Monday, March 28, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.--H.L. Mencken

I only look for coffins when I see gladioli.

Flowers are second only to knitting. Soon, baby, soon.

Did you all have a nice Easter? We did here chez Roberts.

That cat has ceased to breathe.

Spinning Stuff
It's got me hooked. I seem to find it easier to sit down at the wheel than to pick up the needles, although with Loopy knitting an AS, I've been picking at the Queen Anne's Lace again. Finally got the cranberry merino skeined up.

Four ounces. And I'm collecting all these bits and pieces for what? Certainly not socks. With the abuse I give socks, this stuff wouldn't last a day.

The skein needs be measured but I'm thinking that homespun such as this, in limited quantities, would make a nice lace demi-shawl. (I hate the word "shawlette," by the way.) This would be a project that might pique my interest, since everything else I'm doing doesn't.

My mother finally got tired of waiting for her catalog and called up to New Hampshire demanding to know where it was. I feel for the customer service person on the other end. So they sent her a copy. After telling me it was full of the usual crap, she announced that she was going to order some yarn. Heh. Of course, I still haven't received mine. And don't much care, either. I've got enough in the stash to last me for 30 years.

The Book
Someone, I forget who, said something snarky about the book I'm writing. Well, I'm still writing it; however, I made a decision to change the format of the book, mostly because I felt awkward with what I had written. Now I have a real focus.

The book will be called My Life as a Knitter and track my knitting life, following what I learned when and how, with accompanying patterns that reflect what I was knitting at the time, and lots of tips. For example, when I first started knitting seriously, back in 1973, I made layettes for employees at the mental institution I worked at. I'm updating the traditional layette design with unbaby colors and more modern garment design. That kind of thing, you know?

Or when I learned about shortrowing and how. I remember reading the directions and saying to myself, "This is SO fucking wrong!" Um, you live and you learn.

Anyway, I've had a pretty interesting life, from psychiatric technician to editor to writer to mother of two, and most of it involved knitting in one way or another. Even if no one reads it, I'll leave it as a legacy for my Liz. She's the one who counts.

The bottom line is, knitting is my life. And a rare and handy life it's been, too. With bumps and thumps but always with yarn in hand.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.--Robert Heinlein

The comment that Carol made about me and Joe writing only when we have something to say is right on the money. Besides not wishing to bore my readers, I don't want to bore myself. But I started thinking about blogging in general and how my blog differs from other blogs.

So what's the difference between me and other knitting bloggers?

  • They put pictures of Beanie Babies on their blogs. I have the famous Bipolar Betty.
  • They do random acts of kindness. I do random acts.
  • They have "children" who resemble felines. I have a feline who resembles a cat.
  • They keep you updated on their hairstyle changes. I keep you updated on my med changes.
  • They work a full-time job and knit at least three major projects a month. I work a full-time job and can't finish a fucking pair of socks.
  • They check their web hits three times a day. I check my web hits once a year, when I can remember where the stats are.
  • They sponsor knitalongs. I sponsor crapalongs.
  • They whine about their health problems in every entry. I whine about mine but only because it's cool to be manic-depressive.
  • They eat Peeps. I eat Cadbury Creme Eggs. And any expensive chocolate available.
  • They've been knitting for years. I've been knitting longer.
  • They expect their blog readers to send them shit. I pray none of mine do.
  • They expect flowery, insipid comments from their readers. My readers know what I expect.

But...if I were to be like everyone else and write constantly about my boring life, my daily blog entry might read something like this:

I Made Some Progress...Yay!

I'm so excited! Today was just perfect, like all my days are. (I'll be telling you about my haircut later.)

This morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m., like I always do, and let John take a shower first. I stumbled downstairs, put on some coffee, drank a cup, showered, and made mental notes not to forget to take my medicine and put my cell phone in my bag. Then it was off to my fabulous job as Operations Manager. Of course, my knitting bag was right next to me in the passenger's seat, strapped in for safety's sake, just in case I got a lunch hour today.

Sitting in traffic for an hour and a half on I80 is such a joy! Gives me time to listen to the news, drink my coffee, and stare mindlessly at the car ahead of me. Nothing like doing 10 miles an hour. Life is too fast anyway. Getting to work by 8:30 is a challenge I enjoy.

Sadly, I had to forgo the knitting and lunch because this cutsey little spreadsheet I was working on that was due at 3 decided that my numbers were wrong, so I had to redo the calculations. Darn work. Gets in the way of knitting.

The rest of the day was spent making phone calls, arranging for our booth at a trade show, fixing someone's computer, developing a Statement of Work, and sneaking a look at my personal e-mail in between tasks.

And then at 5:30-6 p.m. it's another thrilling plod along I80 back to Allamuchy, where Cleo, my darling kittywoodums, is waiting for me. Along the way, John and I enjoy many cell phone conversations about how the traffic sucks and where we are in relation to the other.

