This is the last day of NaBloPoMo, Bloglines, and it seems like I should end it with a bang and come up with some special way to bring this fun project to a close. But I can't write another word. I'm all written out! All dried up. I've tried everything. I've written about my dilemma to my MoFo sisters, and they seem to have some slightly misplaced faith in me. Margene's response was, "Norma will come up with something. She always does." Pffft.
I thought of trying to celebrate the number 30 somehow, but did some Googling and was uninspired. I wanted to find a photograph of me when I was 30, but it seems that none exist. I tried to remember what was happening in my life when I was 30. All I can really remember is that I had really big hair (a curly perm - shudder!), I was 20 pounds lighter than I am now, I wore suits and high-heeled pumps and pantyhose every day at work (shudder!), I did Jackie Sorensen's Aerobic Dancing all the time, Abigail was four years old, I worked in the courts full time as an official court reporter, and I was closing in on a diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome which led to a really shitty 31st year when I was disabled for five months and started two years of intensive psychotherapy for childhood trauma. So I really don't want to tell you about that.
I took up the knitting last night, hoping to have a completed mitten to show you, but I didn't even finish the cuff before I had to hit the sheets from exhaustion. I reasoned that maybe I'd get a bout of insomniac writing inspiration in the middle of the night, or I'd get up this morning with a fresh head, full of ideas. Nyet!
Yesterday I eavesdropped on a conversation in the medical school building. Two second-year male med students were talking near where I was sitting and knitting.
#1: "Hey, what's up?"
#2: "I'm doing a little tutoring in a few minutes."
#2: "What about you?"
#1: "I'm heading home. [woman's name] is mad at me."
#2: "Oh, really? Why? Because you went skiing without her?"
#1: "I guess so. But she had five hours of knitting. She never gets five hours of KNITTING, so I thought she'd be happy."
#2: "Why? Is that relaxing or something?"
#1: "Well, she enjoys it. I guess it's relaxing. (turning to me) We should ask you. Is it relaxing? Soothing?"
[I smile and nod, and keep on knitting, wondering do I look relaxed and soothed or old and wrinkled?]
#1: "So I thought I'd go home and do some cleaning. Cleaning always works."
I pipe up: "The cleaning? Good plan. And cook a meal."
They appreciate the maternal advice, and I got the answer to my question: Old and wrinkled. So I thought I could maybe turn that into a blog post, but I can't think how to write it.
I got up and started reading blogs, hoping for inspiration to strike. I did get some inspiration for knitting these mittens (pdf), but not for writing.
I ate a gigantic bowl of some sort of sugar-sweetened fancy Cheerios product that I found in my pantry in a giant Costco-sized box. WTF? We do not eat sugar-sweetened cereal in this house -- we hardly eat cereal at all. Would someone please explain to me how and why Abigail bamboozled her father into buying this one-ton box of sugar-coated Cheerios at Costco? (for I know it has to be she) SHE certainly won't eat it. HE won't eat it. Now I've just eaten a big bowl of it under the pretense of hoping it will help my brain come up with a blog post. I will not appreciate this at the gym later today, and neither will the Disney-cow yoga watchers. And so far on the brain? Nada.
I saw the cutest little puddin'head ever.
I saw the disturbing statistics at the Soaring Eagles Project
Needed Still (by December 17th):
I pledged four pairs of mittens a long time ago, and I've yet to complete even one pair. I plan to get on that this weekend. (Can you help, too, maybe?)
But still, I can't come up with a blog post.
Yesterday was a busy, busy, eventful day. It started out with a snowstorm and its attendant bad roads, which made me a bit late for my 8 a.m. deposition. I haven't been doing many depositions, focusing instead on CART at UVM, but some colleagues asked me to help them out and I agreed. So I did yeoman's duty for a full morning, in a room chock full of men in suits. After the depo, I needed a warm place to prep for the cancer-related colloquium I cover at UVM on Wednesday late afternoons, so I went into the lovely new Davis Center on campus. Wandering through, I ran into my friend Willem who was having lunch with his friend Micheal.
Well, we started talking, and I will not hold it against Michael that he broke some of the cardinal rules when speaking to a court reporter or captioner, especially on the first meeting. To wit:
1. Do not ever ask a court reporter, "Why don't they just tape it?" You could end up with a bottle of water poured in your lap in lieu of an explanation.
