Sunday, September 24, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.--
Matt Groening

Ya gotta watch out for them ice weasels.

This weekend has been meritoriously spent with Joe, Kathy and the incomparable Thaddeus at lunch on Saturday, with a side trip to Twist, of course.

(This is the best I could do for pictures because I left the camera at home so the cell phone had to do. I'm awaiting the hideously unflattering pictures he took of me and Kathy to appear in his next blog entry.)

Twisted Sistah
I love Twist. It has to rank as one of my all-time favorite small shops. Yesterday was my third visit, with those inimitable fiber beasts, Joe and Kathy. Given that Rhinebeck is looming, pardon the sort-of pun, I really wasn't in buying mode. But I did buy a ball of Trekking.
and some Chasing Rainbows bombyx.

I don't anticipate buying a whole lot at Rhinebeck. First, because I've got more fiber than I can spin in a year and second, because other than Black Bunny and Chasing Rainbows, I haven't been terribly drawn to anything lately.

Although that can and probably will change once I wander the stalls in October.

BB Fibers
I know I've been raving like the manic-depressive I am about Carol's dyeing

but look what she sent me this week. This is a superwash blend that is perfect for socks. I'm going to test-drive it for her as soon as I get this silk bobbin filled that lives on the Joy right now. Carol had asked me what my preferred colors were and did she ever nail it. And she calls the colorway "Curmudgeon."

I've got BBF fiber sitting around doing nothing so

I decided to use some of the "South African wool" that Carol gave me for spindling. (As you can tell, Blogger was willing to center the first two pictures but then gave up the ghost. Feh.)

This colorway is "Atlantic" and I think it will do nicely for the spindle.

And then there's Plumberry, a sock yarn that I want to wind for the Hop-along--see previous entry.

Problem is, I can't decide on a design. I don't want to do plain vanilla socks.

I'm waiting for a vision.

Chain Gang
I'm incredibly good at managing my time at work. I'm incredibly bad at managing it at home, especially when it comes to my fiber projects.

Here's my short list, which I am bound and determined to get finished by the end of the year, despite the ever-increasing distraction of N:

  1. Write up new Leaves of Grass socks pattern
  2. Write up JamaicanMeCrazee hoodie pattern
  3. Write up Falling Leaves scarf pattern (and maybe even finish the damned thing)
  4. Give all of the above to Fredda to flog
  5. Warp the loom and weave dishtowels for Mammy
  6. Finish the F 'n' F shawl (it's about 60% done, will be finished by Rhinebeck)
  7. Finish plying the Emerald City so I can give Selma two big honkin' skeins
  8. Spin the Curmudgeon fiber for Carol
  9. Work on the stupid book, which hasn't been touched in eons
  10. Work up outline and sketches for Rock Socks, a book that's been in my head for almost 10 years
  11. Win the lottery in order to complete items 1-10

It used to be that I was disciplined enough to keep my on-going projects to three.

I've decided that now I have lost 25 pounds and have been denying myself gobs of fattening food, my general gluttony has clearly redirected itself into fiber.

I may have to resort to large amounts of ice cream in order to corral my projects.

There is a corollary between eating, fibering and sex. If you wish to attempt an analysis, be my guest. Right now, I need to shower and get dressed.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.--Hunter S. Thompson

I've been there. And over it. And back again.

And this is the recent subject of a conversation I've been having with N, who, like me, understands what it's like to walk away from a "successful" career because to stay meant to die, quite literally.

It's been six years now since I walked away from publishing because I wanted to save my soul and my sanity.

The greatest accomplishment for someone who is bipolar is to live to tell the tale and and be comfortable in their skin. So I'm still a whacked-out bipolar but a happy one who knows the real meaning of living. And it ain't in the circ numbers.

End of sermon. Please pass the plate to the person next to you.

9/11 Redux
Thank you all for your comments. As always, I write for myself and if it moves others, that's a splendiferous by-product.

