Friday, October 28, 2011

I Feel Like Someone's Watching Me

I've found the drug called Pinterest, and it is mighty.  On it, I found a monster wreath

And it had instructions.

The instructions called for buying furry fabric, but I couldn't find it at Giant Soulsucking Store, so I went with one of those giant fuzzy pillows you buy to put in a kid's room.*

I carefully ripped part of a seam out, thanking my parents again for putting together a sewing kit for me to take to college.  I pulled out all the stuffing, imminently relieved that it wasn't stuffed with used hypodermics and the tears of children.

Just really icky stuffing.

I turned the pillow inside out, cut small slits and put ping pong balls through the slits.  Then I hot glued the heck out of the openings with a borrowed hot glue gun, burning my finger three times without too much pain.  The fourth hurt like a bitch.

That done, I took the dog on a walk so I wouldn't be tempted to touch it.  Patience has never been my strong suit. 

I came back, turned the pillow right side out, restuffed, and sewed up the hole in the seam.  Out came the Sharpie.

I'm giving it to a friend for Christmas, and she will squeal with glee.

*By kid, I mean me, obviously.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

When I Rule the World...

So, yesterday the difference between Ps and Js in the Myers Briggs world was strongly reinforced in my brain.  I took a short version of the Myers Briggs test to get my type.

Yes, I already knew what my type was.  It's like rewatching a good movie.  I do the same thing with the belief-o-matic.  It never fails to amuse me, so I've taken it several times.*

I waver between INFJ and INTJ depending on the day and what's going on in my life.  The feeling/thinking letter has always been quite close.

I'm always introverted, and I'm always judging.  Always.

The quiz I took yesterday was interesting in that the results showed "the strength of your preferences" for each type.  For example, I tested as a T, but only with a 1% preference.  I was N with a 38% preference.

My J-ness was much more pronounced, with a 78% preference.

And my introversion?  Everyone knows I'm strongly introverted.  I've talked about it, and anyone who has any awareness at all can see it if they spend any length of time with me.  I'm okay with it, knowing that I have my limits as to how much time I can spend around lots of people before I feel the need to crawl under the table and take a nap.  My I-ness preference was 100%.

I'll buy that.

A friend told me that she knew of a workplace that had employees put their type on their desk.  Other coworkers could see it and interact accordingly.  I recognize most people will think that's weird.  I think it's brilliant.

The INTJ type is called the Mastermind.

You've been warned.

*Today my top four were Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Neo-Pagan, and UU.  This is my not surprised face.  Feel free to ignore this if it freaks you out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Earlier today I was talking to a colleague.  The conversation went a little something like this:

Him: Can you do X for me?  I can't get to it before I leave town, and I'm not sure I'll have time Monday.  (I don't want to do this.  It's boring and has numbers.  Plus there's an old Sting song stuck in my head.)

Me:  Yes.  (If you could give this task 10 minutes of focused attention, it would be done.) Wait, these dates don't make sense.

Him: Oh.  That doesn't make sense.

Insert significant pause in which he clearly doesn't want to do anything about this and hopes I will tell him not to worry about it.  I don't.

Him: Um, I guess that row didn't get deleted.  (Please let me go now. Lemme go. Lemme go. Lemme go.)

Me: Okay, but this date doesn't make sense either.  What dates have you had class this year?  (For the love of spreadsheets, didn't anyone look at this?  Ever?  Even a little bit? Was it typed by monkeys?)

Him: I'd have to look at a calendar.

I pointedly turn and stare at the wall calendar directly behind my head.  Another pause.

Him: Oh.  We had class on A, B, C, D, and E.  No, not D.  E and F.  Yeah.  E and F.  (I can't be expected to remember this information.  It's been six weeks--no, five weeks.  Why won't she let me leave?  LOOK!  There's something shiny!)

Me: Okay.  Then why does this paper say G?  Is the kid confused? Did he actually work six days? (I want to punch you in the nose and then make you track all these kids down and get proper timesheets. Why can't you see that this matters?)

Him:  Maybe we did have class on G.  Maybe we didn't have it on F.

Me: You just told me you had it on F.

Him: Well, I'm not sure!  I've got a hundred other things on my mind right now!

He left my office at that point, which was really the best outcome for us both. I had a dayflash of stapling his khakis to my guest chair and forcing him to focus with me for 2 minutes. After he left, I found that two kids had clearly said they'd worked 6 days, which wasn't possible if he was right about there being 5 sessions.  I actually started an e-mail to him, and then stopped.

The light bulb came on.

He's a P.  He's the most P person I've ever, ever met.  In the Myers-Briggs world, one of the four personality types differentiates between P (perceiving) and J (judging).  I am a big, fat J.  I'm the most J person you know who doesn't actively take pills for her J-ness... though I probably could.