2. Do not ask a CART provider why those people on the TV captions make so many mistakes, like, for example, making mincemeat out of Hebrew words, or writing "urinalysis" when you meant to write "European" or some such. (Wouldn't he get a kick out of my old colleague Andrew's gaffe at the BBC when he wrote "the scent of heterosexuals wafting up off the page," in the obit of a gay cookbook author, rather than "herbs wafting..."?) Instead, it would be nicer to say, "Wow! You people are AMAZING! I bow at your feet you are so amazing!" (something like that)
Willem, knowing well my propensities for violence and making scenes in public places, quickly steered the conversation in a more positive direction, and Michael, being obviously no dummy, quickly caught on. (No matter that this was after the threat of a bottle of water being poured in his lap -- and me having just met the man three minutes previous.) Before we knew it, he was thanking me for the wonderful service I do and assuring me that I certainly must not make enough money for the work I do, and asserting that I will never get Alzheimer's since I do so much brain work all the time.
On Michael's next report card, I will write, "Shows improvement under pressure."
I should have brought my camera in. It was in the car. That's at least a step in the right direction. I did not have FULL camnesia, only partial.
Willem informed me that Michael is a retired chemistry professor who now teaches art classes at the university. I learned that he sells paintings and has a website. I like his work a lot, but I'm not going to say so. Instead, I'm going to ask him, "Why don't they just take pictures of things instead of painting them?" (Touché)
And the next thing I know, he's throwing that little four-letter word around. I know, RIGHT?! Blog.
Well, hell. I denied any knowledge of what a blog was, but Willem broke my cover. Michael made the statement, in the form of a mild warning, that he might be blogging our conversation. That's why I'm writing this; I figure turnabout is fair play.
Then I went to my colloquium. I love that colloquium and all the people in it, and we have a ton of fun together. One M.D./Ph.D. candidate is such a comedian. He has missed his calling -- he should totally be doing standup. He arrived a little bit late, and barged into the room saying he was late because he was on jury duty. "Norma was there. She can back me up." No one can accuse me of blending into the woodwork, that's for sure.
And you all remember my girl Xianglian, eh? When I got there, she whispered to me that she had something to give me, but she would wait 'til the end of class. After the presentation, and after everybody else had left, she presented me with this:
And inside was this:
I'm speechless. Well, okay, I'm almost never speechless. But not only will I hopefully not get Alzheimer's, I will also not die a poor woman. My life is so very rich. Thank you, Xianglian.
So the MoFo Sisters, we've decided to take our singing show on the road. We have bonded even tighter than before, and we don't want our road trip to NaBloPoMo Land to end. We've decided to continue our MoFo'ing in the form of kicking each other's butts into shape -- in the most nonjudgmental, take-it-at-your-own-pace, encouraging-but-not-badgering way. (And for Sandy, who's just had a bit of a health scare, but came out with some semi-good news in the end, we will not kick hard. Only gently, okay, Sandy?) We give daily email reports of our workout and eating activities, and cheer each other on throughout the day. (Is this starting to get cloying?) Sandy, who's been suffering excruciating back pain for a good long while now, and has barely been able to move, was one of our biggest cheerleaders, even in her pain and fear about the outcome of her CT scan. (Go give her a hoot and a holler for her good news, will ya?)
Good friends. I'll tell you. They are worth their weight in
platinum yarn platinum.
Terry and I have had a couple of cat fights that Margene and the others have declined to get involved in. Everyone knows that Terry can take me down. We've finally just decided to circle each other, hissing under our breath.
I kid! I kid! (Terry could never take me down.)
Okay, seriously here, now, folks. The gym has been a good thing. I've been working out almost.every.day. I used to be that good, but it's been a while, I tell ya. And I cannot abide the muffin top over my spectacular new jeans. Muffin top must.die!
There've been a couple of days when I thought I'd cop out, but my sistahs, they set me straight. I'd get
badgered encouraged to go and give it a shot, even just a light bike workout or something, or lift a few weights, so I'd drag my sorry butt in there (even Thanksgiving morning!) and end up having the best workout of the week. Each time!
I was at the gym Monday night at 6:15 and Tuesday morning at 6:15. M-O-R-N-I-N-G. Tuesday MORNING. 6:15 A.FREAKIN.M. That hasn't happened in over 20 years, I'm thinking. I can't remember -- maybe I was still going that early in the morning when I was in England, but I doubt it. That was 12 years ago.
Anyway, I have some things to work out. This is probably just a passing phase.
My Bikram yoga studio has conveniently moved into the same facility as the gym I joined, although they are still separate entities, and unfortunately my gym membership doesn't pay for yoga classes. I went to my first class in the new facility, and that was an experience. First of all, I'd had a long layoff from yoga. Second of all, I'd been working out heavily all week in the gym so I was pretty tight. Third, I've gained all.this.weight. Fourth, the new yoga studio is in a former storefront -- ALL GLASS to the parking lot and street, and the class was AT NIGHT. With the lights ON. Fishbowl, anyone? Fifth, the new studio floor is covered with one of those thick spongey pads for gymnastics or something. Try to maintain balance on that -- I challenge you! Those of you who have done Bikram yoga know what I'm talking about. I suppose if I go often enough and work at it hard enough, I will come out even stronger and more centered for the effort, but holy Michelin Lady, Batman. I felt like a sweaty Disney circus cow in a bikini, wobbling around on one hoof, lit up in a snowglobe for all the world to see.
