Five Years?

I started off on Blogspot when Uptown Hound first opened in NYC.  I can’t believe it’s been an additional five years on WordPress!

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Totally worth it.  I’ve met the greatest folks online and in person through this blog and the CTW and Public sites.  I started two businesses with guidance and input from friends in the Wordpress network.  I’ve secured better-than-AIRBNB housing for three international jaunts, and been a conduit for some good professional/creative relationships … and only been trolled by one dude — a former direct report.

And even that one negative experience was great, because it was a learning moment. As sad as it was to learn who/how he really was — how what he really thought of me was 180 degrees from what he said to me, and how I thought I was supporting his growth — were it not for his response to me (even though he didn’t say it to me directly) I would have thought I was doing things the right way, supporting folks in the way I thought they needed, helping them when it felt like I should, and leading them when it seemed appropriate to step in.  Servant leadership doesn’t work for everyone and in every situation.  So while I was initially like, ‘What? You are a giant coward ass-face!’, these are lessons that I’m taking to heart and that inform the work at Public and CTW every day.  And, I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to learn from commenters and friends who support me, and folks like that direct report, who don’t but, who told other people who then told me and gave me the chance to make a change.

Thank you!

Working from Home

It’s harder than I thought it’d be, this working on my own schedule and not in an office.  It’s after midnight and I’m taking a break because I have four more hours of work to do to get a report in front of a client by tomorrow morning.  I need a minute away from analysis.  I know that Monday will see me free and clear to do whatever I want until Wednesday — I’m talking matinee movies, a full-on spa experience, long walks and knitting up stuff to finish for the Renegade Show in December.  That’s all fun and good.  Right now, though, I am beat!

My hour-break got me thinking about the great and tragic things about working from home. Tragic might be an exaggeration, but right now, in this little moment in time, it’s 100% apropos!  Of everything.

It’s great that I get to exercise on my own time.  If I don’t have to drive anywhere to do my work, that means I get a leisurely morning walk with Russell Jenkins in (for pooping — we go until he does) and another morning walk by myself in (for exercise – I go until the TAL podcast is done).  I also don’t have to worry if I’m in the mood for a curry for lunch that it’ll smell up the office kitchen and piss the pregnant ladies off.  I can eat saag paneer all day long and no one cares.  It’s great that I have time to take an online photography class, and when the light is good, to rig up my cowboy studio photobox and photograph not only the Renegade products, but every skein, fat quarter and fabric remnant in the stash.  (Projected end date, sometime in 2015.  There’s a lotta textiles going on around here. See below from Ravelry — just a start!)

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But, it’s tragic that I don’t have a connection to what’s going on in the world in the way I would if I were around people with different perspectives than what’s on BuzzFeed, HuffPo, Facebook, and MSNBC about Ebola, Obama, the Paleo diet, Kerry Washington’s ‘serious’ hair on Scandal, why The View’s ratings are sagging, whether or not it matters that Renee Zellweger may or may not have had plastic surgery and what that may or may not mean for feminism and Annie Lennox and Beyonce … it’s just too much!  I’m largely left to my own devices to figure that stuff out, and I seriously don’t trust me.

The one thing that I learned today, though, is that sometimes the ecstasy and tragedy of home-bound work meet up in a way that’s tremendous.  Because today, (and all last night), one Russell Jenkins had the trots.  Not like little trots that should be what small-ish dogs have, but rather, it was as if RJ was starving and encountered a dead horse that had only eaten cottage cheese infected with salmonella and E.coli its whole life, and was like, “I’ll eat all of you” and while he was licking the bones, felt a rumble in his belly and thought that the next best thing to do would be to diarrhea it out.  I know diarrhea isn’t a verb, but it should be because  … well, I lived it. Oh, the glory of being home for the effluent.  I twice got a wee-wee pad under him just in time. A conservative estimate would put it at right around 8000 other times, I was late and forced to just get out the papertowels, bleach and Pine-sol and deal with the aftermath.  (Thank you, Pergo floors!  You are the best!) Been to the corner store 3 times for Pepto-Bismol and more paper towels, and the garbage dumpster 4 times today. But how happy am I that I didn’t come home from a long day at work … with people … most of whom give me the heebs … to find what could have been had I not been Jenny-on-the-spot with the cleaning?  I’ll answer that for you:  ENORMOUSLY HAPPY!

Packing now for travel on Saturday to start the slog — dosing the pup with Pepto until I leave. Seriously hoping that tomorrow sees some roly-poly-poo so I don’t have to put the kennel on notice!

We are Back!

So much stuff in 30 days.  I hope to be able to get my shizz together by the end of the week so I can post the dets. In the meantime, here’s something about pinworms for your reading pleasure:  PennythePinworm

Weekend Thinking

Using music to get me through a rainy Saturday full of work instead of tomato soup and grilled cheese, as I would have preferred.  It often doesn’t matter what I or you prefer, it just is the thing we need to do and we find a way through.  I have 8 hours of work to do and only 6 hours in which to do it.  It’ll work out and I’ll make it happen, and I have a Spotify “Get Your Work Done” playlist that’s designed to calm it down and focus my efforts.

