Thursday, February 5, 2009

Back to School

I got a call around lunch time on Wednesday from a local high school, asking how fast I could get there to sub for a teacher who was going home sick. I got there pretty fast (in spite of somehow locking my keys in my car), and taught computer applications and a couple variations on shop for the rest of the afternoon. There was a note from the regular shop teacher restricting subs from using or allowing use of the power tools, which was a shame because they had some pretty neat stuff. And so (as often happens when I sub), I put the provided video into the machine, discouraged the students from sleeping too openly, and got out my knitting. Theoretically I made a whole $35, but I've set up my pay at the school so that most of what I make goes directly to taxes. (I'm hoping this will go at least a little way to counterbalance the taxes not being paid while I'm on the dole.) But even setting aside the stupendous amounts of cash paid to substitute teachers, it's kinda just fun to do.

I really like teenagers. There were 3 half-hearted Mohawks in my first class, which cracked me up, so I broke the ice talking about how interesting it was to see such classic haircuts coming back and about a guy back in the day with a blue 4" Mohawk waxed into spikes. During the welding segment we talked restoring muscle cars - or rather, they did, and then I countered with stories about VWs. And after the 8th graders saw the the video about airplanes from the "extreme machines" series, I told them about C-130 gunships and how they get knocked sideways 10' in the air every time the big gun goes off. (One of the kids suggested that would be a good evasive maneuver for a mid-air collision. I told him I didn't think that was quite the purpose the designers had in mind.)

They want me to come back Tuesday and teach math for a day. That should be fun.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are We Getting Tired of Socks Yet?

I finished the very last pair of the originally conceived set of Christmas socks - the equivalent of a "Ladies Small" in tones of electric blue for Parker, whose feet are growing quickly. (I'm trying to remember how old Luc was during the period when his sneakers would fit my size 9 feet. Eleven or 12, maybe? In any case, Parker is not that far off.) I still have a prayer shawl going, and the Arizona socks; but I think I'm about to make myself promise not to work on any other projects until I finish that last stretch of leaf lace for the long-neglected anniversary shawl. I mean, if I don't have time now, then I am never going to have time. There are no excuses left.

And I did swing down to the City yesterday, and was very well behaved about my wallet. It really is a great city, especially for anyone who likes architecture . . . or summer concerts . . . or an interesting variety of little places to eat . . . or sculpture. *

I used to love working there, and the commute is not that bad compared to many places. Sure, a 45 minute drive to work is a bit more of a drag than the 7 minute commute I enjoyed more recently, but it's still workable and pretty reasonable. (No, I'm not talking myself into anything; I'm just adjusting my mindset and level of expectations. Now hush.)

* In the interests of full disclosure, you should know that the image of the "Tall Grass" sculpture is not my work.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Curious Mixture of Temptation and Apathy

I'm headed down to Milwaukee in a bit to retrieve my portfolio from the law firm of my employment hopes, and to meet a friend for a drink. I was supposed to start this adventure earlier today by meeting another friend for a quick knitting lesson and a little mutual jobless commiseration - she was downsized on Friday, too - but she called to say that she had been on the phone with the unemployment compensation people for an hour already and wasn't going to make it.

The thing is, I now feel like I have to go get that portfolio (so as to have it handy for my next interview and all), but it feels like a long way to drive just to walk in and grab a binder. And a quiet beer with a friend is nice and all, but again - it's more of an "I was in the neighborhood" kind of thing. And so I keep mentally running over the other things I could do while I was in the City. Wander through the art museum? (No, costs money. I'm unemployed and on a tight budget, remember?) Stop by the Market for some fresh oysters or something equally delicious and difficult to acquire elsewhere? (No. Same reason.) Visit Ruhama's, just to see what might be on clearance in the yarn bins? (No. Be serious; that place is like crack. If I go, I will buy something. Best to stay at least 5 miles away at all times.)


Monday, February 2, 2009

Cutting the Cord but Staying Connected

Well, I have completed the process of becoming unemployed. I had some separation anxiety about the office, and Dan had to remind me that at a certain point (now upon us), it just really isn't my problem anymore. Still, I found myself automatically checking the lot as I drove past the building today, analyzing whether my [former] boss was present and whether any clients might be there for meetings or whatever. I made myself very directly responsible for the smooth running of that office, from technology issues on down to properly salted sidewalks, and it's going to take some time for me to internalize my current status. But on Friday, over the weekend, and again today, people who care about me have been reaching out - just touching base to make sure I'm doing okay and to offer support. You guys know who you are, and I really love you all.

Meanwhile, I delivered Farmer Luke's socks to his mom on Sunday, and I think they will be appreciated. The sock she'd given me for sizing purposes at the beginning of this project had been hand knitted, and an unfortunate hole resulted in a dropped stitch which caused a run all the way up the foot. She seemed pleased to hear that with the felted socks a hole would just be a hole, not the beginning of a disastrous experiment in entropy. And they were relatively easy to adjust from the basic pattern; I just added 4 extra stitches and 4 extra rows around the calf area, narrowing down to 2 extra stitches and 2 extra rows in the foot.
And so, I launched into my new budget and plan for life today. I spent 30 minutes on the exercise bike this morning (after spending 15 minutes unburying the silly thing), and later took the dog on a 45-minute hike along the dunes and shore. I'm budgeting time for chores and personal and professional development, and I'm also allocating time for things like knitting (although I didn't get to do any today) and naps in the winter sunshine with the cats. We'll see how it goes.