Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet Max!

I know, two posts in one hour... but I had to give him his own post. I got the "okay" from his parents to post his picture online, so here goes!

My nephew was born this past Saturday! I have seen a few pictures, and even got to see him on video over Skype last night - he is all cute and great and I adore him already!

Here he is, modestly shielding his face from the paparazzi:

And here he is with Mom and Dad (my brother and his wife), looking all elf (or dwarf?) like for the trip home.

Now, August seems sooooo far away - that is when I booked a trip to go out for a visit. Max, I will totally bring presents, okay?
When it Rains, it Pours

While this IS a great post title for the nearing onset of April, it's not the reason I chose the title. There is a much better, much more long-winded reason for my title choice!

I have made many mentions of my plan to pay down certain amounts of debt over the next few years, and have also mentioned that I am still sticking to the plan. Actually, I just crunched the numbers for March, and not only did I meet my monthly paydown goal, I have a little over $100 surplus for the month. That might not seem like a lot, but trust me.... the paydown goal is really aggressive, and to have anything left over at the end of the month is quite an accomplishment!

Aaaaanyway, what is it raining in my world this year, ever since making this goal? It's raining part time jobs, believe it or not! Now, the jewelry 'business' has been slumping quite a bit, so I'm not really counting that, but I have that part time babysitting job and the knitting job already. And as of yesterday, I was offered another part time job out of the blue! I was running a little later than I would have liked to get to work (although still not technically late). I passed by a coworker from the downtown office, and she said, "I have your name on my desk." Hm, why might that be? Turns out, I had put in an application to tutor expelled students at the beginning of the year, but nothing had materialized from that. But now, there is a position available at a local homeless shelter for someone to help the kids who live there with their homework. I would get to use my social work skills, too, because the grant funding goals include family support, as well as generalized educational/social/academic support for the kids. I have an 'interview' on Wednesday, but was basicallly told by my pal from the downtown office, "let me know what hours you decide upon with the shelter manager". Wow. "Pardon me, ma'am, would you like a job that is just perfect for you?" "Why yes, yes I would." *insert several more wows here*

I think I have more jobs than I know what to do with at this point, but I am incredibly grateful to have this type of problem! There is also the possibility of part time work over the summer, which would be pretty cool. How did I get to be so lucky???

Monday, March 30, 2009

Almost April!

March is a very tedious month in the field of education, as I believe I have mentioned before. The thrill of snow and cold weather is definitely over, and kids and educators alike are suffering from cabin fever. There are no long weekends in March, and it's just one grindingly long day after another. The teachers are frazzled, and the kids pick up on that... and act like untrained monkeys (minus the poo flinging, in most instances). These untrained monkeys are sent to me in droves as teachers' abilities to wrangle them into their seats decreases - it's been interesting, to say the least.

At any rate, this dreadful month (referred to as the "longest three months of the school year" by a former coworker) will be over quite soon, and this is rather good news to me. Yes, April brings lots of sogginess and rain, but rain does not need to be shoveled or scraped off the car at the end of the day. April means that there will be days where a light jacket will do for warmth, rather than a scarf and heavy coat. April means a long weekend for Easter, and a week off for April vacation. April means spending time outside without preparing for frostbite prevention, it means green stuff will start to grow again outside, and it means longer amounts of daylight after work. The kids are able to get outside and run around and burn off that untrained monkey energy, and the school year is 3/4 over. All good things.

Speaking of good things, my nephew Max was born over the weekend! He considerately did most of the work of coming out during regular daytime hours, although I doubt that helped the new mom and dad get any sleep that night! I will post a picture once I get permission to do so from the parents... some people do not wish their kids' photos to be shared on the internet, and I'd like to respect those wishes! Of course, to me, he looks like MY side of the family, but I"m sure the other side of the family is thinking the same thing! In all reality, he just looks teeny and squished and raisiny, just like any baby, but he sure is cute to me.

Well, back to wild monkey wrangling... happy almost April, everyone!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Decision

So, I went ahead and decided to do the triathlon. It's a short one, 1/4 mile swim, 8 mile bike, 3.1 mile (5k) run. I have done a bunch of triathlons in the past, but we're really talking about the distant past at this point, particularly given my current physical conditioning levels! I am decidedly more husky than I was when I was doing triathlons regularly, and man... you can fool yourself about the significance of that extra weight during regular life, but NOT when you try to go out for a run or squeeze into your old cycling shorts. NOT. PRETTY. Cycling clothing can make certain people look like superheroes... I think my current look is much more akin to that of a sausage.

mmmmmm. sausage.

I shot off a quick email to the race organizers to inquire about the course conditions, notably, the average water temperature and the hilliness of the bike/run. I received a speedy response: the water temp is generally around 71-74, and the bike/run has "rolling hills". Sure, I would have liked to have received words that included "fast" and "flat", but... that is not the case. I suppose I will need to chart out some hillier bike and run courses, yes?

