Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Places to Go

My topic for this week's thursday thirteen is something I mentioned last week, when I was deliberating about the job. My main hold up about taking it was that I would lose a lot of the travel opportunities that I'm fortunate to have right now. Here are some of the (non-English) places David & I (mostly I!) are thinking about visiting before we leave England:

1. Southern & SW Ireland
2. Scotland (road trip!)
3. Paris, France
4. Normandy, France
5. Krakow, Poland
6. Spain
7. Copenhagen, Denmark (a stop on a cruise we're hoping to take!)
8. Russia (another stop on the cruise!)
9. Isle of Man
10. Switzerland (ski trip!)
11. Brugge, Belgium
12. Donegal, Ireland
13. Hungary

I've also got a list of places to visit within England. I need to add to that list, though, so I'll be taking suggestions! If there's something in England that you think I shouldn't miss, leave it in a comment!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

12 of 12: Ready for Ravelympics!

01-0830-My Bathroom. A few weeks ago, one of my ScrapVillage friends linked to a blog post that encouraged readers to "start your day by eating a frog," meaning do the thing you are most dreading first. Mark Twain said,  "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day". I've been trying to apply this (but I'm no masochist, so I only eat a frog every other day, at a maximum!) so this morning before I even opened my bedroom door, I went into the en suite and cleaned the bathroom. Scrubbed the tub, bleached the toilet, cleaned the scum out of the shower drain strainer, put away clothes, swept the floor, and tried to make room for David on the ledge. Most of my stuff is contained in my little IKEA canisters. I wish I had gotten more of the solid white without lids. Next trip, maybe. This picture (aren't you glad I chose to photograph the IKEA jars rather than the toilet or scummy strainer??) makes me giggle because when my mom moved to a new house while I was living in Italy (Always live in a far off place when it's time to move out of your childhood bedroom. Always.), my mom and aunt were cleaning my room and kept unearthing deodorant and lipgloss. My aunt said, "Well, we have learned two things about Rebecca: she smells good and has soft lips!" Nothing has changed... there are 3 sticks of deodorant in the big bowl and at least 8 varieties of lipgloss in the little bowl. (There's also some in my coat pocket, purse, coin purse, and knitting bag.)

2-11:30- I have a confession to make: that last picture was not actually taken at 0830. I didn't remember 12 of 12 until 11:30. The red & white decorations were out so they'd be ready for the Greatest Baby Shower in the History of the World  (or as it's now called, "What Would've Been the Greatest Baby Shower in the History of the World"). I thought about putting them away, but never got around to it. So now they are "Valentine's decorations." If they are still sitting there 5 months from now, I'll throw something blue on the mantle and call them "Fourth of July Decorations". 
At this point, I seriously considered "forgetting" about 12 of's cold and I had no plans to go anywhere or do anything!!  So, consider this your warning...this was a day of bad, boring pictures!

3-1200-I'm SO excited about the Ravelympics! And the Winter Olympics. I wasn't really that excited about the Winter Olympics until I started getting all hyped up about the Ravelympics. I thought, "I love the Summer Olympics, not the Winter Olympics!" but then I thought about it...I actually love Winter Olympics too! Love Moguls, Alpine Skiing, Curling (what the heck is curling? It's crazy-fascinating!), Figure Skating of course, Snowboarding is fun to watch, Hockey, so yeah...pretty much, I love the Winter Olympics! Ravelympics="mass cast on" during Opening Ceremonies and earn "medals" for projects that you complete before the flame goes out. Just a super-fun way to get excited about knitting and winter sports. But I had lots of time on Friday before Opening Ceremonies where I was positively itching to start my projects! But that would be like the Olympic equivalent of doping up! So that was a no-no. Had to find some other way to keep my fingers off the needles, so designed special project pictures for all of my Ravelympic Events. Yes, I am on Team Grilled Cheese. There was no Team Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. 
 4-1530- I'm not cheating! This is sanctioned swatching! Had to make sure I'd be okay using a different size needle than recommended in the pattern for Rusted Root. My US6's are all wonky. I had scary-vivid flashbacks to my Ravelympics disaster of Beijing 2008... a needle malfunction shattered my Olympic dreams and all hope of finishing my February Lady Sweater.  The 7s actually work perfectly with my tension anyway!
5-1730- This is what I should be doing... a huge pile of papers to sort. Almost all of this came from my mail slot, which means that most of it is not mine, either belongs to the landlord or former tenants. But.......
6-1730-This is what I'm doing instead. Jeff Probst trumps paper sorting any day. Those dimples. The way the sound of his voice makes my heart sing even when he's declaring victory for the tribe that I'm NOT rooting for. And I love that he's wearing an orange hat. Because I have an orange hat. I think that's a sign. :) 
7-1800ish- Project Pages all ready for the Ravelympics. I used the TGC logo and then the icons for the winter sports in which I'm going for gold: Single Skein Speed Skate, Hat Halfpipe, Mitten Moguls, Cable Cross Country, Sweaterboard Cross, Lace Luge & WIPs (work-in-progress) Dancing. Wish me luck! 
(at the time of this post, I've already completed my first (small!) project, therefore securing "medals" in Single Skein Speed Skate, Hat Halfpipe, and Lace Luge. I've just cast on for my Rusted Root...Sweaterboard Cross (and a double-medal in Lace Luge!) here we come! 

