Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just 10 More Days

Today is Nov 2, which means in 10 days it will be Nov 12 and I will be 24. Not a very impressive landmark by anybody's standards, and it certainly isn't as monumental as when Mary turned 25 last month and I thoroughly enjoyed teasing her about being a quarter of a century old, but it is what it is. In the past I've always looked forward to birthdays but the milestones haven't been a big deal. I didn't care about gambling or smoking when I turned 18 and I missed the 2004 election by like a week or so. I didn't develop any kind of appreciation for alcohol until at least halfway through 22 and even now I'm not much of a drinker. I've always just sort of had the attitude of "hey, it's another year to be on planet Earth and experience life and maybe I should go somewhere special to mark the occasion." Ok, so I never sound like that - it's probably more along the lines of "It's my birthday and I want to GO somewhere. ANYWHERE. I want to go see something." Then more whining is involved.

This year isn't any different when it comes to travel since I'll be spending my birthday in Las Vegas. I've had the tickets for a while and have plans to go to shows and I'm counting down the days. The excitement just doesn't seem to be there. I'm not sure what's going on with that. It might have something to do with the fact that for reasons beyond my control Mary decided she can't go with me. I'm still going with Shantelle and she is way excited, and I think we'll have a good time, but I'm not running around like a crazy person screaming "Vegas, Baby!!! Wooooooohooooooo!" Maybe I'll get to that point when we get off the plane in Nevada.

I have a trip to look forward to, but I seem to be in quite the birthday funk. I can't even call it a quarter-life crisis because I'm not there yet, but something is definitely off. It's probably that I'm looking at 24 and realizing that I'm not anywhere close to where I thought I'd be in my life at this point. Not that there's anything wrong with my life, but this wasn't "the plan." You know "the plan" that I'm talking about. It's the one you come up with when you're a little kid and there's this big shiny future in front of you with all this endless potential and you know exactly what you're doing with it. I threw that plan out the window sometime near my senior year of high school, so I have no idea why I seem to keep getting hung up on it. That life that I had in my head isn't ever going to happen. Real life got in the way and the original plan is no longer relevant. Heck, I don't even want that imaginary life anymore, but I still feel like I've failed. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but I have a hunch that it has something to do with the fact that I don't have a new "plan."

When I threw the original plan out the window, I was 17 and I still had a big future in front of me. I took a shot at community college because I was "supposed" to (one of the stupidest decisions I've ever made), realized that wasn't the right move for me, and dropped out. What I really needed was time to figure things out. By that point I'd turned 18 and no one should expect me to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I needed to go out and experience things and come up with a new plan. It made sense. I spent the next couple of years bouncing around between various jobs while trying to figure out what I wanted to do, eventually landing haphazardly at my current job as a receptionist. This coming January I'll have been at this job for 3 years. I'd like to think I'm good at what I do, my boss seems to like me (that would be Shantelle - we obviously get along otherwise I wouldn't have agreed to let her come to Vegas with me), the paychecks keep my yarn habit supported, but this isn't where I'm meant to be forever and I don't know where to go from here.

The uncertainty was understandable at 17, but staring at 24 with a big empty space in front of me is pretty frightening. I know I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else, but lots of people have full blown families or pretty substantial careers under way by time they turn 24. What do I have? A job as a receptionist with no potential of growth and an ever-growing mountain of yarn at home. I should be happy that at least I have a job, especially since I was part of a major layoff last summer and others that were laid off at the same time as me still haven't found jobs (I got my job back after about a month), but that's all this is. It's a job. It's a paycheck. It's not a career or a life's passion. I answer phones and order office supplies. It's probably not the best idea in the world for me to be posting this online for all the world to see, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

My boss and I had this basic conversation last week and she knows I don't plan on being here forever. She asked me what I want to do with my life and only one word came to mind. YARN. I don't really know what this means, but I do know that I want yarn in my future. There's this fuzzy idea of owning my own yarn shop, or being a pattern designer, or something along those lines, but I don't know exactly what that is or how to get there. I do know that I want yarn to be involved. I still need to figure out what that means, and I need a new plan, but maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe it's just some glow-in-the-dark yarn. Either way, it can't be bad.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Every year at work we have a Halloween party, complete with costume and pumpkin carving contests. This year I was the defending champion of both, and I knew there was no way I could beat the awesomeness from last year. Really, how does it get any better than a Death Star pumpkin or a Yoshi costume (from Nintendo's Mario games). It just doesn't. Last year was so amazing that there was no beating it, but I still had to try, and this time Mary would be at work with me so my group costume would actually make sense. We decided to go with a Sleeping Beauty theme this year. I never liked that movie much when I was little, but Mary's favorite Disney princess is Aurora, Maleficent is an amazing villain, and it gave me an excuse to chase Mary around with my drop spindle while cursing her to die... how could I pass up an opportunity like that???

Now, this isn't something I'd normally put into writing for all the world to see, but I feel like it needs to be said. My mom is freaking amazing. She's made my Halloween costume just about every year and they're always brilliant. My co-workers are still in awe over her mad sewing skills from Yoshi. This year she pulled out all the stops. We were under a time crunch because life got in the way and then she got a cold - one of those really nasty headcolds with crappy sinus pressure and all you really want is a head transplant. I have no idea how she managed to keep sewing with all that going on, but she did it. And my costume was amazing. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself:

Amazing doesn't even begin to cover it, right? Not only did she completely rock my costume, but I talked her into altering Mary's Princess Peach costume from last year to Aurora for this year. Originally the plan was to just change the skirt flap thing, add something for a stand-up collar, and add sleeves. Easy peasy, right? Mom took it like a million steps further. She completely redid the bodice and took poofyness out of the skirt. I swear this woman used magic. I have no idea how the hell she did what she did but the result was once again amazing.

We won Best Group Costumes at the contest at work. I probably don't need to point out that there weren't any groups competing, but that's not the point. We were the talk of the party. It was great. I didn't think Maleficent would ever beat Yoshi, but I think she did. She's evil and amazing and I loved being her for a day. This costume is definitely going to be a repeat in years to come. I love it!

Oh, and just to show off last year's awesomeness... Here I am as Yoshi. Might as well include the rest of the Mario gang while I'm at it. Mary is Princess Peach, her husband is Mario, and his best friend is Wario. I won "most creative" in the work contest last year, and we placed second place in a local pub's contest as a group. It was great!

Halloween is tied with Christmas for my favorite holiday. It's that one day out of the year I get to fully embrace my crafty geekyness and show it proudly for all the world to see, without coming off as a crazy person. Ok, they still look at me like I'm nuts, but there's usually a certain amount of respect there to because it seems like everyone, at some point in their lives, has worn a Halloween costume and/or carved a jack-o-lantern. This is different than anything yarn related because really, only knitters and crocheters seem to understand the siren call of a yarn store and the insanity behind spending *hours* knitting $20 socks that you could go buy at a department store for like $2. Granted, I've never knit a pair of socks, but I understand the desire to do so and hope to finish a pair one day. Anyway, the point is that the general public appreciates the hard work that goes into a home-made Halloween costume, especially one as awesome as the ones my mom has made for me through the years. They also appreciate the difference between whacking at a pumpkin with a dull knife and meticulously following a complicated pattern with itty bitty saws. They might still think it's crazy spending that much time on something that only gets used once in the year, but they also appreciate how much cooler it is than running to the local party store and picking up a costume that everyone else is wearing.

That being said, I still have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to pumpkins. Last year I carved 6 pumpkins. Seriously. And they were awesome. Death Star, Captain Jack Sparrow, Hannibal King, fireman, Monster, and a tiki. Knowing that it wasn't ever going to get better than the Death Star, and that I just didn't have time to carve a million of them again, I stuck with my favorite things from 2010. Embracing my Slytherin geekyness and my crocheted Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter pumpkin was a stencil from zombiepumpkins.com and it has a projected shadow of the Cheshire Cat on the back.

My Slytherin crest pumpkin was a design I came up with based on images of the crest I was able to find online. I'd love to carve all the house crests one year, and I'm already working on the patterns. Might even post 'em on my blog if people are interested.

I hope everyone had a very happy Halloween! I'm already brainstorming for next year...