I sat on my bicycle for the first time in a while about a week ago and again last night. People, racing saddles are so very narrow. So very, very narrow. So narrow that I suspect the entire saddle is invisible to the observer, having hidden itself so far up my behind. (oh, my!) Will my posterior ever adjust? I do hope so. Hm, now that I think about it, it does not seem to hurt at this very moment, so maybe things are looking up. Otherwise, I might be tempted to purchase a new saddle, which might well push me over the precipice of the extremely slippery slope that is... PURCHASING TRI GEEK GEAR. Fortunately, I own an awful lot of tri-geek gear already... wetsuit, neoprene helmet for cold water swimming, aero bars, cycling shoes, various outfits, race belts, fuel belt, snazzy sunglasses, helmet, indoor trainer, etc. etc. etc... but I will most certainly need a new trisuit (see above 'sausage' reference) and possibly a new saddle, and maybe some Endurox R4, Hammer gel, bike gloves... you see where this could possibly lead!

I have also been thinking about the fact that we are entering the rainy season. I'm mentally preparing myself for some very damp runs and bike rides. Bleaugh!

Anyway, it's Friday, people! Even better, it's lunch time! This weekend promises to be a good one: weekly chores are already finished (except for vacuuming, so wear socks if you're coming over); the weather may be nice enough for an outdoor bike ride tomorrow, and tomorrow evening I'm going to a Horrorthon (10 hours of scary movies) at a friend's house. What fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oh, Brother.

So, it is possible that my friend Katy may be talking me into doing a triathlon this summer. She has never done one, and it has been a few years since I have done one... it is very safe to say that both of us have a lot of work to do if this thing is actually going to happen.

More details later... I already have my jogging outfit laid out for after work today. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring!

So no, this picture is not from this year, but I am looking forward to spying arrival of the first flowers, to be sure!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How is it only Wednesday???

I guess some weeks tick by a bit slower than others. Not sure what it is about this particular week that makes it feel like the second hand got stuck and is plinking against some invisible barrier, working like heck to make the next second pass. By right, this week should be sailing delightfully by - spring has been flirting with us, with tweeting birds in the morning, warm springy air on our faces in the afternoon, sunlight still available for our enjoyment well past 6 PM.

But, nooooooo. For some reason, I am getting a "Groundhog Day" feeling about this week, like, "wasn't it just Wednesday YESTERDAY???" Evidently, it was not, much to my dismay.

ANYway... did everyone have a nice St. Patrick's Day? I did nothing St. Patricky other than wearing a greenish shirt to work, and going to an Irish pub the day before... things were pretty dead in there, actually. I met up with some Lowell area knitting friends, and we had a nice time, until a very slurringly drunk 'gentleman' decided it was high time to come on over and chat us up. Oh, it was a train wreck. His opening line was something to the effect that if he was sitting with us, he would see it as a very big insult that we were knitting... like we were ignoring our table mates. Yeah, way to go dude... alienate every single person at the table with your opening statement! I contradicted him, and he then guessed (sharp one, he was) that I was the one at the table who thought he was rude and obnoxious.

Things only went downhill from there, and he got angrier and angrier with each thing I said to him. I finally told him to leave us alone (much more politely than he deserved), but it took a few tries to get him to buzz off. Poor, poor drunk Patrick... he's probably home blogging about those arrogant b!tches at the bar who wouldn't give his wonderful self the time of day... wouldn't that be apt!

For those who are interested, I am continuing to do well with my new year's financial challenge to myself. Perhaps at the 6 month mark, I will make a more detailed report on that front.

Knitting: I continue to be knitting for other people, so have no new pictures, although I may have a new spinning picture for you within the next week - stay tuned!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Knitting Content!

Yes, yes, yes! I have knitting to share. Last weekend, I went to "SPA" weekend up in Freeport, Maine. There was yarn, fiber, and there were many, many knitters and spinners. It was very relaxing and I enjoyed myself. Also, I only spent $16 on yarn/fiber! We will not, however, discuss my meal budget, which was slightly higher. SLIGHTLY.

Here there be mittens!

The pattern is Bella's Mittens (Ravelry link) by Marielle Henault. The yarn is Classic Elite Tryst, which is 100% cashmere. These mittens are deliciously soft! I added two cable repeats to make them long enough... they were way too short for me otherwise. If you make these mittens, definitely try them on before decreasing for the fingertips... or else you risk having to back up and do some lengthening. My hands are not as long as you would think give my height, so I know of what I speak.

Next up, some handspun yarn! I got the fiber from Lynne/ Witchypoo, who dyed up this hot, hot, hot pink superwash merino just for me. I spun it up right away, since I couldn't wait to see how it would turn out!

It's pink, all right! I got about 425 yards of sock weight yarn... those are going to be some exciting socks!

And finally, some fiber that I got from Sereknity... we bartered - fiber for jewelry. Looky those colors!

Well, here ends the fibery update... hopefully, there will be more soonish!

For those of you who live in my general area of the world... how 'bout that weather today - it was gorgeous!!! I was out of the house all day, and left the windows open... my apartment smelled so fresh and airy when I got home. It was verrrrry nice.