A P wants to look at all the options, talk about them, and maybe never do anything about it.  A J wants to looks at the options, make a bulleted list of how to move forward, and go straight on that path.  Ps are big picture people.  Js are detail people.  You might want a P to brainstorm different product ideas for you, but you want the J to build the thing and figure out how it's going to get to the marketplace.

Both are necessary.

I have trouble dealing with my P colleague because I can't pin him down and get him to give me the details I need to complete my task.  He has trouble dealing with my J-ness because he doesn't see the importance of all these trifling details.

He's saying, "IT DOESN'T MATTER.  Just move on and get this done."

I'm saying, "I CAN'T do this until you give me these specific pieces of information."

Neither one of us can understand why the other person feels that way.

Well, I understand.  I feel that way because I am right and the way I see the world is the only sensible one, damn it.

When I'm really honest with myself and get my ego tamped down a bit, I can understand how my need for details that others see as unimportant can keep me from getting things done and, quite possibly, drive people crazy.  Sometimes, I suppose, the details are not necessary.  I don't really get it, but I can rationally see how it might be possible if one's brain were wired differently.

It feels better to have a name for our specific crazy.

That's a trait of Js, too.

The Trouble With Knitting

I knit a lot of gifts.  People tend to not want to know what they're going to receive as a gift (although I personally have never understood the allure of the surprise), so...

Look at adorable pictures of my pets instead!

Things are happening around here, but they're all secret.  Sorry about that.  Hope things are going well for all of you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Race Against Frost

Sunday, after attending the ancient ritual used to punish females known as Baby Shower* for one of my cousins, I played in my yard. This is the first year I've planted ornamental sweet potato vine, and it, well...

apparently is not bothered at all by hot weather and little water. It took over my front bed. I cut it back once this summer, filling a trash bag with clippings, but you certainly couldn't tell it now. I started to pull it up on the right side of the picture, and this is what I found:

I put the potatoes into vermiculite, and I'll replant them somewhere next year and see if they grow. I love the vibrancy of this vine, but I'm not sure I want to subject any perennials to its exuberance. Maybe I'll stick them in the yard and watch what happens!

I dug up A LOT of irises, and I've thrown them under some trees in the backyard. I feel like I should give them some hope of survival, so I went to buy some bags of dirt after work yesterday.

There was a perennial sale. I regret nothing. I bought an azalea for $1.44. Amending the soil so it will survive in my pH 7.8 will cost more than that, but I couldn't help myself. I bought two double vincas for around the birdbath  I figure if it tries to take over the yard I'll mow it down. I bought two white salvias and a "Pink Fountain Gaura" to go around the mailbox.

For shade under a tree, I bought a hosta and a mystery plant:

Any guesses? I've e-mailed the Master Gardener helpline to see if they know what it is. It's in a hosta pot, but it doesn't look anything like a hosta to me. I also bought 120 lb. of dirt. I paid under $27 for everything--hence the regretting nothing.

We're in a warm snap around here, so I hope I can get these all into the ground this week. I know that it's very late to be planting perennials, but gardeners are famously optimistic about this sort of thing.  

I love this time of year.

*I get the importance of it.  I think new parents and people getting married should be given gifts and support. I just don't understand a) why we have to play games involving melted candy in diapers, and b) why the males don't have to attend. When I rule the world, things will be different.

Monday, October 10, 2011

O Henry, My Henry

I've finished an epic scarf.  It has 452 stitches in a row (it's knit lengthwise), and it takes between 15 and 20 minutes to complete one row.

It's made of gorgeous ivory laceweight cashmere that I bought at a LYS in Louisville that was going out of business.  The recipient picked out the yarn and the pattern.  The pattern itself uses slipped stitches to make a beautiful herringbone.  The scarf is stunning and soft as, well, cashmere.

Henry knit in Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply in Ivory

Typically, I try very hard not to pay attention to how long projects take to knit.  Knitting is slow.  If I wanted fast, I'd do something else.  This time, though, I made the mistake of noting how long it took to knit a row when I realized I was only getting two rows completed at lunch.  I should have stopped right there, but I didn't.

I did the math.

174 rows total
15-20 minutes/row
2 hours plus some Internet searches for incredibly fiddly tubular bind off
3165 minutes

That, ladies and gentlemen, is 52.75 hours.  In reality, it probably took more because I had several rows in which my brain stopped working and I then had to carefully unknit one stitch at a time until I found the error.  This happened more often than I'm willing to admit, even though the pattern specifically warns the knitter to check regularly to make sure the herringbone was lining up properly.

