Thursday, September 27, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
When your hobbies get in the way of your work - that's OK; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves... well. --Steve Martin

I think mine has long since gotten in its own way. So I'm thinking perhaps it's time to simplify.

Does that mean I will buy nothing at Stitches and Rhinebeck? Like the presidential candidates, I ain't promising shit. Will someone please tell me why lately Hillary insists on laughing at anyone who challenges her? I find that most annoying. But then, I'm no FOH.

Open Mic Thursday
Now, when your hobby gets in the way of life's necessities, then you've got a problem, methinks. So, in deference to one of my beloved Wolvies (and because I'm fucking brain dead, as usual these days), I am offering up her topic for this week's Open Mic Thursday, in her own inimitable words. I wouldn't be so presumptuous to paraphrase her. Of course, if she wants to own up to this one, she can so do in the comments. But you'll probably guess who it is, anyway.

Would you rather have sex or knit?
(Maybe it'll bring Susan Maurer out of the woodwork to tell us about God's plan for our sexuality.)

I rather doubt that dear Susan reads this blog. However, if she does, please take your comments and post them on Joe's blog. He loves it when you infiltrate his comments and cause all of us to spit up small amounts of vomit. A self-proclaimed hits 'ho, he finds it satisfying to view his stats after a Maurer polemic.

Yee Haw or Some Shit Like That
Dallas looms on Monday. I'll be posting over the weekend, and most certainly from Denton next Thursday, since the laptop is always with me, as the camera will be too.

I asked Liz if she wanted me to bring her back something from Dallas. "Yeah," she sez. "I wanna cowboy hat." Cripes. Perhaps one in black with pink accents? Do they make punk cowboy hats? No doubt. I'll do my best.

The War
I don't know if any of you have been watching Ken Burns's documentary but I've been glued to the TV while knitting the Squeeze Socks (pics on the weekend). I've even forgone watching the Yanks, it's been so engrossing.

I was born a scant five years after the war's end and I still remember my mother talking about rationing, seeing my dad in his Army uniform when he went to Ft. Drum for reserve training. Because my father was German, I was frequently called a "Nazi" by kids in school, even though my dad and his family fled from Germany in 1939 because my grandfather was a Jew and my grandmother a Gentile.

Dad learned English from comic books, or so he told me. He was 16 when they came over and was immediately shipped to Oakwood Friends School, a private school in Poughkeepsie run by the Quakers. One of his pals was the actor Lee Marvin, who had been thrown out of many private schools and was incorrigible. He and Dad made moonshine and got caught. Lee was booted out. Dad got suspended.

However, the Quaker teachings did make an imprint. He wanted to be a medic in the Army but because he was a German national, they decided to put him into Intelligence, where he spent the war behind the lines, interrogating captured German Army and SS officers, and the like. He once told me that he would have become a Quaker because he believed in their principles, except that he understood that war sometimes was a necessary evil. As it was in WWII, well he knew. So he did his bit.

I think he would have enjoyed this documentary. As necessary as WWII was, the war in Iraq is its precise, reckless opposite. Dad and the men of his generation understood what truly constituted an Axis of Evil. They were a rare and handy breed. We will not see their likes again in our lifetime.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.' --Erich Fromm

I read this the other day somewhere and I was blown away by it. Succinct. And very true.

No FibreFest North for Me
With huge unhappiness, I've had to cancel my trip to Wiarton from September 28-30 because I have to go to Dallas for the week of October 1-5. Well, to be more precise, Denton, TX, where I will be training a pile of our newest client's employees. I have not been to Dallas since 1995, when I spent an uneventful and rather boring January weekend in Arlington, covering a doll show at the Marriott across the way from the Rangers' stadium. Talk about drizzling ennui.

I have mixed feelings about this trip. On the one hand, it's always fun to go somewhere new. On the other hand, I'm not the world's most enthusiastic flier. I do it but I don't like it. I'll be taking the camera and the knitting, though. Susan, my boss and buddy, wants to learn how, so since she's going to be stuck with me that week in Denton, looks like she'll be my captive pupil.

But there are two trips that will not be canceled by any client, thank God: The Rhinebeck weekend. A one-day foray down to Baltimore for Stitches Market on the Saturday. Yeah, I'll be incognito in my Foster Grants and perhaps a fugly sweater, if my sister can find one, which I'm sure she can at some hideous garage sale.