But I came out a more limber, lighter, stronger, more balanced, relaxed, stretched cow.
Some of Abigail's little figures of speech are precious. "I know, right?" is one I think is cute. Adding "honestly" here, there, and everywhere is another one. Like most of her peers, she does overuse "like," in like every sentence, too, honestly. But Dude: Honestly, that one I'm like not so fond of.
Many people have mentioned that there has been an uptick in knitting activity around here contemporaneous with, and perhaps as a result of, the increase in writing due to NaBloPoMo. And I have the perfect answer: I know, right?
You think that title might increase the nefarious Google hits?
NaBloPoMo is nearing the end (just four more days after this!), and this is the first time I've found it to feel like a bit of a slog. I know that some of my MoFo sisters have felt they had to dig deep to come up with posts for some of the month, but 'til now I haven't felt that way. Right now, though, I do. I feel out of words and a bit out of blog energy -- blogergy, if you will. (Have I coined a new word?) I need some blog V!agra, stat! ("Bliagra" -- HAHAHAHA! Thanks, Sandy!) Then we can continue with this blog orgy. (All together now: Groannnnn!)
All right, before this post degenerates any more, I'll just show you photos (taken with the new camera) of half a scarf -- not that that type of lame copout trick hasn't been done in this blog before -- it's just that I did make an effort to write and be engaging -- for you and for me -- during this month of full-on blogging.
Noro Silk Garden Colorways 37 and 50. So blue, so purple, so pink. So pretty. So outside my usual color choices. I might wear this, though. They say purple highlights and complements brown eyes. We'll see.
BUT stop the presses. Before this posted, Abigail shouted up the stairs, "I love that scarf that you're making, Mom. Good night!"
Well. I guess we all know what that means.
It's not over 'til it's over, but allow me to take this opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed all the comments, and particularly all the ones from new commenters, this month. I am not sure if new readers are coming here from Ravelry or from NaBloPoMo, or they're just inspired to comment because of the extra posting frequency, or what, but it's been rejuvenating and appreciated, which segues seamlessly (aren't I a clever one?) to my next point.
Be the first three commenters today who express an interest in Paying It Forward, and you will receive a handmade gift from me at some time within the next year. I first saw this on Anne's blog, and had to keep following blogs and comment links in order to catch up with one on which I could be among the first three to comment. I finally found one. Bev then told me that she's been reading my blog since I wrote the post about my rather confused religious (non)identity. She was Googling "Jewish stitch markers" and ended up on my blog. How cool is that? Not "willy warmers" or "peter heaters" or "blog V!agra" or "blog orgy" or Whizzinators (I won't link it. I think I've done enough damage already) but Jewish stitch markers. Imagine. Anyhoo, nice to meetcha, Bev. I guess if I haven't scared you away yet, that's something.
.....Here's what it's all about:
I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days. That is my promise. The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.
So be among the first three who say they want to do this, and I'll ... well, you know: What it says up there. I'm wondering where this all started, and wondering if it's anything like Chinese Telephone, what it was originally, how it has morphed, and how much it will continue to morph. But anyway..... That's all for now. I'm off to !ncrease my pen!s s!ze or something. I don't know. I'm perfectly happy with my pen!s size, but the email I get is strongly suggesting that I should be taking some action in that regard.
Oh, you don't even want to get me started. The computer woes, they do pile up. I have not wanted to bore you, but I picked up my long-suffering laptop last Saturday night, which I had brought in with broken USB ports after having been (not) repaired twice before for the same problem. The elusive diagnosis, it is apparently very elusive. When I picked it up this time, the receipt said they had replaced the motherboard. Hm. Didn't know the motherboard needed replacing. I thought the USBs were broken. The guy behind the counter says, "Maybe there was a problem with the logic."
Truer words were never spoken.
I don't have it in me to write the whole sordid story here, and trust me, you don't have it in you to read it all, either. Suffice it to say, those extended warranties they sell you? Not worth the paper they're printed on. Although I was told that I should be THRILLED that mine covered the replacement of the mother(fucking)board. Great. In earlier days, I wouldn't have touched buying one of those extended warranties with a ten-foot pole, but since everything they make is CRAP now, and people have SO MANY PROBLEMS with stuff, I feel compelled to buy them. Why, I don't know, since, you know, I might as well just light my paycheck up in flames.
Anyway, while the woman behind the counter the fourth time I went in for the same repair was pretending to try to ameliorate the situation, I had time to kill. It's a big store, and since my camera has been held together with duct tape for a while now, and the photo quality has not ever been what I'd like, I decided to go looking for a camera. You know: while I was waiting.