However, I do want to make something clear. I cannot and do not include myself in that group of people who truly lost much. I lost no loved one, no friend, nothing. Those who did suffered and continue to suffer far past what any of us can imagine. They are the ones who should elicit your compassion--not me.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program
Here's what I adore about the X-men's half-assed web site. You know that when you venture into the technical morass called (cue sci-fi music) The Knitting Universe, any link you click will more than likely either take you to a 404 or to someplace completely different.

Which is why I can't tell you anything about their new Kids book. Because I clicked and ended on up on Sally Melville's Book 3. (I can speculate on its contents--a lot of cute kids dressed in DragonBoy's discolorways.)

What the fuck? Rhetorical question: does no one on the X-men's tech staff check links prior to going live? Oh right. I forgot. There is no tech staff other than Tim the Unix Guy, whose technical expertise seems to extend to showing up on alternate Thursdays.

Cruel to be kind, in the right measure, especially with that crew.

Phat Spinning--Worsted Up, Bra
Sure, you know that's coming. Hip To Spin. Now that the HipToKnit frenzy seems to be coughing up lungers, I'm having these scary visions. Could it happen? Perhaps. Since the yarn companies aren't involved, it will have to come from book publishers.

Suggested titles:
  • Spinnin' Grrrllllllllllllllllllllllllll (of course)
  • Celebrity Spinners, featuring Paris Hilton using her spindle in unusual ways
  • Ample Spinning--learn how to spin 3 wpi easily (especially for beginners)
  • Spin Ewe Ass Off--instant bestseller due to recognizable play-on-words
  • ______ Spins--Self-important blogger recounts in unedited, agonizing detail her every twitch at the wheel. Includes special section on spinning cat hair.
  • Spinning for Dogs--Teach your dog how to be a living distaff
  • Spinning for Straight Men--It's machinery, needs oiling, has screws. How to convert your loved one's wheel into a portable gas barbecue, suitable for tailgate parties.
  • Hip Young Urban Spinner--Lily shows you how to make reversible plys.

If any of these titles become available within the next year, I want fucking royalties.

Obligatory Knitting/Spinning Shit
No pictures this week, partly because I only just found my camera bag behind a box in the dining room and the battery needs recharging. Besides, there's nothing to photograph. The F 'n' F shawl continues. At this point, any picture would be the same thing as last week so you'll see it when it's finished.

I finally found my bag of Chasing Rainbows merino/tussah and started spinning again tonight. I have not spun at all since before I moved. It was good to get back to it. I was having withdrawal symptoms by picking up rug lint and twiddling it between my fingers. Not a good sign.

Rhinebeck Bingo et al
I will have my Rhinebeck "I'm a Square" button and bag shortly. And I even promise to publish a picture of me for those readers who either haven't a clue as to what I look like or have met me and forgotten.

As for the Bunny Hop KAL,

I found my birthday present skein from Carol of sock yarn. Blogger, as usual, is not cooperating with photos and I'm too tired to shove it in my FTP space and code it, so this is what I got out of Blogger.

For those of you who do not own their own domain, I have found that when Blogger balks at uploading in large image size, it will usually cooperate with the medium. And "None" from Choose a Layout.

Just sayin', for those of you who are technically challenged. And I'm sure you know who you are.

So, enough for the nonce. It's almost 2 a.m., a time when I should be in bed rather than writing. But then, it's a rare and handy time of day, when all is quiet and the brain can focus.

Monday, September 11, 2006

It was a day like the one in the picture, five years ago. Crystal clear.

I'd just like to forget about 9/11. But too many of us in the metro NYC area see this scene every day.

And too many of us either know someone who died that day or know someone who lost a loved one. Around here, the pain is still intense. New Jersey got hit hard because many of the dead were commuters. Seventy percent of the first responders who went to help that day are suffering awful lung ailments because they trusted the city, who said the air quality was fine. I remember thinking, how could that be? These people didn't think about themselves or what the consequences could be. Many, many of them died trying to save others. It was New York's finest and worst day. To quote Yeats, "A terrible beauty was born." The beauty of all New Yorkers, pulling together, comforting strangers, being human.

