Work, Knit, Work

A few weeks ago I was offered a job at a wonderful hotel company as customer care case manager and accepted in hopes of working both jobs indefinitely.  IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group, parent company of such chains as Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inns, Staybridge Suites, etc.) is a great place to work, has good benefits, etc.  Exactly what I’ve been looking for, other than the starting pay scale.  So… work 8 hours, come home, log in and work another 3-4 hours Monday thru Friday then log in for an additional 10 hours or so on weekends.  Right?  Uhhh no.  It was killing me.  Rather literally.  But – do what it takes, right?  Sure thing – until I was promoted at Egencia/Working Solutions with a $3.00 hour raise effective immediately and offered a 40 hour M-F position effective mid-month. Wow!!!!

As I have yet to master the art of being in two places at once on a daily basis for an extended period of time, I went for the money.  We even reached an agreement on partial back pay for the month missed due to technical issues on their end. (Tomorrow we’ll know if said agreement went through, crossing fingers!)

Yes, I’ll be forced to purchase very expensive self-insurance, still squirrel away money for the higher self-employed tax rate, etc. but it was the logical choice at this point.

And – total upside, can spend some quality time doing things that I enjoy such as knit (been a few weeks since had dedicated knitting time), spend time with family/friends as soon as the car situation is finalized, and actually sleep regular hours.  This is fantastic!  I may even get to watch t.v. *insert cheesy grin*

Knitting time has been limited lately, obviously.  I’ve finished Dad’s socks, hoped to gift on Father’s Day but lack of transportation…. you know the drill.  Savannah (WRT’s newest granddaughter, scheduled to enter this world in August) has a blanket in the works and I’ve got a pair of socks about 3/4 completed.

My daughter is hinting at getting married soon so I really want to start a wedding shawl soon. Very, very soon.  Whether she actually wears it as part of her wedding ensemble is unknown but she should have something from her loving mother to commemorate this milestone.  But which one?  I have dozens of gorgeous patterns!  How do I decide?  Yikes!!!!

Some of the front runners are Holden (her last name, guess maiden name will be appropriate) Image

 

 

 

 

Flowers of Traken is another beautiful option: Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is Facing Lilies:

Image

and, and, and…  list goes on and on.  I’d ask her for input but kind of want the surprise factor.

Posted in job search, knit, Knitting, Life and it's Stuff | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Stalking – No it is NOT okay

As some are aware, I’ve had a few stalkers in the past.  This weekend something triggered the fear, concern, annoyance, and a bit of anger that came with the last bout of stalking though.

While living in a house of individually rented rooms (back in England we called them bedsits, don’t think we have an American term for it though) there was a co-renter – later found out he is part owner in the house – that would follow me around a fair bit, if I drove up the street or even up the cross street without coming home, my phone would ring… lots of notes under the door, every now and again a feeling someone had been in my room, a key that appeared/disappeared but nothing overtly threatening, he’d sometimes ‘fix too much dinner’ and ask if I wanted to join him but it was in the common kitchen area so no big deal, he gave me a ride to pick up my car when it had a mechanical issue once,  you know… just ‘stuff.’  Although most of his actions could be considered being neighborly, it quickly started feeling very off.

One evening we were standing on the front porch talking, think it was about Shakespeare and the use of puns, he forcefully turned my face toward him so hard that it wrenched my neck  when I apparently wasn’t looking at him as he was speaking to me.  I was a bit stunned at first but quickly recovered, became angry and walked off, locked myself in my room then made sure the windows which opened onto the porch where we had been standing, were locked and barred.  The next day he said that he didn’t think I was the type to hold a grudge!  Grudge? No, I don’t hold grudges.  I am watchful of how others treat me though. You just physically moved my head because you felt I wasn’t paying enough attention to whatever it was you were saying.  I held my tongue on the rest of what was going through my head.  Controlling, physical, scary…  yes.  A threat? not exactly.

Shortly after that I moved out. After I moved, he would call/text quite a bit.  I was getting up to 20 texts a  day which I ignored.  The last straw was when I answered a (as in ONE) text advising I was at the hospital, my sister was in a coma and I wasn’t going to respond further. Implication being, stop it! Yet, I kept getting very self centered texts about how he missed me and was drinking too much since I moved out, and on and on, all while I was in the ICU waiting area as my sister was in the process of passing away.

I’d told WRT about the situation a few times, the response was fairly typical – you must have done something to make him act like that.  I don’t think that it  was  meant meanly, nor was it really a criticism of me.  Just a statement reflecting the very common misconception that someone has to DO something to be stalked.  If I did, it was not intentional.  Yes, I sometimes talked to that roommate.  He’s intelligent, and not a bad person to talk to.  When he’s sober. He was also very aware that I was in a committed relationship, had seen WRT pick me up, drop me off, come visit, etc. numerous times.