So I'm livid with Best Buy, and I'll tell you what: I SHOWED THEM. I went into another part of the store, and I was so angry that I spent $500 there. I bought earbuds for both Abigail's and my "new" hand-me-down iPods and I bought a new camera with accessories. Yep, I showed THEM, all right. At least this camera, which seems like a huge improvement, is way less expensive than the disappointing Nikon Coolpix it is replacing. That's something. Or is it? I feel I would be ill advised to make such grand statements at a time like this.
I'm such a crappy shopper for things like cameras. I look around blogland and I get so envious of other people's beautiful photos. I want to take photos just.like.that! Why can't I take photos like that? It can't be me -- it must be the crappy camera! I should buy a new camera!
The salespeople ask all these questions, and I just go, "Um, yeah. Whatever. I'm a shitty photographer and I'm probably just going to point and shoot, and probably the photos are going to be NO different than the ones I already take, because it's the woman behind the camera, not the camera, and I have limited patience for photo-taking. I'd just like to give you my money because THAT'S WHAT I DO when I'm angry."
"Do you want the extended warranty?"
This is what I bought. My affection for it may already be considered by some to be unnatural.
Scene in a car:
DAUGHTER: That's a pretty scarf, Mom. How do you get the colors to do that?
MOTHER: The yarn is self-striping, but if you knit it by itself it gives longer, less defined runs of color. To get these more defined stripes that move from color to color, you alternate two skeins of different color numbers.
The yarn's brand name is Noro. It's a Japanese yarn, and they do interesting and unexpected things with colors. Lots of bloggers have been knitting these scarves this month, and because it's Noro yarn being knitted in the month of November, people have taken to calling it "Norovember."
FATHER: [laughing] You people need therapy.
Over two years ago, Ryan's dad gave him a new video iPod for Christmas. I was there. Ryan already had a perfectly nice iPod that wasn't that old, but whatever. At some point thereafter -- I can't remember when -- I somehow (I can't remember why, either) inherited Ryan's "old" iPod. Well, I couldn't figure out how to make it work. It gave me a message that I needed to charge it with an AC adapter rather than the USB port of the computer. Perhaps the battery was just too run-down. In addition to that, I just plain didn't know how to make an iPod work, so I was at a loss. I always intended to get into an Apple store for some help, but never made it.
Abigail has a
Nano Mini (corrected by commenters -- thanks!). A couple years ago also, (I remember I wrote about it in the blog and asked for suggestions) I planned on replacing her Nano with a Classic, so she could have more music space. (1,000 songs, the capacity of her Nano Mini, she told me, was surprisingly few. Ahem.) She's not your typical middle class American kid. She does not need the latest new thing, and in fact, she rather eschews that sort of lifestyle. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Cliches become cliches for good reason, eh? They're based on truth. She buys most of her clothes preowned, she is long since eligible for a new cell phone (the same time I was) and yet she is attached to her phone and doesn't want to change it. She is also attached to her iPod Nano Mini and doesn't want a new one.
Can I tell you how B-O-R-E-D I get on those freaking machines at the gym? (Stay with me, here. I know it seems it, but that was not an abrupt subject change.) It's therefore hard to get me in there on a regular basis, and I really should get there on a more regular basis. Abigail convinced me that it was time to get an iPod so I could listen to music or a book while working out. She said she'd noticed that the iPod Shuffle was real cheap at Best Buy the other night. So I was going to just do it. Then I looked at the reviews online and decided that the Shuffle wasn't really the right thing for me. She was in the neighborhood and was going to go buy me a Nano instead, but then I asked her to just get me an AC charger for Ryan's old iPod and we'd see if we could charge it up and go from there.
So we charged it, and behold, it worked. And we plugged it into my desktop computer. And lo, the computer recognized Ryan's iPod (all that proprietary crap was worrying me, too, and we thought we'd have to jump through hoops of fire to get it to work for me). And Abigail saw that it was only filled to about 20% of capacity. In addition, there is some overlap between Ryan's music tastes and hers. She was still very attached to her
Nano Mini, but the massive extra space was looking very appealing to her. I could see her pondering, thinking, pondering. Then she was doing stuff in the iTunes account. I finally asked her what she was doing. "Putting all my music on Ryan's iPod. I'm thinking that if it works, I'll keep this one and you can have mine."
The pecs behind the desk said, "Sign this copy, please." Razzlemadazzled and wearing a stupid grin, I did as I was asked. Abigail looked at her pitiable mother, put the little gym fob sign-in thingy on my keyring, led me by the hand to the recumbent bike, and sat me down.
I listened to the preloaded (i.e., Abigail's) music on my new hand-me-down iPod. I sweated. It was good.
Walking to the car, I asked Abigail, "What just happened in there?"
"You bought a three-month membership."
Ah. The power of the pec.