Yet, the pain of 9/11, felt so strongly by the rest of the country then, is gone. The unity that we all had, across the country, gone. I blame Bush for this. As he said just one day after this nightmare, when asked what sacrifices the American public would have to make: “Our hope, of course, is that they make no sacrifice whatsoever.” Sure, put the blinders on. Let's make life as normal as possible as soon as possible, forget the pain and move on.

So wrong. It wasn't just a hit against New York or the Pentagon. It was a hit against us all. However, one day later, Bush was ready to whitewash the entire event, something he is so good at doing and perhaps the only thing he does well. As far as he and his cronies were concerned, this was the perfect opportunity not to bring the country together but to use tragedy to advance their agenda against Saddam Hussein. While we in this area watched the smoke cover the city for weeks, the ashes of the dead floating above the skyline, while we looked at the open sore that is still there, while the country rallied together for perhaps the last time, Bush, Cheney, et al were busy planning what columnist Frank Rich called yesterday their "selfish agenda."

Now, there are movies and documentaries about 9/11. I can't watch them and neither can a lot of people I know around here. Because the pain still cuts deep. Because we still can't seem to get that hole in the ground fixed, as Ray Nagin said. We can't. Because of many reasons. But we will. Whether the hole in the heart is ever fixed is questionable.

I did not go to see the hole in the ground until one year later. I went because some out-of-town friends wanted to see it. It's worth seeing because it brings the reality of that day right back at ya. In many ways, the rawness of the site is perhaps more emotionally involving than a pretty memorial park with fountains. My friends and their kids ran around the newly opened PATH station, talking, laughing, while I stood and looked and thought about all the children without moms and dads, all the widows and widowers, all the parents, who are still bleeding. Their loved ones, evaporated in a nanosecond. Every day when I look out across the Hudson, I think of those people. How can you not?

Only the Hurricane Katrina victims can know what it's like to be brushed off by this president, can know what it's like to be used for political purposes and to have their needs and emotions ignored by the government. Should it have been such a surprise that Bush foundered when called upon by helpless victims? Not at all. He doesn't like "bad" things. It's too hard. Better that we don't pay attention to them and then everyone will forget.

Today, as I take my usual walk from the train to the light rail in Hoboken, I will see what I see every day. A truncated skyline. Perhaps they will build something there soon. From an economic standpoint, we all know it will happen. And the funny thing is, I remember when the WTC was built and how incredibly ugly I and many others thought it was. But it grew on us all.

The true evil of this administration, run by a hapless, ignorant demogogue and his band of merry morons, began that day five years ago. That's what we should remember today as well. I will not listen to Bush spew platitudes today. Because the worthlessness of his words and his lack of compassion are an insult to every intelligent American.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Maître'd: Would monsieur care for a wafer-thin mint?
Mr Creosote: Nah, fuck off, I’m full.
--Monty Python's Meaning of Life

The new house is ready to pop like a well-fed tick. My car is still full of shit that I haven't had the energy to remove. Like a Crockpot and my scale. Two things I can easily live without for the nonce.

Nonetheless, we are moved. In toto. And Dorothy.

The Rules of the Blog
I'm always shocked and awed when readers seem to think that I am duty-bound to provide them with a forum in the Comments, wherein they can keep yammering even after I've told them they are done. After last week's little brouhaha over Catholicism, I had to kick one reader out because she wouldn't shut the fuck up.

You know I have no problem with dissenting opinions. However, I do have a problem when the reader keeps at it, in effect trying to convince me with a hammer that I'm a miserable human being who doesn't see things their way.

I don't make a habit of deleting comments; however, last week I deleted one reader's comments because she'd used up her 15 minutes with me. And when she continued, I banned her.

In the four years I have been writing this blog, I have banned five people. And I will continue to ban those people who make personal attacks on me, don't stop when I say stop, and generally act like complete morons.