8-1830- All this thinking about knitting has made me really want to do some knitting! But I must resist the urge to start any of my Ravelympics projects or I'll be DQ'd. So, I decided to take apart this crocheted cowl that I made 2 weeks ago. I had accidentally twisted the stitches when I joined them, so  it wasn't quite right. As I frogged, I re-crocheted it without the twist and now I have a new cowl to wear with my oatmeal colored wool coat. 
9-1930- Dinner. I kind of thought that this would be my last night of eating junk for dinner. David was supposed to get here on Saturday...but now we're looking at sometime between Monday night and Thursday night. Maybe. I loooooove Ramen noodles, so I did not mind the idea of having them for dinner tonight. But, my microwave mysteriously stopped working a few days ago and I always make my Ramen in the microwave. Today I did it on the stove top and guess just didn't taste as good. Even worse, I had to dirty two dishes instead of one. And, yes, I ate the baby food in the background. I'm going to knit some little covers for the jars and use them to store my needle tips. I asked a friend who has a baby who actually eats baby food to save for me, but she didn't seem willing, so I figured I'd just eat it myself. Fruit Medley is not bad. 
10-1935-More telly. That's English for tv. :) (I'm training myself to pepper my speech with British words and phrases so I'll get better at Countdown.) :) Big Love. This show is pretty wacky, but I enjoy checking it out by the season from the library. 
11-2000-Dessert! Cookies from my cookie party! I have so many left in my freezer! That's the best thing about the cookie party. I just pulled these cranberry-white chocolate-oatmeal that my friend Sandi made, let them sit out for a little while and had one for dessert. 
12-2230-This book is all messed up now... I probably jinxed David's return by thinking of this super-sweet idea and spending an entire day making it. It's a countdown to his return, started 13 days ago "13 days until the 13th" kind of thing. I've just been writing him a little note each day and he'll get it when(ever) he gets here. You can see how my timing is off. I was supposed to just write one more message on day Zero. Now, I'm going to have to staple more pages to the back! :( 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Pickles __are delicious___________.
2. ____I usually wear my pajamas when I am_____ at home.
3. The snow is ___gone! Hooray!_______.
4. ______??There are many interesting and pretty things_______ in nature.
5. It's 5:16 PM; that means ____that I was born 29 years, 1 month and 4 minutes ago__________.
6. __My yarn needle______ is hard to find.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to __finding out if David will actually get here this weekend___, tomorrow my plans include __knitting and possibly making cupcakes___ and Sunday, I want to __order Chinese food and (re)watch Survivor (with David!)___!

More Friday Fill-ins here

Thursday, February 11, 2010


There are a few things I'm counting down to...David's return (though I'm still waiting to hear when that might be), Survivor!!!! (tomorrow!), The Winter Olympics (and the Ravelympics...completing a whole knitting project in between the opening & closing ceremonies) favorite (favourite?) Countdown is still the one that comes on each day on E4.
I've been recording it everyday and watching when I get a chance, and I'm really improving at the math. I mean, maths. :)
In an episode I was watching today, I impressed myself with a group of difficult letters by being smart enough to use the British spelling and get a 6 letter word instead of a 5:
Unfortunately, my brain was stuck in American-mode in the next grouping of letters when I only found the word "enables" for 7 instead of
which I would normally spell penalize.
And, much to my amazement, I knew (guessed) the definition of "snollygoster" and Rachel Riley didn't. So I'm smarter than Rachel Riley.......until the next numbers round. :) 

