Friday, October 31, 2008

a non-Halloween post

Yesterday my sleepy self was roused by the complete stillness of a frozen morning. I was walking bleary-eyed but brisk to the bus stop - no running jam this time - when I noticed the grass standing at crisp attention. It, along with branches, leaves, wind, and sky, was immobile in a morning frost not yet broken by the sun.

This was the first frost this season. Not for the grass, I'm sure, but first because I was now part of the whitened morning instead of snug in bed and unaware.

I also got another job this week, working as a program developer for the local senior center. My days from here on out will be 40 hours split in 2. Don't get excited. I am getting paid for the second split, but my annual salary has not increased significantly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

my first day of not-working

I don't think it's good for a person to power-walk a 50 lb laptop to catch the bus while snarfing 2 pieces of toast and jam. It certainly wasn't good for my pants. Somewhere between my front door and the bus stop, red raspberry jam glopped onto the front right leg of my khakis.

Welcome back to the working world, Erin.

Once on the bus, I took a deep breath in to my bodymind (I'm still doing yoga - impressed?) and the sky turned a lovelier shade of gray as I told myself that any stress in the day's museum work could be washed away as soon as I remembered that no one is actually paying me to do any of this to begin with.

(breathe in) ... Ahhhhh ...

Actually, I quite enjoy the pressure I already feel as part of the museum staff. A grant application is due on Friday, and I've got a big-small part in getting it through.

Plus, several coworkers eat lunch together every day while doing the LA Times crossword. I think I'll like it here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

fall flavors

Time for another travel report. We finally convinced my in-laws that they'd enjoy the upper midwest, as long as they avoided November through April. So they came out with Abe's youngest brother for the weekend.

Trying to do all things Michigan, we visited the Ford Factory for a tour of how they make F150s, picked pumpkins off the vine of the Giant Pumpkin Patch, went to a cider mill for donuts, cider, strudel, and cheese, and played in the fall leaves.

Trying to do all things Ann Arbor, we ate Indian one night, German the next, Chinese following, and Middle Eastern to finish. All were delectable.

Halloween Costume Hint #3

She could have been a librarian.

Hint #2
Saturday mornings in the 1970s ... and 1980s ...

Hint #1
Orange and red.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

barely employed

Since graduating in April with a master's degree in Information (I'll leave it to you to decide what capital-Information could possibly mean), I've been looking for a job in one of the worst job markets in the country. I've been very successful - going on 6 months!

I had been in correspondence with a local museum that I really wanted to work for, doing grantwriting and evaluation. They wanted to hire me, and had finally managed to make room in the budget for me, when the economic crisis hit and their budget when on freeze.

So, being the determined and self-sacrificing person that I am, I went in to the museum this week and offered to do the same thing, but for free.

I'll be "working" about 20 hours a week, 5 of which will be paid front desk time, at $7.40/hr. That averages out to $1.80/hr in wages. For comparison's sake, I used data from the 2007 MSI Employment Report to create this graph showing my starting salary along with averages of other graduates across different industries.

Gee. With all this cash flow, I think I'll finally go buy new socks.

Halloween Costume Hint #2

Saturday mornings in the 1970s ... and 1980s ...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Check out what's in my living room


The latest and loveliest addition to our family. Some of you may not know that I played the piano - extensively - throughout high school. Once I went to college that got placed on the back burner. I mean, the way, way, back burner, since I didn't really have ready access to a piano and I had to spend my time on reading lists and term papers.

I have wanted to bring piano back into my life for a long time, but didn't think that would be possible for a few years more, at least. But thank you, thank you, thank you, to my generous mother- and father-in-law, who made it possible for us to get this beautiful Yamaha Clavinova CLP 240 digital piano. It sounds and plays like a dream.

I will try to work my fingers back into shape and record a piece for the blog soon. Soon meaning it will probably take months to get to where I can play decently again. Stay tuned. (haha, like tuning a piano)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

24 going on 82

Last week I commented to Abe that I felt like I was retired. Getting up when I feel like it, going on mid-morning walks to enjoy nature, picking up random hobbies like wreath-making, grocery shopping in the afternoon, reading an entire book in one day.

Well, when I said retired, I didn't mean elderly. Which is how I felt when I opened the mailbox today and found this:

I blacked out the return address to retain some degree of anonymity. What you should be noticing is my attempt to post a letter to Grandma Gong at address Grandma Gong. The stamp says "Returned for Better Address." USPS has such high standards. Anyone have any better addresses I can borrow?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

wreath 2.0

There is a new update available! Indelibleedibles must be restarted in order to install this update. Would you like to restart now and add 20 gigs of cheap fixes to problems you don't know about and shouldn't have to deal with in the first place?

*blush* Oops, this isn't Windows Vista.

My bout of creative energy came quickly. Here is my new and improved wreath. No sagging this time. You could probably even injure someone with a direct blow to the head.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

up next, insider trading, in warm autumn hues

I didn't mean to become a Martha Stewart, I just really wanted to make a fall wreath.

Last Sunday Abe & I collected some beautiful fall leaves. Monday's afternoon project was to ramble in the bushes for stiff grass and pinecones, and then use a little hot glue and wire to create my fall masterpiece.

Ta da!

I think the pinecones are a little weighty for the woven grass, though, because when it hangs on my door it sort of slumps down, like its shoulders are sagging. Once I am imbued with enough creative energy I will roll out version 2.0, which will consist of the more durable stick.

I had some leftover leaves and had happened to find 2 strands of garland at the thrift store for 50 cents a piece. So I whipped up this autumn home warmer.

Well, I'd better be off to make bread, can some raspberry jam, change my hotpads to reflect the new fall decor, and properly tuck in the bed sheet corners.

Friday, October 3, 2008

thank you, elizabeth peters

Behold the fruits of September. We inherited an old coffee table, kitchen table, and 4 chairs from our condo owner. They were all a dull brown, and we've been going for a strikingly rich and seductively simple black-brown in our wood decor. I made it through 2 of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries on CD while sanding, refinishing, and sealing the furniture. That comes out to approximately 30 labor hours.

A few reasons to appreciate the final product, and its creator:

- All labor was done with the strength of me. No power sander.
- I used a Q-tip in some parts.
- Turning wood that isn't stripped down to just the natural wood (no power sander, remember?) from brown to black takes 8 thin coats of finish.
- The first table attempt failed, and had to be redone, from start to finish.
- The table legs detach. After working on just the tabletop, I had to attach the legs. Did I mention the tabletop weighs about 500 pounds? I propped the tabletop onto 4 chairs, then added books on top of each chair to ratchet the table up, 2.5 inches at a time. My forearms, biceps, and shoulder ached for the next week.

Kitchen table and chairs. Really, 500 pounds. It expands with 2 leaves, as well.

The coffee table is our deck table. The chairs don't really work there, but they don't fit anywhere else.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

thus it begins

We went out last night to enjoy a free concert by the university's philharmonic orchestra.

Hello, October! It was about 45 degrees outside. Add to that the upper midwest windchill. We thought about going to a coffee shop afterward for a treat, but beelined for the car as soon as we stepped out.

Sniff. Last Thursday the high was 80 degrees. Yesterday topped out at 56.