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December begins.

Went to Hawaii last week to mark the 1 year of Mikey’s death.

It was hard, but I had mostly come to terms with it given that he had congestive heart failure for the last 12 years and also he was having a pretty hard go of it this last summer while Tex was ill.

I have my own 1 year anniversary to deal with at xmas as well. I have no idea how I will handle it. Pretty much everything surprises me how I react. I either don’t and then it isn’t an issue, or I am startled by the tears and unhappy that emerges from the situation.

For instance, they had the Jobs movie on the plane back from Hawaii and I kind of got a bit weird over the fact that Steve Jobs died from pancreatic cancer as well. So I guess I’m not ready for that association yet.

I’m still surrounded by people I love and who love me, so I’m well cared for, but of course, I have to get through this shite in my head on my own when it comes down to brass tacks. This isn’t unusual and I am not afraid of it.

Kaiser hospice is still having a hell of a time trying to speak to me… not that I’m terribly interested. Apparently normal grieving processes are not applicable to fredlet brain. So, while I appreciate it, I’m sure I’m just frustrating the poor kind folks there. Mostly little bits come out here and there about Tex and his last days, or Lee and I will make jokes about Mikey and Tex and their funny little friendship and how we miss them.

I do miss him.

In other news, EDD continues to deny me unemployment benefits, the job listings that jobserious.com send me are ridiculous (just because I worked at a bank’s technology group once does not mean that sending me personal banker or teller positions will do me any good) and I’m about to try to figure out if anything out there suits my skills or interest… Lotto winner would be a great position to hold. Also personal chef to lotto winner could be fun, too.

Also, given the squawking of many of my loved ones about my snoring (I’ve always snored-it is my defense against marauding bears), I went in for a sleep study (not much of a study, O2 sensor and pulse meter one night… a night that I was congested, up too late and then had to get up too early to return the %*&^(*&^ equipment to Kaiser, so of the 4 hours of sleep they were able to monitor it looked like I was actually the living dead.

Standard recommendations: lose weight, stop haunting the living, don’t let the cat sleep on your face, etc… and a CPAP.
I have the test module (sleeping with training wheels!) for this week then will get my tricked out ride a bit after that. Guess I need to rewire the bed area and then figure out what Goal Zero power thingy will run my CPAP when I am wherever doesn’t have power.

Sigh.

But that will have to wait as I am almost out of money for the year (thanks EDD for taking $$ for the last 12 years from me for everyone else and not letting me access it when I need it). It was a good year, but I’m going to mark it over soon and start the next section of my life… it kind of has already started, but on some things I just need to say “Enough. Now done.”

 

IMG_4009

Uniform

Since I am an unemployed wastrel (with less free time on my hands than I expected what with not having to be across the bay 10 hours a day; sleep, yo… maker faire, yo…job search, yo…) I have been informed that my habillement choices are on the dark side.

I like black. Sure it shows some lint and cat hair, but it also doesn’t show drippings from my lunch or other clumsiness that I tend toward. Also, since I don’t have to be crawling around on the floor fixing network connections that IT should have gotten to in a more timely manner (I think in my previous job, they just assumed I was the IT mascot and I could just get this shite done without having to put in a ticket, so one more thing off their plate, thankyouverymuch.) I can wear skirts now without showing everyone my adorable undies from Target.

So, I have a few skirts (read:more than I have every owned in my life; i.e. more than 2) and I am wearing them.

I haven’t totally reconciled the travel aspect of it. I have some built in aversions to wearing too much of one fabric (jean jacket and jeans at the same time) or not having my shoes match my bag (no, I’m not certain where that came from) or mixing black with chocolate brown…. So I have a few requirements to meet when I travel.

Also, do you know how hard it is to find yoga pants in not black?

And my favorite, favorite shirt is black. So wearing comfy pants and my favorite shirt, and a fleece (which is normally black because wearing a color over black pants and black shirt seems wonky to me) leaves me with… all black. Sigh. Back to square one.

So traveling on a plane with my minimal carryon stuff can be a little restrictive, it helps that I have some stuff that packs down pretty well. Also I found some jeans that I love so they are easy to pair with color (though that rules out my bluejean jacket  for me. I can wear it with skirts though, so if I bite the bullet and wear a friggin’ dress, I’m ok. (I’m working on being ok with that.))