Thursday Thirteen: To Work or Not to Work

Last week, I was really bored. I became fascinated with the idea of working once again. I thought, wouldn't life be grand if I had a job and if it was on the same base that D's job will be on and we could ride together and then maybe he wouldn't complain about spending an hour a day driving back and forth to work. Because I would be there, and who could possibly complain about spending an extra hour a day confined in a car with me??
So, on Thursday, I turned in an application packet at HRO. Let me tell you one of the biggest downfalls of being a military spouse stationed overseas. Job opportunities. Basically the only thing at HRO that I was remotely interested in (and only, as I announced at my job interview, as a last resort) was working in the youth programs... youth center or child development center. I opted for the CDC because the youth center hours are a little weird since youth are at school during the day. The CDC is like a day care--for the younger, non-school-age children. So I interviewed on Monday and they've been in touch with my references, who have filled me in on how those phone calls went. (Always list references who will serve as your spies. Always.) According to my references, I will most certainly be offered the job.
But now I'm not sure that I want it....which brings me to my list of Thirteen.

1. - I am a teacher. I like many things about  being a teacher...poems & drawings delivered to my desk daily, going to meetings with other teachers, rearranging my classroom, seeing a child who came in to 1st grade knowing how to read  "that cat is fat" leave 1st grade reading like a maniac, kid handwriting (if kid handwriting and inventive spelling do not make your heart melt, then I'm pretty sure you're not human). But I won't lie. I also love three VIPs (very important perks) of being a teacher: Spring Break, Summer Break, Christmas Break. The CDC doesn't get those.

2. - That whole carpooling to work with my husband thing....yeah....that wouldn't work! Because the place has kooky hours. Not really kooky, I suppose...not like 3rd shift or anything...but hours that wouldn't really mesh well with the hours that D will be working. If there were an hour or two leeway either way, the one who had to wait could go to the gym etc. But 4 hours a day at the gym? Not for me. There are 3 shifts, something like 6-12, 9-4 and 12-6. David would be working probably 7-4, so you see how only one shift would work in my carpooling plan.

3. + If I could get in on that 9-4 shift and should the stars align just so so that it would be the one I always work, then carpooling would work AND I'd get a lot of knitting done in the car. Always important to consider how your job will positively effect your hobbies.

4. + Before my interview, I was sent to observe in one of the 3-5 year old rooms, where little Shannon came up to me and asked if I liked her hair bows. When I said yes, she hugged me, kissed my cheek and said, "I love you and you are my best friend." That was after 15 minutes of being in the room. Imagine all the love if I worked there every day!

5. - I know you're not supposed to ask in a job interview how much vacation time you would get, so I didn't. But one of the interviewers did bring it up...... he mentioned that other than a doctor's appointment or something, no leave is granted during your first 3 months. And after that, they send around a binder and you request your leave time in the order in which you were hired. So, I'd be last.

6. - More on the vacation time thing-- The way D and I look at it, we are here overseas, possibly only for 3 more years. There's a chance we could go somewhere else in Europe or the Pacific after this, but there's also a chance we could end up in Ohio or Florida or North Dakota or New Mexico. We just don't know. So there's sort of a sense of urgency in being here...this could be our last hurrah overseas. We never know. So we want to do and see the places that are tops on our list (perhaps next Thursday's Thirteen?) while we have the opportunity. It would be much easier to do that if we're only juggling around one person's leave schedule.

7. - I'm noticing that vacation time is really an issue for me! People might want to come and visit us while we're here, and say D is going to be at work during the week, I could entertain our visitors locally, trips to London, Cambridge, and other little day trips in the local area. On the weekend we could do a further out trip, like Oxford or the Cotswolds or Canterbury or something. But would I want to use all of my leave days to go to London & Cambridge? No.

8. - Last point (I think) about the time off... Sometimes at work, D will get a "goal day" or "family day" off. So, for instance, the day after Thanksgiving, Superbowl Monday, perhaps the Friday before Memorial Day. That gives us a nice long weekend during which we could do some traveling. But on goal days, the day care is still open. So if I still had to work, we'd be wasting a long weekend opportunity for a little road trip.

9. + Money, money, money. But also - because, really, it's not that much! It would be nice to contribute with a supplemental income...but if we could put a dollar amount on the missed travel opportunities, I seriously doubt that the amount I'd make at the day care (starting out for the first 2 months with a "guaranteed 0-20 hours a week") would come close.  Even so, we typically bank all that I make and since I've not been working, the savings account hasn't been as exciting to watch as it used to be!

10. - Because the scheduling isn't regular, there may be conflicts with my Girl Scout volunteering, and I like working with the Girl Scouts! I asked at my interview and they didn't seem at all supportive. I got the old, "if we worked around your schedule, then we'd have to work around everyone else's if they said they had something they wanted to do," speech. And then they asked, "how long are you committed to that?" Which kind of threw me...the military culture really promotes volunteerism...all I would need for Girl Scouts is one day a week that I'm either not put on the schedule or put on the earliest shift.

