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Nine months...

So it's been about 9 months since I last posted anything. Things have been... well, you've been alive too, so you know what they've been.

Thirteen months ago today, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. This was a very good thing. I had been planning and hoping for this for a few years at that point and at 40, it was starting to seem less and less likely to actually happen. I thought I was prepared for it to be just her and I (she was conceived with the help of a sperm donor and a doctor/IUI) but I didn't realize just how alone we would be. Because, as we all know, covid hit right about that time. It also happened that when I was not quite 2 months pregnant, the hospital I had worked at for 10 years went bankrupt and while they were eventually bought out, I didn't make the inevitable cut. (Texas is a right to work state--a nice bit of Orwellian doublespeak that means that you DON'T actually have any right to work. An employer can fire you for any reason--or no reason--they wish, without recourse for you. So if, say, your employer decides to let everyone above a certain paygrade go, that's entirely within their purview).

Two weeks after getting the boot, my state shut down because of Covid. I managed to get exactly 2 interviews in before that. Both called to let me know that while they liked me as a potential employee, they'd been put on hiring freezes until the covid lockdown/the financial strains caused by said lockdown lifted.

That's how I found myself pregnant, jobless (with zero-job hopes), and quarantined away from anyone and everyone I had expected to be with me during my pregnancy. Not a great time to be uber-hormonal, just saying. :p

After years of careful planning, absolutely nothing was going to plan. This is not something that planning types like myself enjoy.

Thankfully, I did finally get a job (though, covid is still very much with us here in Texas). I was actually sitting in my car at the hospital, waiting to get my pre-baby-delivery covid test that would determine if I got to have anyone in the room with me when K was born or if I was going to have to do that part alone too when my phone rang. It was one of those first people I had interviewed with back in February (it was now September), offering me a job. I gratefully accepted, even though it meant that my maternity leave would be only what time it took between K being born (which would happen 3 days later) and all my pre-employment screenings to clear. (I ended up getting about two and a half weeks post emergent c-section--another long story I'd rather just forget--before starting back on 10 hr shifts. Isn't the American system just the best!?!?).

*Deep breath* K is now almost 5 months old and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm getting my head back above water. I wouldn't even be close to here if it weren't for the AMAZING help of some absolutely wonderful ex-coworkers turned dear friends who made sure K and I had everything we needed, even if it meant leaving it by the door and honking hello from the driveway. One of these days, I WILL get her nursery put together. (Didn't seem wise when I didn't know when--or where--I would work again). My goal it to do it before she is old enough to help me move the furniture. *grins*

So here is to 2021. We've got no where to go but up.

'Sup Dawg?
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cheeze HnG

It's already May!?!?

Okay, so a lot has been going on. More than I have the energy to really get into at the moment (or maybe even ever) so I'm not going to bother even trying. Suffice it to say that I find myself in a place where I feel like life isn't moving (forwards, backwards, sided-to-side). Or maybe that life is moving, but I'm somehow stuck, unable to move with it and starting to worry that I'll find myself left behind.

The planner in me just wants to be able to make a plan but I feel like I can't because I'm stuck, standing at a crossroads, waiting to find out if I'm supposed to turn left or right and damn it if the people directing traffic don't have me waiting what seems like forever for them to make up their painfully opaque minds. I can't move forward with getting ready for A on the chance that they'll decide B. I can't start the ball rolling on B because they may still decide A. I don't even care what the decision is at this point. I just want a decision. Full stop.

Anyway, as you can probably imagine if you know anything about me, this all has me feeling less than happy. First clue was when I realized the other day that I haven't really stitched since this all started. Stitching is usually my go-to mood stabilizer, but I can't quite seem to work up the energy to even bother. Thankfully, I had a strong incentive to actually get something pulled together: my sister's birthday present. It gave me a good excuse to pull something together--even if it was a small something. And while I stole the general idea from a fellow instagram cross stitcher, the design is all my own:


Technically it's a pin cushion. But since she doesn't sew/stitch, I guess for her it can be a pillow for a doll sized couch or chair. I had hoped that completing it might somehow brighten me up, make me feel better, but somehow, it just seems to have driven home how crappy I really feel right now and how much I really need life to start moving again. Wish me luck.
fuji die


Apparently I never got around to posting this year's Christmas ornaments. I blame this deadly funk I've had. I almost never get sick but when I do, my body tries to really go for the gold. *sighs*

Anyway, the funk seems to be clearing and I was actually able to remember that I needed to post these on my livejournal. *grins*





Anyone who runs in any cross stitch circles has probably seen these ornaments a dozen times over stitched by other people. What can I say, I had to have them as soon as I saw the pattern... and so did everyone else. Hahaha!

Anyway, here's to a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
drunk HnG Akira

Killing Commendatore

Reading Haruki Murakami's most recent book Killing Commendatore and I've got to say... I'm not really sure what I think.