And, if you liked the Herbie/Gregory video I posted earlier, or even if you didn’t, here’s one to start your glass of wine after a rainy Saturday, or one to use to calm your nerves for the next round of work to do.  It’ll get  your head right:

Be Good —  Just the rhythm and and the singalong-ability of this one will have you rocking back and forth as you work on that Keynote.  It does me.  It’s also my planned first song at my wedding. Everyone can learn to waltz, and it’s 3/3 time, so there you go.

Be Good (Lion's Song)

Be Good (Lion’s Song)

And this one, too, Skylark — EIGHT mother f’ing minutes. Glory. (Also, FYI, the Johnny Mercer Soundbook is available on Amazon. Get it. This song is just one of the reasons you might want to.)  I just fell in love with everything, everybody and with YOU when this track came on right now.  I’m about to knock out all kinds of Keynotes with this in the background.

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Up on the Roof — Because, joy. I miss having a roof to sit on, when it’s hot and horrible in the city and the only possibility of cool is … well, up on the roof, where you just have to wish to make it so! Here you go:

Up on the Roof.  Indeed.  Get yourself there.

Up on the Roof. Indeed. Get yourself there.

Best wishes for the weekend you want!

Gun, Get Offa Me!

Been under the gun for real, just catching up on stuff I missed while traveling for work and trying to make a dent in all the dangly bits that were waiting for me when I got back.  Today was all about errands — laundry, cleaning out the fridge (my God, it was terrible), packing boxes of books for the Prison Book Program, tying up all kinds of loose ends — figuratively and knnitterly/sewerly-wise.  And, I actually made it to the post office, and not while on the way to another errand — I’m saving a couple for tomorrow!

I was inspired to get this one task done — and, really, it seems silly, because it wasn’t hard to do, just hard to get going to do it — by the non-stop, what’s-the-next-thing, where-are-we-going, and what’s-on-your-list spirit of my mom today.  So much so that I co-opted the Mambo #5 Lyrics into an ode to the day:

Ladies and gentlemen!

This is Tuesday No. 1 !

One, two, three, four, five
Just me is in the car, so come on let’s ride
To the post office around the cornah’
I must ship a box right now and soon
But I really don’t wanna
Spend 20 bucks on some cloth and swoon 

To send it to some guy, or to the moon
I like UPS, DHL, FedEx and Mail
But not sure which one will deliver without fail
So what can I do? I really beg you, my muse
Tell me, Meme, what shoes would you use?
To make this errand quick, and done in a flash 
And please not use lots of cash  
[FYI, and not part of the verse, it cost $17.45 to priority mail a box 12 miles.  Worth it not to have to go back to deliver it in person, though!]
A little bit of Meme in my life
A little bit of Larry by my side
A little bit of Aimee is all I need
A little bit of dunzo is what I see
A little bit of ‘I did’ in the sun
A little bit of ‘I will’ all night long
A little bit of list crossed off here I am
A little bit of this tells me I can
 
Try to get that song out of your head.  And, if you do, tell me how you did it.  Packing for NYC now! See you on the flipside — or maybe not. I may just stay!

Kids!

I don’t have any children … because the Universe is wiser than we know … Unintended harm is still harm.  To wit:

Doritos for dinner?  No problem.  Put some guac on that shizz, and it’s a full food pyramid; or

Is mama napping?  That’s the best time to take a swim. Let’s get the step ladder and put some s’getti on the stove first, to cook while we’re in the water. Then, when she wakes up we can have dinner.  And fire.

Seriously, I can’t.  I would for sure, no doubt, 100% love them, but taking care of them …. whoops, just fell asleep there for a second.  But, if I was ever at all inclined to, or found myself just magically waking up to some kids who lived here, there’s no doubt I’d be good at loving on them and snuggling them and knitting down the world for them.  Just ask Russell Jenkins. I’m pretty sure that if he woke up one day with the ability to speak English, his first words would be, “Stop hugging me” followed by “I do not want to wear that.  Ever.”

But, kids!  Well, I’d be happy to have help with laundry and  I would be the-absolute-bomb at teaching them the “sweep the floor” game.  (It’s fun, but you have to do it every day to really find the joy, baby.)  But the best thing ever?  First day of school schaudenfreude!  Boo hoo hoodeehoodeehoo, baby.  Try having first day of schoolitis EVERY MONDAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE and then tell me you don’t like what I packed for your lunch!

Back from travels for now, and, as you can see, just a bit loopier– obvs– for wear!

On Break!

See you guys next week. I’m out for a bit of travel.  It starts, of course, with me doing a deep clean on the homestead which in my superstitious mind means I’ll return safely.  (Because I know if I leave it looking like the pit I usually live in, I’ll surely die in a fiery accident and my parents will be faced with the truth of my pig styery.  Which is not a word, but should be!

