Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How I Became A "Yes" Girl

I was at the grocery store late tonight (and horrors!  on a Monday.  That's what holiday travel does to ya) The cashier was ringing me up and lost in conversation with the bagger, a guy about her age with braces.  As he's bagging my groceries, the manager yells over to him, "Hey are you working tomorrow?"  When he says that he isn't, she says, "well, would you like to?"  Awkward pause, as you see his brain shift into "deer in headlights" mode, he's stammering for an excuse as to why he can't and not finding one.  The cashier bats her lashes at him and says quietly, "What is it, do you have plans after school or do you not want to work?"  I can clearly see which it is....and the manager browbeats him into taking an afterschool shift.  

Wow, this guy reminds me of my high school self.  Flashback to the early nineties, where I worked at a fast food joint instead of a grocery store.  (Which may have been my first mistake, but that's a story for another day.)  I'd put in long weekend hours mostly working drive-thru, spending Saturdays getting up at 5am to prep for the 6AM opening.  I'd work nights, sometimes into the early morning.  And I never said no.  Extra shifts?  Yes.  Stay past closing?  Sure.  Work at other stores because they were short-handed?  Just tell me where it is and I'll figure it out.

Truth be told, I allowed myself to become a Yes Girl.  In college, I worked retail for two semesters at a popular "cheapie" store.  LOTS of nights and weekends where I should've said No once in a while.  My senior year, I worked at a coffee shop AND at a nursing home while going to school full-time.  My grades suffered, sure.  But look at my strong work ethic!  Yeah yeah, that's important too.  But so is getting decent grades and decent sleep.  Learn to say no.

I have only in the past few years learned to put up my hand and back away.  Many years as the easy target, attending things that I didn't want to attend, baking for things I didn't want to bake for, etc etc etc.  Finding myself chairing committiees and charity events that I didn't want to.  And paying for the overcommittment.  And silently hating myself for not speaking up.

So I say to this kid in the store (in my head, because I don't have a lot of guts to open my mouth and lay it down to a stranger.)  Kid:  a strong work ethic is important.  And I know that your generation doesn't have a lot of that.  But being young and getting out and doing your thing is important too.  You have your whole life to work.  You don't have to feel like you're disappointing your boss because you don't want to come in on your day off.  Because if you start doing that, they're not going to remember that you did it, they're just going to call you in more often.  So, even if you don't have any more plans than to sit on your couch afterschool, and catch up on the DVD or just plain stare into space, be honest.  Grow a set and say "Sorry, I can't I've got plans."  You'll be glad that you did in the long run.  Because there's such a thing as a team player, and such as thing as a doormat.

The Yes Girl, she doesn't live here anymore.  And I don't really miss her, and neither does my family.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Slice n Dice!

Last Thursday I took a knife skills workshop at  Culinary Underground. so that I could cross it off my Day Zero List.  When I say that this place is awesome....well, it is, but that isn't a strong enough description.  I loved it and can't wait to do it again someday.

To read more, please visit my cooking and food blog, The Blue Plate Special.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stop the Holiday Insanity!

It happens every year.

No matter how prepared I am, no matter what I do to ward it off.

Knitter's Holiday Curse.  There simply aren't enough hours in a day to finish chewing what we've bitten off in terms of "accomplishable" knitting goals before Zero Hour.

This year, I'm saying "screw it!" And not giving in to the clammy palms, heart racing "I just spent the day wrapping gifts and now I'm going to knit til 1:00 AM and STILL not finish" feeling.

Well, that last part was only true one year.  And do you know what?  I ran out of yarn towards the finish line of that scarf, and I never finished it.  In fact, it is still on needles in a drawer.  The world didn't stop, and nobody died.  The intended recipient didn't throw down her gift after she unwrapped it and demand the handknits that she deserves.

I have most of the holiday knitting done, except for what I want to make my immediate family.  So tonight, I crossed two gifts right out of the Ravelry queue.  Because as the Yarn Harlot says, "A book makes a nice gift, too."

There.  I'm feeling better and less overwhelmed already.  :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Autumn Sunshine Days

Today it was just me and the kids, and it was as close to perfect as it could get.  Almost seventy degrees, warranting a trip to the park.  Then we stopped by the grocery store, where the Salvation Army bell ringer is ALREADY out.  He let the two boys ring bells on our way in, and on our way out.  Then it was naptime for the little kid, and time for baking cookies and assembling robots.  Some of those cookies will go to one of our neighbors, and some we've already enjoyed.  "Cept Sean, who didn't want any.  ???

The best part?  Day's not over yet.  Soon Hubby will be home, and I'm going to take another crack at my day zero mac n cheese!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Yarny Day.

Every six months has a trip of yarny goodness.  I woke up this morning and BOOM!  It was here...the New England Fiber Festival!  A day of walking around with my friends and my mom, petting alpacas, perusing patterns and touching all that yarn.  I came home with some lovely lavender-sage soap in a felted yarn bag, a skein or two of pretty, variegated yarns and some goodies for my birthday swap partner.  Oh, and the people-watching.  There's never a shortage of that at the NE Fiber Festival.

First, you observe everyone's handmade wearables.  I saw some gorgeous shawls today, and more than one baby sweater that I almost died from the cuteness.  BUT.  There's the other side, the "how did you think that looked GOOD?" side.  To each their own, though.  Knitting is all about the creativity.  And as the Yarn Harlot points out, "There are no knitting police."  The other thing that always blows me away is how people can knit or crochet, walk and carry on a conversation at these things.  I will never get there.  I saw a woman knitting lace, and I even saw another woman SPINNING with a drop spindle as she walked along.  She actually whacked my foot with the spindle...that's how I noticed.

I came home earlier than usual, with a small bag and tired feet from the walking.  Mom and I spent some time knitting and hanging out while Hubby cooked dinner, her on a sweater and me on a sock.  Yes, I am giving socks another try.  This is my third try, and I'm trying to be smarter and starting a pair for the smallest member of my immediate family!  Here's hoping that the third time's a charm!

All in all, a great day.  And the NE Fiber Festival means something else....six months til the Tent Sale at Webs!  :)