Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May's cat

Here's the gorgeous May cat photo!

Monday, May 2, 2016

No guts, no glory

I decided that I should go ahead and sew something up this weekend, even though I didn’t lose my job. I struggle sometimes in finding the time to do creative things like sewing, especially if I’m not 100% positive I’ll get a wearable item out of the time and money I spend on it.

In this case, I was inspired by another sewing blogger who wrote about yet another blogger who suggested that using up fabric already purchased is a Very Good Thing. I’ve got, well not a lot but enough fabric that I could make a fair number of items without having to go to the store. And I’ve got plenty of patterns on hand.

Then Friday night Kent and I were at Nordstrom’s Rack and I found an Eileen Fisher dress that I liked but it didn’t really work on me (I am short waisted so sometimes dresses hit me at the wrong place on my hips). As with so many of Eileen Fisher clothing, the lines were long and elegant with a minimum of embellishment; it was a tank dress but was fluid enough to also feel like a column dress. I’ve had some lovely black with white polka dot silky knit for a few years now and thought I could probably create my own version of the Eileen dress.

But that meant winging it for this dress because I started with this pattern. It's intended for for woven fabrics, not knits. But I thought  hoped I could make it work anyway and I liked the overall lines of the dress.

The pattern calls for a zipper, which I didn’t include. The knit has enough give that it wasn’t necessary. I also didn’t include the ties in the front; instead, I used elastic stitched from the wrong side to create a tiny bit of gather under the bust. I didn’t gather it a lot because I want the dress to flow and was also concerned that it would look a bit like a maternity dress if I did.

Here’s the finished product—the photo doesn’t capture the fluid drape of the dress and in fact I think it looks a bit sad sack. But it doesn’t in real life.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What $2k looks like sitting on my nightstand

Or cause≠ correlation≠ coincidence

Remember the low frequency hearing loss I had? The loss that had been going on for sure for nearly three years and most definitely since 2010 and probably earlier than that?

It’s gone. Vanished, kaput, bye-bye.

I saw my audiologist in early March because I thought my right ear was getting bad (original loss was in my left ear). So he ran a hearing test on both ears; much to everyone’s surprise, my left and right ears both register as normal now. I asked if it were possible that this change was because of the sinus surgery. Nope, he said, not possible. And the reason my right ear seemed as though it might be losing hearing was because my left ear was now over amplified.

He was leaning toward a different diagnosis and asked if I had any tinnitus or ringing in my ears. Of course, I said. Listen, you don’t perform the 1812 Overture with live howitzers year after year and not get some tinnitus—never mind that I’ve fronted rock bands too. That kind of music comes at a price.

So he had me go without my hearing aid for a month and then return to be retested. That was a couple of weeks ago and not only do I not have the low frequency hearing loss in the left ear, the tiny incremental loss I’d had in the very upper register is also gone.

Both my ENT and my audiologist still swear that this change has nothing to do with the sinus surgery I had in December, no how no way.

Now my fancy pants $2000 hearing aid sits in this dry caddy tucked away in my nightstand, and that’s where it will stay unless something changes. I am to get tested again in about six months and we’ll see where things stand.

Edited to add that I'd rather have it sitting there in a caddy than need to wear it. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Things I would have done this week if I'd been laid off

We had layoffs and a reorg where I work on Tuesday.

We'd known this day was coming (and in fact the rumor mill had offered up several, earlier days this might happen) so it wasn't exactly a surprise. The scope across the company was a little shocking although not totally unexpected.

Earlier in the year, I'd rated my chance of being laid off at greater than 60%. As we moved into spring, I dropped that estimate to about 40%, then 30%. No one is truly untouchable when reorgs happen, so that chance will never drop to zero. In this case, I didn't lose my job. Within my organization (at the VP level), we lost three in total. Across the company, the press release says we eliminated 13%. And although layoffs aren't personal, they feel that way.

So all of this happened on Tuesday (that's the magic day at my company, the Tuesday before a  payday, which makes things easier from an accounting perspective). Monday night I told Kent that if I got let go the next day, I was going to start weeding the back yard, and I would be cutting out a dress I've wanted to make for months (and have had the fabric for it now for no joke a couple of years)--I had a long list.

