Category Archives: unemployment

Path of totality

I can’t stop repeating that in my head – it sounds like a threat, an end game, a complete takeover – but also a great summation and completion of fragmented parts – it is frightening and reassuring. And I know it’s just the term for the visible swath of an eclipse. But it’s a shitstorm out there and it has been for some time, and we keep breeding and uneducating shitcloud seeders, and there will always be a changeable swath of stupidity and a great joining together to make that path more narrow or wide.

I started this knit this time a year ago – we were on a vacation made stressful by either my still jobless status or anxiety over starting a new one, recently taking on a reactive dog, my foot-dragging acceptance of a body that now hurts more often than not, and the election that seemed far off and the candidate who got inaugurated seemed enough of a joke that even the most dense should get, but I still felt uneasy and dubious it would work out in the end. I grew up in a town with a population of more ignorant folks than not. Folks who hid behind religion and “tradition” and practiced tokenism to prove that they weren’t “bad” people, but folks who also tolerated klansmen as neighbors. None of my family lives in that town anymore and few live in the state – we did what we could when we were there, but the path of totality of intolerance was too scorched and wide.

I’m erroneously remembering that this pattern, Isabell Kramer’s Paris Toujours, was designed in response, or as a memorial to (one of) the Paris attacks. But it looks like it was commemorating a happy weekend (maybe there was a knit-along with this after the attack instead?) Either way, I knit it because it was easy and side to side – just the way I like to make and wear scarf/shawls – I’d clearly confused the designer’s intent and blurred yet another violent act of many so I can’t say I knit this as a statement against ignorance. But this kind of knitting feels like my own little path of totality to keep my fingers calmly and constructively moving through another year of shit, coming out at the other end with something soft and warm – and I won’t say safe, since there are no “safe places,” and let’s face it, a scarf could be quite deadly as a garrote, or a gag, or bindings in the middle of nowhere without access to food and drink (though it would make it at least a cozy slow death).

I was a little surprised that I finished it by my secret deadline, and by the end of the summer. I’d started it in the mountains and planned to work on it in another set of mountains later this year, but I’ll likely be wearing it there instead – it’s already my new favorite even in the muggy dog days.

The yarn was from a thrifted JCrew cardigan, slightly felted, in a wool, cashmere, viscose, and rabbit (I’m assuming angora) blend – and it is mad soft and not at all sneezy, with great drape and enough definition.

I would have liked it to be a bit larger – I was hoping that the last band of garter would be twice as wide as the one before it, and I lost yarn chicken twice at the end and had to unknit a couple of times, but it is large enough.

A couple of heads up about the pattern that are obvious for those in the know, but need to be stated for those who aren’t (me), especially if you deviate from the stripe sequence like I did. The stitch counts will be off unless each section is done in even numbers of the pattern repeat, so after the set up, if you want to keep doing lace, then start with row 3 of the lace pattern. I was often off with this, randomly ending up with 2 (as per pattern) or 3 stitches at the end. It didn’t really matter to me since fudge is good to do and to eat, but I kinda preferred ending in 3 stitches – if I did it again, I’d keep up with the 3 (or more) stitches at the end of the lace since a tiny bit more of garter makes the edge a little more stable. And then I can’t really describe this but the first row of garter after the lace makes a row of stockinette, so the lace sections aren’t symmetrical – again, it didn’t bother me enough to figure out how to fix it (a row of purl somehow?) but I think it could make some itchy.

This (or rather another loose variation thereof) will likely be on my needles again. And I’ve got my eye out for another one of these sweaters – wondering if it came in other colors – not that I don’t love this olive though, it’s among of my favorites. And this finishing up older projects thing has been working for me these days although everything that is left is vastly more complicated – but my path of unfinished totality is pleasantly closing in…

 

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Filed under knitting, recycling, thrifting, unemployment

So this is the new year

Back to back illnesses in the last week made it seem I was handed someone else’s new years resolutions done and dusted.

Give up drinking – check.

Break caffeine addiction – check.

Lose a few pounds – check.

So my resolutions are to reverse those (the coffee was getting a bit out of hand, so I’ll keep that one more in check).

(And I wouldn’t mind keeping off the few pounds but I recently purged all of my pants that only fit well after an IBS flare-up, so I’m looking extra frumpy/saggy.)

