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I got my new job exactly one week before the clothes for Tosca loaded out to the theatre. I applied for the job at Loyola the week I got back from the circus and then I waited.  Nothing happened for almost a month.  I worked on Tosca and kept a low profile.  There had been a regime change at the opera and as is usual in such situations, things were tense.

Also complicated.  I gave up my landline and with it my internet before going to Sacramento for the summer.  I intended to shop around for cheaper internet when I got back but didn’t want to make any commitments until I knew where I was going to be.  Therefore if I needed to use the internet I had to do it at the opera or at a friend’s place.  My cell phone gets lousy reception in my apartment without wifi making phone interviews a bit tricky too.

Once Loyola responded  I began to live a double life. I didn’t want to add to the panic and paranoia at the opera and I wanted to keep my job there if I didn’t have another one to go to.  I excused myself early from work and  raced to my friend’s apartment for the Skype interview.  When Loyola called in the middle of a production meeting, I had a panic attack then snapped my phone off.  Heart pounding for the next couple of hours, I waited until the end of the day, locked myself in the fitting room, and called them back.  Thank you West coast for being 3 hours behind.

It had all the elements of a silent movie farce.  Speculation in the costume shop as to what was going on with me centered around the possibility that I had a new man or a serious illness.

I got the job offer on September 20.  I had to be in LA to start work by October 21. I needed every penny so leaving the opera early was not an option.  I made a timeline.  I made lists. I made a budget.

On the top of the list:  get the car serviced before dress rehearsals for Tosca. It was a good thing too, because that weekend I hit a curb, blew a tire, and discovered that the rubber in all 4 tires was rotten. Only my car was in the shop for 3 days and any plans involving transportation, like getting moving supplies, had to be put on hold.

Next on the list:  Get my emissions checked and renew my Georgia tag  because the current one was going to expire 1 week after I arrived in LA and I knew I wouldn’t have time to get a California one before the end of the semester. The Saturday after getting my car back, my check engine light came on.  Mobility compromised and I can’t get my tag until it’s fixed.  Car in the shop for 3 days, again. I am now in dress rehearsals and have to beg for rides to and from the theatre.

3rd item:  Take the cats to the vet for shots.   I have let them lapse and California has strict rules about animals brought into the state. I make the appointment for the Monday after Tosca opens. I get my car back Friday morning and race around getting moving supplies. After filling my tank for all the necessary errands, my check engine light comes back on. I run the errands anyway.

My plans and budget require a revision.  My contacts have become uncomfortable, my eyes are watery and I can’t see as well as normal.  Detour to eye doctor.  New contact lens required.  Takes a week or more to get them.  If I chewed my nails at this point I wouldn’t have any fingers left.

I take the cats to the vet.  It is less traumatic than I had anticipated for all concerned and what I saved at the vet can go to pay the eye doctor.  The receptionist at the vet, when I explain that I am moving to California, tells me that they can provide health certificates for the cats that will help if I am stopped at the border.  Yes, please.  Only she can’t get her computer to print it and tells me to come back later in the week to pick it up.

The car goes back to the shop.

I get my new contact.  The prescription isn’t quite right- I can’t read street signs. The doctor revises it after a visit I don’t really have time for.  It could take another week.

I am staying late at the opera or hanging out at my friend’s so I can book hotels that are clean, cheap, and allow pets, find some moving men for the short term move to my son’s house, rent a truck, and a dozen other crazy making tasks. I have begun packing and purging but have a long way to go.  My schedule is being compromised by the extra time it takes every day to get around on public transportation. There are too many things in my house I don’t know what to do with.  I am seriously behind in packing.  I have too many people I need to see before I go.  I am inspired.  I will invite them to come over, help pack, and help themselves to the accumulated yarn, fabric, and other stuff I don’t need to hang on to.  This involves another errand, the purchase of party supplies.

My last day at the opera.  I have done everything I need to do there to pass the torch.   My car is fixed.  I buy party supplies.  I stop at the vet’s to get the certificate.  It’s ready but the vet is too busy to sign it.  Come back tomorrow I am told.

My horoscope says:  finish old business.  I’m trying.  What more do you want?

