Saturday, May 24, 2008

I May Be Crazy But I'm Not Stupid

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I thought she was a Method Actress. Afterwards somebody informed me that she was merely a manic-depressive.--Elsa Lanchester

Slip-sliding away. That's what's been going on. I've not been in a good place lately but I'm battling it with all the stubborness that a typical Taurean hefts with authority. Work is doing a number on me, and as I wrote this morning in Swing Time, that's going to destroy me if I don't take care of me. I've been sucked into the workaholic vortex and I don't like it.

Yes, I've been knitting and spinning, the knitting mostly on the train, in airports, and on the plane. It's not enough.

Years ago, when I worked as a psychiatric technician on the short-term, crisis-intervention ward(yeah, the blind leading the blind), I had a wonderful patient, a manic depressive sculptor named Mark. Mark would become so agitated that he was a human Mexican jumping bean. The only time I ever saw him sit down was when he was eating. I dearly loved Mark, though, because he was funnier than shit and we'd laugh our asses off every day, usually at the absurd.

But Mark put me in my place one day, when we were decorating the ward for Christmas. He was so bouncy that he couldn't get the crepe paper up with tape so that it was straight. When I offered some suggestions as to how to drape the stuff, he turned to me and said, "I may be crazy but I'm NOT stupid." That shut my mouth. And I never forgot it, either.

So I'm slamming my foot down on the work insanity. I too may be crazy but I'm not stupid either. This blog, my design work, my friends and family, music, and so many other things, are being neglected because of the job. The things I love the most. And which have been tossed to the wayside for the freneticism of a dumb job. As of this coming week, I'm going to be having a serious discussion with my boss. Because she's my friend too and is well aware of my disorder, she'll listen. And hopefully work with me to make my life more palatable.

A Bloomin' Miracle
Not bad for a Home Depot orchid. This is my first one, which I bought several months ago, with only one blossom that has since died, and I know absolutely nothing about the care of orchids. But I'm publishing this picture because the orchid gives me so much pleasure. How I managed to grow six blossoms, I'm sure I don't know.

Cobweb Crepe Shawl
This has become one of my travel projects, along with socks from the book (working on the Purple Haze prototype now). There are, in the directions, three 24-round repeats of this Old Shale pattern. I will do an extra repeat because I like larger shawls.

The tiers of the Old Shale border remind me of a cake, for some weird reason. I do wish I had added a pattern stitch to the center diamond, as the garter stitch looks juvenile with the lace border and upcoming lace edging. Lesson learned for the next shawl.

It dawned on me the other day that for the past two years, I've been doing lace almost exclusively. I'm tellin' ya, I have an addictive personality and making those fucking holes is addictive. One of these days I'm really going to start Sharon Miller's Wedding Ring shawl. In fact, that might be a good thing to mess around with this Memorial Day weekend. I did a swatch in the past but it would be smart to redo it now.

It's strange, sure it's strange. You've got to pick up every stitch.
Come on, all Chuck's Children. Singer and author of this chorus lyric.

Love this song and used to be able to play it on the guitar. I think there may be a Martin in my future. I need to get back into music.

Anyway, Loopy the Enabler (character from Chaucer, perhaps?) got me interested in KnitPick's $25 deal for six of their laceweights grouped into a color family. Yeah, I bit on that one, price notwithstanding. Bought the Sea View sampler and ordered the Wine Tasting sampler earlier today, along with Carol's new book (which, if you haven't yet bought it, get off yer ass, please, and support my dear Sissyboo Deux fine design efforts).

From the left, skeins 1, 2, and 4 will be grouped into one shawl, with the brighter aquas into another. I prefer the first colorway to the second, and may in fact gift Mumsy with those three.

I'm not much for bright aquas, unless they're blended with tonalities of purple. Violet, royal purple, that sort of thing, some of which come in the Wine Tasting sampler. They also have two other sampler collections, one of which is Riverside Cafe, neutrals, and the other Sunset Picnic, which has reds and orange-reds, very pretty both.

Saturday Continues with Mr. Bonehead
While Neal is napping, having just gotten back from a week-long job in DC last night totally exhausted, I may sit and do a bit of spinning before we head out to do our weekly grocery shopping. And let people assume that we're an old married couple, while we argue over which toilet paper brand has the most sheets for the cheapest price. That's Neal, not me. He takes comparison shopping from the sublime to the truly ridiculous. And then after I've told him how absurd he is, we end up buying his choice anyway.

However, he is a rare and handy friend, my bestest, bestest friend, as we say. And if Neal's reading this (he's not much of a reader of anything, being a visual person), thanks for being my support, Mr. Bonehead. Love you muchly.