Open Mic Thursday
Apropos of the upcoming fiber extravaganzas, here's this week's topic:

Of the three, which would you like to attend most? And if you have been to all three, which was the best? Stitches, Rhinebeck, or Maryland Sheep & Wool? Or would you rather stay home and go to some S 'n' B at an overpriced coffeeshop?

I have my preference, which I'm sure you already have figured out. I have attended all three.

The Squeeze
Loopy takes credit for this moniker, since I am not naming names so that I don't cause any untoward embarrassment. But The Squeeze sometimes reads the blog so he knows who he is. I'm happy to report that all is well in Squeezeland. The Squeeze likes my socks. And actually asked for a pair.

And I'm right now concentrating on that, knitting manly socks on the train because they can be shoved into a laptop bag without much damage. Which led me to thinking about redesigning a pair I did last year, making them in Cascade 220 so that they're heavy socks. Not usually my modus operandi but this weekend, I'll see how it swatches up.

No Obligatory Knitting Shit
Nothing this week. I'm lucky if I do a few rounds on the socks before I nod off on the 5:31 out of Hoboken. I have two unfinished projects that I'd like to tackle this weekend, along with the Cascade 220 swatch: the Magenta Diamonds, which needs two rows ripped out and the final top edging done, and the Lavold pullover that needs one sleeve finished.

Other than that, all I have to say this Thursday is: LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! SHE'S A HUMAN BEING!

My role model at 15 was Jean Shrimpton. Anyone remember her? You have to be of a certain age, I suppose.

I so wanted to be her at that age. And she was and is a very smart woman. She's 65 now but I bet still striking. And rare and handy. Not like the Twit Sisters, Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.

Oh yeah, and I'm putting this up before midnight, cheating as usual. Because I'm fucking tired, so bite me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I wish there were pig-men. You get a few of those pig-men walking around, suddenly I'm looking a lot better. That way if someone wanted to fix me up they could say, 'Hey, at least he's no pig-man.’ --George Costanza

How's this for a new boyfriend? At least he's no pig-man.

Mmmm. That come-hither look.

I always had a thing for redheads. With facial hair. Oh well, he's taken. But then, so am I.

Garden State Sheep Festival
I headed southwest yesterday to the land of Pennsyltucky to meet up with Joe, with my ulterior motive being to cadge some of Thaddeus's fine espresso. And so that we could wander around this show, perhaps to buy. And so we did. It's becoming a very nice little show, doubled in the number of vendors since I last went two years ago.

Very pretty baskets. Oh yeah, and the pretty boy, too. It was damned chilly and windy--he must have gotten goosepimples on those sexy legs of his.

This is actually the second building of vendors, along with some animals. The first building was filled. The vendors are primarily local, from New Jersey and PA, with a lot of nice wares.

These women were examining a fleece. It was gorgeous, Jacob, I believe. I was so tempted. But then, I don't have enough time to fuck around with washing and carding a fleece. So I passed. However, I did meet up with some of Dolores's near and dear ones.
I immediately suspected that this was Dolores's cousin Arabella; from a distance, the family resemblance was striking, I thought. However, it was some snooty bitch from Bucks County. Fuck ewe.

The original Sam the Ram was resting, in between signings of his new book, Stuff About Me.

This local lady had one of the most elegant proboscises I've ever seen on a sheep. Long, aristocratic--clearly a ewe of good breeding.

I bought some Jacob to play with and two cones of lovely heathered purple wool--all reasonably priced.

All in all, a lovely day. I met up with BJ, one of my readers, who lives in my neck of the woods. Always great to meet you guys, ya know. So sorry Carol couldn't make it. She was stuck at home so we missed her muchly.
And, I did not sing "The Lumberjack Song" to Joe. I value our friendship.

Back to the Future
Well, 39 years ago, it was going to be my future, I thought. Wilson College, in Chambersburg, PA. A women's college, ranked 13th at that time. Six-hundred girls, most of them always clad in their gym suits. Not quite Seven Sisters but pretty respectable.
And my mother's choice, not mine. I wanted to go to NYU. That was forbidden, due to the kind of trouble I supposedly would get into in NYC. Remember, this was 1968. So she packed me off to this godforsaken college, her hippie daughter, to keep her out of trouble.
Well, that didn't happen. I got into plenty of trouble. At the end of my 2-semester stay, I was pregnant, flunking out, and they were happy to show me the door. Even though I managed to be stoned most of the time, I was not exactly euphoric. In fact, this was the onset of my manic-depression. I can date it to September 1968, when I put my bags and trunk into my dorm room and realized that this was about the end of the line in my 18-year-old life. It sucked.