Oh boy, it's 7:30 p.m. and time for dinner! John and I threw some crap into the wok steamer, usually spinach and some kind of fish. By 8:30, I'm ready to answer e-mail and knit. By 9, I fell asleep over my knitting watching CourtTV. BUT. I got a quarter inch knitted on my sock! YAY!

Life is good.

Obligatory Knitting/Spinning Crap

No pictures this entry because I really haven't done much. I'm sure you'd be thrilled to see the quarter-inch on the sock or the bobbin of Starry Night (which is almost full but still looks the same as last week).

I think I need to break my 3 project rule and do something that will get my juices going. Or pick up the Forest Path Stole again. I'm ready for it now that my mind is squared away. This sock is just not what I feel like doing, although I could use a new pair.

And no, I am not considering the Clapotis. However, I do have some wonderful Morehouse laceweight that has potential. Stay tuned.

Junk Mail

In case anyone's interested, House of White Birches sent me an offer in the mail yesterday for their Big-Needle Knit Afghans book. As they say in their letter to "Knitting-loving Friend," "It's hip. It's cool. It's the new passion and fashion."

Hey, everything is on #13s and #15s. How could I turn this one down? If I buy now, they'll send me the needles for FREE.

If I like the book, I only pay four installments of $5.99. AND I get the "best-ever" needles too, which I can keep forever.

I'm sure they'll sell thousands of this rare and handy book.

(Oh, and happy belated 40th birthday to Bipolar Betty's mom, Carol. You're the best, C.)

An addendum to this morning's post: Liza and I both have pink Chibis. Isn't that wonderful? Instead of knitting a lithium bottle cozy, perhaps I shall knit a cover for my pink Chibi that I have named YumYum.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I have not lost my mind - it's backed up on disk somewhere.--Unknown

So I've been getting error messages in my head. Now I can retrieve the data more easily.

Sorry for the computer analogy. I'm really a Luddite at heart and hate them, while at the same time understanding their place in the world.

Clap On, Clap Off, Clapotis
I just have one word for this thing--stupid and a waste of time, as most of these knitting fads tend to be.

Cleo agrees and thinks anyone who jumps onto knitting bandwagons are skanks.

I will admit to have knitted several Wonderful Wallabies for Liz and Ian when they were smaller. Liz really loved hers when she was around 5. Now she wants black fingerless gloves with pink skulls. Grammy understands perfectly. Ian doesn't care about sweaters whatsoever.

Sick Spinning
So while I was laid low trying to overcome my disgusting medication side effects, I really couldn't control the tremors in my hands enough to draft. Well, that's more or less over and I started spinning some wool and mohair that I bought at Rhinebeck.

It reminds me of van Gogh's Starry Night.

I bought three pounds of the stuff, more than enough for a sweater. I'm tired of spinning four ounces of this or that. Time to be a big girl. Spinning all of this will take months but that's fine.

For those of you interested, I spin using a worsted draw. My singles are about 31 wpi, 2-ply is about 18 wpi, which works to 6 spi in stockinette. Just exactly what I like to knit.

However, I did coerce my shaky hands into finishing a sock. Yeah, big fucking deal, but at the time, I was amazed that I had enough wherewithal to shape the heel.

Martha, Ponchos, et al
Plenty has been said about Ms. Stewart and her charming crocheted jailhouse poncho. I keep thinking this poncho madness will go away and another inane genre will take its place, but that's not happening.

I recall back in the '70s, when ponchos were big, that my mother, who decided to learn how to crochet, made a poncho from some kind of cream-colored yarn. I think she wore it twice and then relegated it to her loveseat, where Chloe, her cat, used it for a nest until she died.

Cleo forgives her adopted owner Mar for not changing her name to Clapotis but refuses to hump Mar's handspun because she's been fixed.

Ah Cleo. What a dopey cat indeed. But occasionally rare and handy, especially when asked to pose nude.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ah, Tontant Weaders. It’s been so long and I’ve been so incapable of writing anything.

Drug side effects can be hard-hitting. For several weeks, I’ve been dealing with a menu of pharmaceutically caused ailments—tremors, lack of focus, continual grogginess, short-term memory loss—so that all I’ve been able to do (and barely, at that) is get my ass to work. Oh yeah, I managed to knit one sock in between tremor attacks. Spinning was out of the question.

The cure can be worse than the disease. But thankfully, my pdoc added another medication to the mix, which after several weeks has relieved the side effects. I’ve just started to feel normal the past three days. My hands don’t shake nearly as much, I manage to stay awake, and I can think again. Yay thinking! Yay psychotropic drugs! Boy, it’s great to be back in the land of the living.

So yes, I’ll be posting soon. Just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten you and that I’m proud to be the Bipolar Poster Girl.