Anyhoo, so I am unreasonably excited by road trips now. Mostly because I can have my purse out with gadgety crap and a second bag that I can put an extra jacket in that I normally wouldn’t have room to have with me as carry on AND my little suitcase. (no I will not check a bag on the way to anywhere unless I am just too exhausted to deal with it and still, I will have my minimum requirements with me on the plane so if the other stuff gets lost, it was just gravy anyway.)

Here’s my current packing list for a car trip:

part 1 part 2

Images from Closet (iphone app)

Oh the bounty of outfits! (No I won’t wear it all, but it gives me leeway for various activities, spillages, sweatiness and whatnot. Also some things are meant to be worn over each other… like the white tank and the white button down to keep me cool and not fried by the sun outside. Some is just in case, like the nice dress and heels if I go out to fancy-schmancy dinner. Hiking, beach, etc.)

I can fit this all in my little green shopper (also doubles as spare stuff to leave in the car trunk when we are out), the carry-on LeSportsac Abby and my “fits under the airplane seat… really” American Tourister wheely that is fast becoming my favorite bag ever.

Leave me alone. This is fun.

In Search of… Eagle Creek Bedouin and just a little more

Eagle Creek Bedouin

I got this pack off of EBay about a zillion years ago-mine is all in black. I couldn’t find the name of it on Eagle Creek’s site (and even when I emailed them with a description, they told me a different pack…) I kept searching and found a listing on Sierra Trading Post finally that fit the bill.

I’ve used it for up to 5 day trips (with another bag as a day pack for gadgets) and just for running around but I’ve often wished that I could find a pack almost exactly like it but just a wee bit larger. Perhaps an inch or two all the way around.

Most of the travel packs out there are 40L or 45L and if you put that on me then you might as well be strapping a grand piano to my back.

Technical day packs are almost there, but they tend to only have one central storage area and I really like the option to zip/unzip and have one or two compartments in the pack for shoes, fidldly bits or whatever.

Making it just a bit larger (2200 cu in maybe?) would allow me to use this in the winter for trips and put perhaps one more fleece or layer in for the whole trip. I have convertible suitcases (the eBags Weekender-and it is a great bag) but they don’t carry as easily as this pack.

I like the sleek profile of it as it doesn’t stick out 5 feet from my back, but still that tiny bit of extra space would mean the difference between several days and a full week in there. I even like the waist pack (yes, then dreaded fanny pack) and I put a shoulder strap on it and use it as a purse. I use it to store knitting supplies when it is attached. When I don’t take the waist pack along I can roll up a fleece and clip it in it’s place, but it tends to be a little sticky-outy which I don’t love, so I don’t do that unless it is an emergency. It has a zipper divider in the main compartment so that I can separate out the silo into 2 areas or make it long enough to put my down coat in a compression sack, flattened, then slide it down the back and pack over it.

Here’s an old post when STP had it:

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/317,81465_Bedouin-Travel-Pack-By-Eagle-Creek.html
This practical travel pack is designed to keep needed items at hand. Features water bottle holsters and many organizer pockets. All seams taped and stress points reinforced. Made of ultra-durable Cordura® Plus nylon.
Features two main compartments (top and bottom) with removable waist pack, padded backpack straps and padded back panel.
13x19x7″.
2000 cu.in.
2 lb. 5 oz.

What say, Eagle Creek? Wanna make a modified Bedouin again? I’d buy it.

