Monday, April 25, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Personally I think birthdays and anniversaries are like menstrual cramps, a regular pain in the ass that’s somehow connected to birth. -- Hugh Elliot, Standing Room Only weblog

Yes, it's double nickels day. Fifty five. Jesus. Born on April 25, 1950 at Lying In Hospital (Cornell MC now) in NYC at 9:36 p.m.

Perhaps I will get valuable discounts. I still don't belong to the AARP.

Other Important Birthdays
The other day, I was thinking about the time when I was editing Dolls magazine and was asked to design a sweater for Muffy VanderBear. Yes, I am admitting this in public, that I designed something for a teddy bear.

Our sister publication, Teddy Bear Review, was having its 10th birthday and Muffy was the cover girl. My copy of the issue is long gone but I did find one for sale on eBay, God knows who would buy it.

If you think it's tough designing for a human, try measuring a little tiny fucking bear. Muffy had no armpits. The sleeves were a bitch.

Other Ruminations on Age
The other day, as I was working on the book, I started thinking back 48 years ago, when Mammy taught me how to knit. The long-gone and oft-lamented 5 and 10 was my personal Wonderland and I remember so clearly how she took me there to buy #8s (Susan Bates aluminum, of course) and the yarn.

Well, in a frenzy of nostalgia (and being at Borders, which is right next to Michaels), I decided to go into that hallowed craft emporium to see if Red Heart still makes my first yarn.

It does. However, the color is now called "Sombrero." But it still looks the same.

A tender re-creation of my first knitting project will be going into the book. Complete with holes, split yarn, gigunda stitches and a step-by-step pattern for garter stitch? Probably not. I do have some pride.

And Finally...
I've been accused a number of times of taking cheap shots at what I consider shoddy knitting, hideous taste and instant-gratification crafting. There's a philosophical reason for this, and it's not just to get a laugh. Nor are the shots cheap.

Somewhere along the line, Americans have lost their can-do attitude. We as a nation have succumbed to the quick, the easy, the simple, the tawdry, and then pat ourselves on our collective national back for a good job well done.

To my dying day, I will insist on excellence. For me, it's a matter of self-worth. Fuzzy flip-flops, silly knitted ponchos made with huge stitches, and knitted cotton bikinis don't begin to signify excellence. All they signify is that the creator managed to make something badly and quickly. Pushing oneself to the edge of the envelope is how we got to the moon, how a cure for polio was discovered, how the computer evolved. Perhaps knitting isn't rocket science but anything is always worth doing well and completely.

People don't push any more. They're satisfied with the mediocre and mundane. As my Grandma Carsten used to say to me, "Parse that sentence until it's right, Marilyn." Thanks, Grandma. I still do.

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