Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Well, Sometimes It's The Same

You know, one of the interesting things about my particular brand of crazy is that on a day when I have gotten a full night of deep, quality sleep versus a day like today, when I tried for hours and hours to fall asleep and failed miserably, ending up curled up on the couch watching Robot Chicken, I can see the exact same scenario two different ways. Observe:

Scenario A: I arrive at work to find giant stacks of samples. The twelve hour run I had going last night after I left stopped working a whole ten minutes after I left and most of it has to be done over again. More and more samples come in all day long, and I don't get to eat lunch again on yet another twelve hour day.

Well-rested: "Ha! Isn't life funny. I guess I get more money today. Oh well, at least I didn't go get a big fatty lunch. At least I'm busy and not bored."

Today: "Crap* on a stick."

Scenario B: Knit night is tonight.

Well-rested: "Yay! Knit night! I get to see all my friends and have a delicious smoothie at the coffee shop and play with soft, colorful, squishy things!"

Today: "Don't wanna. Too tired. I'd rather drug myself and go to bed at 7:00. Crap* on a stick."

Scenario C: This season of The Walking Dead is over.

Well-rested: "Crap* on a stick."

Today: "Crap* on a stick."

*And, of course, by "crap" I mean an entirely different word. Use your imagination.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Text Time 23

Starring The Kwiddens, and pictures!

Me: I'm going to McDonald's. Gonna get a crappy burger.
Kwiddens: Funtime. I'm gonna make some damn cookies.
Me: Mmmm, what kind?
Kwiddens: Chocolate chip with Dove dark chocolate chunks.
Me: Hell yes.
Kwiddens: Exactly.

 Me: Num!

 I'm a caramel corn freak.
Me: Freaking yum.
Kwiddens: Hells yes. I ate almost half of a gallon bag of the shit the other day. Shhh.
Me: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Kwiddens: I want to give people caramel corn but then I'm like "NO IT'S MINE!" New low (high?): I just ate caramel corn crumbs with a spoon.
Me: You need to grind up some Lorotab 10s into it next time...
Kwiddens: Hells yes.

 Some people wear poodle skirts. Nyah wears a noodle skirt.
Me: Messy bebby!

 Baby for sale!
Me: Mother of the year award!
Kwiddens: Oh sad :(
Me: You put your baby in a gun case. Silly!
Kwiddens: She climbed in! And it's not like she can get hurt in there.
Me: I know! I was teasing you!
Kwiddens: Ok :) I was like "Oh no! I'm a terrible mom!"
Me: Haha, no way. You're the best momma I know.
Kwiddens: Fanks.

Me: Too many syllables. Too much work!
Kwiddens: Haha!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Riding And Riding And Riding...

Today you get a random assortment of memories. Enjoy.

One time, in 8th grade, I was in a spelling bee. Now, I'm a really good speller. In 3rd grade, I won the school spelling bee, and went on to the city spelling bee, where I sucked because the woman who was reading out the words had some sort of accent and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what she was saying. ANYWAY, moving on. 8th grade spelling bee: I was given the word "mustache", and having been raised in a household with many, many books, mostly classics, both English and early American, I had only seen it spelled "moustache", so I lost. I think I should have won, since it IS English, after all. That's what I get for being a precocious reader, damn it.

In college, I had a friend/classmate/coworker who was an excellent cook. I paid him $10 a week to bring me homemade lunch every day. He was cooking himself lunch anyway, so he just brought me an extra portion. I think he actually made money off of it, since he made everything from scratch. There was homemade pasta, dumplings, stew, all sorts of things. Always delicious and nutritious, with vegetables (which I sorely needed, since I mostly lived off of vending machine food and breakfast cereal). SCORE!

One time when I was working at Dairy Queen in high school, we all decided to have a superhero day. All of the employees put on aprons backwards and pretended they were capes, and then we all covered up our name tags with tape, on which we wrote our superhero names. I can't remember what mine was, but we got the strangest looks that day...

Once, also in 8th grade, my friend Lori, Kwiddens, and I (this was before she was The Kwiddens...she was just Kristen at that point) went on a bike ride. We lived in Sioux Falls at the time, and there is an amazing trail system next to the river. It's one of the things I miss most about living in South Dakota. Anyway, the three of us were going to ride down to Falls Park, which is about a five mile ride to the left of where we entered the trail system off of 26th Street. I had only made this ride once, and didn't remember if I were supposed to turn right or left, and so I guessed right. WRONG. We ended up riding and riding and riding, and riding and riding and riding, and we were so confused, and didn't know how far we'd gone, so we ended up going something like 15 miles in the wrong direction, ending up in Sertoma Park on the other side of town. Oops. It took hours. Fortunately, I was in wicked good shape, and though it was tiring, it was totally doable. I would give anything to be in shape so I could do that again...