My car needs to be driven at least 100 miles or 2 weeks before it can be tested for emissions.  This is to give the monitors a chance to reset.  I know this but I just don’t have that kind of time so I risk it and take to the emission place.  It doesn’t pass.  The technician advises me to drive it around the perimeter expressway a couple of times and then bring it back.  I don’t  have that kind of time either but I don’t have a lot of options.  I drive it around the perimeter, 68 miles takes about 1 1/2 hours in Atlanta traffic.

Saturday morning, I do it again.  Then I stop at the vet’s where my certificates are ready.  Finally some progress.

By Saturday afternoon I am mostly packed, thanks primarily to my friend Diana.  So when my party guest arrive they cart some things to the curb, take away a few things for themselves, and leave me some much appreciated and unexpected gift cards for my trip. After they leave, I drive around the perimeter, again.

Sunday the stuff I plan to keep is moved into my son’s house where I also will be staying until I can get everything cleaned up in my apt., pick up my contact lens, and ideally pass my emissions.  Since he has 2 dogs, my cats are staying in my apartment until I leave town.  They are completely freaked out, hovering on top of the kitchen cabinets, since all the usual hiding places went with the movers.

Once everything is moved, I drive half way  around the perimeter.  I just can’t face the whole thing.

My apartment still has way too much stuff in it.  It will take too many trips in my car to take it to a thrift store plus there are 4 boxes of old taxes and receipts that need to be shredded and after filling the trash cans at my building I still have several big bags of trash.  I also have a TV to dispose of.  I do some research and discover that I can get the shredding done at Office Max and Best Buy will recycle the TV.  Only I can’t lift it by myself. A friend with an SUV comes to my rescue and we get the stuff to the Salvation Army in one trip.  She takes the TV with her and I take my 20lbs of paper to Office Max for shredding.

My contact is ready and this time it’s right and I can see.  Victory! I run by the emissions place.  The pretest shows it still won’t pass.  I drive around the perimeter again.

Tuesday is the day I would really like to leave but alas my car still won’t pass and I haven’t been able to finish cleaning my apartment.  I am shipping 7 boxes of tools, research books, clothes and patterns to LA so a trip to the post office is also on the agenda. I have clothes that still need to be packed for the trip along with the cat stuff and I still need to drive around the perimeter. My son and his girlfriend take me out to dinner.  There are exotic cocktails involved.  I skip the trip around the perimeter.

Wednesday has to be the day. I won’t be able to get to LA in time if I don’t leave by then.  I take my car to the emission place. No go. My landlord wants to know when I will be out so he can get in to paint.  The apartment still needs to be swept, I haven’t really cleaned it sufficiently, there’s still stuff that needs to go to the trash, I need to get the cats calmed down enough to get them into the carriers.  I just don’t have  the time for another circle around Atlanta. I race over to my mechanic.  His test indicates that the monitors have reset and it should pass.  Emissions guy says not.  I say damn the results, run the test.  If it doesn’t pass I’ll have to deal with in California.  It passes.  I leave emissions guy with his mouth hanging open.

It’s now almost 3 pm. My urgent need to get on the road today trumps everything.  My cleaning agenda is reduced to removing all the rest of the trash.  I load my car and trick the cats into their carriers.  They let me know how they feel about this but eventually the felaway kicks in and they zen out. I stop at my son’s house long enough to fill out the forms for my car tag, gather the rest of my belongs, and say a very poignant and teary farewell.  I toss the tag form into the box at the post office on my way out of town and head west into the setting sun.

Next:  A Cat’s Guide to Cross Country Travel

Ch ch ch changes

I have taken a life altering step:  I have moved to California.

Why?  The opera was going thru some serious changes, which I knew I could weather, but wasn’t sure I wanted to.  I tired of working really hard when I had work and then finding myself unemployed too much of the year.  I was beginning to feel that I was too old for this.  I was going stale.

I accepted a job running the costume shop for the Theatre and Dance department and Loyola Marymount University.  Year round employment, with benefits.  Something completely new for me.  Turns out I haven’t yet reached my expiration date.

It’s about time you announced this, don’t you think?  Since It happened 6 months ago.

I know, I know, but really I haven’t  had time to write or knit or much of anything.  I got the job in late September.  Finished the show I was working on at the opera.  Stashed my belongings at my son’s house, packed the bare necessities and 2 cats into my car, waved goodbye to Georgia  and, feeling very dazed and confused, arrived in LA in mid October.