It was worth the time. It's a beautiful pattern knit in beautiful yarn, and it's a gift that celebrates my oldest friendship. Hooray for old friends,, and goats!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Integration vs. Compartmentalization

I’m often slow to adopt something.  I often don’t discover television shows until they’ve already been on the air for a season or two… and possibly only after they’ve been canceled.  I have only been texting for about a year.  I didn’t take my first drink until I was 22. 

In my first blog post, I insisted that, although I now had a blog, I would not be joining social networking sites. We all can guess how that went.  Three months later, I joined Facebook because of a video of the Muppets performing “Bohemian Rhapsody.”    You know, like you do.

One of the things I still dislike about Facebook is that it is very difficult to maintain both a professional persona and a private persona.  I am friends with some of my colleagues, but that doesn’t mean that I want them to know how I comment on another friend’s photo.  I keep two e-mail addresses for a similar reason: I like to be able to separate my work life from my home life.

Another thing that bothers me is that people post photos of me on Facebook.  I do not want the picture from the eighth grade Valentine’s Day dance to be on Facebook.  I’d be uncomfortable enough running across the picture in a shoebox in my closet.  I certainly don’t like being confronted with it when I log in and then reading what other people thing about it.  (Seriously, I know my hair was bad.  Do you think this is news?)

I’ve been feeling more and more uncomfortable with my online presence lately.  I read blogs, and make comments that include a link back to this blog.  Okay.  I’m careful to be respectful and kind, and I have complete control over when and where I comment.

But what about comment systems that ask me to comment via my Facebook account?  Then I’ve linked to my real name, and I remain unconvinced that it’s possible to set the privacy settings on Facebook so they actually work.  I just checked my account, and it seems that all the custom privacy settings I put in place when I joined are now gone. 

I read in Rolling Stone that Facebook was planning to launch a music streaming feature.  I already occasionally use Pandora, and like it a lot, but I don’t like that it tells me which of my friends enjoy specific songs.  I don’t need someone I graduated high school with to know that I prefer Ani DiFranco to Amy Grant. 

I recently joined Pinterest, and I find it a nice way to store things I find online that I want to remember.  I do not like that people who are my Facebook friends can follow my pins.  I don’t need anyone to know how I feel about a particular sweater or piece of art.

A voice in my head says, “What’s the big deal?  What do you have to hide?”  Nothing, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I want to feel in control of what I tell people about myself.  I have no desire to share the minutiae of my life with people I know but aren’t close to.

Lots of this, of course, is my own fault.  I could have joined Pinterest with an unrelated login instead of my Facebook one (and would have if I had understood the ramifications).  I could have gently ignored the Facebook requests of everyone but my closest friends and family.  I didn’t, and I accept responsibility for that.

I think what bothers me is that it’s quite difficult to opt out of these things.  I needed to understand how Pinterest worked, which I couldn’t do until I actually signed up.  I am still not sure how Pandora became linked to my account.  It feels as if the integration of my private life into everything I do online is a steamroller, and I’m trying to figure out how to stop it while it’s already in motion.

I felt that I was being a bit paranoid until I read this.  

This morning I deleted my connection to Facebook from my Pinterest account (I think), and then I deactivated my Facebook account.  

Want to know how I am or what I'm doing?  Ask me; I'm still here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Presents Revealed

Today I have a roundup of finished projects.  Some of these have been done for a very long time and sat waiting patiently for a friend's birthday.

Clock Cozy and Sugar Maple socks, 
both knit in Knitpick's Felici in the Afternoon colorway

Entrelac Cap, knit in Knitpick's Chroma Worsted in the Roller Skate colorway

This hat was one of the most enjoyable items to knit that I've found.  I have no idea why it was so fun, but it was better than watching Britcoms while drinking iced coffee.

I knit these owl mittens to match the hat.  Chroma has a very long color repeat, so it does some strangely interesting things.

Spillyjane's Owl Mittens,
 knit in Knitpick's Palette in Black and Chroma Fingering in Roller Skate

I think the back is just as beautiful as the front.  I've knit a few pair of fancy mittens now, and I've done at least three different patterns for the back.  I used this pattern on the Fornicating Deer Mitts as well.  Those were also done in Chroma, although in a different colorway.  I think Knitpicks should either a) hire me, b) send me free yarn, or c) go public so at least I could buy stock in it.  The amount of yarn I buy from there is a bit staggering, and there's no sign of me being able to stop.  Oh, well.  It's better than a crack habit.

I'm nearing the end of a mammoth project, so hopefully I'll be able to talk about that later in the week.  For now, let's just keep our fingers crossed that the tubular bind-off isn't going to be the kryptonite I fear it is.

I hope you're having a great week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The work business is finally slowing, and I find myself able to breathe again.

Things are percolating in my head.  

And I'm knitting.  So much knitting.