Monday, June 29, 2009

On the beach

My sisters arrived last night. Finally, after dreaming about it for years, we're having a Sisters' Week in Florida.

After a stop at a store for sand chairs, we headed to Sombrero Beach on Marathon. It's just a few miles away; it's a nice little beach with well
l-maintained park facilities. We enjoyed watching dogs happily paddling in the surf. Any park that allows dogs is okay with me, and it doesn't cost anything to park there and use the beach.

I'm having a devil of a time trying to post on Crack, so I'm going to quit before I get really pissed and throw it into the bay after smashing it on the rocks while driving over it. Suffice to say that we're having a wonderful time in the sun.

Now where did I put that aloe?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hello from Big Pine Key!

As everyone but me already knew, I couldn't connect the stupid phone to the laptop. After another couple of hours on the phone with AT&T tech support, I said the hell with it and had the tethering removed. $30 less that way. I'm using the Crack to email and post on Facebook, but I can't blog from it. We're sitting in a Winn Dixie parking lot which is flooded; we just had a downpour, and it's already wet here. There must be at least 6-8" of water on the lot.

We're having a wonderful time here in the Keys. The condo is very nice; after paying only $136 to a plumber, both toilets are now working properly. Zippy is a very good little boy; he's not this well-behaved at home. If we can't take him with us, he stays in the condo in his crate. He's been very quiet, except when the plumber came in.

We've talked to a real estate agent on Big Pine Key and have been riding around looking at places for sale. There are a good number in our price range. In a few days or so we'll contact the agent and set up appointments to tour some houses.

Key deer, oddly enough, are everywhere on Big Pine Key. Yesterday we saw a tiny (adult) male with an impressive set of antlers. I got out of the car to photograph him, and he ran (or rather, quickly limped; he was hit by a car and one back leg doesn't work; they call him Tripod.) to me and licked my fingers. I think he might have gotten in the car, if I'd invited him in.

We've seen a couple of this season's fawns. They're about Zippy's size! The adults are smaller than our yearling deer at home. They all seem to be pretty tame; the Key is a sanctuary for them. They are an endangered species. I tell you, it feels like home!

I'll post some photos later. Just wanted to say hi for now. I'm reading a lot (we got a library card at the Marathon library) and knitting very little. Maybe later.

And my sisters will be here in just two more days for our Sisters' Week in Paradise!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fun at work

Since school ended, my job has been a piece of cake. So to speak. We have actually had cake for the retirees.

Until today, for the last week I've had very little to do. I just ran copies of our algebra and geometry packets all day long. After 4 days, there are enough to take care of summer school and start into next year.

Until today.

But I'm leaving now (one machine broke down, so some copies not needed until August didn't get finished. Say it with me: "Awwwwwwwww."

Summer is finally here!

Easy? Never.

I'm always the optimist. Glass half-full kind of thing. Even when past experience has told me that, no matter what the instruction booklet says, getting a computer to cooperate with a new modem will take hours instead of steps 1-4, I still hold out and hope--no, believe--that this time, it'll be just that easy.

I'm always wrong.

I've had the Crack for four weeks now. Last night I learned how to check my voice mail (Hi, Liz! You did call me to tell me that you're engaged, just like you said you did. I'm sorry I doubted you.). Since we're leaving for Florida in a couple of hours, yesterday was the deadline to make sure the stupid thing would actually "tether" to my laptop so we can get online while we're in Florida. As usual, I'd tried a few times and when it didn't work, I just put it off.

After work yesterday, I spent over 3 hours at the AT&T store. I am loving AT&T. Every time I walk in, someone immediately asks if they can help. Ntelos evidentally didn't believe in customer service; if you remember, I would wait up to 90 minutes without being spoken to or asked to wait a bit. Not at AT&T.

I foolishly procastinated trying to tether the laptop and phone until the day before we leave for Florida (1 hour and 25 minutes now!), because the booklet shows four very simple steps (the fourth being "click on the CONNECT button") and I was so sure it would be that simple. I know better. I never believe that little voice that says, "you idiot, you know it'll take three hours to get it to work, and only then after you have the help of two phone techs and an hour of on-the-phone-with-customer-service (the tech guy, not me) to discover that my phone would not connect. Would. Not. Yeah, it's a refurb, that's the only way I could afford one. For some reason, they frequently won't cooperate with tethering. So he reset the phone. That didn't work.

I was tired, but I couldn't get upset at all the time it was taking because these guys were trying everything they knew to make it work. Finally, after the store closed, they said that the phone is defective, and they'll send a new (refurb) one to me. Since we'll be in Florida, and it was too late to get it to me today, they're sending it to my daughter's house. It should be there tomorrow. All I have to do is pack up the old phone, slap on the postage return sticker that they emailed me, and drop it in a mail box after I get the new (refurb) one.

I was floored. I've never had service like that with Ntelos. I had to argue with them for months to get my name changed on my bill after I remarried. It took three billing cycles--and three trips into the non-service store--to get my niece's phone line separated from mine, and they still didn't want to do it. Fortunately I saved every freaking contact that I had with them about these issues and finally they fixed things.