Pretty accident – something at an antique mall last summer… #accidental #accidentalimage #blur

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I didn’t get to do my annual feat of organization/medium-sized accomplishment that I like to do this time of year, so I’m starting off the new year with a slightly bad/sad/frustrated attitude. I was going to get my wet photography supplies and photographs in a purged and condensed, possibly final, form. But in truth, I’m probably not quite ready for that, so it was going to be a big production of dragging everything out, looking at it all, then re-packing and reducing the size by one box or so. I can’t let go of real photography, but I haven’t been in a darkroom or set up my own for at least 15 years – I’m not comfortable with the environmental aspects of chemicals and water use for something other than life, and there’s also some bad mojo tied up with my job loss this past year and my failure to get into an MFA program a couple of years ago, so I’d have thought cutting the cord would be easier…

But my prints, cameras, and their accouterments are already a fairly manageable lot, tucked away in a closet, except for an enlarger and tub at the folk’s place – the only things left there after the last trip out at Thanksgiving – and for the first time in my adult life, everything I’ve ever owned is now in one place and it feels very burdensome. Luckily a few things I’m not so attached to have value – some children’s books, perhaps a doll or two, and even expired film – but my shelves of items currently up for sale/auction are growing faster than going out the door.

I’ve been at peace, even happy tinged with smugness, at my now utterly frugal life, but I’m starting to see the shabbiness in the cold [not cold enough to kill the ticks, dammit] winter light, and it’s time to replace a few things with new, but shopping brings out even more grump. (And I’m always off – I should have been looking for a wool coat in October, or August? not now when the racks are nearly bare).

But there’s likely a psychological reason for it – I’m being confronted with the past lately, so I’m yearning for something new…?

But I’m not going to dwell on it.

My fiber projects for the new year are to finish most of what I’ve got in the works now (one pair of socks is just so almost done but always seem to need 10 more rows) and crank out a long vest and coat/cardigan and whatever else I mentioned in that recent post.

Around the house, the final reno of the bathroom is becoming more urgent due to a dubious happening with the floor, we need to set up the grow station (or commit to buying tomato and pepper plants again), and the yard has some challenges that still make me curl up into a ball. I’ve also got my own list of small tasks I wanted to complete while underemployed, but still haven’t been able to carve out – small, but messy jobs, mostly involving painting and re-flooring insides of closets.

And the biggest challenge is personal – I’m still not any closer to figuring out how to get my career back on track or reconfigured – I’m less angry now, so it might be possible to do a variation of what I was doing before, but I’m still not in a good geographical area for that (not without a nasty, expensive commute). I’ve been reading some books, but to not much use – nay, detriment really – so I need to find another approach…

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Filed under collecting, home, knitting, unemployment

Work it!

I say I don’t really care about clothes, yet so much of my fiber time is spent on things to go on my body, and I poke around ravelry and blogs from people making nothing but clothing, so perhaps it is more that I don’t give a damn about fashion, but I am interested in what covers my hide – especially plant and animal fuzz in variations not found off the rack.

During our last couple of moves I got rid of nearly all of my warmer weather work-work clothes – most were looking a bit shabby, many never fit well or as comfortably as I’d have liked, and the rest were useless for working from home. I kept a couple of things for the rare warm weather meeting or conference, but the majority of work events in my then field took place in colder times or colder cities so my uniform of thrift store cashmere sweaters and woolen trousers or skirts was vast and has endured. The rest of my current duds were best for actual work (gardening or home improvement), hiking and other outdoor pursuits, or a few “nice” pairs of yoga pants and jeans for running to the grocery.

But…

I finally landed a new job – albeit part-time and temporary, but enough to keep my head above water until I figure out what comes next – but I had exactly two warm-weather work-work appropriate outfits for three days a week, and the late summer heat has kept them sweaty and in the wash.

work-thrift-shirts

So I raided my fabric stash for new clothes to sew (still haven’t made anything yet*), my thrifted clothes in the fabric stash for things I could actually wear now instead of cutting them up for quilts and whatnot (a few shirts are good to go, and another few could be altered), and my current clothes that needed to be mended or improved.

work-thrift-pants

A pair of old pants with newly cleaned-up hems failed to make the cut – and I’m thinking about undoing them to go back to their pleasant shreddiness, but my time would be vastly better spent doing other things, right? And there’s a small hole in the butt that will probably send them into the gardening/home improvement only category soon anyway.