But I didn't get let go. Once the layoffs were over, I talked with all my direct reports to reassure them, tell them that our team was intact and that the layoffs were over. Now we are all trying to move forward because there's still so much work to be done. I expect next week will be a little better for us all.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Vanity Fair—a third bag

I’ve made this bag three times now—the first time was for me and I’m not sure I ever posted about it. I made it out of a grey fabric that looks like (but isn’t) linen. I didn’t realize at the time, but I actually made it up wrong. You can see the way it’s supposed to look in terms of how it’s pieced together on the outside here, on the pattern envelop.

And here’s the one I made for myself. See the difference? The pattern has the pieces stitched directly under the handles while the one I made for myself has the pieces meeting in the center.

To be honest, I prefer it this way but when I cut out the one for my friend (posted about here), I followed the directions and pieced it together as intended. I was pretty confused as I was sewing it up because it was so different; I had to go get out my own bag to see what I’d done.

I’ve made a third version for another friend. She’s a creature of sunshine stuck in very overcast Ohio so I picked bright fabrics for her and used the same sunny yellow fabric for the lining as I did for the bag I made earlier this year.

I’m not sure if I’ll make this bag again. As with a lot of independent pattern makers, this one gives some pieces and then tells you to cut out a strip in given dimensions. That bugs me, and I think it’s an unfortunate short cut because honestly? I need a pattern piece. Yes, I can (and did) trace out my own but still for the price of the pattern ($10), I want all the pieces.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What would you have done?

I’m attending a professional conference this week—SIOP, or Society of Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Attendees generally have master’s or PhDs in the field or are candidates for one of those degrees. There are a bazillion sessions offered during the conference: research on various topics or panel discussions and even debates.

This afternoon I was in a very full session on visualizing big data. The woman next to me was a PhD candidate in I/O and had very long hair (this detail matters to the story). Since the session was full and had been anticipated to be full, the chairs were very close together—when I say close, I mean they were touching. So there wasn’t much room. The woman next to me kept running her hand through her hair and sort of flipping it or rearranging it. All fine and good except that her hair kept getting way into my personal space (what little there was) and hit me a few times. Plus she fidgeted like crazy; she crossed her legs over and over again and then kept bouncing the top leg up and down. I was nervous her heel was going to smack my right knee, the one that was so bruised from my fall last week.

I considered saying something to her, something to indicate I knew it wasn’t on purpose behavior or malicious but that I found it pretty distracting. I also thought (and think) that she’s going to need to get a handle on those behaviors or else they’ll end up being real drawbacks as she looks to launch either an academic or corporate-based career. While it’s not fair that people get judged by things like nervous fidgets or the inability to recognize and respect personal space, it happens all the time.

I wondered too what, if any, responsibility I bore toward helping a young woman with some kind, specific feedback like that. I’m still not sure about that one, to be honest.

In the end, I said nothing. I’m not her adviser or her friend and even though I disliked her hair whipping me the way it did, the potential risk of offering feedback like that outweighed any social or professional obligation I might have. But I’m curious. What would you have done?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Oops, they noticed

As part of our “keep kitties well hydrated” process, we split a can of cat food three ways each night and add in about the same amount of canned pumpkin. That way, they all get more moisture and Eddie—our boy who’s had some issues with his behind—also gets fiber. The cats love the pumpkin and we’ve often joked that we could probably just give them pumpkin and they wouldn’t even notice the absence of their normal Gravy Lovers food.

We’d have been wrong.

Last night, Kent groped around in the box of canned food under the sink only to come up empty. He thought there was another, unopened box under the sink but nope—we were completely out. So we figured what the heck, now we’ll find out if they even miss the Gravy Lovers and gave them plain ol’ pumpkin.

They noticed. In fact, they all almost immediately switched bowls probably to see if someone else had the good stuff. And then they all huffed off and left their bowls looking like this:

Kent ran out and got some food. Eddie was very excited, Wally and Chloe couldn't be bothered and had to be carried out but once there, devoured their dinner.