Friday, November 26, 2010

Finally a post in which there is mostly knitting (and pictures)

I've had an interesting week full of way too much food, way too much family and some strange happenings. I'd tell you about all of them, but honestly, I doubt you'd believe me on some of it. So let me sum up the things I've learned this week:

1. When you ask people for advice and they give it, before you let yourself get too disheartened by what they've said, consider who is giving it. The advice may hold true for them, but probably not for you. Just because they did one thing and it worked for them, just because they believe something, does not mean the same applies in your situation. In other words, your mileage may vary.

2. When poleaxed in conversation by a sudden topic change or a question that is touching something deep and meaningful to me that I'm not prepared to share, my default response is almost always a lie. It's a very child-like thing to do, but I really wasn't prepared for the question in question, I didn't feel like telling that person the truth yet, so I just flat-out lied. Like a cheap rug. I thought I'd overcome that particular conversational strategy, but I guess not. I will have to be better prepared in the future. And I should probably warn people who are important to me that when they metaphorically jump out of a conversational dark alley and club me with an unexpected question, they won't get as much truth as they'd get if they asked me calmly and then gave me time to come up with a response. I might give them a partial lie anyway, but I'd tell them they aren't getting the full truth and give them an estimate of a date when they will get the rest of the story.

3. They may be related to you, but they might not be people you'd voluntarily choose as friends, and that's ok. It helps you learn to get along with people in the real world, so it teaches you a life skill. And if you can be ok enough with them being in your life and your home, you might just learn that you really would like them as friends. Just not...the sort of friends you tell your deepest, darkest secrets to, or share your most intimate heart of hearts. Movie going friends, or shopping pals. 

Anyway, after the overindulgence that is Thanksgiving, I typically lie low on the so-called Black Friday. I worked in retail, so I know what the shopping rush feels like from the other side of the sale counter. I like to think I'm doing the poor clerks a kindness by absenting myself from their lives on this particular day. Bless their hearts. However, today I did leave my warm cocoon of a home for a shopping expedition. My LYS had a Black Friday sale, and as I needed to get some yarn for a chemo cap for my aunt, and my mother was buying, and as I had some extra lolly for cat sitting, I thought I should put on my big girl panties and just go. Which I did. My mother said it was almost as bad as going to the mall, what with the crowd, but the people in the store weren't clawing each other's eyes out, so I think it was far better. Then my mother intimated she wanted to try knitting and my blood ran cold. If she thinks she's going to steal my stash, she's got another think coming! I'll, I'll...booby trap my stashtainer! Pah, steal my pretties, I think not....

Anyway, here's my new stash:

Cascade Yarns Eco Alpaca, in a gray marl. I'm wild about the alpaca, as you all may have gathered. Half price, so $8. I only got one as I couldn't really justify two without a project in mind. I may not even make this into anything in particular, just pull it out occasionally and pet it.

Cash Vero for my aunt's chemo cap. This stuff, despite having a wool content and being washable, is hella-soft. I'm going to be making a Lotus Hat out of it. I think she'll like that, don't you?

Apparently, I'm making two hats for my aunt, which is fine--they're super easy to knock out, although I have pernicious problems with gauge and as we all know, when knitting hats or anything else that's fairly fitted to a body part, gauge is vital. But whatever, I will try. Keen eyed readers might recognize this stuff--I already have about...eight skeins of it (Great American Yarn Superfine Merino/Silk) for another project, in this exact colorway. My mother loves it, though, so another skein we got.

 I don't like knitting socks. I've tried them, I just...don't like it. I'm not a sock knitter, I'm sorry, so don't come ringing my doorbell with literature or pamphlets; I'll take them, politely send you away then toss them in the trash. But I do love sock yarn, and this is some of my favorite. I bought some for a Ravelry friend last month but held back on buying some for myself. However, this month I had the disposable so.... This yarn is so soft, again, shocking considering the wool content, I just love it. Love it like buttah.

 This yarn will end up being a hat for a Yule gift. I have a friend who needs a little kindness this year, so I'm going to surprise her with something warm (I'd show you the pattern, but I don't know if she knows about this blog). Thankfully, this is totally washable, so I don't have to send along intricate care instructions. I love the colors, too--pink shading into shades of lavender and gray. Perfect for my friend's coloring. I hope she likes it.