The cats were not happy about any of this but more about that later.

I spent my first few months working like crazy because I started in mid semester and had to play catch up with everything.  I stayed with a friend who lived pretty far away from school and when I wasn’t working, I was driving or sleeping.

I had a break in December which I used to look for a apartment but mostly just drove around in circles because I was always getting lost.  I did get a place and after way too much juggling of time, resources, and sanity, moved in January.  Just in time to start the next crazy round of shows.

The department normally does 6 theatre productions and 2 dance concerts.  This is manageable.  However, in 2013-14 they did 10 theatre projects requiring support from the costume shop in addition to the 2 dance concerts. I was dancing as fast as I could and then…

The academic year ended.  There are no shows during the summer and the campus is quiet.  I have some leisure time.  I don’t know what to do without deadlines.  I miss the students and the liveliness they bring to the shop.

So what am I doing now?  Because I can’t seem to stop, I got permission to work 1 show at Music Circus.  I’m in Sacramento.  Working hard.

Just the usual.

I am on vacation.  That is, I have a bit of time off between my summer job and the opera.  I am spending it by cleaning up the cat hair and cat gack that accumulated in my apartment over the summer.  That and napping.

Yesterday I accomplished part of my to do list by cleaning and mopping the bedroom and hallway.  Then I set out to run a few errands, kitchen restocking and whatnot.  I also planned to stop by the opera and check on some things and use the internet since I cancelled mine before I left and I needed to print out some receipts and that’s not possible at the other places where I can get online.  Then I was going to meet up with the Friday night knitters.

At the opera, my key would not turn in the lock.  This is not unusual because the door is out of whack.  But, it wouldn’t work in the other door either.  No access for me.  It is now past 5pm and if people are still there I don’t want to disturb them since I am not on contract yet anyway.

I head to knitting instead.  The coffee place we meet at is empty of knitters and there is no reserved sign on our table.  I am hot and bothered.  I order a smoothie and check Facebook on my phone.  Knitting cancelled.  I also attempt to check my opera email but either the password has been changed or I simply can’t type it in correctly on my teeny tiny phone keyboard.  Another fail.

I drive home.  It is hot and I have been in California all summer where it is hot but not so unbearably muggy.  My car works better if I don’t use the air conditioning in city traffic so I have the windows down, sweltering and breathing in car exhaust from the other vehicles.

Once at home, all I want to do is lie down in my cool apartment.  I proceed to the bedroom with it’s newly clean floor and behold:  fresh cat gack.

Clearly I was just supposed to stay home and nap.

Serendipity

I don’t have a bucket list.  I don’t have one because the most enjoyable, unique, and memorable experiences of my life have always been unplanned.  A list implies that one has a plan in place to do certain things, visit that place, have that experience.  I know having a list doesn’t mean one can’t also have spontaneous wonderful moments while pursuing one’s list, it’s just that for me, the much anticipated planned activity never quite measures up to the ones that just happen on their own, serendipitously.

Today the stars aligned perfectly and provided me with an unlooked for fortuitous opportunity and if I had a bucket list, I would now be crossing an item off.   I had dinner at Chez Pannise.   It was lovely, beautiful place, attentive staff, fabulous meal.  It was wickedly expensive and I may regret that later but not just yet.

Thanks, Leon, for aiding and abetting.

Numb

Balanced here,

Waiting to fall forward,

To dance in the sunshine.

Even to go  backwards, to slip

Plunging down, washed overboard,

Drowned in a sea of rage and tears.

Rising after the storm has passed,

Dissolved in pure light.

I am stopped here,

Above an abyss of nothing,

Waiting for happy.

It was a soggy, drippy sort of day.

My plan was to do some dyeing because my Etsy shop has been a bit more successful recently than I was prepared for and I am running out of stuff to sell.

This is the day because soon I will have multiple work projects beating me up begging for my attention and then presto!  I will be spirited away to that alternate universe that is my summer job.  In that world there is neither the time nor the means to create things for Etsy.

Since this is not my first time stirring the cauldron, I have the prep routine down.  Move everything I don’t want dye on out of the kitchen.  Get out my apron that covers from neck to knees.  Get out the utensils, the pot, the dye, the salt, and soak the blank white scarves in a clean dish pan in the sink.