11. - It's not really what I want to do. We're fortunate to be in a position where I don't HAVE to take a last resort job. I know my husband has a stable job and his company isn't shutting down anytime soon. We live well within our means and have a responsible savings plan. So, if I want to hold out for a teaching job, even if I won't ever get one until we get back to the states, I have that luxury.

12. - It's not really what I want to do, and it wouldn't have an impact on my future. If I were offered a teaching job, I would snap it up in a heartbeat. Even if it was teaching 4th grade or 5th grade when what I really want to teach is 2nd, 1st or 3rd. But it would get me in the system and perhaps I could slide into another grade the next year. It would count toward my years of experience and bump me up on the pay scale and also count toward my years to retirement. (I'm pretty sure in Indiana, your eligibility for retirement is determined by the sum of your age and your years of teaching). The day care center wouldn't benefit me in any of those ways. 

13. + It's not permanent. I could take the job, see if the schedule works out for me, etc. and if it doesn't, I could leave the position. I don't LOVE quitting jobs, but I've done it before...and I have a feeling that a lot of people do quit this particular job. I've heard from a lot of people that they quit after a few months. Most recently, I spoke to a woman who shattered that record...she quit after one day!

So, that's 4 positive points and 9 negative points. I'm sure you can see where I'm leaning...
One other point to make, though, is that when I was in Okinawa, I thought I would NEVER get a job on base. Immediately after accepting a low-paying, long-commute, not-recognized-as-experience-for-pay-or-retirement-purposes job at a school off base, the phone calls started rolling in from the on-base schools. So maybe I need to accept this job so I'll get offered the one I really want?? My dad says "it's easier to get a job when you have a job."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

D's Trip to England: The First Bump in the Road

Good thing I hadn't really had my heart set on David being home on Saturday.
We've encountered our first delay... a 24 hour one so far.
D called early this evening to confirm some travel details and said, "Well, I'll just talk to you when I see you, unless something changes and I won't make it on Saturday. Then I'll call you." We finished our conversation, hung up, and, 5 minutes later......he called back.
I said, "You again? Oh no..."

So, instead of Saturday, the earliest he'll be here now is Sunday. Not too bad. The latest would be Thursday or Friday, as he'd be able to hop on the plane going through Denmark instead of through the US. But we're hoping for Sunday. :(

I hope this is the only bump we encounter, but I won't be surprised if there's another before D finally makes it here! But as he said... we've made it through a YEAR...we can surely handle a few extra days!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


I know I mentioned recently that my Google Reader was just getting out of hand! I had "1000+" new blog posts to read and I am happy to report, I'm now sub-700. I'm in the 600s! Unfortunately, whenever I make a dent, more posts are added.

So I decided to remove several blogs from my subscriptions list. I hated to do it, but there were some that I just skimmed over and those just don't need to take up a part of my "busy" days. I'm currently busy sitting here blogging instead of cleaning up my kitchen, living room, front room, craft room, bedroom, bathrooms (all of which I want to have done by the time David gets here on Saturday. I feel like if I get all of that done, he WON'T get here on Saturday. Plus if I get it all done too early, I'll just have to do it all again before he gets here!)

Anyway, I still have plenty of blogs that I subscribe to. And I added more while I was taking some away. Ugh!
Most notably, I have subscribed to 4 or 5 "bento blogs" for over a year. I have a few bento boxes, rice molds, egg molds, cute picks and cutters. But I've never made a bento. And seeing daily posts from bento blogs wasn't getting me excited about making a bento. So I decided to cut them out of my Google Reader. But not from my life. Before removing them from Google Reader, I Delicioused them. Do you know delicious? If not, you NEED to. Delicious is sooooo much better than bookmarking or "adding to favorites". With delicious, you can tag your tags/bookmarks for easier searching. This is so good for me, because I go through phases where I bookmark a random topic...recently, "play kitchens". Why? I do not know. I have no need for a play kitchen, I have a real one. But for 3 nights straight, I was fascinated by search results for play kitchens. And now I can see all the ones I loved with just a few simple clicks in delicious. I have lots tags. I LOVE tags! I love delicious. The other fab-o thing about delcious is that, unlike regular bookmarks, you can access them on any computer. So say I'm at my friend's house and she says, "You know what I'm interested in? Play kitchens!" I can just sign onto delicious from her house and show her all of my favorite play kitchens. Very handy, that immediate access to play kitchen resources.
So, when I unsuscribed from all those blogs, I didn't want them to just fall off my radar. I mean, what if I decide to drag out my bento gear one day soon? I'd end up wasting half the day searching for my old bento sites.  So I tagged them appropriately in delicious: party, home, teaching, travel, blog, scrapbook, bento, etc.  And then, just for fun, I gave them all one more tag: "unsuscribed".

