid's scarf project and knit a cookie monster sweater for a munchkin. I think that I can use the teal mohair for Sarah's kid and still have enough of the fur to use the baby blue for Karissa's kid. I may not have Sarah's done in time for the end of winter in her neck of the woods, though. It's winter there now. But Karissa's in Nevada and she doesn't need a sweater anytime soon. I know that as soon as I finish this, I will think of something fascinating to say, like, oh, I don't know, I just rented the entire Red Dwarf series from Blockbuster. If you've never seen Red Dwarf, you're missing out. It's British slapstick sci-fi at it's best. I adore it. My ex-boyfriend Kent got me hooked on it way back when in high school watching marathons and telethons on public television. Well, the publis television stations everywhere else in the country apparently don't know about it, but I do and I'm renting it and loaning it to Jodi because she's gonna fucking love it. Why is it that I can't gather people to save my life but I always know exactly what they'd like for gifts or meals?? I can never tell if they'll get along with eachother. A lot of times I think it's because I like strong, individual and unusual people and those people either love or hate eachother. Somehow everyone seems to respect that I have friends they don't like, they just won't come to my parties because they might be there. I also can't get many people to come to my house. I think that might have something to do with the fact that deep down I am a private person and a poor housekeeper. I'm working on the housekeeping. And I know lots of other people who can get people to come to their houses and they're much worse housekeepers than me. At least nothing in my house is moldy or smells... it's just disorganized and cluttered.
That's all for today. I have to change over the laundry, take out the trash and paint my toenails. Before I work on MORE housework.... god, I hate housework.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Losing Faith

Or whatever I had left Not sure if faith is an accurate description. So I found my Sarah. Thankful for that. She's well and healthy, if as grumpy as ever. She's in Australia of all places, married with two stepchildren and a child just now(!) and an entire menagerie. She has ducks, chickens, and a rottweiler that must be tucked in at night. I'm glad to hear she's doing alright. I miss her. And I'm switching my phone service to Vonage so that I can call her. It won't be entirely reliable, not Vonage's fault, my internet connection's fault, but I can accept that since I get to call Sarah in Australia for one cent a minute. It will keep the phone bill under control at least.
My house is covered in manila envelopes. Most of them going, a few coming, I am on a mail spree like no other and even I can't quite keep up with it. Due to swap=bot and my recent knitting excess, I have many things to mail to many people. There are packages to London, France, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California and Georgia sitting here now. There will be more.. to Texas, Nevada, South Dakota and more I expect soon enough. The postage alone will bury my poor budget. But I feel alone all of a sudden. In a world of friends where I can't be away from the phone or the e-mail too long, I feel alone. I feel lost. And I feel... grossly misplaced and without a ticket home. I feel like home has stretched it's borders so far that it doesn't even exist anymore. And it's awful. I've been on a binge to contact old friends. On, on classmates, digging through piles of people I barely met looking for Zach and Tina, and Jonique and Jessie... trying to remember Chris and Eric's last names! I want them all back right now. I want us all in one place like we could be one happy family even though I know it's not possible. They wouldn't all get along for one, for two, the tickets alone would make Donald Trump blush. But that's what I want. I still don't have friends here... there's Jen of course, but that's about it... some people at work I talk to, who barely know my name, and Isabel, my knitting friend. John keeps calling and I keep trying to get him to leave me alone.
I want something new, someone with whom I can go over all the old ground like I'll find some new answers. I want out of this town, and I want out now. Not next year. I want out of my job. I'm miserable and it shows. It's 3:30 am and all I can think about is that I have to iron and I don't want to iron. I fucking hate ironing and it's fucking pointless. I want to believe that there are still people out there that I'll like. Maybe it's me. Maybe I just need something completely different. Maybe I just need to get laid. All I know is that I can't keep going like this. I'm in a hole and I'm just digging deeper. There's no good outcome here. The sooner I get out the better. But of course, I have obligations... Mom and Jeanna are coming, I want to go to Melissa's, Emmy and Ross are coming, I want to go see Spot... Maybe I can blow some of those off... but there's pending litigation against my former landlord, there's a volunteer group at the end of July... I feel trapped. I want out. I want out now. And I don't know how to get out and still live up to my obligations. I can't just blow them all off. I can't. So what do I do?? Sit here and rot.