Anyway… back to the situation.

After the nonstop texting, I changed my phone # and the cell phone provider.  Problem solved.  I thought. He knew I’d moved out of the county.  Good enough.  After two years of not hearing from him, I received a letter addressed to me at my new apartment. Yes, I was a bit unnerved.  I didn’t have a house phone so it’s not like he could have just found my address in the white pages.  I told WRT and stayed at his house for a few days then resumed life as normal. But it meant that he knew where I was, that I had just moved in and probably a lot more than that.

Nearly a year later there was a knock on my door just after the automatic front porch light came on.  I couldn’t see anyone out the peephole and it was getting dark so I thought perhaps it was one of the neighbor kids.  On opening the door, I saw it was the former roommate.  He had to have either stood in the neighbor’s doorway adjacent to mine or back behind the porch light in order to avoid being seen.  Hmmm… not comfy with that.   He wanted to come in and talk, uhhh no.  He handed me a letter which I ignored and asked again.  Same answer and added, in fact, WRT will be here any minute as he’s on his way over.  Rather than just leave, he stuck his hand in the doorjam and handed me the letter with his other.  I basically closed the door on him, hand and all.  Fortunately, he moved it out of the way so I could close and lock, then breathe.  And of course, call WRT and ask him to come over, RIGHT NOW.

The letter said that he has stage 4 cancer and the rest was filled with rather odd things like I was ‘his pearl of great price that he let slip away’ and well, it went on and on.  I could tell it was photocopied, there were no pen indentations, it was just strange.  More than strange.  Although there was nothing overtly threatening, the fact that he knew where I lived, had sent one letter and now shown up was scary.  WRT was at my place within minutes, and took a good look around the parking lot as well as the apartment area and assured me that he saw no sign of the former roommate.

The next day, I received the exact same letter in my mailbox.  It was a photocopy of the same letter that he had hand-delivered the night before.  Nope, not okay with this.  I’d already planned to get a restraining order that afternoon so left immediately for the courthouse.

When I tried to get a restraining order, I was advised that I needed a case number  – meaning that I had to have called the police first.  So, I called them.  I was lucky.  Very lucky.  As the individual had been a roommate in the past, even though there had been no other ‘relationship’ it qualified as a domestic situation.  Had he been a random stranger (well, he is very random and not a lot more than a stranger) there wouldn’t have been anything they could do without an escalation in his behavior.

The police officer that took the initial report was nice, down to earth, actually took me seriously and advised that this was fairly a-typical of men over 40. I answered all the questions as best I could.  Yes, he has weapons, a rather extensive gun collection and several hunting knives.   I don’t remember the man’s exact age or birth date but am fairly sure he’s 55-58 or so, I have no idea what his middle name is, etc. but could give an accurate physical description and information on where I lived at that time, and assume he was still living. He’s married but been separated for many years, his wife lives in another town (and provided the name of that town, not sure why I remembered it but… I did). He did date other women and had one or two over at that house several times while I lived there. I provided the phone number in all 3 letters that he was begging me to call.

The officer asked if I knew how he had gotten my current address, had I given it to him?  Absolutely not!  I’d changed my phone number twice, I’d moved out of the area for over two years then back to the same general area but at least 5 miles away from that house. Although it can be a pain, I don’t even drive up the major cross street that is by the house unless I truly have to.

As the man works in collections for a major credit card company, I’m 99.99999% sure he pulled my credit report to find me although I have no actual proof at this time.  The officer assured me that if a full on investigation was required, they could easily determine if that’s what happened but the officer agreed that was the most logical way to have found me. So now this guy has my address, social security number and everything else that’s in a credit report.  Great! Just freaking great!

The officer also gave some good advice – take my phone with me EVERYWHERE.  Even the bathroom.  My apartment has a rather odd configuration with the bathroom off the bedroom.  So – lock my bedroom door before going into the bathroom.  Just one more barrier.  But could give much needed seconds if it came to a break in situation.  I also hung heavy denim drapes in my bedroom, they cut the light significantly but as they fully cross the window (not two panels, one wide drapery), anyone trying to come in the window will most likely get very entangled.  I also have shutters on the inside, they’re locked. The apartment complex trimmed the large shrubs outside the front porch to provide less ‘hiding space.’ In fact, they recently took one of them out so there is virtually no hiding room now.  There are also other precautions and alarms.

If someone truly wants to get in, they will find a way.  But make it as difficult as possible.

