Monday, January 10, 2005

Long Boring Descripton of my Weekend and my Grandparents

I have two meetings today, one right after the other. This is noteworthy because I rarely, once a month, have to attend meetings. And it's about something which I don't think I'm supposed to know. So, I'm kind of feeling like I have secret knowledge. I'm not pleased about the secret knowledge either. My department is presently divided between two floors which is not exactly the problem you might think it is. We're in the same location just one floor up or down. And the meeting is to discuss moving all of us who sit downstairs to the upstairs. SUCK! I am not happy. Upstairs is a lot colder and the bloody stairs are hard on my poor old arthritic (right) and cystic (left) knees. Besides, I have a feeling that it also means that instead of sitting amongst everybody else that I'm going to be put in the admin desk outside the boss' office and that will make me severely unhappy, as I will be very lonely sitting there all alone. I'm a people person, people!!!! I hate sitting all alone with nobody to talk to. It's enough to make a grown woman cry (that would be me).

Now, I guess I better pretend to work on the matrix I need for the second meeting since that one is with the bossman. It's best to be prepared when meeting with the bossman. Oops, just noticed that the first meeting isn't really until tomorrow, so I don't have to panic. And my "second" one got canceled as bossman is stuck with a VP. My meetings with the bossman ALWAYS get canceled. This one has been rescheduled twice already. Craziness.

And my friend McCoy sent me an article which discussed newly discovered benefits of chamomile tea. I usually drink either chamomile or decaf green tea, but as lately I've been drinking mostly the green tea, I think I better start drinking more chamomile which isn't really a hardship since I can get it for five cents a teabag at the local Bulk Food store.

The DSO on Friday was unbelievable. Leah and I first enjoyed a quick dinner at TJ's and got to our seats with just minutes to spare – the bell was dinging in the outer areas as we were hurrying up the steps to my upper balcony seats. The first piece was a Violin Concerto by Sibelius. Quite incredibly beautiful, but then again it was a violin concerto and we all know that I love the violin. The opening strains brought tears to my eyes; it was just so movingly beautiful. After the intermission, we heard Rachmaninoff, Symphony #2. I had been a little nervous about it as I'm not the biggest Rachmaninoff fan, but that's mostly the piano stuff, as I find piano a tad dull. Anyway, the Symphony #2 is quite fabulous.

After the symphony, we went back to TJ's for dessert – always worth it. TJ's is a tradition for me and whichever cousin I happen to be taking to the symphony. Two years ago I took Leah's younger brother Glenn (Leah was living in TX at the time, so that's why the younger sibling got to go first). Then last year I took Maureen, the middle sibling. And since Leah is back in Michigan, I took her and this coming Friday I'll be taking Blake the second youngest (at 16). It's Mahler and Prokofiev (Sym. #6 and Piano Concerto with the soloist Lang Lang, respectively). I introduced Blake to Mahler's Sym #5 within the past 1-2 years and he loves it, so I figured I should take him to hear some Mahler live.

So, that means this coming Friday night will be remarkably like this past Friday night: dinner at TJ's, symphony, dessert at TJ's. You gotta do everything the same when you do something for one member of a family. Not that I don't want to, but you have to because kids notice when you ignore them. My own grandparents treated me differently than the rest of my siblings and cousins, so I figured out at a fairly young age (13) that they didn't much like me. Want an example? I can give you multiple examples, but here's the biggest and most glaring. When my brother graduated from eighth grade (you do that in Catholic schools), he got a plane trip to visit the paternal grandparents in Tucson, AZ. He was there for a long time (2-4) weeks, and in that time frame he was taken to Old Tucson, shopping where they bought him tons of clothes, Nogales (border town), etc. The following year when my older sister graduated from 8th grade, she also got flown out to Tucson to spend a month or so there and came back with memories and new clothes. The following year I figured it was my turn, but nothing was ever said. It was the year of The Big Vacation*, however, so I figured that when we got to Grandma and Grandpa's that I would be staying on while the family drove off in the newly bought for the Big Vacation Ford Econoline van. I was wrong. I was in my usual spot directly behind the driver as powder blue and white van pulled out of grandparental driveway.

My three cousins also got their trips out there, as did my two younger siblings. I was literally the only child who didn't get to spend time with them. My parents, however, were on the ball and somehow arranged for me to go to Mexico to spend time with our Mexican family. I went for a month the summer after 9th grade. I probably got the better end of the deal, in the long run, but a child should not be made painfully aware that her own grandparents never loved her. That's pathetic.

One summer when they were visiting us I was working a lot (as I was paying for college) and as I would drive off in my favorite car (bright yellow 1979 Pinto – they fixed the gas tank problem by that year) I would wave and yell, "Good-bye" or whatever to my Grandpa who would be sitting on the porch with my younger sister (hard to determine if my youngest sister as the baby grandchild or my older brother as the first grandchild was their favorite). My sister told me that he would say disparagingly, "Well, there goes Queenie." I did not take it as a compliment and if there was ever anybody in this world who was not a "Queenie," it was me.

I kept trying though, because I'm stupid like that. One year I opened my Christmas card and my card was signed "Grandma and Grandpa LastName." My siblings all got "With love and many prayers," and "May God Bless You and Keep You, Love," etc. Did they really think I wouldn't notice? I wasn't stupid. Or did they just not care if I noticed? The family moved Grandma back to Michigan after Grandpa died and we figured out that she was being taken by some con artists. My mom kept encouraging me to go and visit her and I finally confronted my Mom and told her that I didn't feel like I had to visit her as she didn't much like me. Grandma had dementia though and forgot that she hated me, and I suppose I should have forgiven her, but if she hadn't had dementia, I'm pretty sure she still would have hated me. They're both dead now and I have to say that I didn't cry a whole lot at their deaths. And I don't actually feel bad about it either, and I don't think I should. All my cousins and siblings were crying their eyes out and I was pretty much unmoved by the whole thing. If I cried at all, it was for selfish reasons, such as "Why couldn't s/he have loved me for whom I am?"

*The Big Vacation was held every five years starting in 1968 and essentially ending for me in 1978, as I was in college when the next one came along and much too busy working to pay for college to waste two weeks on the road. Typical trip was drive to California and harass whichever of my mother's sisters were living there, then go on to AZ to visit the paternal grandparents.

Sorry for that depressing foray into my youth, but that's why I'm taking all of my cousins to the symphony. Let's get back to the weekend! I woke Saturday morning to snow, but as Julie, Suzy and I had planned a road trip to the Lansing yarn store, I was wondering if we were still going to go. I got up and showered, though, just to be ready in case we decided to adventure out into the nasty Michigan weather. We had an advance team out there though by the name of Glen and he said that as he got further north the weather got better. We decided to go for it! We stopped briefly at the Plymouth yarn store (Suzy had to return some yarn) and then we got on the road to Lansing, Our Yarn Mecca. The roads were absolutely fine once we got a bit north. I had taken knitting with me and I finished one one-skein Fun Fur scarf (on size 15s) and started Eric's scarf. I got quite a bit done on the trip and took it in with me as I thought I was only going to buy one more skein of this fabulous Peruvian cotton yarn. But when I told Matt what I was planning on making with it, he said it wouldn’t work and explained why. *sigh* We then had to go through my patterns and figure out what would work. We decided on this fabulous Misti Alpaca (the softest alpaca ever) but then he made me knit up a swatch for gauge. It was SO not fun, but we determined that I had knitted PERFECTLY TO GAUGE!!! It was complete insanity!!! I normally knit very tightly, so Matt about fell over from the shock, as they had actually moved me down a needle size and they usually move me up a needle size to reach gauge. It was all very very exciting. I worked on Eric's scarf on the way home and finished up the first skein.

On the way back to my place, we decided to stop at Glen's store as I had ordered a couple of things. None was in, but I found the Sibelius Violin Concerto and Rachmaninoff's Symphony #2 in his used Classical section, so I picked those up. And since Knitting Club was happening at my place later that evening, we stopped at Merchant's to get beverages and snacks. And Julie and I were over the moon because we found Skullsplitter of Judd and Dusty fame! It lived up to its name that night as I got a headache from just one! Although I don't really blame poor li'l ol' Skullsplitter as I had a glass of wine yesterday and got a headache as well. Probably just some chemical imbalance in my body. I hope it fixes itself soon!!! If you want to see pics of us with the Skullsplitter, you'll have to go to Julie's site, although I don't think she has them up quite yet.

Soyon, the dear, helped me get started on the hat I want to make from the alpaca. The pattern said to do the whole thing on double-pointed needles, but that was just hellish as I kept dropping stitches off the opposite end of the dpns. Suzy kindly let me borrow her size 3 needles with the shortest cable so that I could get the hat off the damn double-points. It's much easier, but that's relative, as knitting with such small needles is not easy. It hurts my right hand. Before Saturday night I had never used anything smaller than a size 7 and my preferred needle sizes are 9-11. I'm getting all adventurous!!! And I can't even blame the Skullsplitter!!

And even as great as Friday and Saturday were, yesterday was even better! For the lone reason that I finally got my hair cut! It was so incredibly long (you'll see it in the pic if/when Julie posts it, so the pic will be outdated by the time anybody sees it) that I was going nuts! After church yesterday I drove straight to my friend (and hairdresser) Pamela's house and got the mop cut. I trust Pamela so much with my hair that I never even looked in the mirror before I left. And today my hair was dry before I even left the bathroom, as it should be. I'm so much happier when my hair is short.

I was home and on the couch in front of the TV knitting away by 12:45. I watched all three of Netflix movies before I went to bed and even killed brain cells by watching The Surreal Life for an hour on VH1. The movies I watched were The Killing (noir classic by Stanley Kubrick), Stalag 17 (brilliant), and The Eagle Has Landed (from the book by my favorite author, Jack Higgins). I need to get my book back from the person to whom I lent it as I think they jacked the book in the movie. I just re-read it a year or so ago, but it just seemed wrong in some small ways. Overall, they did a fine job and Donald Pleasance played an incredibly brilliantly icky evil Himmler, while Duval played a wonderful Radl. All in all, I enjoyed all three movies that I watched yesterday, but I'd have to say that I *loved* Stalag 17. Yes, I know that everybody else in the world has already seen it, but I'm a girl, I'm not supposed to be into war movies (and I'm generally not, I prefer war escape films).

Regarding The Surreal Life. Dear heavens, what a complete train wreck that is!!! It's the first time I've ever watched a reality show in its entirety and with my own free will, although the last half hour was more of the train wreck sucking-in-ness than really free will, if you know what I mean. I just hope Marcus Schenkberg turns out to be as stable as he appeared in the first show or Christopher Knight aka Peter Brady is going to be insane by the time this show is over as everybody else in the house seemed to view Chris (as he introduced himself to all the housemates) as a father figure and came running to him to solve any and all problems that cropped up (from Chyna Doll the tallest and biggest person in the house taking Verne Troyer's room with all its miniature furniture for herself to Da Brat finding Verne Troyer drunk and buck naked peeing in the corner of one of the common rooms and knocking on Chris' door because Chris wants to deal with a naked, drunk Mini Me). Complete and total insanity that's all there is to it!!! Half of them calling their agents the second they got there to complain about something (okay, only two of them called their agents, but still). I don't think I can say that I recommend watching it, but there was something incredibly mesmerising about it.


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