 Aaaand, because I love myself, too, this is for a hat for me. You can't see it well, but the yarn is a woodsy green to deep lake blue that just makes me smile. I had some other yarn (Snozzberry in shade) that I was going to use for the hat, but decided to use that yarn for a gift for another friend who just deserves a gift and appreciates hand made things (so I'm not as worried that the gift will be understood). But this stuff is loverly, and was clearanced out. (My mother--the helpful hand model, can you tell she had professional training?--asked if I minded that the price stickers were clearly visible on this and the sock yarn pictures. Heck to the no, people, I don't mind. I'm proud of my finds!)

This yarn I did not get at my LYS, but at a box store. I got it two days ago, for a particular purpose, but I neglected to get an image of it until today. The outside colors (hot pinks, purples and blues) are nothing compared to the screaming bright rainbow shades inside, where you can't see them--vivid yellows, oranges and a bright red. It's like a rainbow in wool and acrylic.

My mother thinks I'm odd, taking pictures of my yarn, but she accepts that there might be some knitterly reason for it. If she does learn to knit, I'm sure she'll understand. They all learn, in the end, why we do the things we do. Resistance is futile....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Growing Pains

I've had to take some time to myself, mostly to think (for one) and for my Harry Potter Holiday. I attend the midnight showing each time a HP film comes out, and this one was no exception. I quite enjoyed it, and spent the past week in pleasant expectation and a bit of excitement about the event. I went alone this time. I thought I'd be a bit melancholy about that (it was, after all, the first Harry Potter movie I attended by myself), but it really wasn't bad at all--made it easier to get a seat, for one. I didn't have to go at 9pm to hold a set of seats, either. Walked right in at 11 pm, pulled out my knitting and whiled away a half hour before the previews started. Rather nice, actually. I might do that again for the second half next year.

Anyway, the other thing I had to do was think. About my life, my direction, etc. I'm a big one on the navel gazing, as you may notice. I always second guess myself--not always a bad habit, but I overdo it--and am constantly checking and rechecking my life 'status'. It becomes a problem when I'm so busy checking my status quo that I never change it. Which is most of the time, if you want the truth. I think so much I paralyze myself. I need to learn to act and stop thinking about it so much.

I also, because of my habit of thinking myself into a paralytic state, worry a lot about my life going nowhere. Because it is, you know. I don't change a lot of things because I'm so worried about the changes I'm making: Am I changing too fast? Not fast enough? In the wrong direction? What if I'm going in the wrong direction? How will I ever change course again? etc., ad nauseam until I'm ad nauseam. It gets aggravating; don't think I don't appreciate that fact. I know I can be boring with my constant wangsting and worrying and tail-twisting. Gods, if you are bored of hearing me talk about it, imagine how dull it is to have that as a constant litany inside your head! The only time I didn't do this was the six months I was on Paxil (for my OCD), and I can't honestly say I made any good decisions at the time. Granted, I had days on end where fewer than four thoughts total went through my head, so I didn't make any decisions as far as I can recall. In truth, I'd say that was mostly a period of time in which my family could have just propped me up in the corner for all the good I was to anyone, particularly myself (except I must note that after the whole Paxil incident my OCD went into remission. Not sure if there's a connection, but I can touch the laces to tie shoes nowadays without going into hysterics and I'm very grateful for that, so I can't regret it completely.)

So this week, I was watching one of those Biography specials (on Biography Channel, imagine that) about Ian Flemming. The Bond guy. At one point in the show, the voiceover said (right before a commercial, so you'd stay on the channel through the break) something along the lines of, within a year he'd married, become a father and a best selling author. And I thought, Wow! That's a lot of new stuff to cram into a year; imagine where I could be by next Thanksgiving if I do the same sort of thing! Then I thought, Oh, my. That'd hurt.