During the time it took me to write this blog entry, my Google Reader unread post increased by 3.

Two Arrivals

One is certain, one is not.

Friday: SURVIVOR! Season 20! Jeff Probst, JT, Colby will make me drool. Russell, James, Cirie will make me laugh. Parvati, Boston Rob, Coach will make me cringe. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Saturday: (hopefully!) DAVID! 12 months...over! Finally! (Hopefully!) David will be "home" "for good" (hopefully!) on Saturday. Sooooooo very weird to think that what we once counted down in months or weeks is now just days. Four of them. (hopefully!) We need planes & weather to cooperate!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Small Talk Saturday
I've participated in this a few times before... but I just can't keep up with a busy blogging schedule!

I remembered this week, though (it's actually Friday, so we'll see if I remember to come back and post this tomorrow!)

Six of your favorite things that are pink:

1. Pink Peppermint Ice Cream

2. Cotton Candy

3. my striped legwarmers

4. Eloise by Kay Thompson (the striped wallpaper on the book cover is pink!)

5. Spumoni Ice Cream

6. my cupcake apron

Friday, February 05, 2010

My Latest Obsession

At the library last week, I checked out The Book Thief (Markus Zusak). It had been on my list for a while, but was checked out last time I was there. I read about it on a blog somewhere a long time ago, and by the time I got around to checking it out, I couldn't even remember what it was supposed to be about!
First of all, the book is 550 pages long...and I'm usually reading 3 books at a time, so it takes me a while to get through a long one. I thought ahead and renewed my book early. Totally unnecessary! I devoured that book in 7 days, only reading it before bed at night and before getting out of bed in the morning.
It's a Young Adult book, but don't let that deter you...

The book takes place in a town near Munich between 1939 and you know what much of the plot revolves around. The story is narrated by death and follows a young girl as she moves in with a new foster family, learns to read and write, befriends a Jewish man, hides in air-raid shelters, and becomes a book thief. 
You can read more about it here

I find books/movies about this time period fascinating and heartbreaking...and now I have a renewed obsession! Sometimes, I watch a tv show, read a book, or do a project and when it's over, it's over. But sometimes, that tv show, book or project will spark a new obsession. Like how I have now watched every episode of Glee twice (and beginning my 3rd go-through) and listen to the soundtracks on my iPod almost exclusively. Or how I count down the days to Survivor and spend about 4 hours a week on Survivor-related media--the show, extra video on, a twice-weekly podcast). Or like the time that I became obsessed with cooking and cookbooks and made 100 different recipes during the year (a great failure as my goal was 265). And since July, spending a great deal of my time thinking of the baby shower that was supposed to be last weekend...I can tell you details of baby shower planning timelines, diaper raffles, the difference between a shower and a sprinkle, the price of renting folding chairs, and rattle off long lists of baby shower themes. It's not entirely my fault... I realized last month that my obsessive nature is being fueled by my own mother and aunt, who sent me an apron-making project for my birthday! Super-fun, right? I got 3 pre-made aprons and enough fabric to make 10 or 12 more for different themes & holidays. Someone looked at me like I was crazy and asked, "Why would you need so many aprons?" and I looked at her like she was even crazier for not understanding that if one likes aprons, one *NEEDS* one for every event and or holiday imaginable. Right???
Anyway, so the latest obsession has been inspired by The Book Thief, (which was probably lingering from reading Sarah's Key over the summer). Even though it's really heartwrenching (if you read it, have your Kleenex ready!), even though there's a certain level of discomfort when you read a book or watch a movie about the Holocaust... now I just have to read more, watch more...and begin planning a trip to Auschwitz. It's not everybody's vacation cup-of-tea, but I just feel like I *need* to go there, like it's a really important thing for me to experience. Don't know when we'll go in the next year or two, but David has agreed that it's a trip worth taking... so it's on the books!

Oh, the book I checked out to follow the Book Thief is Elie Wiesel's A Mad Desire to Dance. I've tried to check out Night a million times at Kadena and it was always out...I'll either pick that one up next or The Kindly Ones (Littel)--but that one is almost 1,000 pages!!
Related Posts with Thumbnails