Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kinston's Christmas Parade

I thought we had missed it because we went for breakfast - but we managed to catch the last 45 min of a one hour show! Took lots of pictures...
 All the emergency vehicles in Lenoir County, it seemed, were here with all the sirens going. I was a bit confused about what this had to do with Christmas.

 Here is the Kinston Free Press car (why wasn't Bryan Hanks, editor, driving his Jeep?) with Bryan at the wheel, Jon Dawson and Citizen of the Year.
 The Jesus Train.

 This was a pretty good marching band. Dan noted three sousaphones.
 Cynthia and Michael from the Overland Gallery! I actually got out of the truck to take this photo. Who was the gorilla brandishing a candy cane as a sceptre?
 Live band singing something Christmasy.
 The only Smart Car in all of North Carolina.
 Dogs! With costumes! And they aren't all pit bulls! (Most of the dogs around here are pit bulls, it's rare to see a different breed).
 The Canadian and Indian flag on this float caught my eye, then we saw flags of other nations.
 These little dancey girls were cute and saucy, but man they sure looked cold.
 Dan said "An airport tug with an inline six". Note the leopard sitting up front - probably not a real leopard.
 This one was confusing because it says "Jesus... The Greatest Gift"
 I liked this one a lot. A gingerbread house!
 Happy Birthday Jesus!
Dan said "It's the Chick-Fil-A show!" (get it?)

I was live tweeting as I took all these photos. The parade was much better than I was expecting. There were a lot of vehicles that had no decorations on them so it was hard to see what they had to do with Christmas. It sort of made us think about how much fun it would be to create a parade float!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Today I learned what mansplaining is

We are in the last week or so of packing up our house and belongings and getting ready to leave, and as we are divesting ourselves of stuff, we have posted a number of things on Craigslist. Yesterday we sold the Nissan Dan drove here with back in 2011, as well as the picnic table we had been using in lieu of a kitchen table. We have lots of random things up for sale, like you would expect when moving, including a pile of lumber that we got at a going-out-of-business auction in the spring.

It's basically scrap lumber, I don't know if there are any full pieces there, but there is a lot and it is in good shape and we decided to sell the whole lot of it for $50 - a reasonable deal.

I have had two inquiries so far - one fellow wanting to come look at it (and he did, though when he didn't show up at the time he said he would I called to find out he was late). He arrived in a suit driving a car, he's wanting it for his rental properties and pointed out to me what a 2x4 is. Are you kidding me?  Yes I know what a 2x4 is. I spent the summer/fall/winter of 2012 building forms, pouring concrete, and building a foundation for a house thankyouverymuch. Not to mention that I basically grew up with power tools - my parents owned a construction equipment rental company when I was growing up. I was swinging a hammer at age 5. I have probably used more power tools than Mr. Suit. Well, he couldn't decide, wanted to let me know tonight whether he would take it. I said I need to know sooner rather than later because we are moving and I have other people interested.

Enter guy number two. He emailed me last night to tell me he would take the whole lot. When I spoke to him today (at the point where I figured the first guy was a write-off) first he said he would call me back later (which he did) and then when he did call back he was asking how many complete 2x4s there are, and then explained to me what a 2x4 is. Good f***ing grief. As if by nature of being a woman I am somehow deaf to lumberspeak. It's scrap lumber, buddy, I don't know how many complete 2x4s there are, you will have to come see for yourself. But it's all been sitting outside since May and is definitely not going to be suitable for framing in a roof. Even I, a mere woman, know that.

The other issue is that of language. I'm pretty good with piecing together conversations with broken English - I have lived in Korea and Japan and among many people for whom English is their second language. But I tell you what - I cannot seem to grasp the Southern tongue. Whenever we outsiders from other places hear Southerners speak, we refer to it as them "speaking Southern" to each other. I can only grasp about 40% of what is being said, no joke. Sometimes it is the pronunciation that throws me, sometimes it's the jargon or local idioms, and sometimes it is the unexpected repetition. I have to work really hard at paying attention to grasp what is being said to me sometimes.

At any rate, I felt rather insulted at the whole 2x4 thing and decided to share it with y'all. (The other night at the restaurant: "Y'all's meals should be here soon" Why not just say "your"?) I aired my grievances about this on Twitter and had a couple of friends (@ohsweetie and @jellidonut) tell me this was "mansplaining". OH now I get it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There are no Cockroaches in Utah

So, we're moving to Utah next month.

I can't really go into details at this point but we're doing it for family.

I have lived in a lot of places and moved around a lot (I know some of my readers can relate) and I cling to the dream of one day staying in one place long enough to settle in and unpack, but unfortunately North Carolina is not that place. It's too far away from family who need us.

I have been here nearly ten months now, if you can believe that. In that time I have worked four jobs (furniture store, live music night club, health food store and art gallery), met hundreds of people, swam in the Atlantic Ocean, seen all three of North Carolina's aquariums (and one in South Carolina), visited our nation's capital three times, found every Asian grocery store in a 150-mile radius, saw sorghum, tobacco and cotton growing for the first time, experienced fire ants, killed dozens of cockroaches in my house, and have learned to love the south and all its charms. I will miss being here.

As a result of my jobs (especially managing the bar) and my relationship to the brewery (i.e. my husband's job), I have managed to build a lot of social capital in a way that was never possible in any of the other places I have lived. There are some really amazing people in this community and I have come to develop some great friendships. I am also pretty sure that I speak differently now - I bet if I go visit my people in Canada now they will notice how differently I pronounce vowels...

I have about four weeks to pack up the house, we will be traveling over Christmas. We have family near Salt Lake City, where we are moving to. I haven't been to SLC since our honeymoon in 2009, but certainly the few times I have been through Utah I have enjoyed it there. It is a beautiful state.

It turns out that Salt Lake City is a hotbed of health informatics research, the field I have not been in since I graduated with my Master of Science in 2009 and to which I hope to return. I have already put out some feelers and with any luck will be gainfully employed with the University of Utah in some capacity by my 40th birthday in March. Dan... well, you know, he can do any number of things well so he is extremely employable.

What about the Mormons, you say? I'm sure they won't hurt us. Just now we are in the land of the Free Will Baptists, and I think the Mormons speak a different language entirely, so we are not concerned. Even if we were at risk of converting I'm sure we wouldn't be eligible because we can't have kids and one wife is all Dan can handle. (Though having a second wife in the house to keep up with the housework would be useful, haha!)

So once again we will be divesting ourselves of the stuff we have accumulated and buy ourselves a trailer for the essentials. Dan has some wood and metal tools that will be coming with us, and hopefully one day soon he will have a shop where he can build stuff for us. But it will be, unfortunately, starting over again. We have very little furniture so will have to buy a dining set and living room furniture when we get there - we will have time for thrift store shopping when I get there I hope.

It's a bittersweet move. Just when I feel settled, we need to uproot, but I am happy to be nearer to family (my sister and mother are ecstatic - cheaper flights for them to come visit). I am also happy to be living in a city again that has things like coffee shops that are open evenings and weekends, bookstores, yarn shops, public transit, orchestra concerts, and access to nature. Also: IKEA! (Our nearest one here is clear across the state and is an entire day trip to get there and back).

I'll be sending out holiday greeting cards in the next week - if I don't have your mailing address, please let me know and I will be sure to send you one!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I've been a terrible blogger

I don't think it's just me. I have been hearing reports of lots of people letting their blog fall to the wayside. In fact, just the other day on twitter, one of my friends said "Is blogging still a thing?"

Sigh. I want to be blogging more, honest I do. For some reason I am finding it really hard to get to my computer. Sometimes that includes *finding* my computer. All joking aside, I feel like I have been working away at all kinds of things and blogging seems like leisure time that I can't seem to muster without feeling guilty*

An update of what's happening. I am now six weeks into my job at the health food store. Really? That sure went by fast! I am getting more hours than I complained of at the beginning and have really settled in. I really like it there and the people I work with. It's tiring and engaging work, but I learn something every day and have fun doing it. Judy tells me every day she appreciates my work and let me tell you, as an employee, that goes a long way in my books. When I first started, Judy told me that she would sell anything I made. Thus, I have been busy making soap!

These last two weeks have seen me in full-on soap production as I have whipped up eight batches which are now curing in the room that was supposed to be our dining room but has actually turned into my craft room/office area. They will be ready around Thanksgiving at the end of November. Since then, Cynthia at the Overland Gallery has also offered to sell them. This makes me happy! Back in Victoria, everyone and their neighbour makes soap but out here, no one is doing it, so there was definitely a niche there for me. What else can I do?

In the spring time I planted TONS of sunflowers and marigold seeds, mostly that were given to me by friends. I have since harvested all the seed heads they have produced and I have hundreds of thousands of those seeds. I could separate them all out and put them in packets for the spring. Wouldn't that be fun?

Kinston has some really weird and strict health restrictions around food production or you know I would be all over that.

Dan and I took a trip to Asheville a few weeks back - I didn't take a lot of photos but maybe a blog post about that is in order. Next weekend I'll be heading off to DC for the AMIA symposium I mentioned in my last post. I have picked out all my outfits for those four days and they are all black, so I'll see if I can do some switching up. I get to take the train! Dan has booked me on the Amtrak and I am so excited to be on a train. It even has wifi!

There has been tons of stuff I have wanted to blog about these past few weeks but didn't write down any of the ideas so I'm falling short here of what to talk about, so this is probably the best place to sign off, especially since dinner is ready (Dan is cooking!)

*knitting and reading novels also fall under this category

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Not the smoothest transition

I must admit I *love* being a housewife. Waking up when I want, setting my own pace, drinking coffee, writing, doing laundry, baking bread, reading/writing/knitting at my leisure. It's really a lot of fun.

But it doesn't pay the bills. My new job at the health food store is nice, but it is not going to pay any bills either. So far I have had only one or two shifts a week, and they are only four hour shifts, so it is definitely not sustainable for me. I'll have a conversation with the owner next week and we'll talk about what our needs are, mine and hers, and see if we can come to a new arrangement.

Part of the problem is that we are planning some weekend trips in the next five weeks. I am going to the AMIA Symposium in DC in the middle of November. I registered for the symposium back in August, paid $700 from basically a whole paycheck in order to be able to go. Normally the people who go to these kinds of things are sponsored by their employer or school. I decided to fork over the money and go so I can meet people and get back into my field - health informatics. I will do all kinds of research before I go - who is presenting, where the attendees are from, who are the right people to approach with my curriculum vitae in hand.Surely with the symposium being so close there should be a fairly good representation from employers in North Carolina, right?

One thing is for certain: there no career for me in Kinston or even Greenville, it sounds like. With my education and experience, well-meaning people who don't know any better keep telling me I'm sure to get something at such-and-such a place. But I have been applying to all of those places. I am either overqualified or don't have the skill set they are looking for. I need a bigger market to be looking in. I'm sure I could find work that would allow me to pay my bills, but my career is idling and after all those years I spent in post-secondary, it's a shame to let all that go to waste. I have huge income-earning potential and after getting a sense of what it is like to run a business (albeit a night club), I am ready for a bigger project to sink my teeth into. But how do I get there? How do I get my foot in the door?

Admittedly this is a terrible time to be looking for work. The US government has been shut down since October 1st and is heading for a default, which will not only mean severe hardship for federal employees, but also to all those businesses that rely on those government agencies and the income generated by them. The US economy as a whole is contracting and will continue to contract. Where will I find my place?

On the other hand, with the Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare), one would think that there is a demand for someone with a health informatics background in this new health care paradigm. Unfortunately the Courtyard Group is enmeshed in another controversy after making a big attempt, it seems, to rebrand itself after what they did a few years ago, and it is they who are responsible for the problems all those millions of Americans who have tried to sign up for Affordable Care but were shut down by website glitches. Interestingly, I was considering taking a job with Courtyard when I graduated in 2009, before all the scandal broke out. I am so glad I dodged that bullet!

I am sure you are wondering too what a job for me in the city will mean for me and Dan. It's hard to know. For the right job, say in Durham, (specifically at Duke) we talked about me getting an apartment for work during the week and coming back to Kinston on weekends. Yes it would suck to be apart so much, especially after our immigration ordeal, but the fact is I need to be earning money and using my brain. Maybe we could find a place to live that's halfway in between here and there - I have friends in British Columbia who do that. I don't have this imaginary well-paying job yet, so it's almost futile to really consider.

I really like not working six days a week. I really like not working weekends, and being able to spend my weekends with Dan is wonderful. The night club was really quite stressful for me, really more stressful than I realized while I was in it. In some ways I'm still having a hard time letting go, but that will come in time.

The other thing I am finding is that now that I am not working in a job that has me interacting with hundreds of people, I... have no social life. I only see people if I go to the restaurants downtown or back to the club for a visit. I would love to join or participate in a stitch night, but for a state that grows cotton there are very few people who do any textile-based crafts in this area. It's really disappointing. I heard there is a book club in Kinston but that it's "mostly old ladies", which wouldn't bother me if it didn't bother them, depending on the kinds of books they read.

And it's not like I can go hang out in coffee shops. There is only one, is only open until 4:00, weekdays. I can't really go for walks or runs in my neighborhood without getting ogled by men or being asked for money/cigarettes - there is a lot of poverty here and I don't feel safe outside my truck or without Dan at my side. Now that I am not completely enmeshed in my job I have time to look around.

I feel hopeful that something really good is about to come along though. I have a lot of applications out there and I am excited about the symposium. Not only will I get reacquainted with the state of the art in health informatics, but I will see who the big players are now and hopefully I recognize a few - I knew all the names back around 2005-2009. I'll give my CV a facelift and I am even reconsidering joining LinkedIn again - I dropped it a few years back when I saw no value in it, but it seems to have changed according to some. (If you have an opinion on this I would love to hear it).

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New job!

I gave my notice at the night club mid-way through August and have ever since been applying for all sorts of jobs, near and far. Despite being "overqualified" for many of them, the ones I feel I am qualified for in my field haven't given me so much as a nibble. I had a really excellent interview a couple of weeks ago, probably the best I have ever had (sorry Jeff, yours is a close second), and would have taken the job if it wasn't for the hours - afternoons and evenings five nights a week, including weekends. After spending so much time away from Dan, I just can't give up my weekends to work anymore. 

There isn't a lot to offer in downtown Kinston but of the businesses that are here, there are some real gems. The brewery and The Red Room bookend a night out for out-of-towners, filled with a dinner to one of Kinston's three downtown restaurants: Ginger 108, Chef and the Farmer, and The Boiler Room. In my mind, that comprises the food and beverage community. There is also the Queen Street Deli, but it is only open weekdays until four, so it mostly serves locals rather than people from out of town.

In the middle of this little community (and I can tell you that, having worked at The Red Room, I know all the people who work in these places) is a health food store called Living Well. For those of us who live in Mitchelltown, two or three blocks away from this food and beverage downtown, Living Well can be viewed as the nearest grocery store. The owner, Judy, has a broad and friendly smile, welcomes everyone into her store, usually by name, and knows what her customers want.

I have been going there about once a week or so for a while now, as have a few of the brewery staff. Judy has been a big supporter of The Red Room and always made sure she had the current poster of the the month's events clearly displayed in her shop. In my last week working at the night club, she asked me if I had anything else lined up, to which I replied "no". She said want to come work for me part time? I said "let's talk!"

We had a great conversation. I know my way around a health food store and already have a lot of product knowledge. I also know a lot about localist movements, CSAs, and how to grow a business. We were both really excited and didn't quite commit, though I had pretty much decided within a day of our conversation that I would go work for her.

A week and a half went by, as I had some things to take care of (my truck! I know have a North Carolina plate on my truck and can legally drive here!) and she was away at a trade show. Turns out we both spent all that time thinking about each other. :-) I went in soon after her shop opened yesterday and we were both so excited she jumped up and hugged me. I start this afternoon.

I honestly did not expect my work path to take me in this direction, but this is a field I am really interested in and have experience with. I can also do a lot of good here. Not only that, Judy clearly values my skills and respects my input, which means a lot to me. I can't remember the last time someone who has just hired me gave me a hug (ever?)

I'll be working weekdays, for the most part, possibly the occasional Saturday. After having the entire weekend with Dan off last weekend, it felt like a l o n g time that we got to spend together which was pretty awesome, so weekdays was definitely the right decision for me. With a staff discount and other perks (casual dress, a four-minute walk to work), not to mention room for advancement, this is definitely the right thing for me right now. Also? I can use more of my skill set and be able to help. I don't have to be around drunk people or smokers, so that's nice too. Lots of people already know me and it will be interesting to see the people of this area from this new perspective. I am excited to start my new job today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Down for the Count

Today I am admitting to myself that I cannot do all the things.

If you follow me on social media or know me in person, you'll have heard me complain of excruciating pain in my shoulder these past two weeks and more. It's like someone has a voodoo doll of me and is drilling a hole into my left shoulder, in the middle part of the blade. I have been alternating between muscle relaxants (methocarbomol) and ibuprofen to help me sleep at night, and taking an average of 600mg of ibuprofen about every two hours to keep the pain down to a level where I can function.

I don't know what I did exactly, because there wasn't a moment where I was set off screaming, but as my job is a very physical one (lifting kegs full of beer, lifting glasses in a tray out of a glass washer, pulling beer, lifting boxes full of bottles, and tons of repetitive movement). I have had repetitive strain injury (RSI) before, in my wrists and hands, from working at places like a meat cutter and the public library. It's that kind of nothing-will-help immobilizing pain and all a person can do is rest.

If I was in Canada, I would have seen a doctor by now. I don't have health insurance in America, and I still don't really know how the system works. In mentioning this to social media, some of my twitter friends have made helpful suggestions first to what my problem might be (tendonitis or RSI in my rotator cuff) and also that there may be free clinics thanks to Obamacare or that, for work related injuries, Worker's Compensation will pay for my doctor visit. I didn't know that there was worker's comp in the US, and apparently the employer has to make the appointment for me, so I have submitted my request to that effect.

In the mean time, this is my last week at work and I have to absolutely admit that I cannot do any more lifting of any kind. I have enough staff now that I don't need to be behind the bar (which is a good thing, considering I am leaving) and who can help me with other things like gathering supplies and doing the cleaning. All I have to do is coordinate the things that need to be done.

Meanwhile, we have friends coming to visit from Canada (one who is originally from Virginia) tomorrow and I wanted to have the house clean and ready for their visit. Here I am also admitting to myself that I cannot undertake that work. Even thinking about lifting the laundry basket makes me wince in pain, there is no way I can drag a vacuum cleaner over our 2,400 square feet. I'm sure they will understand, friends are good like that.

I am still looking for another job and have a lot of leads and possibilities. Here also I have to admit to myself that I cannot do serious physical work anymore. I am strong, it is true, but I can only do so much before I start damaging myself and that won't do. I'm only 39 and have a lot left to do in my life. While I am proud of the fact that I can run a jack hammer and a recip saw, power tools like that leave my hands tingling unpleasantly and lead to later numbness.

Thus I accept my current impairment. I cannot knead bread. I cannot sleep on either side (I have an old shoulder injury on my right side, the current injury is on my left). In fact I cannot sleep through the night - I have to wake up to take more pain killers. My twitter friends who have experienced injuries of this nature tell me it takes 4-6 weeks to heal. Well, at least I have audiobooks and podcasts.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My time running a night club comes to an end

I have been managing a night club for the past five months, and my original arrangement with the owner was that I would do this for the summer and then decide from there. I decided on August 16 that I had about six weeks left in me and then I need to be doing something else.

This has definitely been one of my more interesting jobs. I had a lot of really solid management skills from past experience:
- in my younger days I received management training when I was working in fast food
- when my mum had a cappuccino shop on northern Vancouver Island and had no previous food service experience, I was able to help her with that side of things
- at the hospital I worked at I took what was originally a chaotic environment and managed to streamline processes and make things efficient
- I managed to get my Master's project completed and thesis written
- I led an extra-curricular club when I was in university that met every two weeks and put together one or two events every semester that were much like putting together a theatrical play

My current job has allowed me to use all my skills in managing data, logistics, events, money, and people. Turns out, I love managing data. I keep stats on just about everything. Logistics are fun because I am challenged to envision what things we will need, from more seating, to who will be my sound guy when my regular sound guy is performing and my back up sound guy is in another country. I have *always* loved planning events, anyone who knows me knows I love to throw parties. Managing money (so much as I have responsibility for) in this case is really quite easy, but I have particularly paid attention to what kinds of bands will bring in the cash - and if they don't, we don't book them again. But it has been managing people here that has brought me the most satisfaction. When I started it was just me and my sound guy. I have since been able to hire two more bartenders (one who has become my right hand, I rely heavily on her). I had a bouncer for a couple of months, then he got hired at a new restaurant, and I have since had to hire two more because we are getting so busy that we need crowd management. Then there is the managing of bands, customers, vendors, media, colleagues and other sundry people I deal with. I really enjoy that for the most part, even when I have to play the bouncer myself (which is a bit stressful, I admit). I have learned really a lot in this job and I definitely feel like my management muscles have been flexed.