There's a part of me that would like to be able to change my life that rapidly--just imagine where I'd get to if I did--but then I think about my physical growth spurt. Everyone goes through it, I'm sure you remember yours. The bit around puberty that made you clumsy because suddenly your feet were farther away than they had been just a week before? Most people have gradual growth spurts, say around 4 or 5 inches in a year to a year and a half. Mine was 10 inches in a year. I went from 4'9" to nearly 5'8" between beginning freshman year in high school and the start of sophomore year. I started out one of the shortest kids and before long I was one of the tallest. And it hurt like hell--imagine being stretched on the rack and you get the general drift. My legs, especially, ached all that summer.

Personal growth is like that, too. Yes, it was nice to shoot up to full adult height in such a short span of time (if nothing else, it saved terrifically on clothing), but it hurt like the dickens. I could change my life that quickly, but that will hurt, too. Change of any kind is chaos, and while I'm not morally or philosophically opposed to some tasty, tasty chaos, it's greatly unsettling. Particularly to someone of my rather high strung and nervous disposition.

So, even though I would like to change my life and sometimes think doing it quickly would be best (sort of like pulling off a band aid) I'm not sure I could tolerate it well. I mean, I don't doubt I would adjust, I just think I'd probably be a bitch to be around for the entirety of the life change. I don't do anything quietly, and sharing my personal pain is a hobby of mine. I've only just recently discovered the knack to making friends, and I wouldn't want to alienate any of the very nice people I've met.

Granted, I'm pretty much a pain in the arse most of the time anyway. I'm not sure how much worse I could be if I just...threw myself into remaking my life and getting it over with in one big, ugly blurp of personal growth, although I know I can get a bit shrewish when I'm under pressure. There's a part of me that still thinks it might be the best way to do it (hell, I've been thinking about it for ages, all I'd really be doing is putting those thoughts into action), and there's a part of me that thinks 'yo-yo dieting for the soul'. That the changes I made wouldn't stick because I'd freak out or something and I'd rebound back into my previous life shape out of sheer terror.

I still might try it, though. It's tempting, oh, so tempting, for someone so cautious as I am to think of not thinking. Oh, so tempting....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ok, maybe time for plan Z.v013245

I have discovered I'm terrible at getting things done. I'm not sure why--it could be a lack of discipline (never having to study for tests in school because you have a near photograhic memory leads to a shocking lack of a sense that you have to work for things) or maybe a hypersensitivity to stimulation (as the psychologists posit is possible for a Jungian Introvert like me) or another side effect of my low esteem that says whatever I do doesn't matter, no one cares but me, so why not just bunk off and finish that book you started yesterday? I don't know, but the effect is the same, I just don't get things done. Or I do the minimum required and never really get ahead--although I can honestly say that doing the minimum required is more easily understandable to me. Sticking my neck out by extra effort never got me anything good when I worked in the corporate world, so I stopped doing it. One lesson I have learned, and learned well. (Hmmm, maybe this contributes to the 'nobody wants to hear it' aspect of my not getting things done issue, too....)

Whatever, I'm getting tired of angsting and the angst getting in the way. But if I divorce my emotions from the writing, the writing is flat and, frankly, just plain bad. So what to do? No, seriously, what do I do at this point? There's supposedly some value in writing through the angst, but I've never been able to do it. I've been able to write freely and well when the project only took three hours or less, but that's about as long as I can go before the angst gets overpowering and starts affecting the words. As you can imagine, this is a non-starter.

I need suggestions. If anyone out there has an idea, no matter how weird or flaky or outer space it might be, I'll listen and probably try it, at least once because for once I'm completely and totally fresh out of new ideas. Even sitting upside down in my chair and watching television (which usually jogs something out) doesn't work.

I suppose it doesn't help that Mater Gloriosa has decided we have to start preparations for Thanksgiving (last year, oh, my God, it's only 12 months away, what are we going to do, how will we get everything done!?!?!??!) today. She busily throwing out everything in the freezer because who knows, we might need sixteen cubic feet of storage for frozen foods for one holiday. *eye roll* Even with 16 people here, it doesn't have to be this big a deal. I don't know how I'm going to cope.

I hate the holidays. I so seriously do. Thank God Christmas is at the brother's this year, or I'd kill someone.

(Sorry for the fractured post, people. I'm trying to type this and my mother is asking me if XYZ thing is mine or if she can throw it out because you never know, we might have to shove a 50 pound turkey in there for a week and a half. Help me.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone!