Why? Because this blog is not a democracy. I pay for it, I write it, I maintain it and I say what goes. Any reader who can't handle that concept will be summarily escorted off the premises so they can read one of the knitting blogs written for the RAOK masses.

The Loom Room
As it's been dubbed by me, since it needed some designation when boxes were being assigned with a big honkin' Magic Marker. MOM'S LOOM ROOM.

This picture was taken prior to all boxes of books and stash added. Now you can't walk into it. It's going to take a couple of weeks to set up.

The beauty of moving is finding stuff that you'd totally forgotten you owned.

No, not the barrel of salted cod. That's for Christmas.

I mean shit like a 5-pound bag of cleaned Lincoln wool that needs to be carded. Like an entire container of Lopi that your mother gave you because she didn't want it. And neither did you but you took it anyway. WTF?

I thought I had off-loaded a great deal of junk during the last two moves. Clearly, I have been remiss.

When it's all set up, I'll publish a picture. Until then, I exist in Stash Hell. The books? Thirty-five years of collecting knitting/spinning and now weaving books is a frightening number of volumes. Imagine if I had bought all the recent books on the market as well.

Train to the Zoo in Jersey City
I gotta tell you, I'm just so fucking proficient at knitting on the train that even when it lurches, as it does frequently, I never drop a stitch or miss a beat.

Knitting on the train means one hour and twenty minutes of uninterrupted work. In reality, it means about 20 minutes of work and one hour of dozing with knitting in the lap. So here's the Feather 'n' Fan shawl, which shall be done by Rhinebeck, I think.

I never get tired of knitting this pattern, even though it's incredibly mindless. The first time I ever used it--yes, I do remember--was in a horrifically fugly afghan in five values of pah-yuke avocado green, from dark to light, that I made for my late mother-in-law. This was in 1974. Would that I had had Morehouse then.

Rhinebeck Bingo
There must be something seriously wrong with me. First, it was the Black Bunny Fiber Knitalong. I hate knitalongs but I'm doing it for Carol because I love her stuff and I really want to see her wares sell.

Now it's Stitchy McYarnpants's Rhinebeck Bingo.

But I don't mind being a square on Stitchy's Rhinebeck Bingo board. Hey, it will allow me to meet more readers, hopefully. You can find out about it here.

Joe and Franklin (who designed this button featuring the ever delectable Dolores) are in. Who am I not to join my friends? And if it's fun for Rhinebeck-goers, all the better.

Here's a picture of me, so you can mark your card.

I am sorry to say that my Maybelline mascara just doesn't seem to stay put.

More Books to Buy
The two that I really want this year are both related. I started designing Aran sweaters when I probably was too inexperienced, back in the mid-70s. I have a feeling that if I had owned Janet Szabo's book, Aran Sweater Design, I wouldn't have made such a hash of the first one. But I want this book because I think I can learn a lot from Janet.

You can buy it directly from Janet at Big Sky Knitting Designs. As soon as I buy some needed curtains for this place, I'm going to get this one.

The other book I'm looking forward to getting (good Christmas present, family members) is Melissa Leapman's Cables Untangled.

The Widder Story
I wish I had had the time last week to respond to some of the comments regarding my entry on widowhood. But I did read them all and did very much appreciate the thoughts of my sistahs. I also heard from some of you privately and I'd like to say publicly that if you need support, give me a holler. Chances are extremely good that I've already weathered much of what you're going through. If nothing else, I can tell you that your feelings are probably normal.

Ma always said that she thought divorce was worse than death when losing a spouse, simply because usually when your husband/wife/partner dies, there is still love between you. I suspect that each has its own unique set of issues and I would not say that one was worse than the other. Both are awful, no doubt. But the challenge for both is creating your new normal life. I think I'm there now.

If it weren't for the knitting, the friends, the blog and a few other things, my life certainly wouldn't be so rare and handy.

And now, to the boxes.