I need health insurance. I need money. I need a plan. I don't have any of those. Ok, so I contacted a woman I met online who says she actually makes her living doing surveys online. I gave her my sad, sad underpaid story and begged for help in the most polite terms I know. And I also told her that I was not trying to offend or be nosy, but if I bothered her to just forget I asked. These silly girl conventions, you know.. apologizing when you've done nothing wrong.. And I'm going to call Chris Brown at the Sheraton about something part-time and I'm going to do everything in my power to make more money. But it's not gonna come fast enough and soon enough, I'll be up shit creek without a paddle. Remind me please to dig up the number for my credit card protection companies and call them... if ever there was a time for emergency payments... I want out of here but I'm going to have to make it through the end of the year. After that, I'm running like the devil's on my tail. I wish I could find something with flexible hours like a real work at home job. Sucks. I'm gonna pay some bills now, do some ironing and look for a job. Hope you're having a better day than me. I even bought myself hawaiian shirt and flip-flop salt and pepper shakers.. can't cheer me up...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My normal, and why it varies from, say, your normal

Life is getting back to normal here. That does not neccessarily mean peace and quiet... It means that my house is a shameful disaster area and I have one million things to do, but am instead sitting here writing this blog. Or perhaps righting this blog as I have wronged it with my absences. The fact of the matter is, I've been lethargic lately and my internet connection has been acting up between 1-3am which is, of course, when I need it most. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it....
So the house is a mess, I'm so broke I owe broke money, and I can't seem to get up off my ass to do anything about anything. But, on the plus side, I now have Eddy. Eddy is a security guard for a firm near Lee Circle and obviously very bored. I see him every night on my way home and I always say hi. He asked me the other night why he hasn't seen me in a while and I told him, I had taken a break from walking due to being mugged. He drove me home and has insisted on doing so since. I have my reservations... he seems to be a very sweet personable man who is just being friendly... I hope this is the case. Let's just say, there is no such thing as a free lunch. While I'm more than happy to bring Eddy cookies or something for his kindness, I worry that at some point, he will imply that I owe him something. Eddy is not my type... I think he has children older than me. Let's just all hope that I'm my paranoid-schauvanist mother's daughter.
So my friend Emi has been dragging me to all her pet websites with friend invites... nevermind that Emi has, apparently and from all accounts, much more time to devote to such things. And that Emi and I don't talk very often because she goes to sleep by the time I come home from work. She and her husband have been very good to me and I count them as dear friends. They are also fun to spend time with. First, it was Tagged, the most juvenile networking site I've been associated with since Bolt if Bolt even still exists since that was 5 years ago. Maybe more than 5. Now it's Goodreads. I'm all for goodreads, as it's about books, and I like books. But it does seem a bit silly to have a website about books... the one is not the equal of the other... That one, I've dragged my friend Melisssa to. And now, I'll grant you a widget so you can see what I'm up to there... My reviews.
In other news, after days of attempts, I defeated the internet connection and managed to upload these pictures of my son, his cake, and us together. There is also a picture of my friend and her 3 year old. I must say it's a great picture of them. That is all for now... I have coasters to knit and a house to CLEAN. Really, I mean, when I can't stand the mess anymore, it's BAD.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Long, Strange Trip

May not have seemed very long to you folks, but that's because you probably stop and sleep every night. What a waste of time. So, to begin at the end... I'm still processing. I received a very sharp blow to my very large ego near the end of the trip and then it was lifted again. Not sure where that leaves it... So I was staying at Emmy and Morgan's house... a house packed full of friends, a crazy lady and one stranger. That would be TJ, from Indiana. The stranger, not the crazy lady. Don't know how he ended up there, but that's not the point. He's largely considered a git and not in a good way. But I had permission (I love those guys, they insist on saying yes, no, or passible to every person of the male persuasion I come across...he was rated passible), and well, I was drunk and bored, so I said, hey, why not? If I could count the number of times those three words have led to shaking my poor hung-over head I would have to invent a new number. Well, he'd been remotely friendly, and had, at the very beginning, invited me to sleep in his bed. This remark started quite a few laughs. So, 2 hours before I had to leave the state for another year, I climbed out of the shower and into his bed. I asked, the offer was still good. Yeah, what did he do? He climbed out. Drunk, naked me delivered straight to his bed and he has the gall to climb out?!?! What the hell was that? I asked him when we were leaving, Where di you go? His reply was, "When a naked woman I've BARELY MET climbs in my bed, my reaction is to throw the blanket over her and move. Besides, when you got here you asked if I would be in the bed and I said no." In his defense, the last part is true. I, having not fallen off a turnip truck yesterday, did indeed ask when he said I could sleep in his bed if he would be in it. I just don't remember him ever giving a direct answer. Nor did I expect him to live up to it!! I don't know what they do to you in Indiana for such an offense, but I believe that in California, they reposess your dick. Obviously, you don't deserve one. Needless to say, there will be no second chance.
