Saturday, March 28, 2009

Food for Thought #9 - Theoretically Speaking

As always, the original from Lee is here

Appetizer: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Omelet, hash browns and coffee. More than usual but we met friends for breakfast.

Soup: Phish or Monkees?

Monkees. Even the mention makes me start singing a weird montage in my head. "hey hey we're the Monkee's. People say we monkey around... Cheer up Sleep Jean... Oh what can it mean to a daydream believer... Catch the last train to Clarksville and I'll meet you at the station..."

Salad: What is your first reaction when you hear the phrase, “I don’t believe in evolution”?

Thankfully, I've never heard anyone say this. I guess everyone can have their opinions and beliefs, that's what makes the world diverse but there is so much evidence of evolution around us that I have trouble understanding how anyone could not believe in it.

Entré: What do you think about attempts to legislate science or even just how science is taught?

On the one hand, I think it is a good idea to have goals of what students should learn at various grade levels. But I think that trying to dictate how it is taught will limit what is actually learned. By having all different teachers with varying styles it's more likely that someone will be the one that makes it start to click, the one that suddenly make science interesting.

Dessert: Has the word “theory” been stripped of its scientific meaning or become loaded with excess emotional baggage?

Well, at work we use it when someone says how something software-related should work, we call it the theory until we can prove it one way or the other with some real test cases. It isn't meant as a good or bad, it just means that something is possible but not yet proven. I'm not sure that answers the question....

Food For Thought #8 - Mentoring

#8 is about Mentoring, see Lee's original post here

Appetizer: Do you view yourself as a mentor? Why or why not?

Yes, I find myself always wanting to learn and then share my knowledge. Whether it's teaching friends and family how to market themselves for jobs, teaching something technical, guiding my employees to expand horizons, spending a ton of time sharing knitting knowledge in real life and on Ravelry, I'm constantly trying to share. Plus, of course, as a parent, I try to teach my son the ins and outs of how to study, dealing with friends, surviving emotions and general life skills (like cooking pizza). I have never been one to hold my knowledge in, I believe that if I can help, I should try.

Soup: Other than your parents, who was most influential in shaping the choices you made in your life?

My son. People that know me today find it hard to believe but there was a portion of my life where I was very unfocused. I failed out of college, I went from guy to guy to guy to guy. (Friends said I didn't rebound, I ricocheted). I came home single and pregnant. Luckily my family, while not thrilled, took me in... took us in since we lived there for my pregnancy and my son's first year. After he was born, my life had purpose, every decision was suddenly about what was going to be best for him. I got a better job, I settled down, I went back to school.... I am the person I am because he came into my life.

Salad: Other than your children or siblings, whose life have you influenced most?

I believe that I have influenced others in ways big and small. My favorite people have been interns that were under my management and care. I always tried to make sure that they were part of the team, given true responsibilities that could add to their resumes and then help them market themselves for their first job after graduation. Since I have heard success stories from three of them, I know I did my job and I am so proud of them.

I have similar feelings when I can teach someone something new in their knitting. Every time Apryl teases me about her sock obsession being my fault, I smile. I'm glad I helped her. I'm glad I can teach people new things on Ravelry. Of course there are lots of amazing people there but sometimes a simple drawing from me can give someone the "ah-ha" moment. Maybe it's not as life changing as helping people in their careers, but I believe it's valuable and it makes me feel good when someone gets a bit further.

Entré: What is your favorite experience as a mentor or mentee?

Ok, this one starts out a bit negative first... I once had an employee who initially did not report to me. He started as an intern, became a contractor and had a manager who would just correct his work if it was wrong. This employee, who was a wonderful person, became a bit lazy about his work because, well, it was getting corrected anyway and no one cared. Then his project shifted and he worked with me, his job was working within Business Objects reports in our company. I didn't tolerate the problems and would send the work back to him. One day, he submitted a report that was just horrible, by just glancing at it you could see that his report said that all motorcycles had about 8 wheels. I lost it, I don't lose my temper very often, especially at work, but I yelled at him. Later I apologized and we actually talked about it. But amazingly, from that point on, he totally turned around. He started trying harder, he started learning more about our reporting environment and just doing great work. Eventually, as all contractors must, he had to leave us. I helped him find another job and then didn't hear from him for awhile. One day he emailed me and said that he got a job at Business Objects (yes, the software company) and that he wanted to thank me. He said that when I got mad and expected him to work properly, it actually showed him that I cared and then he cared. It was the best email I ever received even though I still feel horrible that I yelled. (that certainly isn't the best mentor technique!) And for the record, he teased me periodically from that point on and told others that they really didn't want to make me mad. *blush*

Dessert: Do you have to know someone personally for that person to be your mentor? Please explain your position.

I believe that it's possible for someone to be your mentor that you don't know personally. Many people view the Yarn Harlot or Elizabeth Zimmerman to be knitting mentors. People like Ghandi or Martin Luther King influenced the thoughts of many people that didn't know them

However, in my own life, I've found that my most important mentors have known me, whether they had a large influence or a small. Some for providing direct guidance and some for encouraging me to think just a bit differently about myself and the world around me. For that matter, Lee makes me think every time he posts these questions. When I answer these, I feel like I'm coming at my own thoughts and feelings at an unusual angle and I come away knowing myself a little better.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Quickie post

I'm behind and owe a couple Food for Thoughts but right now I thought I'd just share that I finally finished the Knotty or Knice socks, started in October.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

From broken man to Egyptian God!

Ok, my mom doesn't have a blog but she sent the following as an email and I just had to share with everyone else because I'm so impressed (and the story is funny). The names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty.....


First he was a he-man and all the girls loved him...then through a tragic accident, he became a paraplegic....but now, through the miracles of science...he's a GOD!