Normally, holidays are meaningless to me vis a vis my schedule--working for yourself means you can make your own holidays or take none at all; tradition dictates you take none, but I think I'll just take different ones than the rest of the nation. Maybe...maybe I'll take World Braille Day (January 4) off in observance, or National Bubba Day in June. Do my own calendar of days off, make the holidays personal

Anyway, the fact that today is Thursday and Veteran's Day means I'm at home today. Since all of my volunteer committments are through some state office or another (State Library, State Archives) I can't really go in for my shifts. I've actually got two weeks off this month, today and Thanksgiving. Whatever will I do with myself? Oh, yeah, I've got plans on that second one....

So I've been making lists of stuff I have to get done today. One, call the vets. Dog needs his liver pills refilled and his recurring staph infection (from allergies) has flared up. I've actually just gotten off the phone with them, and they're checking to see if the vet will just go ahead and prescribe something for Dog without an office visit. It's not like I don't know what a skin staph infection looks like in my dog, he's only gotten it at least three times a year for the past twelve years. Update: The vet's office called back, they trust me. His antibiotics will be waiting with the liver pills. Only around $100 in meds waiting this morning for my dog.


Two, deal with my credit reports. I've currently got them frozen (no one can look at my reports at all, not even me, without I call all three agencies and give them my pin first. PITA. Supposedly, there's another option for keeping people from using my credit. Something that doesn't require a pin. I don't remember what it is, I'll have to ask my brother who told me about it. But once I get that dealt with, I need to

Three, look for better auto insurance rates. Hopefully, something I can pay once a year, before my benefits run out. It's cheaper, and it defers until next year (late November or December) further payments to an insurance company. Blech.

Four, get my bonding and get started on the process to become a notary. Not that I think I'll make a ton of cash as a notary in my state, but being bonded is almost always a good reference for the modern freelancer, particularly one who might be doing anything that involves someone's property.

Five, test a pet personal theory of mine and start donating blood. I need to time it properly, though--I have been thinking about my propensity toward migraines at certain points in the tidal pull (ahem), and how it might help to simply have a bit less blood circulating to prevent the excess being shunted to my brain. It may help, it may not, but, historically, bleeding has been a remedy for chronic headaches, and mine do go away when the tide goes out (so to speak), it's basically a charity anyway, so I'll give it a go. If it works, I'll be sure and let everyone know. If it doesn't, it's good social hygeine anyway, so I'll probably keep it up.

I begin to wonder if I'm not coming down with something at present. My lungs feel heavy, have done all week, my migraines have been playing me dickey and I'm just so tired. Granted, the migraines could be contributing to the tired part, but not the lungs. Also I just feel sore all over. Perhaps it's the weather change, but either way, I need to restore myself somehow. A tonic. Perhaps it's time to get the Drambuie out and make some toddies. I just need a lemon and I'm good to go.

I better get off here and get to work. I've been on the cusp of a migraine all week, and too long on the computer makes it worse. I'm going to do some work on my poetry this morning, then I have an appointment, then I'm going to the blood center. Wish me luck on the curative aspect of my experiment!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh, I should just go to bed.

It's awful late for me to be on here, trying to post. It's been a busy day, too, although it didn't start out that way at all.

I actually got a relatively early start, walking between 8:30 and nearly 10. I like to get that out of the way early so I can (maybe) do some writing. Today...not so much. Walked, brought home breakfast, had to turn around and go back out again to run some errands that came up, got a migraine, tried to take a nap but the shrieking baby didn't allow that, bathed the dog (I kept saying I was going to wash him, wrap him in tissue paper and tuck him up in a drawer for winter, but he wasn't impressed) then got the news my aunt has cancer. We don't know a lot yet, other than my uncle is torn up and not in an optimistic frame of mind, but with what little I was told (and what I know about the tendency to catastrophize in our family) I won't give up hope just yet. After that, it was all just keeping heads above water, really. Dinner, laundry (which I have to bring upstairs) and some snuggle time with Dog. Now I'm here, and I don't really know why.