In college, I was the community co-chair of the BYU Chemistry Club. My biggest job was organizing and performing in chemistry magic shows in elementary, middle, and high schools all over the valley. I could rarely find people who had the safety training, understanding of the demonstrations, and time enough to do this, so I did 90% of them myself. It was a BLAST. Being the Lecture Prep supervisor had its advantages, as I had keys to many parts of the Benson building and an unlimited account at the chemistry stockroom. I put on so many magic shows, but I also played pranks here and there...did you know that if you put methylene blue in brownies, they'll make anyone who eats them pee blue? Fun times.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who Needs Sleep?

You know how I'm always making a much bigger deal of things than I really need to? And it keeps me up nights, worrying about things that don't require my worrying? And it stresses me out so much that I start feeling sick all the time?


Work has been stressing the hell out of me lately, and as a result, I'm not sleeping well, and as a result of that, I'm walking around all day in a tired haze, my nose is stuffy and runny (although that might have a little bit of something to do with forgetting my Claritin all weekend...), I'm getting headaches every single day, and I'm generally achy. Whine, whine, whine.

So what have I been stressing so much about? Well, to make a long story short, a giant company bought our small company and everything has begun to change. And we all know how I am about change.

Some of these changes are minor, such as having to wear safety glasses over my glasses (they make me look like a giant bug), and having to wear these "safety shoes" in which, ironically, I slipped on the ice in the parking lot a few weeks ago. The shoes were uncomfortable, but I've discovered that if I wear hand-knit socks, they're actually pretty comfortable once I get past their weighing eleventy-million pounds (steel toed, you know, because I'm so likely to drop things on my feet while I'm in the lab...). Since I know a sock knitter quite intimately, this little bit of change is no longer a concern. I'm not uncomfortable looking like a giant bug, either, because whom am I trying to impress?

The next bit of business is the new bonus system. Seeing as we didn't have one before and we have one now, you'd think I'd be totally stoked about this, right? Well...yeah...kinda...but here's the deal: it's performance-based, and my performance directly affects the bonuses of everyone in the lab, and everyone else's performance affects mine. No pressure. Some of the things the performance is based on are not a big deal. Safety is one of them. Seeing as my little accident in January is the only lab accident we've had in years and years, and it was classified as a "near-miss", we've totally got that one in the bag (besides, I have steel toed shoes and bug glasses. How can I lose?). Another thing is making up the business we lost from one of our clients who went and got their own mercury analyzer (jerks...), and took $8,000 a month away from us that we now need to make up. I'VE BEEN WORKING OVERTIME.

The biggest bit of this, though, is that they want us to get ISO certified for heavy metals. Oh look, that's me! This certification involves changing all my test methods to match a complicated set of criteria, plus more blanks, spikes, standard additions, QCs, and much, much more, so every run will take much longer than it does now, and I'm already running around all day like a chicken with my head cut off. I haven't taken more than ten actual lunch breaks since New Year's. It's getting ridiculous. Not only will this lengthen my runs, but OH GOOD HELL THE PAPERWORK. Right now the most paperwork I have to deal with is documenting in my lab books the results of my daily tests, and keeping records of instrument maintenance.

Now the plain fact is this: when things have changed in the past, I've rolled with it. It's caused a bit of stress in the beginning, but I quickly get used to it and that's just the way it is. When we switched from the graphite furnace to the ICP-MS, I thought I'd never figure it all out and I lost a lot of sleep then, too. Same thing with switching from the CVAA to the DMA. Mercury is SO MUCH BETTER NOW, but it was stressful at the time. So why am I wigging out about this now? Because I'm me. Duh.

The last thing that's been stressing me out lately is that we're trying to sell the old GFAA (it's been sitting there for more than two years, it's about freaking time). The problem is that they want me to get it up and running again, and they sent over test samples for me to run on it to demonstrate that it still works. Now, here's the thing: back when it was working, it didn't really work. I pulled up some of the old data today, and the QCs were just ridiculous. It was a piece of crap then, and I'll bet one of my spindles that it's still a piece of crap.

The plan is to get Richard to come over and tune it up a bit and help me get it up and running, and then run the samples they sent over to us.

Now, really, I shouldn't be stressing about this. I examined the issue more closely today. I printed off the old SOPs for how to run the furnace and the specific instructions for how to prepare and run all the standards, samples, and matrix modifiers. I poked around the old software to re-familiarize myself with what's what. And you know what? It's starting to come back to me. I think I can do this. Especially if the big company decides to approve getting Richard to come over. The best part? The samples they sent came, and they sent me pre-made standards, a blank, and the samples are already prepped. They couldn't have made it easier for me. See? I totally had nothing to worry about, and yet the past few weeks I've been stressing myself out. Unnecessarily. Yep.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cookies, Crab Legs, Cupcakes, And Company!