Friday, May 02, 2008

When I Die, I'm Coming Back as Julie Andrews

Best Quote I Heard All Day
When it's my turn to march up to glory
I'm gonna have one hell of a story--Dixie Chicks, Sin Wagon

I'm feeling quite sinful these days. As if I don't, as a rule. However, it's an enjoyable state of sin. Certainly not a state of grace.

Julie Andrews. Here's a trivia question for you. What movie, featuring two British comedians, had one of them saying "Julie Andrews" to get out of demonic trouble?

My sister knows the answer to this so she must recuse herself. Got it, Kar? Shut the fuck up and let everyone sweat this one. I know you know.

Franklin's Tower
I know I'm almost two weeks behind myself but I did have a fabulous time down in Kennett Square with Carol, Franklin, Jacqui, and a bunch of readers who showed up at Jacqui's wonderful shop, Woolgathering.

The lovely Jacqui had lots of caloric stuff to eat, as well as a shop filled with absolutely finest kind yarn. I'll definitely make the trip again, just to hang out with her.

The crowds were fierce. It was take-a-number time, well organized but truly heads above waiting at the deli counter.

And then, of course, was my hard-working gay son, gracious to all, in a photographic Zen mode. I believe the final count was 135 knitters.

I did ask him what the fuck he was going to do with this "scarf" that is of Brobdingagian proportions. He's not sure yet but I would think that the Smithsonian Institution might like to have it for America's Attic.

Looks like a roll of knitted toilet paper. Wait. This could be a concept that would stand up to knitted uteri, knitted cocks, knitted eyeballs, ad nauseam. Go forth and spread the idea. Someone will do it. You know they will.

Almost on a par with the knitted Elvis wigs, methinks.

Anyway, we had a wonderful time. I don't know why I didn't get a picture of Sissyboo Deux, Carol. Sweetie, I am so sorry! You eluded my lens. Damn. But gang, her book is exquisite. I saw the advance copy and this belongs in everyone's library. Only one month to go before it's out.

Buy it. Or else.

By the way, Franklin darling, were your parents Deadheads? I need to know.

Obligatory Knitting Shit
Still chugging away on the shawl. I was very surprised to have a number of people at Wool Gathering identify the yarn correctly as Black Pearl.

In fact, one person was working on a piece (I believe it was a Clapotis, but my memory sucks) using Black Pearl and it was astonishing how different the color saturation was. The purples in hers were bright. Mine are more muted.

This is a stupidly simple pattern. The challenge will come in easing the edging around the border. I remember Ted angsting about this. I'm not going to angst but I will write about it. This is a maneuver that takes some thought.

Pattern Skill Ratings
Longtime readers know how I feel about this crap. Would my first sweater have been an Aran had it been marked "Expert"? Probably, because I ignore warnings, unless they pertain to hazardous materials and men.

Rather, I think it would be far more helpful to develop a meaningful system of rating, one that pertains to taste.

  1. KnitDweeb--this category contains warshcloths, ponchos, pompom'ed anything, aimless garter stitch modular knitting, mocsox, knitted coasters and beercan cozies. Working with Fun Fur is a prerequisite.

  2. GlitzGrrrllls--this category contains any item made from yarn by an Italian company, preferably either a too-short bolero or a ghastly evening bag with matching beanie.

  3. FiberSnots--this category is specifically for perpetual Koigu users. Give it a break, it ain't that fucking wonderful. Nor are the designs that go with it.

  4. OhNaturellas--this category pertains to those who have bought into the eco-friendly yarn marketing. Garments include any shapeless schmatteh, including drop-shoulder kimonos. Please, someone tell these knitters that all natural fibers are "eco-friendly."

  5. DaRestOfUs--this category belongs to all knitters who are fearless, try to stick to good quality yarns, and don't avoid a challenge. And who actually read the directions at least three times and swatch, too.
OK, enough of that. Honestly, I've been guilty of all five categories at any given time in my years of knitting. But at least I learned a little bit from experience.

Those of you who know me personally know that I'm highly political, highly critical of the sorry path this country has taken under the leadership of a mentally challenged, blinded individual and his evil Ann Sullivan, the Dickster.

I am an Obama supporter, after months of watching both him and Clinton and weighing each of them carefully. I believe he is a man of honor, of thought, of responsibility, and above all, highly intelligent with a will to listen. I will not vote for Hillary or McCain. I do not believe either of them has or will shaken the dirty dust of DC from their respective boots.

A change you can believe in. I'm no one's fool. I believe, however, that we can change and we must, to survive. In this time of economic upheaval, we need to hang tight and believe in ourselves. And this self-entitlement that is epidemic among many Americans, particularly the younger ones, needs to be swapped for the old "can-do" of my parents' generation. It stood them in good stead. They were indeed rare and handy.