I can't really think straight on the issue yet--early days, and I am such a slow thinker. At least the Advil got rid of my headache for a while, so there's that to be glad of. After the nice week I had last week--relatively peaceful and pleasant after the October I had--it's a feeling as if life was just joking, Oh, haha, you believed it when you had that nice week! Just teasing! I'd almost thought I might be heading out of a period of bad news and emotional roller-coastering into something a bit more calm, more...ordinary time. But no, Life has other plans.

Shenanigans! I call shenanigans. And, frankly, it's quite fatiguing to keep the emotions on 10 all the time. I'm not asking for an extended streak of excellent luck, would be nice if Life would just pretend I'm not here for a little longer than a week so I can have some peace and quiet and time to recover some resources. Sort of like how I felt when I was a kid and the other kids would bully me in grade school; after a while you don't even want to be popular anymore, you just want them to leave you alone. It's a drastic re-tooling of priorities for a social animal, but most people who take their turn at the social whipping post understand the feeling. I'd hermit a bit as that usually makes me feel better, but since I don't have a day job anymore it's almost redundant. There's really nothing to escape from anymore.

And it's at this point that I realize the only thing I'm fleeing is life itself, and I've spent years and tons of money trying to stop my continual fleeing of life.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. At this rate, if all I get done this week is the next two poetry exercises I've been working on, I will count myself very lucky.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


OK, I'm trying to post before this:
hits my system.
Gods help us all, it might, even now, be too late! Yes, that's wine. Hey, I had a tough week. And it's sweet wine, I could drink the whole bottle and be more clear-headed than if I did a Heineken. (Memo: To: Them as what knows me, Subject: Holiday gift giving:: I like Heineken. And Glenlivet, but if anyone would do the holiday thing like in the commercials where the dude wraps the six pack and then takes out one and puts the bow over the hole, I could totally afford more Glenlivet on my own. Thank you.) 

Anyway, I got two totally sweet boxes in the mails today. One was paid for by myself, one was a thank you gift from someone I bought and sent yarn to--seeing as the yarn in question wasn't available in Great Britain and she needed it to make a particular pattern. I'm nice, mostly, and really, any chance to enable a yarn addict, right? So I send off the appropriate yarn. She even paid me for it. But then, today, I get this:

  This is the whole shebang from the box. OMG, ain't it grand? I mentioned I liked Kinder Eggs (and I do--candy + chocolate = awesomeness that cannot be contained by Newtonian physics) so she sent me the Happy Hippos (cookies with hazelnut and some gooey milk creme inside and little meringue puffs on the bottom) and Kinder Chocolates, which, I can tell you from direct personal experience, are fabulous. And then, oh, children, and then, she got really creative. In addition to the teas (two varieties! One in adorable little English-themed tins! Have I told you all what a sucker I am for touristy tchotchkes?) I find:

NEVER seen anything like this before, which might just be showing how very little I get out, but I loves it. The colors are cheery, the yarn itself is very pleasing. I'm going to have fun with that.

This stuff is gorgeous. No other words. And soft as puppy fur! I've never heard of Kaalund Yarns, but now that I have, I might have to Google it and get more. Beautiful color.

I've been having fun poking around in my new toys and candy. Oh, and there is a lovely little notebook, too, which is so me. How did she know that?

I also got:

A beeswax candle I bought at RenFaire in Ohio last month. They didn't have the plain beeswax in jars (and I preferred the jar versions to the free-standing, if only from a drip standpoint), but they offered to ship as soon as they had them made up. It's been, what, six weeks since I was at RenFaire? Maybe only four, I can't count right now as I'm cross-eyed, but it finally arrived. I was just about to email them and ask where my candle was when this arrived. 

Oh, what a full day. And totally cheerful, at least right at the end, although I don't recall the early bits being all that unhappy. It was a fairly nice day, actually, right all around.

Now the wine glass is empty, the buzz is fading and my soup bowl is empty, too. The bowl needs filling, I'm switching to Sierra Mist and I think I'm going to go watch television now as there's not really a whole lot going on in my head. I rather like it.