And linen, once well worn and oh-so-soft and floppy (especially if purchased used to begin with) needs to stay in the hammock or beach.

But now two other pairs of pants have that annoying interior button again (that sometimes causes me to forget to zip my fly since I’ve already just dealt with two fastenings) but prevents wardrobe malfunction and helps the button band to lay flat. And a cardigan has a top button again after a few wonderful hours spent in my button stash (that were entirely for naught since I found the perfect matching spare button still attached to the inside hem).

And I rescued a few of my old blouses for more practicality (rather than just being worn under sweaters) by sewing the button band closed so it wouldn’t gape open – this is something I should have done to several of them even before I had increasing fit issues. And depending on the shirt and/or the temperature and humidity outside, I can’t bear to wear a tank top underneath otherwise, so this was an excellent fix.

work-closed-blouse

I stitched both sides of the button placket closed, with the inside one in doubled thread and ugly but sturdy stitches, and the outside one in more delicate single thread stitches so they wouldn’t show and the edge wouldn’t crumple inward.

work-it-closed-shirt

(And now I can retire a few safety pins too…)

But in the end, I also went shopping – for a few new things, not used.

And I bought several items for cheap made with dubious fiber blends, made in dubious ways (though a few things were made in USA with “imported” fiber) and I feel bad – but only sort of – I haven’t the time or the money or the wherewithal to make meaningful choices at this point. But now I have enough to tide me over into my old, mostly used, but still in good condition cold weather clothes.

Now that I’m properly clothed, I just have to figure out how not to catch every aerosolized germ from being among other humans in a cube farm again…

*There’s just enough air-conditioning to thwart my plans for some easy cotton skits and dresses, but I’ve got a courdoroy-ish skirt that I started years ago and would like to finish now, and a reason to finally figure out how to use my buttonholer.

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Filed under collecting, recycling, sewing, thrifting, unemployment

Dripping into August

July was far too humid – I felt like I was (and still am) pushing through the air after sweat bath mornings in the garden.

If I had to commute to work every day, I’m not sure the garden would survive, or at least organically. So far, squishing bugs and eggs and more bugs for a couple hours a day has been more effective than traps and lures and early barriers.

It’s exhausting, and the tomatoes are in full, delicious, swing but I’m worrying over those plants now (might be in early days of disease or nutrition issue or too much rain after not enough, and while focused on the tomatoes, I ignored the borlotti beans that sadly began to rot/sprout and I lost at least a third of the crop). And cleaning up tomato goo from inexplicable places days after each canning session.

august-lilies

I transplanted several formerly deer-destroyed day lilies to the confines of the garden late last year and have been rewarded with continuous blooms so far – and different colors on each. Another 3 or 4 plants (with quickly munched blossoms) showed up in the yard this year so I’ll have to eek out a bit more space or plan another fenced area at some point. I refuse to do as my neighbors and spray deer deterrent nearly daily…

august-wildflowers

N and the dog (who continues to be a challenge and I’ve got to pick and squish his nasty bugs (ticks) daily too) go on canine-exhausting adventures every morning and have been bringing back foraged goodies, both delicious and lovely.

Several quarts of berries (which I recently learned are wineberry and yes, an Asian invasive like many of the “wild” things around here) that didn’t make it into homemade frozen yogurt, ended up in our new chest freezer along with much of our recent excess produce – we’ve suddenly become very ungenerous with the neighbors on that front, but I am stupidly, grinningly pleased that we’ll be eating our own veg well into the winter.

august turtle

(One of my favorite vintage tea towels and rare cheap local flea market find from last year.)