Birthday Week began eight days before my birthday, because Kwiddens spoils me terribly!

First, she came over to my house and we started baking sugar cookies. She had made the dough ahead of time, so all we had to do was roll it out, bake it, and frost it. We baked them and let them cool while we went to dinner.

She took me to Red Lobster, where we ate delicious crab legs and laughed and complained about all sorts of things, because Kwiddens time is therapy time, even on birthdays.

After dinner we got back home and frosted the cookies with pink frosting, because pink is my favorite.

 At some point we got a bit silly.

She made me way more cookies than I could eat by myself! I had sugar cookies with every meal for the next several days. Don't tell the Diet Police!

The following weekend a few friends made me some cupcakes and decorated them themselves:

Everyone is so sweet to me!

I got a few birthday presents, including some nice soap and hand lotion from one friend, and some pretty sparkly fiber from another, and a lot of really beautiful fiber from my mother-in-law, who also got me a little tool to help me spin more consistently. I of course bought myself birthday fiber and yarn (from Scott), and will eventually put pictures of all of it up here in one of my spinning posts.

The present I'll be most excited for I don't have yet. Isaac is going to make me my very own custom spinning wheel! I am SO STOKED. It'll be a while, since he is going to make it from scratch, but when I get it I'll post about it and show you pretty, pretty pictures.

On my actual birthday, two Sundays ago, my family was swamped and it was just bad timing all around, so we waited until this past Sunday to get everyone together for dinner. We went to Iggy's and had a lovely time with each other, and then Birthday Week was over.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Snuggly Red Socks

I finished another pair of socks!

And that's my friend photobombing with her finger.

And, of course, I had to start a new pair:

I was going to just do regular socks, but I am feeling rather ambitious, and will try for knee socks!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Text Time 22

Me: I need to clean my house. Things are piling up.
Kwiddens: I need to eat something that's not Twix. :)

TV and baking at the same time!
Me: Clever!

Em: Problems with having photography majors as friends: you end up wearing nothing but a satin negligee in the snow for two hours.
Me: There better be awesome pics as a result!
Em: We got the whole shoot done, but at the price of hypothermia.
Me: Are you okay?
Em: I am now.

Me: How you doin, Mim?
Mim: Doin alright. I lost my glasses. Sucjs to lose glasses because yoi bcan't see to find the.
Me: Or to text, apparently :P

Jorg: According to my teacher, gas is a liquid.
Me: Does he mean gasoline?
Jorg: No.
Me: Was he trying to say "fluid" instead of liquid? Because that would actually be correct.
Jorg: He says the two terms are interchangeable.
Me: Nooooooooo. He seems to have gotten his degree in Dumbassery.
Jorg: I told Mom what you said. She says she loves you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Trick Is To Be Stoned

So I've been practicing spinning a bit here and there, and actually remembering to take pictures, because I want to actually blog about it, not just think about blogging about it. Look at me go, blogging about it!

At the spinning workshop I bought this extra batt to practice with:

It's a mixture of cashmere, wool, firestar, and bamboo. Here's how it spun up:

I would have been happy with it, except the white bits (the wool) didn't draft nearly as smoothly as all the other fibers, and so it made for nubbly bits here and there. I felt like if those bits hadn't been there, the results would have been much more consistent. I liked the pink and orange together, though.

A while ago I ordered a sampler from a woman here in Utah who has an Etsy store:

It's all merino wool. I wanted to practice seeing how the colors end up spinning up together. I can't yet see in my mind what things will look like spun up. It'll take practice.

So far I've only spun one of these. Before:


Interestingly, I didn't like the colorway that much in the braid, but I liked it more spun. Not my favorite, but pretty good.

As I've been practicing, I've had two goals: to spin thinner singles, and to spin more consistent singles. I think overall I've been getting more consistent:

These three pictures are in order, of course. You can see the last one is much more even than before. Interestingly, I spun this one while I was on Klonopin (and I was knitting on Shelby's shawl the other day and I had had an entire bottle of wine, and I knit faster with fewer mistakes). Interesting...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Look! Shiny Things!

One of the women in my knitting group is organizing a retreat for some of her online friends, and one of the things she's putting together for it is goodie bags with samples and fiber-related treats from indie dyers, spinners, and crafters in the area. It's meant to drum up business for these local artisans.

I offered to make sets of stitch markers for her. I made twenty sets of six, and then kept one from each set for myself...taxes, you know. Here are most of them:

I don't do beadwork often, but occasionally I just get the urge, and the result is pretty things!