Jimmy, bless him, came down to school every weekend that he was off duty, driving from the Sub Base in Groton, where he was stationed in the Navy, all the way down to Chambersburg. So last week, when I missed my exit for I81, I had to take a local state highway to pick it up again--in Chambersburg. I had not been there since the day I left in the spring of 1969.
I had to take a picture of the tree where I told Jimmy I was pregnant and he said, "Well, I guess we should get married." Boy, was I ever lucky with him. It was a cold January Saturday night, he had parked his white '65 Barracuda right by that tree, and we got out and walked over to it. I don't know why we did that. But that's where my future was sealed.
The place hasn't changed physically in all those years. It's exactly as I remembered it. I drove around campus for about 10 minutes and then, as I did 38 years ago, I left as fast as I came.
Copyright and Making Shit for Friends
Well, interesting comments from you all. Now I'll tell you how I handled it. First of all, let me say that the person in question is no longer my friend and I have not seen her in a number of years. That was my choice. She's a miserable, sorry soul, most certainly an alcoholic, and one of the most self-centered, critical people I have ever met. We had been friends for a very long time but she changed dramatically over the years.
I refused to make the garment. Not because of the copyright issue because at that time, I wasn't quite as aware as I am now about that. I refused because I knew that I could make money by doing some finishing work, without having to deal with her. Besides, as many of you noted, she was quite imperious about it. She had never understood my knitting, and frequently made fun of it, in fact. So no way was I going to knit her something, whether she paid or not. I did offer to teach her to knit, though. And got a snide comment in return.
I will knit for friends and family but on my terms. And for free. They know that when I knit something for them, it's special. Rare and handy, if you will.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I'm not crazy. I just don't give a darn hoo-hoo.--Daffy Duck

It's wabbit hunting season. And I got me a wabbit.

Means nothing to you, I know. Means a lot to me, though. Heh.

Back in Print
Well, it's official. My interview with Kristin Nicholas will definitely be in the Winter issue of Interweave Knits.

It's been a long time since I've been published--12 years, in fact. I've written a number of articles in the past, on antiques, on doll artists, on machine knitting. And you know that I write like I breathe. Take the writing away and I'm probably deader than if you took away the knitting.

It looks as if IK is also going to publish my submission to Ravelings, the endpaper essay. It may or may not be in the Winter issue also. Once it is published, I will fill you in on the person who inspired it. Until then, I have nothing to say about it except keep your eyes open for it.

So I guess I'd better buy an extra copy for Ma because although she knows I write the blog and has actually seen it once or twice, the reality has never really hit her, I don't think. And after all, even at my age, I still want my mother's approval.

Like I suppose we all do.

Still Wretched from Roanoke
I'm sure Roanoke is a lovely city. I wouldn't know. I trained our client last Friday and I wish I had someone take a picture of me climbing into the cab of a rather large truck in 95 degree weather, to show the truck drivers how to use our equipment. It pretty much looked like this one, a Freightliner.
Not that I know anything about trucks. But I clambered up, did the equipment demo for them (a handset that hooks into our GPS system), and then jumped on down. As I said to the drivers, who had shiteating grins on their faces, "Yeah, not bad for a grandmother, eh boys?"

And I'm still fighting that damned cold I came down with somewhere on I81. Must have been that Waffle House I had to stop at. Egads.

Open Mic Thursday
OK, I was remiss last week but this week I'm back full-strength, albeit somewhat snotty due to the cold, not my attitude. Here's a little tale of ethics for you to ponder. This actually happened to me some years ago. I will tell you how I responded, after you've done with your opining.

A well-heeled, non-knitting friend is at your house and happens to pick up a knitting magazine from your coffee table. She sees a sweater design that she likes and says, "Wow, I love this. Listen, I saw a hand-knit sweater at Neiman-Marcus and it was $800. I'd pay you the cost of the yarn plus $400 if you'd make this for me." You need the money. Badly. So, do you take the money and make the sweater?

I won't say more. Just read it, absorb the implications, and think about what you'd do.

