Friday, January 16, 2009

A Notable Day

I have to confess that when the kids got the day off from school on Thursday due to the extreme cold, I was a little jealous. But even when little kiddies (or big ones) should not be standing outside waiting for buses, law firms remain open. And so with jumper cables in back (just in case), I headed south for an interview in Milwaukee.

I parked in the street about 2 blocks from the building, which seemed quite reasonable until I had to get out and actually walk those two blocks. It wasn't uncomfortable; it was painful. No, literally. I was really wondering about the possibility of frostbite on the tops of my ears and kicking myself for being too fashionable for a hat. (Although, honestly, who wants to do an interview with hat hair?) The interview was very pleasant and included a cup of tea, but the walk back to the car later was almost as bad. I can't decide whether my sunglasses were a good thing, blocking some of the wind from my face, or a bad thing, conducting cold more efficiently to the bridge of my nose.

Elizabeth had suggested that I visit the Milwaukee Public Market for lunch, with its sushi and oysters on the half shell and kickin' Indian food. The place had been under construction when I last worked downtown, so I'd never had the chance to explore it. Unfortunately, Garmin failed me - my GPS insisted that the market was in a parking garage that turned out to be another 2 1/2 blocks from the actual location. Once again I decided to walk rather than trying to move the car closer, and once again I regretted it. This time, the tops of my ears were definitely starting to go numb and I seriously considered ducking into a few establishments on the way up the street purely for reasons of safety. Come think of it, I was probably still quite chilled from my trip back to the car from the office, exacerbating the whole situation.

I did make it, though, and I could see why the Market would be a lovely incentive (in warmer weather) to working downtown. It reminded me of the market in LA which Julie, Tasha & I visited - the one where James Dean had his breakfast on the day he died. Thief Wines bears closer investigation, and my falafel sandwich was just right. I took home some inari and a half-dozen cunningly wrapped blue point sliders with fresh horseradish for dinner, and had some chips of candied ginger as a treat. I even have some barbecued salmon and dolmehs for lunch on Friday! (Tasha asked mournfully if I'd brought home any "normal" food?)

Later, I picked up the last copy in stock of the Prayer Shawl Companion book at Borders so I could present it as a gift to the library at Moon Beach in February. I couldn't resist showing the clerk the page with my pattern and photo, and we both giggled a bit about how "cool" that was. And I topped my "hunter/gatherer" efforts off with a visit to a second-hand clothing store, where I found an absolutely fabulous vintage winter dress coat that Pat Nixon would have been proud to wear. Red wool with flecks, very warm, and cut generously enough to comfortably accommodate all the extra layers this weather calls for. It even matches my extra-warm "candy cane wool" hat, the one I made with the left-overs from Christy's hat. True, this is not a coat for featuring one's curves in a fetching manner; but it's funky and warm and I like it.

Going back to the interview - once again, I see these people as pleasant to work with and the position as viable. It's wonderful to feel hopeful and even have the potential for choices. We'll just have to see how it all pans out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Kinda says it all, doesn't it?
At least we finally got a load of propane delivered yesterday. School is cancelled due to the cold, so the kids will lie around the house safe and sound like slugs. And even though the chickens appear to be doing fine, I won't go down to the coop until mid-afternoon to minimize the heat-loss impact of opening the door.
We'll endure . . . but not for too many years more, I think. And I reserve the right to complain about it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

At Least Someone Is Enjoying It

That little retirement spot in the Ozarks is looking better and better these days. It was 14° below zero when I let the puppy out this morning, although we've at least moved into the positive numbers now that the sun is up. I was worried about the chickens with their single heating bulb, but the girls looked fine this morning and even provided me with 3 (unfrozen) eggs. And my morning fight with Tasha consisted of her plans to go sliding with her friends after school, and my assertion that it was too dangerously cold to do so. (I think I won. I'll know for sure later, I guess.)

I'm making the puppy wear a sweater outside, since she still has a shaved belly from her spay two weeks ago. She thinks it's a bit ridiculous that she's not being allowed to chew on this thing which clearly must be a toy; but once she gets outside, she's so delighted to run circles around me on the long leash and just generally act silly, the sweater becomes inconsequential to her.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Praying for Alison

Alison is one of those people sometimes referred to as my "imaginary friends" on the Internets, although I'm pretty sure she exists because I have her book. I've also had some lovely conversations with her via e-mail, and she seems to be an unfailingly generous, kind, wonderfully creative and genuinely interesting person. I would love to have a cup of tea with her sometime, if we ever manage to get within a convenient distance in the same time zone. But right now she's sick.
Alison has Crohn's Disease and Lupus, and she is going through a really, really bad spell. I knew Crohns could cause nutritional problems and gut-wrenching pain and some other really miserable symptoms. And my neighbor has Lupus, so I'm familiar with the catch-22 of triggers and symptoms that can play such havoc with day-to-day life. But I was really shocked and dismayed when Alison humbly mentioned that she is going to be getting a new medication called Humira (if it ever shows up) because she is trying not to die.
I don't pray "for" things very much. I try to keep the spiritual communication open, and work for good and model peace and things like that, but I also try not to ask a lot of favors of the Divine. Still, Creator God Mother of us all, I would really appreciate your healing touch for Alison.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dreaming of Rome

It's all boss-lady's fault. First she introduced me to this online service that sends you regular e-mails with all the most fabulous last-minute travel deals in town. Then she points out one in particular - a week-long trip Rome, including plane fare and hotel, for a really ridiculous rate. So ridiculous, in fact, that the pay-out of my vacation time would probably cover it. Hmmm.

I introduced the idea to Rick, with a reminder about our long-neglected plans to see the wonders of the world. We could add the Colosseum! He thought it was an interesting thought, and even pointed out that Pisa and Pompeii would be reasonable day-trips from a base in Rome.

Then I read Crazy Aunt Purl's account of a February visit to Rome, which did nothing to discourage me. So I think I have come to two conclusions: (1) if one of the jobs I have applied for pans out, in a fiscally reasonable way, with at least an equivalent allowance of sick/vacation time, a trip to Rome might be something to consider; and (2) if such a trip does materialize, then I really need a new purse. Because clearly, unless I lose an unrealistic amount of weight and really make an improvement in the level of fabulousness in my wardrobe, I'm going to be the chubby American in the crowd of beautiful people. The least I can do is have a chic bag. (And I happened to notice on Sunday that the twin of my current bag was hooked around the walker of someone's visiting great-grandmother, who - although she was probably a lovely human being - was definitely not chic.)

So, I'm thinking a felted wool bag, shaped like an a-frame envelope. Kind of like the one at left, but taller. I have that fabulous blue super-bulky wool from a booth at the Common Ground Fair, and could pair it with a fun sock yarn for a little extra wearability. I could have Annie, the lady who did the finish work on RaeAnn's stole, line it with the scraps of painted silk left over from the stole. And maybe even add a zippered interior pocket for a passport and such. And Cheryl, the dog trainer, has a friend who modifies leashes for her and "does leather." I'm wondering if the friend could add a funky strap in blue leather, maybe with a discrete cell phone pocket at one end. And how cool would it be if I could find a source for book corners like the ones shown at right to use as a reinforcement at the point of the envelope flap?

Yep; you really just can't take a trip like that without the right bag. I'd better start on the bag right away, just in case. Oh, and maybe apply for a passport.