So. Once the new (refurb) one is here, all I have to do is link it to the laptop, open the communications manager, and click "connect". It will work.

I know it will.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Packed and ready to go

Yesterday I went through my yarn and chose the sock yarn I'll take to Florida, along with the necessary patterns and the box o' needles. I am ready for any eventuality.

I pretty much know what books I'm taking (I think I'll just sneak 'em into the car after Tom packs it, because he thinks I'm taking too many); I've gotten a bunch that look good at book swaps lately.

I might not be quite as prepared for leaving the condo, though, as I don't have any clue as to what clothes I'll take.

Over the weekend, I read I Am Legend, which was written in 1954, I think, which can be sort of aggravating with the details of life at that time (as in, no microwave, records instead of cds, cars with chokes, etc.), but it really is a timeless story. Only the car with a choke, and a record player seemed odd in this day and age. I imagine that the movie with Will Smith will address those issues; now I have to see it. Very good book.

And I read the 5th book in the House of Night series. I can't remember what its title is, although I think it's Hunted. Those are fun, easy books and I enjoy them.

As for knitting, I did finally finish the second sock of the pair that I started two years ago. They fit and feel good. I knit them with fingering yarn and size 2 needles, which is what put me off them so long ago. They make a very thin fabric, but I like the way they feel. Very lightweight, soft. I started a pair with some of Claudia's sport discards, pink and yellow, but I don't know the colorway. I'm making them for a coworker whose only luck is bad luck, really really bad luck. As in she used to be an English teacher (in a piss-poor backwoods county, if that tells you anything) but had a nervous breakdown or something because she's now working as a teacher assistant for maybe $12,000 a year, and she's always deathly ill with this or that, or having foot surgery that laid her up for three months and she couldn't work, and her kids won't help her (although it's possible they have a reason for that), her furnace broke down in the dead of winter and she couldn't afford to fix it, so people here at school chipped in to take her through those months, including paying her health insurance when she couldn't work. Well, last week the poor woman had a mini-stroke while working and had to be rushed to the hospital. She was hospitalized for two days. Anyway, a few weeks ago I asked her if she'd like some handknit socks (she's always admiring mine) and told her to measure her ankle and the length of her foot. She wears a child's size 3 or 4 shoe! She never did get the measurements to me, but I'm guessing that her foot is about the same size as 9-year-old A's foot, well, except for the poor woman's bunions.

On top of it all, the woman was running back and forth 5 hours to the bottom of the state to take care of her ailing father, then he died and left her some run-down, no good rental properties waayyy down there, and she's sunk way too much into fixing them up, and the people who are renting aren't paying their rent........... She's just a magnet for bad luck, poor thing.

I tell you, we are so blessed. During the winter when the scary financial things were going on with us, I had no doubt that we'd come out of it okay. We came out really well. And here we are, with plans to spend my entire 6 weeks off work in the Keys, while we look for a house to buy, just seven months after the financial boogey man attacked us.

We truly are blessed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The moment

Finally, it's here. The moment we've been waiting for since Aug. 18 of last year.

The bell just rang. The kids are leaving school for the summer. They're not the only ones who're jumping up and down.

Today I was given a copy of my *oh crap, what's it called* oh yeah, evaluation. I received the highest marks for everything, the best evaluation I've ever had. I've never had a bad one, but this one is really complimentary.

I love my job (especially now that vacation is in sight) and hope to keep on copying for two or three years. It's nice to know that I am appreciated.

Monday, June 08, 2009


I've really been neglecting this blog. My excuse, for last week, anyway, is that I've been busy. I spent one day working in the attendance office (those ladies are not paid enough for all they have to do!), one day giving math placement tests, and one day on an art field trip to the National Gallery of Art and the Hirschorn Museum of Modern Art. I gave the SAT Saturday morning, then we drove to Mom and Dad's house to visit overnight. While there, we went to see/hear Todd Snider at Ashland Coffee and Tea. We left Mom and Dad's around 3:30 yesterday and drove the three hours to my son's house to attend my youngest granddaughter's 6th birthday party. We left home at 6:30 on Saturday morning and got back at 10:00 last night. It was a very busy weekend, but it was great to visit with family. And earn $98 for giving the SAT.

Here's a photo of my Bloodlust (from All That Glitters) custom-dyed for me by Yarn Lust ( I love it. It's 2% silver so it's sparkly; I'll use it to knit Shipwreck ( She sent a stitch marker with each hank of yarn: one red heart, one black heart, and one clear heart. I have a feeling I'll need them for this. You can also see the beads I bought at Beads of Distinction in Key West; I think I'll need more of them, but I have to figure out how many and which ones go where. That's going to be a pain; I want the inside rows to have clear beads, the center red ones, and black on the outside rows. Thank God they're not needed until the entire center is knit; they go on the edging. But how am I going to figure out just how many I'll need and in what numbers? I can always break the yarn and add more beads when needed, but I really really hate having those ends to weave in. I may try a Russian join, which basically, I think, is spitting on the loose ends of yarn and then mooshing them together. If it'll work, I'm all for it. I hate to weave in ends on anything.