But I can't sustain this pace. I'm working six days a week and three of those are late nights, which absolutely messes with my sleep schedule for the rest of the week, so I am finding that I am always tired. My weekends are also entirely taken over with work which is often the only time I would normally get to spend time with my husband, from whom I was separated for 20 months having had to wait for immigration, so I would like to have my weekends back too. Also I still have my student loan debt to consider, so I need to be paying that off as soon as I can so we can one day start thinking about buying property...

I am looking to return to health care research, academic administration or management. I have applied for everything I am interested in/qualified for at East Carolina University (about 30 miles from here) and so far have only heard back from one posting, who will be doing interviews in September. Fingers crossed I am in a new position in my field by the end of September, as my last day at the Red Room will be September 21st. If I can't find something in my field before then, I'll find another temporary job - a day job - until I do.

I must say I am very proud of what we have accomplished at the club in these past five months. I appreciate all my staff do and say so every day. We have really gelled as a family and it feels good to know that if something goes sideways on a crazy busy night, there are 20 people standing beside me who have my back. I hope my replacement finds enjoyment in this work as I have, but is more adaptable to the schedule than me - I'm nearing 40 and am ready for a regular schedule.

Monday, July 22, 2013

trip to the coast

On Saturday (July 20) we drove out to the Fort Fisher aquarium, one of three North Carolina Aquariums.

An albino alligator. She's by herself because they are rare, and in the wild they are susceptible to all kinds of bad things, including sunburn. 

 Turtles mating.

 I forget what kind of fish these were, but they had really interesting scale patterning that I think might be fun to replicate in a knitting pattern one day.

 The poisonous snake collection.

 More turtles!

 All the fish were really responding to Dan. He was wishing he was in the water with them.
There are three snakes in this photo, two big ones and one little one nestled in the other two.

The only shrimp in the whole place. 

Mr. Moray Eel coming to say hello.

 All around the aquarium they had art projects done by school classes. This goes to show you it is amazing what kids can do with cardboard.

This was the highlight of my day. In all the aquariums I have been to I have never seen an active octopus. I felt sorry for her because all the kids and stupid people were tapping on the glass and talking about how gross/ugly it is, and I said "no, she is beautiful!"

 Jelly sculpture

See even I could do this. Crocheted jellies all around our house?

 Aquatic creatures are so beautiful that they beg to have art made in their honour.

 The octopus was in a cylindrical container. I took about 50 photos of her.

Glowing jellies!

The big puffer fish. It was one of those moments when I wish I could say "hold still". 

The little fish in the middle was just somebody's lunch. 

Skeleton of a moray eel. 

Mr Camouflage.

It really was a fantastic day for us. We stopped in Jacksonville on the way to grab lunch at Jeff's Burgers and Shakes and I had the best fries in North Carolina there. Dan and I got a membership/family pass to the aquarium for $60/year, well worth the money, and now we can see zoos and aquariums and science museums all over the country for free or 50% off. After the aquarium we went to the beach, just half a mile down from the aquarium parking lot. I had never swum in the Atlantic Ocean before and it was quite a strange feeling to be in the ocean and have it be warm. We didn't go out too far in the waves because the tide was coming in and there was undertow as well as a rip current, and I am still mighty scared of big water. It was fun riding the waves though and feeling flopsy. The salt water cleansed us both and we felt great after.

We headed from Fort Fisher back up to Wilmington to go to Trader Joe's and then to Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn. I hadn't been to a Trader Joe's since I was in Arizona in 2004 and it is still pretty awesome. Impulse buy: chocolate covered espresso beans. Also maple syrup from Quebec.

I realize it has been more than a month since I last posted. Things are moving along at the night club and my job is at times really fun and other times really stressful. I'm still learning a lot but I'm working six days a week and putting in about 45 hours a week, which isn't really sustainable so I'm trying to find a way to better manage my time. I have hardly touched my knitting in months, and it has gotten so hot that I have also sort of lost interest in maintaining the yard (combined with being in full view of all our neighbors, I'm not used to this kind of scrutiny). Dan is distilling now and I have also become keenly interested in the world of spirits. There has been some weird stuff happening in my family, not bad, just weird, but events are still unfolding so I'll say more about that later. I'll just say that 23 years after having divorced my dad, it looks like my mum will finally get her settlement from that marriage so she can get on with her life.

Also I have unlocked my Twitter account.

More soon, I promise!