Lilith, who feels very strongly that if I am in the kitchen then I should be feeding her, keeps getting under my feet.  I know that should I need to leave the room a nano second later she will be on the counter searching for edibles.  We have a difference of opinion about this and I banish her to the bedroom.  Imp wants to know why I have shut Lilith up in the bedroom.  Did she perhaps get a treat?  If so Imp wants in the bedroom too only not if I am going to shut the door.  Imp finally goes back to destroying her scratching pad while Lilith cries pitifully.

The first dye bath is successful.  I clean out the pot and get everything ready again.  I am using IDye which I like a lot because instead of a paper packet, IDye comes incased in a thin film that dissolves in hot water.  Nothing to open, just toss it in the pot.  No muss, no fuss, no tiny little dye particles floating in the air and landing precisely where I don’t want them to be.

This batch will be turquoise and I fill the pot, toss in the packet of dye, set it on the stove and sit down at the computer while the water heats up.

When the pot begins to make noise, I get up, get a scarf out of the dish pan and dip it in the dye.  I am doing an ombre technique so after a few dips, I suspend it on a hanger above the pot and move on to scarf 2.  I am moving the scarf to and fro in the dye bath when I notice a patch of something dark and gooey on the fabric.

In my eagerness to move on to the next color.  I forgot to stir the pot.  If I had I would have noticed that the packet had not dissolved yet.  It has deposited clumps of dye and whatever substance the packet is made of here and there on the fabric.  I haul both scarves out and frantically try to wash out the clumps with hot water.  While normally I use tongs and other tools to lift and move the fabric, this needs a hands on approach.  I am scraping the dye off the fabric with my nails.  I stir the pot.  The dye is still in big clumps.  I add the salt, which I also forgot to do and stir some more.  Finally I have everything back to what it ought to be and I am able to dye the rest of the scarves.

I let Lilith out while I clean up.  She isn’t happy, thinks she deserves to have her dinner a full 30 minutes early and starts banging her food bowl against the cabinet like an angry prisoner.

While trying to save my scarves from big blue blobs of dye, I managed to slosh dye everywhere.  Clean up takes some time, a lot of paper towels, bleach, and just when I think I have got it all, I find another spot.

But now I am running behind because I also have dinner plans.  My hands are a fetching  shade of zombie blue.  I am wondering what I am going to wear because it’s raining outside, we will be walking to the restaurant so  appropriate foot wear for the rain will have to dictate my attire and what goes with blue hands anyway?

I head for the bedroom to peruse the possibilities.  I step on something very squishy.  I take another step, more squish.  I look at the bottom of my shoe and there is the largest hair ball I have ever seen clinging to the bottom of it.  More paper towels, time, and elbow grease.

I have now dined, the scarves are drip drying in the bathtub, the cats have been fed, and we are all listening to the rain while safe and dry.  Unless I find another hairball or blob of dye, everything can wait until tomorrow.

One Sock, Two Sock

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I have now completed 2 pairs of socks.  The world did not end.  It was not a random phenomena.

What’s more:  I bought yarn on Friday to start a third pair.  I am designing this pair myself  and I am hoping it will look like a aran sweater for my feet, only in burgundy.

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Squoosh Fiberarts, Ultra Sock, superwash merino.  The color is Raison.

In other news,  the town I live in was featured in Travel and Leisure magazines as having one the most beautiful town squares in America.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-most-beautiful-town-squares/1

This is no surprise to anyone who lives here and anyone who knows me also knows that I love where I live.  I love that it feels like a small town even though it’s surrounded by the rest of Atlanta.  I love that the Library is half a block away, that I can walk to the bank, the grocery store, or any number of great restaurants, and that the Marta train will take me most places if my car is out of whack.  I love that everyone cares what happens here and that it isn’t such a big place that it’s hard to manage well.  And I love the Courthouse square and I’m thrilled that it was noticed.

Of course, I might not be so thrilled in a month or two when tourists start showing up to hang out here instead of going to the World of Coke or the Margaret Mitchell House.  When I can’t park in front of my building or get a seat at my restaurant of choice.  When the free concerts in the park or the Art Festival are so mobbed it’s better just to stay home.  Sigh, then I might as well go brave the crowds at the aquarium or the museum myself.

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