Then, after arriving in San Jose, while sitting innocently at the light rail station trying to decide on breakfast, I was hit on... twice. Of course they were crazy, don't be silly, do I attract anything else? One couldn't figure out what I was talking about when I said I'd give him my number, but it wouldn't do him much good as I live two time zones away. "Oh, in the East Bay," he says. No, not in the East Bay. The Gulf of Mexico. The other offered to buy a ticket right now and come home with me. And flashed enough cash to do it. Yes, he is a "recovering drug dealer/gang member." Apparently, I wasn't quite enthusiastic enough about the idea for him. I just said that it's a free country, he can go anywhere he wants. He was pretty cute, but he seemed to have some baggage and if I lug him across country, he'll probably want me to deal with it.
So, in conclusion, I repelled a git from Indiana and attracted a weirdo and a drug dealer. Sorry, recovering drug dealer. Where does that leave me? Dorian says I should marry a Marine on his way to Germany. They have Marine bases there. He says that then I should leave him and just stay in Germany. I explained that one, marriage is scary, two, Marines can't decide to go to Germany, and three, what if I dissapear on him and he goes all action hero to my rescue?? Could get ugly. Marines are known for imitating action heroes, I believe it's in their job description. I wouldn't put it past them. And again... Marriage is Scary. It's not like there's a dating sight for women who have a fetish for marrying Marines about to go to non-wartorn places like Germany. That's just silly.
The other thing is, I miss home so much. Everybody says I should move back. I want to. That's where the best things and the worst things have happened. That's my highest and lowest place. It's home. It was so nice to have memories on every corner. To know exactly where I was going even when it's 60 miles away. To walk down every road I've walked down a million times before. Somebody came up and asked me for directions and I knew exactly where to send her. It's so comfortable. More than that, the attitudes are the same. I have San Jose opinions and San Jose beliefs. I have a San Jose accent and a San Jose attitude. I understand the locals and they understand me. I didn't stop running the whole time I was there and I was never tired. I didn't want to miss one precious moment. It was an amazing feeling. Home. I've got so many more places I want to see, but I want to go home. I don't usually stay away this long. Usually, I move back every year or so for a while. But this time I haven't. I want to though. I didn't wanna come back so fast.
Christopher is doing GREAT. It's amazing how big and smart and happy he is. I love him so much. I just kept staring at him. I can't believe how fast he's growing. Wow. There will be more about him later, after I get past the Wow. I love him. He loved his presents, the handknit slippers and the Legos and the forest cake. I told him that I don't bring cakes for anyone else... he's so special I work on special cakes and haul them across country just for him. He was impressed.

**UPDATE**: 7/1/07: In fact, there IS a dating site for women who have a fetish for Marines going to non war-torn countries like Germany... it's called Military Singles and it's not the only one. I swear to God I was looking for circular needle sets when I found it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Buttercream in The Big Easy

First things first : They have I.D.ed the mugger. They have impounded the car and issued an arrest warrant. Apparently, he has a record and another warrant was issued during the "course of the investigation." Either way, I picked him out of a photo lineup today and he shall be arrested. He's going DOWN. Deserves it too.
Next: The scarf is finished! Long live the lace scarf. God that was difficult. Pictures once it's blocked (eg. next week, probably). And then, once I have two dollars to rub together, it's off to Grandma's house. I'm sure there's a river and some woods between here and Southern California.