And on the fiber front, very little is going on – I’m knitting a few rows here and there and stitching up some paper pieced quilt shapes from time to time. And I’m still organizing my supplies and collections, deciding what to keep and what to sell, though my workroom is still too hot and to be avoided on most days, and I’m so unenthusiastic to start up the huge batch of online auction listings I’d hoped to have up and running by now – I miss the old days of selling shit online – perhaps I’ll try the even older days and do a flea market table instead…

 

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Filed under collecting, gardening, home, unemployment

Early harvests

I’m having a hard time to adjusting to being sans job this time around. The last time it happened, I had to hurry up and deal with the sale of our old house and all of the packing up, storing, and moving to the next state over, so too much was going on to really feel the break. But this time, I’ve been getting up and going into my home office every day since we’ve lived here and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m slacking off if I’m not sitting at my desk. Though if I sit at my desk and try to do something mildly constructive like write a bit about fiber or put up some ebay listings, I’ll easily forget my train of thought. Or the dog starts to act nutty…

harvest - not a pastry

Or I’ll wander off for a snack and see a paper bag in the kitchen and think maybe I have a forgotten tasty sandwich or chocolate croissant ready to surprise and delight me with deliciousness but then remember it was just some random bit of home improvement I picked up at the hardware store a few hours previously…

But I’m trying to find a new rhythm and hopefully in another week or so things will lean to normal. (Though I started writing this over a week ago, so maybe I’d better hope for another few weeks or so…)

harvest garden full

The garden is finally fully planted and/or germinated. The only total failure so far was fennel, and I’m in a current aphid war in one tomato bed, but not the other, yet.

(The neighbors also just rebuilt their retaining wall near the property line – thanks neighbor, well done!)

May’s dirt is a time of impatience then sudden chaos – one day I’m thinning baby greens…

harvest - fresh greens

And enjoying their first meal-sized portion after N’s culinary intervention:

harvest - greens pasta

And then in a few days, we have a sudden, aggressive bounty of lusty, verdant young adults…

harvest rapini

And we’ll be crowded with green, barely able to keep up, but reluctant to share, for weeks (fingers crossed).

Gardening and unruly dog handling have left my wrists sore, so I’ve done little to no knitting, spinning, and sewing. (Worrying about the dog chewing up or swallowing fiber tools has also curtailed my activities – I can’t leave anything lying about at the ready as I’m wont to do.) But I hit the thrift one last time in the early spring to gather up some yarn-harvestable sweaters before they disappeared for the season.

harvest - bag o sweaters

One was a lovely olive wool/cashmere? blend – I already misplaced the label as that is one of the things I often leave out while unraveling. But I think this might become a Paris Toujours instead of the brown cashmere I’d planned, though I’ve a hundred yards or so less of the olive. This yarn begs for something garter-stitch-squishy though (and I’m thinking of a poncho-like thing in the brown instead… maybe.)

harvest olive yarn

And another was a printed cotton/rayon cardigan. I’d been wanting to play with a printed knit that would turn into variegated yarn, but I hadn’t finished the thought as to what I’d do with it. The kinks remained after washing – likely because of the rayon? but that doesn’t matter too much, since I’ll likely double or triple it with something else or itself. And I can’t accurately count the yardage to save my life…

harvest - printed yarn

The others are wool and wool or cotton blends – I went out of my comfort zone a bit in order to get some interesting yarns and have some wool-free options if I ever get around to selling things (either the harvested yarn or something made from it). And several of these were less than ideal since they were cardigans with cut and stitched buttonholes, so one panel is left on several that will need to be sewn into something, or if I’m desperate, I could still harvest a dozen or so yards between the holes.

(Of course I still have dozens of other sweaters waiting to be unraveled as well, but those are still packed up – much easier to just find new ones…)

 

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Thank god he’s not human…

I’ve been wanting a dog back in my life on a full-time basis for well over a decade.

rocco's nose

After grad school and before N, I worked a more than full-time job, a part-time job, and freelanced in the evenings. Only an aloof cat would have been marginally appropriate in my life, and though I like some cats (usually not the aloof ones) I’m fairly allergic to them and I have an issue with litter box feet on my eating surfaces. Once I shacked up with N, we occasionally spoke of dogs, but we both worked long and often irregular hours, were in the middle of a fairly intense home renovation, and didn’t really have a yard. Then we did the long-distance relationship thing for a few years and I was back to long hours at work, then we were in an apartment, then once again in a home reno. Finally this house done enough to have a furry (not a furry) resident, and for the last several months my telecommuting status was perfect for potty breaks and midday walks… but then we thought that that might end and another move might commence, so it still wasn’t a good time. Then it all ended, just ended, and though it is/was a terrible time for me mentally, I have all the time in the world (or at least more than I’ve had in a long time).