This photo doesn't show the sparkle factor, but it's there all the same. I plan to haul this to Florida and work on it this summer, but I'm not sure how well I'll be able to concentrate when a) I'm sitting on the porch in 90 degree weather while gazing at the Gulf waters a few hundred feet away with wool on my lap, and b) I can't concentrate when I'm in a room by myself anyway and this one is going to take some concentration.

Slacker radio works pretty well when we're in flat country with a really strong AT&T signal, which means it doesn't work well in this area but did closer to Richmond. We're interested to see if it's any better in Florida where there are a lot fewer hills and no mountains. I like that I can fine-tune custom channels to play songs by people that we like, but I do not like the cutting in and out when we're in less-than-flat land.

I'm not a very good traveling companion since I got the Crackberry. I mean, I can check my email in the freaking car! And Facebook. I hate Facebook, but it's interesting once in a while to log in and see what (mostly) boring things others are doing. I haven't had any luck sending photos to cell phones or others' email; something else I need to check on. And, like I said earlier, I can read blogs and their comments but cannot post my own comments. I still haven't attempted to tether it to my laptop, which I should do very soon because we're paying for it and I want to see if make sure it works before we leave for the summer.

I loaned Twilight the movie to a friend a couple of weeks ago (I know! I let it out of my possession for a good 10 days, but I did keep the codes for the iTunes downloads, just in case I needed to watch it). My friend and I usually don't like the same movies or books, and she's not obsessed sucked into the phenomenon as I am, so I didn't expect her to enjoy the movie. To my surprise, she thought it was well-cast and well-made, although she did say that she was a little disappointed that Edward didn't dress more elegantly, as described in the book, but overall, she really enjoyed it. Wow, and she's 61.

I'm almost to the toe of the boring socks I'm knitting now; I got a lot done on the bus on Friday and in the car this weekend when I wasn't fiddling with the Crackberry checking my email.

School's almost done with for the year; the kids are here till Thursday, and I have to work until June 18. That afternoon we're leaving for Florida as soon as 3:30 rolls around. We'll drive straight through to Orlando (with a dog and a cat) and spend a few days with my daughter and her family. Then--the Keys. For six glorious weeks. We plan to shop for a house while we're there.

I haven't checked any blogs since Wednesday, unless you count the drive-bys while on Crack(berry), and those don't count because the type is so tiny that I can't read it anyway. I'll try to do better. Oooh--I need to run over to June Cleaver's place and check out the Monday Swoon. This selfless woman spends hours each week ogling checking out finding photos of Swoon-worthy men and posts them on Mondays for those of us who can't get through the work filters are too busy to search for them ourselves. The lady is a saint.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


is it that I can post a comment on here using my Crackberry but cannot post to other blogs? You can see how busy I am, since that's what I'm sitting here thinking.

I know I should check out the help section of Blogger, but, I'm lazy. Any ideas before I wade into the World of Help?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


No, I'm not accusing you. It's an internet radio thingy where you can chose the genre you like, or you can make up your own station of music that you like.

I tried to download it onto my Blackberry last week, and every time it failed. I don't know about you, but when something that costs me an additional $30 a month isn't working properly, I get a bit excited (read: really pissed off).

So, just to aggravate myself some more today, I tried again to download Slacker, and on the second try, Slacker for Crackberry succeeded. I now have my own (free) internet radio station that we can listen to wherever we go (that a cell phone signal can reach).

I am happy.

Amended to add: Yeah. Lots of buffering, lots of empty silence while buffering. An interesting concept, but I'm not sure that I'm equipped for it yet. Mentally, or maybe emotionally. I need to go online at home and check Slacker help (it's, of course, blocked here at work) to see if I'm doing something wrong or these pauses are the nature of the beast. Whatever. When it worked, it was great; maybe we'll actually be exposed to some new music again after losing our favorite XM station.

P.S. Todd Snider (I am too freaking headachy to try to link) is playing at Ashland Coffee and Tea this weekend, so we're heading down that way on Saturday. He's a big name in the alt-country/Americana genre. I hope my headache is gone by then. Loud music + headache = misery.

Monday, June 01, 2009

What is the use

of having a Blackberry with which I can read blogs, read the comments, eventually see the photos (oh, and you have to go to June's blog and see those photos from New Moon, the movie) (you'll thank me), can type in comments, but cannot freaking post the comments? I mean, what's a Blackberry good for if I cannot communicate with blogs? Crap. I find that highly irritating.

It took me half an hour to type a well-worded, carefully-thought-out reply to June's Monday Swoon (which basically said, and I quote, *drool*), typing with my fingernails because those damned keys are too small to actually use, and then it would not send. Or, it said it was, but it lied.

What is the use?