I leave at 4pm today. I'm so excited. I hate flying, but I'm so excited. Wow. I haven't been home in over a year. I'm flat broke, but it doesn't matter. I have friends. I'm going home!!!! I just pulled the first batch of cookies out of the oven. The mix has to cool more before I can do it again. Then we get to the topic... Making Buttercream in New Orleans....
Now, there's an easy way and a hard way to make buttercream. Safeway and Costco for example, go the easy way: Powdered or Superfine sugar and shortening (aka Crisco). That's the ingredients... some vanilla, maybe. Beat the hell out of it when it's cold. Done. The hard way ("traditional") involves eggs and a boiling sugar syrup. Now we all know what happens when we take two cups of a boiling liquid and put 6 eggs in it... the eggs cook, right? Wrong. Ah, the miracles of the kitchen... if you beat them fast enough, and you add the boiling liquid slow enough, they "emulsify"... meaning mix together smoothly and permanently through magic. It's a very tricky thing, emulsification... gives cooks like me headaches on a regular basis. I chose French buttercream because it uses egg yolks instead of egg whites and yolks are more stable. Good thing to know. Honestly, I have only enough ingredients for one try so I can't fuck it up. So I beat the hell out of some egg yolks... until they're at "ribbon stage"... technical term meaning that if you stick something in them and pull it out, it makes ribbons. Meanwhile the sugar is boiling. Now, I don't have a candy thermometer handy, so I just use the cold water test. It gets to "around" 240 degrees... 20 above boiling... and I can SLOWLY... VERY SLOWLY pour it into the eggs. The trick is to do this with a mixer and keep the mixer going at a decent speed. Then it says, "beat until bottom of bowl is cool to touch". Ok, it may be 3am, but Nothing in my kitchen is cool to the touch right now. And I'm wondering how in the hell this bowl is supposed to become 20 degrees below my current room temperature just by beating...It's not.
Luckily, these are recipes from culinary school and I went to culinary school in Portland, Oregon. It's very humid in Portland, but not very hot. It's also sea level. You have no idea how much this matters until you've lived in a bone-dry climate 6500 feet above sea level. Nothing works there. Here, I'm again at sea level in a humid climate. Stuff works! It amazing... But in June, in New Orleans, nothing is cool to the touch without A/C. Ever. And I don't feel like closing all the windows and turning it on. So I let it get just a little warm and mix in the butter. It's all good. The secret to this particular recipe, a secret that doesn't work with any other buttercream recipe, is that if it breaks (separates), just keep the mixer on a decent speed and beat the hell out of it and it will come back together. Thank whatever God you pray to that it can be that easy. Tada... somehow I made it, with only a little bit of plain meringue-ish stuff left stuck to the bowl. But I'm a professional, don't try this at home, unless you have A/C and are willing to use it. So now I have chocolate buttercream and green vanilla buttercream. The chocolate is for the insides, the green for the outsides. This year, it will be a red velvet forest cake. Inside the cake, there will be buttercream filling with Oreo pieces and gummi worms to simulate the dirt inside the hill. Outside, there will be green buttercream, gummi trees, gummi bears and animal crackers to simulate the forest. I think he'll like it. Thank God he's only 7 as it's a bit dashed off. It's going to have to endure a long trip is all... and I can't have it falling apart. I'm bringing extra Oreos and green frosting for repairs when I get there. God I hope we make it ok. I'm not decorating it until I'm IN san Mateo. But I will make the trees tonight. Just take those sugar covered "spearmint leaves", roll them flat, and cut serrations like christmas trees. Then stick a stick pretzel in the bottom and you've made a tree. Perch some gummi bears and some animal crackers around it and you've got a forest. At least to a 7-year old. But I think the best part is the gummmi worms in the middle. Sneaky.
Y'all may have noticed that lately, my usual grammar naziness has slipped. I'm sorry. I'm very busy, and I try to catch them all, but I just can't be bothered. I don't have a lot of time right now. I'll fix it later when I have more time and it starts really bothering me. You'll live in the meantime.
I'm really tired and I don't have much time to sleep. I won't get to sleep much for a while now. I haven't even packed yet. I just hope I can make it through somehow. I know I will. I'm stubborn and I've been dreaming of this vacation for a while. The excitement of being home will push away any need for sleep. I mean, after all, it's home.... always was, always will be.
Y'all have a nice weekend now, I have to pack. I'm going home. nothing else matters.