May you have a lovely evening yourselves, and may wonderful things come in your mails!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Time Wasters

Today is Thursday (duh), which is typically a day I take off the writing because I'm busy doing other things. I volunteer at my state library/archives, and I love the 'work'. In the morning, I do paper repair in the archives, then in the afternoon I go to the library and record books for the state's books on tape for the visually impaired program. I like most of the materials I read for them, but on occasion, since the program's grant specifies they must record in-state authors, the self-published nature of the books gets me a bit down. Then I think, ah, but there's a market for some free-lance editing! How can I profit from this? Mine is a buoyant temperament, by nature.

I then hopped online to job search (mostly for my benefits, but in the hope that someone, somewhere will post a need for an over-educated, overly-literary business writer. No love yet.) After the heartbreak that is, I decided on my 'to do' list for the rest of the week. It is, alas, short on fun.

1. Take care of friend's baby this evening. Not a bad thing, really. He likes Poirot, so we tend to watch PBS after they leave.

2. Pick up x-rays from my real dentist's office to take to the local dental school tomorrow, so I can get some cut-rate work done on the crown that needs replacing and filling. I'm kind of scared of this, but the crown has got to go, and soon. I can't wait to save up the $1,000 my dentist will want paid.

3. Get some ink for my printer so I can print the release of records form I'm going to give the dentist when I pick up my records. They say they don't need it when I'm picking them up, but I do like to cross t's and dot i's.

4. Start my new voice lessons tomorrow night. I hope I do better at this style than I did at the more operatic style. I haven't got a big voice, alas.

5. Then, get some rest. I've been running around all week, and it's tiring. I just want to relax this weekend. I think I can; I don't recall much on my calendar this weekend. Let's hope my memory is excellent.

Now my Blogger is malfunctioning, or maybe it's the laptop. Even odds. But I'm going to go have some dinner and watch an episode of Poirot before leaving for babysitting.

Now that will be fun.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I *really* need to get over myself.

Well, not really. Sort of. See, it's like this...

I've been thinking. Which is always a statement prelude to trouble, but hey, whatcha gonnna do? I have been thinking about how I organize my life--my work, my hobbies, my other doings--in an effort to streamline my life just a little bit more and I realized: One of my blogs has got to go.

I keep three blogs. Four, if you count the little writing exercise blog I started with a friend and abandoned this summer when I realized I'm too stubborn to compromise in fiction writing. One is my poetry exercise blog (which I update when I've had time to get to my poetry homework, you can find it through my profile if you need a laugh), one is this blog and the third major blog is one I started just last month in an effort to write a blog that focused more General Thoughts On The Matter.

Originally, there was a whole lot of bollywoggle in this space about my issues and my blogs and junk. I'll be honest, it was pretty boring, even to me. So let me sum up: Last December, I promised to keep this a blog just about knitting, nothing personal or 'psychobabblish' or anything like that. And that's all well and good, but frankly, I'm not just about knitting. I'm about a whole heap of things, including (yes, I have to say it) ten-cent psychobabble. And I can have a multitude of blogs, but really that's just making my blogging a copy of my personal life. I don't self-edit only in the blogosphere in the interests of not boring people half to death, I do it in real life, too. It takes a lot of effort, it's boring and I've decided to stop the self-editing (really, it's arrogant; it's like saying I know better than the person I'm talking to what they'll like or dislike--I think for them, which is greatly disrespectful.) In order to reinforce this decision, I'm going to stop self-editing (aside from grammar and TMI issues) in the digital world as well. I'm going to be self-disclosing about my whole self and my thoughts, even when they stray from all things knitterly, and let the chips fall where they may. God help us all.

I like this blog. *sound of rustling as if settling into upholstery* I'm comfy here. I write better here. My other blog is going invisible at the end of the month and I'm glad, honestly. It sucked. I'm going to start posting more on this blog, and I hope I don't lose my small readership for it. If I do, maybe I'll find some others and convert them to the Faith of Yarny Goodness. Who knows? But it's silly to separate myself out like this; I'm one person. Why have eleventy-billion blogs? If it helps any, I'll be using my post labels now--if you prefer not to hear me go on and on about the lint in my navel, search only for posts labeled "Knitting". Avoid the "Pontificatin'" posts. They'll just give you heartburn.

It never worked anyway. I just can't keep from blathering on about random things, even here. I'm so weak. ;-)