Was it the perfect time to get a dog? No.

Is it ever? Probably not.

foxie

I once had a perfect dog. We all knew at the time that she was rare – very smart, entirely obedient, and always eager to please (though not without some goofiness). She came from a shelter having originally been a “stray” then returned because of a new owner’s “allergies.” Within her first month or two with us, she had a seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy – likely the reason that she was abandoned at least one or more times. She responded very well to medication, though it needed to be increased over time, and quickly reached a healthy weight. Her shelter name was “Foxie” and in my teen angst mind, I though “Toxic” was more punk rock and ironic and tried to change it, but she bore a close resemblance in size and shape of a fox – especially an Arctic one since her coat lightened and darkened with the seasons – so she remained Foxie. She lived a long, loving, good life – just how long we don’t quite know as she was at least a few years old when she came home with us – but I still miss her and I know not to expect another dog quite like her again.

I’ve been certain for most of my life that I did not want children. When I was young, I had vague thoughts of …oh, maybe my kids would want this one day… or …I certainly wouldn’t do that to my kids… But later in my teens I realized I was only thinking of kids as a concept, and never as a direct desire.

(There was a brief moment during my study abroad time in Italy that I thought, holy shit, maybe I would consider children when I saw how they were better integrated into people’s lives and society there, but that thought was exceedingly short, and I chalk it up to the general euphoria of being 19 and free and open to every goddamn possibility that this glorious life has to offer.)

And as the years passed, I braced myself for the “wait ’till your biological clock goes off and you’ll sing a different tune.” Then my hormones peaked, and my tune remained one I happily whistled solo without the need for accompaniment. (This tale could veer into an angry rant about my experience being denied sterilization in my 20s, trouble with insurance covering birth control, and a plethora of body-controlling bullshit, but I’ll refrain.) The only thing that has changed with my stance on children is that it has softened slightly over the years in regards to some of them – I’ll admit now that there are a few that I actually do like, for short periods of time, and I’m really happy that they’re not mine. (And most kids are still germ-infested menaces to public safety and health.)

But a big reason for not having them regularly in my life (apart from my lack of “maternal instinct”) is that I don’t want to give something so much of my time – I even chafe a bit in adult relationships. Well, scratch that sentence to a degree, it sounds entirely selfish, and selfish isn’t entirely my stance… It’s more that I can’t function when I have to give something or someone all of my time and attention. If I were born a decade or so later, I’m sure I would have had an early diagnosis of ADD or ADHD or rather ADD with fatigue? I’m happiest and healthiest when I can do things the way my brain dictates to some degree. I’ve functioned in the workplace well because my field involves some research, problem solving, visual interest, and periods of mind-numbing boring tasks that I can comfortably zone out to. But a child doesn’t allow for erratic, intense, and whimsical working patterns and periods of mindless repetitive brainless tasks – at any given moment you need to make sure it’s breathing and fed and changed and burped and solve why it is sad; then ensure it’s not playing in the oven or climbing the floor lamp or eating out of the litter box; (then it dents your car and drains your savings and lives in your house way longer than it should).

But with a dog, though many of these essentials and repetitions are the same, you can put him in a crate and leave the house for an hour or two, he can learn things more rapidly, and he doesn’t really have thumbs or long enough fingers to climb up and fall out of trees, so hopefully in a few months you can settle into a comfortable routine of eating, walking, shitting, naps, play, walking, naps, play, eating, shitting, naps, play, walking, sleep- or some variation thereof and eventually have freedom of movement again in your own house along with companionship. But those first few days/weeks are too much like the needs of all of the stages of human childhood for me – constant supervision, marking piss clean-up, figuring out wants and needs of a being that doesn’t speak yet can expresses in various ways, praise instead of discipline, calmly confronting defiance, and the warm fuzzies of someone who’s awesome and happy and goofy one minute, suddenly pricked the next when he’s standing on the kitchen counter with his face in your freshly toasted crostini, or slamming into the door to eat or greet the mailman…

(Perhaps the worst part is the neighbors referring to you as “mommy” or “momma” to this creature that has no business being associated with human loins.)