Time for bed. It's late, I haven't had much sleep the past few days, and I gotta get up early. Coffee has never tasted so rare and handy as it does at 4:45 a.m. More on actual minor knitting milestones this weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Once again, it's September 11 and six long years have gone by. Fighting a cold, buried in work, I didn't forget.

How could I, when every morning I walk along the waterfront in Hoboken, that gaping hole still a silent testament to the lost souls. Every morning, I remember. Every day outside my building, I see the monument to the steel workers who responded, the base made of the twisted Twin Tower steel. And the glass memorial to the ICAP employees who perished that day.

Today was a gray, rainy, humid day in the New York metro area. A far cry from that incredibly glorious September day, when our lives changed in a split second. It was fittingly mournful, the weather.

A beloved friend reminded me tonight that I had pushed it out of my mind temporarily. He was there that day, just a guy who ran to help. And saw the horrors. The dead will not be forgotten. But it is the living who we need to soothe. I still cry for the widows, the children, the parents, the friends, who lost someone. I cried for them that day too, little knowing that in a few short months, I would understand loss far better than I could have ever imagined.

My friend, who stood that day in the ruins of humanity, struggling to help where he could, feels the pain of this day far more than I could. I wish I could take his pain away. But perhaps we all need to keep the pain alive.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wretched in Roanoke

Sorry for no post yesterday. Didn't get here until after 9 last night. Let's just put it this way--I saw far more of Roanoke trying to find this godforsaken motel than I ever intended. And this morning, I'm working from my room until I go train at 1 p.m. Then it's back on the road to NJ.

I may have caught a fleeting glimpse of Dolores at a truck stop on I81, though.

More this weekend. It's been a very interesting trip, nonetheless. A curious trip back into my past, totally unplanned.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Best Quote I Heard All Day

I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side. --Steven Wright

That's how I view whatever is to come--way off to the side, as I stump my way through life, working, knitting, and trying to find some fun where I can.

Whenever I feel a little down, I read some of Steven Wright's quotes. Puts it all into perspective.

Falling UP
I must say, after a good Spring issue, and then a fugly Summer one, the new Fall Knitter's is pretty pleasing. Designs by Deborah Newton, Norah Gaughan, Kathy Zimmermann, Penny Ollman, Celeste Pinheiro, all attractive. Carol Wessinger's dress done in Lavold's Silky Wool is a design that could be worn by almost any body shape. Not that I'd knit a dress. In fact, most of the designs are very doable, classic numbers.

With the exception of some bizarre knitted runners created by the "Knitter's Design Team."

The Design Team doesn't qualify for a wildcard spot in the playoffs, that's for sure. Give it up, team. Go do something else.

Does this connote an upward trend in Knitter's quality? Let's hope so because there really is nowhere for them to go but up. And frankly, they need to ditch the awful, endlessly boring articles and replace them with what they once had: tech articles of value. Honestly, I wasn't particularly interested in reading page after page about the new kids on the block in the knitting industry, mostly because it just went on and on and on.

And I've never been a Perry Klass fan, either. On and on and on.

Hot Legs
Well, not as hot as Joe's. But I managed to spend some time on these socks over the long weekend.

You know how fucking hard it is to take a picture of your own foot? Where the hell was Liz when I needed her?

Summer Reading
I usually leave it to Carol to do book reviews of all types but I read constantly, when I'm not knitting or working or doing something illicit.

My picks for this summer: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, and Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly: The Remarkable Story of the Friendship Between a First Lady and a Slave by Jennifer Fleischner. All highly recommended. (No, I did not read Harry Potter and the Cylindrical Golden Orgasm or whatever the fuck it's called.)

The latter book is of especial interest to me, since I have always found Mary Lincoln to be a fascinating person. A harridan? Perhaps. More likely manic-depressive, which has some interest for me. This is a completely absorbing book. I'm about 50 pages into it and hooked. Totally.

On the Road
Thursday and Friday, as I mentioned in a previous post, I will be on the road for work, training in Roanoke and possibly York, PA, if I can get the manager to schedule some time for me on Thursday afternoon.

This trip doesn't mean I won't be posting. Got the laptop, wi-fi at the place I'm staying, so there will be an Open Mic Thursday. And I'm looking forward to lying on the comfy bed, knitting, watching TV, and the thoughts of the fabulous, rare and handy, free Continental breakfast that awaits me in the morning. Mmmm boy, nothing like plastic-wrapped muffins.