I hadn't rushed into to this one because most of the reviews I read were something along the lines of "rehashed Murakami" and "just his same-old, same-old tropes, yet again—nothing new". But I'm reading this book and, speaking as someone who has read all of his other books, with the exception of the one about jogging (because, well, J. Washington Irving talking here), this book feels very different to me. But if asked (or not asked), to explain what I thought was different about it, I would find myself hard-pressed to put it into words.

Yes, there are some general commonalities with many of Murakami’s other novels. First person perspective, vaguely supernatural/otherworldly teases, epiphany shepherded by the unnaturally sagacious animals surrounding Person 1 who finds himself otherwise removed from humanity at large etc, etc. So I can’t bring myself to say that the reviewers were wrong, per say and yet…

They’re not right.

This book is not rehashed Murakami. It is not cut-and-pasted Murakami. It’s not even vintage Murakami.

(I know, I know, bold words for a reader who is barely 150 pages into a nearly 750 page book).

And if you asked me to tell you why I felt this so strongly, well... I guess the closest I could get to naming what I feel is to say there’s something really different, special even, about the tone. That’s still not the right word, but I think it is the nearest that I’ll be able to come to what I'm trying to express. The tone of this novel is what sets this book apart from (and ahead of) Murakami’s other works. It’s not unrecognizably Murkami—just about three quarters of a step off the usual Murakami. But that makes it feel so much clearer, even simpler. But not simple as in lackluster. Simple in a beautiful way. Simple in the "doesn’t need the distraction" kind of way. In the frustrating way that one person’s natural talent can sometimes seem to overshadow another’s lifetime of practice. Or like in a skill that can’t be taught, only found.

It’s a clean tone that, frankly, I find myself envying. I don’t think I’d ever be able to write this way, even after a lifetime’s worth of practice. I find the words hanging with me, reverberating around me in a way that I don’t know I’ve ever experienced before while reading. The story pulls me in and I can’t seem to pack it away. Even now. When I’ve forced myself to set aside the book in the name of getting some desperately needed sleep, instead I find myself up thinking and typing about it. Able to force myself to stop the physical act of reading and yet, not able to shut it out of my head.

If the first 150 pages are any indication, this may be my favorite Haruki Murakami book yet.

I don’t know. Maybe none of that makes any sense (sleep deprivation will do that). Or maybe my opinion will change by the end (I hope not, I feel like that might break my heart).

Anyway. Maybe you should consider trying it out yourself.

J. Washington Irving

“The way I see it,” Menshiki said, “there’s a point in everybody’s life where they need a major transformation. And when that times comes you have to grab it by the tail. Grab it hard, and never let go. There are some people who are able to, and others who can’t.”
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Stitchers' Escapes Alaska!

Just put the last stitch in my most recent Stitchers' Escapes cruise sampler:


I did have to add a line to account for my longer than average name. And I used a little motif and the variegated floss from my Stitchers' Escapes European cruise sampler just because I could. *grins*.

Now to get back to the project I was working on before I left!

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Small Talk, Ch. 3

Small Talk
Chapter 1: Small Talk
Chapter 2: Shark Tank
Chapter 3: No Harm, No Foul

Daisuke sighed.

Everyone has that one person in their life. Or so he told himself

That one friend that they like, truly, whose friendship they value, and yet, that they still find themselves resenting or loathing even, often when they least expect it.

The one person that they try, often vigorously, even desperately, perhaps relentlessly not to hate, and yet, despite their best efforts, still do hate.

It is an enmity that is not constant. It fades with distance and time, and can even disappear entirely upon occasion, replaced by nostalgia and sentimentality. It is a hostility that waxes and wanes, only brought forth by, say, extended and/or frequent proximity to the person in question.

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K is for Kitty

A quick little finish and one of my favorite creatures to boot! Between me and livejournal, I'm hoping this will be for the nursery wall, if you catch my drift. *grins*

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Cross Stitch Carping...

You know what really drives me way more crazy than it should? People who store their cross stitch floss like this:


I can hear you saying, "But I thought you used plastic totes and bobbins yourself..." To which I answer, "Yes. But I have enough sense to store the bobbins upright so I can read the G-DAMNED FUCKING NUMBERS LIKE A G-DAMNED FUCKING SANE PERSON."

Oh my god. Form over function at its most brain-dead. It's like the ass-hats who turn their book spines around because they like the way it looks. And all because someone who must not have ever stitched much decided the colors were "prettier" when the bobbins were displayed that way and then idiots who use their floss more as a status symbol than say, cross stitch tool said, hey you're right, and started following the leader (directly off the brain-dead cliff).

Anyway. I'm the idiot for letting it get to me. But still, every time I'm scrolling through a cross stitch group and see something like the image above the rage boils, deep inside. Yeah. I think they're fucking posers. Not that it matters. The kind of "stitchers" who would do something so dumb will either, one, stitch enough to figure out how stupid they're being and stand their bobbins up correctly or, two, never stitch enough to matter anyway. It's a problem that ultimately solves itself either way.

Still... I gift you my rage.
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The ornament all stitched together:

front            back

I actually did my own cording and tassel (super-duper easy!) using the red and green from the "lattice" sections. I have to say, I'm actually really proud, whether I win or not!