I’m off to the East Coast for a bit.  Anyone want to meet at Purl Soho on Saturday, lemme know!  If I get any good pix of sheep, yarn, NY, PA or spots in between, I’ll post them!  Happy BFP!

An Explanation

Why am I like this?  And how did HBOGo find out?  It’s 3:00pm, and I still have work to do from 11:00am.  Stupid Game of Thrones. Everybody said, “Oh, you should watch it.  It’s really good.” What they should have said is, “You’re going to have to pay attention, so don’t watch when you’re trying to do other stuff (like work). It’s not made for the background.”

Promising myself, just one more episode (I’m still in season 1).  If I plan it correctly, I may be able to mop the floor while I’m watching.  Definitely no Keynote, and definitely no knitting … although, the whole idea that Winter is Coming is giving a gal ideas!

Globe-trottin’

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Been on the road this last little while and it’s been a blast, but also hard.  Under the “be careful what you wish for” category, I had been worried about where the next clients for Public were going to come from and what next month’s grocery trip was going to look like.  (Hotdogs are multi-purpose ‘food’, loved by people, cats and dogs, but everyday?  Nope.)  Then, all of a sudden, more work than the company can handle, but in a good way.  This also means some exciting opportunities for me, personally and professionally, and I’m feeling pretty grateful right now.

Coming back from D.C. and Chicago just recently I remain elevated by the vibrancy and diversity of those cities and am anxious to make a move back to a more welcoming and accepting environment than I’ve found in Austin.  The good news is, I can do what I do from anywhere, so that’s where I’m going.  Anywhere else!  

One of the stops on my travels was Stitches Midwest this past week in Illinois.  It wasn’t the show that I’d come to know and love — a little lighter on vendors and more duplication of products across the booths.  This was good, though, because otherwise, I would have come back broke.  It was still inspiring and fun to go and share the experience with my mom, cousin and aunties who can make anything hilarious.  I left Stitches feeling recommitted to doing work I love.  I’m back on a plane next week, but in the meantime, purging to prepare for my move to anywhere, and organizing for Bizarre Bazaar in San Francisco!  It’s good to have a goal in mind, and since this will be my first show as an exhibitor in a long time, I’m bound and determined to make it spectacular! We’ll see!  

This Seems Like a Terrible Idea

But when has that stopped me?  It’s so hot here and it’s hard to knit when it’s 103 outside (or, okay, it feels like it’s 103 even though it’s only a measly 98.  Perception.)

I’m going to finish up the projects I’ve got on the needles right now, but spending the morning cutting fabric for some story quilts.  I’m hoping I can get 7 tops done by October 1, so I can finish quilting by Christmas.  The last time I did a story quilt it was a made-up story I did all by hand.  It took forever and a day, and that was just a crib quilt for one of the Js.  He’s nine now!  Time to put all my new-found skills to use, haul out my quilt frame, and pre-cut and baste as I should so I can eliminate the hand sewing for parts the machine can do better.  I’ll save my hands for the applique, because I want to spend some time with them, as they’ll go to some kids whom I dearly love, and to whom I’ve promised some sweaters that got eaten by moths.

I almost got angry there for a second, thinking about the moths.  Anyway, I’ve already got stencils cut for two of these, and they turned out beautifully (maybe because I haven’t cut the fabric yet!)

#1:  The Snowy Day

SnowyThis, for a little boy who lives in Chicago and will therefore know what snow is all about.

#2:  Peter’s Chair

chair

Another Ezra Jack Keats.  This one about siblings and how much we think they’ll suck before they get here. This, for a brother in Austin who has a little sister who is the shizznit.

#3:  The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

CaterpillarFor the sister of that brother in #2.  Because, caterpillars.

#4:  Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.

Lyle

#5:  The Very Busy Spider

spider

For a little girl whom I only get to love from a distance — she’s far away, but loved, and like me, deathly afraid of all bugs except spiders (because they kill all the other bugs, see?)

#6:  This, from Charley Harper.  The cardinal.

charleyharpercardinal

(I forgot the attribution — I believe it’s from his retrospective book … don’t sue me.)  This is for 1/2 of a set of twins. The boy of the set is deep in love with red birds.  See below for his sister’s quilt.  I’m going to have to think up the panels that tell the story of how great the cardinal is, but this image is fodder for the final panel.

#7:  Another Charley Harper — Raccoons!

raccoonsAgain, attribution lost, sorry!  Harper did lots of raccoons, and rabies aside, I think they’re the cutest.  Not sure if I’ll use this, or another image as the final panel on whatever story I can make up for the rest of the quilt.  Those circles for the logs … NOT looking forward to those. But, the skunk is such a great inclusion. We’ll see. This is far down on the list.  Let me get the first few done and we’ll see.

Monday.   Only four to go till Friday!

 

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