But I am exhausted.

For the first time, a living being has entered into a true love/hate relationship with me.

Rocco's first day

Rocco was surrendered to a South Carolina shelter because his “family didn’t have time for him,” was an “easy peasy” foster for a few weeks while he finally got fixed, was loaded onto a deluxe pet transit van and driven north, and then came home with us nearly two weeks ago.

He has in fact been “easy peasy” in regards to being already house trained, crate trained, a non-picky eater, and knowledgeable of a few basic commands – especially if followed by belly rubs or treats – but he is also at times defiant and inspired by invisible mists of insanity and hyper-focus. We don’t yet know if we’ll be a good fit for him, or he for us – just when my heart swells in puppy love, he does some act of confounding canine assholery.

I know not to expect another Foxie – I know any new dog in the house will have a period of settling in, of making mistakes and messes, getting up to antics, and being a bit fearful or overly reactive to new sites and sounds. I was expecting to clean up wormy excrement, my dinner being open for grabs, zoomies in too small spaces, and occasional wtf moments, but this guy is a bit more of a challenge for me/us and will meet with a trainer/behaviorist soon. I have hope that he, and we, will succeed, but I also believe that we’re not doing him any favors if we can’t incorporate him into our lives as we’d/he’d like.

rocco look at me

I don’t know what’s been happening over the last decade and more – dogs of yesteryear led happy lives with us people without kongs and nylabones and expensive “meat” treats and fancy spas and day cares – and trainers were just for service animals and show dogs. I didn’t know any dogs with separation anxiety growing up, and overly aggressive ones were put down. There weren’t any television shows or online videos or celebrity trainers rehabilitating dogs the average person has no business keeping. Sure, some had issues and behaviors that we didn’t like, but eventually it all worked out well enough for the two and four footed alike – and certainly some folks treated dogs in ways we no longer find acceptable or with downright cruelty, so the past was not better in that regard.

Acquiring a dog now is also very different than before. The dogs in the shelters closest to us are most often fighting breeds – we met a very lovely pit bull mix at one of them, but in our state, breed discrimination is allowed so we wouldn’t be able to get homeowner’s insurance, or rent an apartment, or use some kennels and day cares if need be. (There’s no reason for us to buy a dog from a breeder, so that option was not on the table.) And since people have finally accepted getting dogs fixed, not many friends and neighbors have puppies to unload anymore. So our best avenue was to go with one of the local rescue groups who put their charges up on sites like Petfinder.

I’ve never participated in online dating, and this seemed close – we’d fall for a picture, then read a description, and either move on if something shouted crazy, or contact the group to set up a “meet and greet.” We first fell particularly hard in online love for a little husky mix with a busted knee – it was meant to be – she needed time for her knee to heal in a quiet house and I’m still nursing my own busted knee. After filling out a 8-page application and several phone interviews, we were approved over 9 other applicants for her adoption – before we even met her – then the day before our first meeting, the rescue called to say her foster wanted to keep her instead, so we were crushed… Our next doggy date was a spirited little mountain cur that showed up at a shelter 45 minutes away. He was batshit crazy and I loved him, but N wasn’t ready for a 20 pound dervish that needed to be trained in every which way – which is when the nice shelter folks brought out the gentlewoman pit bull mix who had been bumped around to this higher adoption rate shelter in order to find a home that she very much deserved – we felt so much guilt leaving her behind… But the next day the original rescue contacted us to see if we’d like to foster Rocco. We agreed immediately, but then had to nearly immediately agree to adopt him instead because he’d had several applications. In hindsight, we should have said no, and waited for another dog who had been fostered locally to come available – that was bad on our part, but the rescue seemed so earnest that he was the right fit for us – better than the little husky mix, so we agreed to the arranged marriage.

rocco swoop

Like some parents (I’d imagine) I feel a little guilty that some of my favorite times with Rocco are when he’s sleeping. His legs and head are strong and he likes to gracelessly lunge and flop, but his resting body is long, lean, and fluid – frequently becoming a napping violin f hole or a river otter paused underwater…

His breed isn’t just one or two, but likely three, or four, or more, but his size and silky coat likely come from a spaniel of sorts, or the vet suggested border collie… And yes, we had him at the vet early – he’s been sneezing so hard that he wipes himself out if it happens on the hardwood floors. Thankfully, he’s fine, just battling our local pollen and I’ll try him on the same stuff I take if he’s still especially bothered in another day or two.

rocco white tail

His jaunty two-tone tail with surprise sparkles does remind me of Foxie a bit – she too had a jolly flippy rear.