He was MojaveKnitter's first Ken doll and when she was in 2nd grade and playing with the girl across the street, the girl broke him in the middle trying to make him sit. MojaveKnitter was heartbroken. And Mom couldn't fix him, that cheap plastic and all, so not wanting to throw him out, but now only played with when they really needed an extra doll, basically useless....he remained in the suitcase with the doll clothes.

BUT now, years later...(MojaveKnitter is 30 now) through the miracles of modern science, we can rebuild him! We can make him stronger.... faster..... expence was spared.... Ok so it was some carpet thread, a button, little paint, glue and Fimo....but now he's Anubis and in with my Egyption dolls. Oh and those are parchment paintings on the background, not taking the plastic off, until I get my room box for this group...... someday.



WITH THE WOMEN... (yes, she did them too, aren't they beautiful?)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Food for Thought, #6 and #7

I'm a bit behind on Food for Thought and I don't want Lee thinking his questions are too hard just because I'm a slacker.....

Food for Thought #6 - Nature vs Nurture
Appetizer: Read the appetizer in full before acting. Focus on this screen. Then close your eyes and turn your head to the right. What is the first thing your eyes focus on when you open them?
Well, the first day I read Lee's post, I did this and my focus landed on my big knitting bag. It's the bag that holds all the small project bags. Doing it right now, I see peanuts because son just decided I needed them.

Soup: When something good happens to someone you work with, how do you react?
Assuming that it's someone that I know well, I'm truly happy for them and often proud because they've earned it and I've watched them work toward that goal.

Salad: If something happened in your career that doubled your income, what is the first thing you would do?
pay bills and buy a home

Entré: How do we acquire our drives, the parts of us that make us want to accomplish one thing versus another thing?
I'm not sure, I do know that it's only been in recent years that I've really discovered the things that drive me. I am driven my learning and then sharing that knowledge. I'm driven by helping others reach their goals, whether in their careers or just to finally knit that sock heel.

Dessert: What made you happy today?
See previous blog entry... yarn, shoes, lunch out!

Food for Thought #7 - Weekend Edition

Appetizer: When it comes to the weekend, do they usually measure up to your expectations?

I don't put that much pressure on my weekends. We may have plans, we may not. If we have plans they tend to be relaxed, time with friends or family. If we don't, it means a weekend home reading, knitting, video games... We get the chores done that need to get done but don't stress too much about it. Every other weekend we have bowling league. (Adult/Junior league so son and I are a team)

Soup: What good thing happened this week that you were not expecting?

Lunch out with my team today. It was not planned but it was fun, I need to make time to do that more often.

Salad: If one end of a scale is, “I like to have every second of my day planned and executed according to that plan”
and the other end is “I like to take life as it comes, completely spontaneously,” where do you fit?

I find this one a little difficult. When I have plans, I like them to have them go according to the plan but I don't like to have every minute of my day planned, I need true downtime where there are no expectations. I'm not good with spontaneity, this is something I've been working to improve in the past few years. Generally my first instinct to a surprise change in plans is "NO" but I have had to train myself to do a quick check and really think about these opportunities.

Entré: Do things just happen, or do we control what happens in our lives?

I believe that there is a fate that guides us, that puts us in the right place at the right time. However, as Kelly says in her responses I agree with the sentiment "luck is when preparation meets opportunity". I believe that taking opportunities to learn and grow will allow you to answer the knock when it comes.

Dessert: What are your plans, if any, for the weekend.

We are visiting my parents this weekend. There are no real plans when we are there so it will probably involve catching up, watching kitties play, knitting and watching BBC America (which we don't have at our place).

I took time off....

It's been a long few weeks at work. Not long days, just very intense days. So today I decided I was leaving at noon and taking a few hours for myself. First, I actually had lunch with my team, something I haven't been able to do lately. They were going out to a Philly Cheesesteak place so I joined in and then left from lunch.

I went first to Ruhama's, mostly to browse. I knew they carried a yarn that was specified in a pattern I saw recently. It would be a sweater's worth of yarn so I wasn't buying, I just wanted to see it in person, feel it, get an idea of what it was all about. I saw my yarn, got my info and then just browsed. I saw this really fun scarf with criss-cross pattern made with Plymouth Yarn Boku which gradually changes colors. I bought two skeins, different colors to make this. They gave me the pattern for free but I can't find reference to it anywhere else, even on Ravelry which is a surprise. Anyway, I had to start it so that I could show people what it was (plus it was fun to play with, this didn't take too long.

After the yarn, I went to Kohl's. I've been wanting some cute shoes that I can use with knit socks. I told myself I could spend $50 on cute shoes. The ones below were about $25! And they are really comfortable! I also got a pair of black pumps for $10, more of a staple item.

At the end of my free time, I came home and found a Sock Cinema shipment in the mail waiting for me. I'm so glad I pre-paid my clubs, I can just enjoy them. This one is from Princess Bride "The Man in Black", I think it's one of my favorites from the club. Plus, the bag is super soft suede. (It's already holding the Boku scarf above)

In other knitting news, I finished the first of the Fantastic Blue Bird socks. It was a fast knit, really pretty. It's a little snug, I'm hoping a wet block will help but to be honest, I haven't tried yet becasue I'm a little scared it won't work and then I'll be disappointed.

I've also just started Spazz Fingerless Mitts (Ravelry link), designed by Shannon of Unwind Yarns. The pattern is for sale but she's asked me to test knit it. I don't have pictures of that yet, it's not really far enough to show anything yet. But the yarn is beautiful! It's even richer than shows up in the picture.

This weekend we are going to visit my parents, we haven't been able to do that for awhile so I'm looking forward to it. Hope everyone has a pleasant weekend!