So… what if it hadn’t been considered a domestic stalking situation and I couldn’t have gotten a restraining order? It’s still far more difficult to get restraining orders and protection than it should be.  It’s common knowledge that stalkers can be dangerous, volatile, unpredictable. A truly determined stalker won’t be afraid to violate a restraining order, but those who aren’t completely ‘off-balance’ realize that the authorities are now aware of what they are doing.

Anyone who has been stalked knows the fear, the constant looking over your shoulder, the making sure, the double checking, the absolute intrusion into your life it is.  It is NOT a casual, ‘it will go away’ type of thing.

Stalkers are typically male, 25-40, above average intelligence, somewhat loners, and have mental/behavioral issues that involve very different thought patterns from ‘the norm.’  This man is definitely over 40, but other than that fits the profile.  He is intelligent, can carry on a conversation on nearly any topic, I don’t remember any of his friends coming to visit nor do I remember him mentioning close friends in conversation.  Then again, I wasn’t really paying that much attention.  It didn’t seem necessary at the time.

Unfortunately for female stalking victims, the men in their life often down play the seriousness of the situation until/unless a specific threat is made.  Threats are warnings, warnings that we don’t always get.

Guys, seriously! If your wife/girlfriend, daughter, sister, mother, friend tells you she feels someone is following her or harassing her, take it seriously.  Unless she is a total attention-seeker (and even if she is, the situation can still be real, ya know!) there is something very wrong.  It’s not going to just go away.  It is extremely rare for a stalker to just lose interest and stop.

Families of people who feel they are being stalked – do NOT give out information to anyone no matter who they say they are.  Unless it’s a uniformed police officer standing at your door and you have verified their badge number, do not not not give out any information.  Clear enough?  I had to give my parents a very short list of people who could legitimately get information. If someone said they were an old friend, potential employer, a bill collector, whatever – in the past, my parents had given out my address, phone number, pretty much whatever the person was asking for.  Please don’t do this.

WRT and select family members know the case numbers, know where copies of those letters are, and have enough information to give the authorities if anything should escalate. I value my privacy, do I have any? Good question. Wish I had the answer.

Posted in Life and it's Stuff | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

So what have YOU been up to?

Right?  One of my least favorite questions.  It ranks right up there with ‘where are you from’  … in other words…. I have no ready, real answer.

I like real answers.  I like reports of progress and growth.  However, at times, it’s the mundane, the quietly ‘hanging in there’ (another cliche that is rapidly declining in my personal popular phrases category), the continuation of being that is required.  In other words, leave me alone, I’m busy stubbornly persisting!  Not literally leave me alone, more like a ‘please understand that although there is little outward display of grandeur the mere fact that I have not yet completely lost it is a rather large accomplishment, thanks for asking!’

Whew, that felt good!

And now for other stuff.

Recently the subject of gay marriage has been a major topic of conversation here in Utah.  I posted my feelings on facebook and think that some of my extended family was a bit miffed.  I understand that they are very opposed to it and why they feel that way.  However, I’m going to repost here:

‘As I’ve been asked several times what my views on gay marriage are and how will/won’t redefine family etc. I’ll go ahead and tell ya. Family seems a relative term (pun somewhat intended) to me.I’m adopted, no big secret there, my ex husband – dad of my two great kids – lives with my parents, ‘my’ grandkids are technically my boyfriend’s step-grandkids, I’ve had a couple of unofficial foster sisters over the years and consider them all to be my family… I’m straight, many of my friends are GLBT. I don’t have to share someone’s lifestyle, hairstyle, or belief system to consider them to have value.
It takes faith, hope, a lot of work and a fair bit of that magical thing we call love to make a relationship last. Marriage provides the legal framework with rights and privileges that don’t exist any other way. For many, it also provides the spiritual framework necessary for their belief system. I’ve been legally married and divorced twice and still strongly believe in marriage between consenting adults who have the guts to commit themselves legally and spiritually.

So, I have no problem with any couple being legally married. Whether or not that marriage is recognized or upheld by a specific spiritual/religious organization is entirely up to those that adhere to that belief system.’

 

Additionally, my opinion is that there should be two ‘levels’ of recognized marriage.  The first (lower?) would be legal.  That contractually binding agreement between two consenting adults involving rights and responsibilities including inheritance, taxation, finances, property and all things that involve the legal system.  The second (higher?) would be spiritual.  That is to say, rights and responsibilities taken on in addition to the legally binding contract in accordance with the belief systems of said individuals.

If a couple chooses to have a legally binding marriage then they are married.  If a couple chooses to further that commitment with a spiritual bond that’s an additional agreement to the legal contract.  I’m also often asked what my views are on living together as I have been in a relationship for quite a while now while maintaining very separate residences and no marriage or any other type of formal commitment.  That’s a post for some other day.  (yeah, bit of an issue there)
I’m not saying that I’m an advocate for ‘gay marriage’ or anything else.  Just sayin’ what I think.  I’m good at that.  Sometimes.
Posted in Life and it's Stuff | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Spring! It’s winter! It’s Spring!