So now we’ll continue with patience and professional training – he’s made remarkable progress in these last few days – looking at us more and succeeding most of the time at new commands followed by disgusting bits of ragged boiled chicken. My fingers smell of meat and “meat” even after a few washings and my clothes are taking on some soft dark removable shadows, but I’m optimistic.

(But I don’t want to jinx it.)

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A change other than the seasons…

I showed up here after I lost my job the first time around.

But that turned out to be only temporary, and I got it back first by half time, and then full – happily telecommuting all the while – and things started moving forward and building up steam and for the last few months I was preparing to uproot my (our) life all over again to return to the city we call home though neither of us was born there, and we’d literally just gotten around to unpacking here…

dead robin*

But then I didn’t get the job, “my” job that I’ve been wedded to for nearly 15 years.

Complaining about the reason why would make me an asshole, and I am not one.

(At least in this circumstance.)

So now I’ve got to start all over again, without tearing at my breast screaming injustice, and wallowing too much in what I’ve loved and lost – it was a divorce, not a death, so I can’t grieve and move on – I have to deal with teary phone calls, people choosing sides regardless of my desire for them not to, colleagues and constituents asking me about things the new “wife” doesn’t know (and won’t for some time), and trying to explain to future employers in guarded language and lies that technically aren’t, why I “left” my last job.

dead grape hyacinths

But there is also a bit of relief – things have been maddeningly up in the air since last November, and many more things were delayed (like the garden) since we thought we were going to have to hurry up and sell the house. But now much of that has turned into anxiety as I scramble to get things back in order for life here while cutting the strings with finality from our old home city and fully completing our move here with all of the administrative annoyances – closing and opening bank accounts, no longer paying taxes in places I no longer live but still worked, changing health plans again (nooooo!!!!), and closing vastly underfunded retirement plans, etc., etc., etc.

It’s almost as if we have moved again, only without the back pain.

garden 16 start

(But our backs are screaming in pain due to rushed garden improvements – some new raised beds, blueberry bushes! a gooseberry bush! rhubarb!, and some decorative landscaping.)

And though I’d been searching for stable work and attempted and failed to go back to school while I was underemployed a few years ago, I thought that things would eventually turn around and I’d have the option of going back at some point in the next few years, but that point came much sooner than expected and with very unexpected results. Now, the job search and/or figuring out the next thing has a greater sense of urgency (though thanks to N we’re not going to starve or loose the house in the meantime) and I have even less desire to pound the pavement and jump back into the morass of shitty politics of my specialty in my field, yet I’m too many years away from other areas in the field so I’m no longer competitive in other specialties I’ve had in the past…

(And it was a happy fluke that I was able to telecommute for nearly four years too – that usually isn’t an option at all in my work – I’ve grown to really enjoy working from home and the thought of a several hours a day commute makes me nearly physically ill.)

dead squirrel*

The taste in my mouth right now is awfully bitter – the widest stretches of the world of art only ever serve the rich and their whims and needless needs, and it is a class in which I will never be comfortable, welcomed, or wish to bow to – so I don’t see much point in continuing a career in temples of poor dead people’s stuff.

I’d like to work in something far more fundamental or necessarily – life and death, food and shelter…

But I don’t particularly enjoy children on a regular basis, I haven’t the stomach for other’s bodily fluids, and waiting tables and construction require stamina and strength that I don’t have much of these days.

So I have no fucking clue which color of parachute I’d prefer now…

dead robin burial

(But I know I’m still coming at this from a place of relative privilege, so all in all, as usual, things could be so much worse.)

*And I’ve no idea how or why this robin ended up tits up in our garden, or this squirrel began melting into the yard (though the troublesome feral cats are likely to blame for him) but N gave them both proper burials underneath a bird-favorite bush that has become the boneyard for small wild things.

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Filed under gardening, home, unemployment