Travelly bits

Packing is fun.
You know how some people have gift wrapping rooms? I want a packing room/closet.
It would have my current Stolmen shelves on 3 sides, one wall for framed maps and pictures and a big table with drawers/organize-y things in the middle.
But I don’t have that and my closet is currently is kinda messy, so I’ll just make a list well in advance, put things into a designated bag for keeping  them together until the trip, then take over the bed for a while when I do actually pack.
I’ve got my annual trip to Green Bay coming up next week (umm…eeek.) and I need to take more than I usually do. I also think it will be rather nippy this time (last year I wore my jacket liner over a long sleeve SmartWool shirt and was warm enough. Crazy.)
I have a very serious down coat, a honkin’ pile o’ SmartWool things, a wool JCrew rollneck sweater (that I wore in 20 degree weather without knowing it because it is perfect) and snow boots. Actually I have two pairs of snow boots and I’m debating which ones I should take. I suspect I’ll take the lace up ones and use it as an excuse to wear leggings tucked into them the whole weekend instead of proper pants.
There’s a dress involved in this year’s round up so I have to take some girl clothes type things… yuck.
If I use Tex as a mule, I can put more shoes in his bag. I’d check a bag and just use a bigger suitcase, but I’m paranoid about checking bag on the way to a destination. The universe never actually loses your dirty laundry and smelly socks, but crucial items are fair game. (I may still check a non-essentials bag and just rough it with existing things in my carry on if they lose my checked luggage.)
I even have a new carry-on for this trip (yeah, i know I get a new bag almost every trip- but some of them get given away or re-purposed, so I don’t have that much actual luggage. I do sometimes use just bags for short trips.). I found this Lucas lightweight carry-on that is gray with a leaf pattern on it. It had butternut squash colored accents and worked with a lumbar pack I have (that I used for a weekend in Texas when I needed to be hands free as I had borked my nerve in my neck.) Atypical matching luggage, but it met my criteria and kept the inner luggage dork happy.
… until I decided to use the same bag for Green Bay.
Lucas Leaf carryon bag
I could get away with minimal packing at my grandmother’s because really I end up living in one pair of yoga pants the whole time I’m there (multiple Tshirts, socks and undies) then changing back into the plane outfit that is fit for public viewing. At most you need one of those bags that fit under the seat and a backpack full of gadgets.
But for Green Bay (and especially this year; see above.) there’s no way I could fit all my cold friggin’ weather gear in a small carry-on. So my inner freakazoid went bonkers trying to come up with a “matching” set that would hold enough for 5 days in the cold. It really only had to be a tenuous link, but a link nonetheless. So I went Marshall’s/Ross/TJ Maxx crawling (Marshall’s was the most likely success as that was where I found the original bag.) and I lucked out and found a small suitcase only $10 more than the original that matched exactly. It isn’t a wheelie but I don’t necessarily need another wheelie.
I test drove it last weekend when I stayed down close to the Monterey Aquarium last weekend and it holds a surprising amount of crap (but you have to be careful or they will get crabby on the plane and not let you in and make you check it… it’s a fine line.)
AT stuff on my cube at work.
The other thing in my head is a longer trip to the AT. About the same time frame and location as the other with a few adjustment (namely, marshmallows for mama, not eating a group meal and a slower pace with less panic that I was holding up the group.) I don’t regret a thing about the last trip, but I also would like to try a few new things while I’m there and I know myself fairly well, so adjustments will be made.
I’m not quite ready to do 6-8 weeks on the trail and do the entire state yet for a variety of reasons, but I will.
Now, gotta get on the treadmill and also start doing 4-6 miles each weekend day to get ready.
:)

Sharks and luggage and knitting… oh my! But not really.

Week 4 of the new phone. I do like it a lot, but I miss my Centro.
Its been kind of a funky transition that I suppose most people go through when moving (house/car/phone). I’m having to consolidate and reorganize all my addresses into my Gmail account rather than my Palm Desktop. I suppose I could have just done an export, but I figured after 14 years of the same database with only cursory tidying up over the last however-many-years it was time to start afresh. Like spring cleaning.
Of course, I’m getting a little obsessive over it, would you expect any less from me? No, I thought not.

The search for a bluetooth keyboard continues. I actually have the perfect keyboard (Stowaway) but when I opened it up to get it going with Roy Batty, several screws fell out of it and a piece of plastic broke off. So I put the whole pile in a ziploc bag and glare at it from time to time while I google other options. Pesky items that don’t last even 10 years. Hell, my cat lasted longer than that.

Speaking of hell and my cat, I managed to extract several videos of Bunny meowing at me from my Centro and put them on my new phone. I have to watch them rather judiciously or I’m a mess for about 12 hours.

The long weekend coming up promises to be filled with sharks and chores. Possibly some knitting. The trip to Green Bay looms as well. I’ll write up a packing list and a musing on luggage next. I’ve learned its best not to try to logic myself out of wanting matching luggage… it’s…well, dangerous. I might regret it, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
Know thyself and thy carry-on luggage neuroses.