After a few days of 65+ weather it snowed last night.  As in a real wind howling, 3″ to scrape off the car this morning storm.  It’s now 28F and looks like the weekend will be cold and dreary as well.  I suppose that’s ‘normal’ for Utah but I do miss actual spring time weather that we got back home.

It’s been a trying winter with Dad being diagnosed with atypical Parkinson’s on top of everything else and then being hospitalized for two weeks after an extreme reaction to his Parkinson’s medication.  He gave us all a real scare, including himself.  Unfortunately, the reaction was psychological as well as physical and he was in his own, very literal, version of hell for quite a while.

I’m so grateful that things have evened out and back home now.  I started a pair of socks for him ages ago but have had an irrational fear that when I finish them he will die.  Yes, it is completely absurd and I realize that, but working on them when he’s been doing so poorly has made me burst into tears.  It’s difficult to work cables when you’re crying so I’ve put them down for a while now.  Perhaps now that he is doing better (although that is a relative term) I can pick them up again soon.  Although my main concern has been Dad’s health and well-being, I’ve also been terribly concerned about Mom. They’ve been married literally all of her adult life and she’s having to face ‘the beginning of the end’ as she put it.

Due to some technical issues at work, I’ve been off for two weeks now.  Being a contract worker that means two weeks unpaid ‘vacation’ – too bad I didn’t know this was going to happen; I can think of far better ways to spend two weeks off than checking emails every 20 minutes or so to see if it’s been resolved yet.  Fortunately, I’d been averaging 50 or more hours per week last month and have some unemployment benefits left from ‘last time’ so have been okay financially so far.  I’ve been looking for something more stable but the job market isn’t all that friendly with large numbers of far younger/less experienced (perceived costly) people competing for every opening.  Hopefully, it will be resolved in a few days though.  I’m sure our tech support people are also hoping it’s resolved soon as they must be tired of my daily ‘are we there yet’ emails!

So… what have I been doing with all this time?   I’ve finished three pairs of socks, nearly finished a cardigan, spent hours and hours looking at new patterns and going through my yarn stash, read blogs, spent a lot of time on the phone with Mom and taken a couple quick weekend vacations with WRT.

Since his step grandaughters don’t read my blog, it should be safe to post pics of their Easter socks:

Cierra lace tube socks

lace tube socks for Cierra using KnitPicks Felicia Sugared Violets and OnLine Supersocke 100 Emotion IV.

briley green macaroonslace tube socks for Briley using KnitPicks Felici macaroon and KnitPicks Stroll Glacier.

Some socks for me

IMG_20130314_032634Basic socks using Susan Glinert’s Fleegle Heel and a fern stitch (one variation of it anyway) lace up the center instep them around after the heel turn.  I really like the Fleegle Heel’s fit and how comfy it is.

I’ve also got one of my dear friend, Clara’s fingerless gloves (Jessica Power’s pattern) done and hope to get the match done over the weekend.  IMG_20130318_114359

They’re in Crystal Palace Panda Cotton solid, a nice lightweight yarn that won’t be too warm but should keep her hands cozy while working.  She’s often mentioned how cold her hands get in her home office (she also works in corporate travel from home) so thought these might work well.

And… last but certainly not least…. doing a toe-up pair of SpillyJane’s Socks With Pints On for WRT.  I promised them at least two years ago so thought it was time to deliver.

IMG_20130318_114327

SpillyJane is an extremely talented designer and I hope to make several of her patterns up soon. They’re a bit further along now (have three sets of different ‘beer’ colors done now) in KnitPicks Stroll.  At the moment, I’m truly not sure what our relationship holds but he’s certainly deserving of a pair of fun socks regardless of how things play out over the next while.

Mom would like me to knit her a warm cardigan for next winter so I’ve been going over possibilities.  She rarely wears her winter coat but definitely needs something that will act as a coat without the length (I got my love of full-length coats from her, it seems!) and not quite so bulky.  It must be washable and can’t be overly fussy but needs to be pretty.  Cables? Lace? Lace and cables?  Raglan or set-in? Top down, bottom up?  So many choices!!!!!

I’ve also been going over baby blanket patterns as we’re expecting a little girl within the extended family.  Again – lace? cables? both? neither? round? Square? Rectangular?  Obviously, it must be machine washable/dryable and exceptionally pretty but… which pattern/yarn?????  I’ve got it narrowed down to 12 possibilities, yes 12.  Good thing she won’t be here until early fall!

Posted in Knitting, Life and it's Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment