The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I Finally Slept, But.... was apparently too late for my brain to avoid sustaining permanent damage.

I have a request to make of the person who has my name in the exchange: Please, forget anything I might have suggested for the care package, as I have another need which is significantly more pressing: please send me a brain. The one I have has, apparently, departed for parts unknown and I am left with the vast, echoing emptiness where once it was (am I the only one here who is suddenly thinking about the movie "Young Frankenstein" and the brain that Igor brings that he states came from someone called "Abby Normal"? I am? Okay, never mind.). Here is just one example:

When I sorted through and assigned people to one another for the exchange, I wanted very much to make it as fun for people as possible. As a result, I spent some amount of time making sure that everyone had someone far enough away from them that there existed the possibility of getting items not normally available to them. That sort of thing. Then, because I want you all to enjoy it enough that we might do it again some time (once again proving that I am much like an excitable 4-year-old when it comes to giving and getting presents), I actually went to all the blogs to read the questionnaires and print them out—so if anyone couldn’t get to the one they wanted, I had it ready. Efficient, clever? Yeah, hang onto that thought.

Last week I was on my way home and decided to stop at the LYS and shop a bit for my exchange pal. I didn’t have the list with me (read, I am a total and complete idiot with far too much confidence in what passes for my memory) but I remembered it well enough so I went in and shopped. I had a blast. I had so much fun, in fact, that I also stopped at another store on the way home to pick up edible goodies. I was set. I had only a couple more items to get to complete the package. I considered buying myself a gold star. Surely, I deserved it.

Flash forward to this morning. My husband (a scientist by trade, but a knifemaker by hobby) is having a huge party in his two shops today (that is, the place is overrun with men in flannel, there is enough chewing tobacco on the property to build a brown beach, the whole place smells like hot metal and we have so darned much barbecue and beans and cornbread that we may well be having a traditional Thanksgiving pork sandwich later this month) so I decided today would be the perfect day to finish that shopping while simultaneously getting a much needed break from the insanely high testosterone concentration at Chez Knitingale. I would dash out, pick up the last two items, come home, package it up for mailing. I was gleeful, picturing the face of my intended recipient. At the last minute, I thought to look once more at the list, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything she might want. Which was when I realized:


Truly. I had purchased all manner of things destined to make someone very happy—but it was the wrong someone. Now, I believe gifts should be chosen specifically for the person and I knew right away that I would be doing some returning and so on. But we’re all knitters….and most of us like chocolate….so maybe? Just maybe an item or two might work for the correct person? Nah. Not even close. If I had set out to choose two exchange folk who were more opposite in their tastes I couldn’t have done a better job. Every last item was absolutely wrong. Of course. Pretty sure I heard the knitting gods chuckling away merrily to themselves. (Oh, sure--I'll remember without having the list with's hubris, man. Everyone knows the gods hate hubris.) The upside is that I got to go hang out at the LYS this morning and start over….and how bad is it, really, to go shopping for yarn? I also found that the edible goodies I’d bought were not to the taste of the correct person, but they’re things I love so if my butt expands to the size of Montana….well, perhaps we can blame it on the time change. Surely I would have noticed this glaring error if I had not been sleep-deprived? (No, and stop calling me Shirley…..).

Oh, I also (possessed by I know not what unholy impulse) picked up the Martha Stewart holiday magazine, thinking perhaps that she would have a recipe or two to add to my holiday baking. And then, I discovered that it had a section on knitted gifts. Lovely, I thought. Until I turned to it and read this: “If you are a grandmother, chances are you already know the joy of giving a handknit gift.” A grandmother.

I’m not sure who I’m more offended for—the thousands of young women who knit all the time and produce stunning works of art, or the thousands of vital and active grandmothers who do not knit but still manage to give gifts of love.

Martha Stewart can kiss my ass. I suspect she’d have to carefully make a floral arrangement for the occasion, cunningly wrought from flowers that she dried from her garden, and perhaps create a scrapbook page with photos to record the occasion, and probably chop down a tree in her yard to make the paper to make the scrapbook page….and so on. But I’ll wait. She can SO kiss my ass.


  • At 3:35 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    Amen to the Ms. Stewart, LOL. And amen to the Abby Normal. We [my girlfriends at work and I] watched "Young Frankenstein" in two installments at lunch, to celebrate Halloween.

    And I have been tapdancing around my kitchen for a week or so, muttering "ra-ra-ra-ra-riiiitz!".

    If any of those Y-chromosome types are non-smokers and non-drinkers and unmarried and not too scary, put him in a box with plenty of airholes and ship him to TX. There is a serious dearth of testosterone chez nous.

    As soon as the timer rings on these brownies, I am heading to Cowtown to see if I can catch the eye of a certain widower. I will be wearing my Red Sweater KAL, which I finished in time to wear to church today, woohoo!

  • At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Just as funny the second time around, oh and hey, did we have fun?

  • At 9:06 PM, Blogger Faren said…

    Dear Shirley,
    I would totally do something like that too. Don't feel to bad though, it sounds like you are still ahead of me. I have a couple of things ready, wait, only one at the house, but tomorrow I'll pick up two other things. I do need to get my butt in gear.
    I love Young Frankenstein, every time I see it I think there is no such person as "Abby Normal", nobody's normal.
    I have never liked Martha Stewart, she always seemed like she thought she was better than everyone else.
    Nothing has changed my opinion.

  • At 11:33 PM, Blogger Kit Is Knitting said…

    I never buy gifts that I wouldn't personally want anyways and it sounds like you weren't too far off for yourself either (butt the size of Montana? I got one right here).

    Secondly, Marth Stewart has never been high on my respect list but that just made her transfer to my black 'idiot' list. I doubt she knits at all, or if she even knows. Pshaw.

  • At 11:14 AM, Anonymous angie cox said…

    I always thought Martha was a nightmare ...course it soon dawned she has staff who do the darned stuff.No-one is that great or spends hours cutting out a perfect gingerbread house when there is a deli down the road .I confess to having a book of hers cos I loved the cookies but it was from a charity shop ..cackle ....sorry Martha no royalties twice over .

  • At 11:16 AM, Anonymous angie cox said…

    I always thought Martha Stewert was a is that perfect or has that many hours ..right she has staff and probably badly paid ones too. I confess to having a book of hers but it's from a charity shop..oh so sorry Martha no twice over royalties.

  • At 7:41 PM, Anonymous suburbaknit said…

    Martha's an empire, she doesn't do any of the grunt work any more, she just shows up for the photo shoot. Congrats for being so organized in the shopping department, Flo. Note to self, must get on that...

    Did appreciate your reference to Arizona, I don't miss the time change adjustment, in fact I'm happy about it; means I can actually call friends in the east after dinner without waking them up.

  • At 11:32 PM, Anonymous angie cox said…

    I'm not nuts really just that my first post seemed to be wiped out so I typed one as close as possible .If there are any spare brains I'll have one preferably one that can do cables .

  • At 12:55 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    Yay, a whole world of friends out there who ALSO love Young Frankenstein, who ALSO dance Puttin' On The Ritz with appropriate gestures in the kitchen! Isn't whatsername as his so-elegant don't-touch-me girlfriend utterly wonderful?
    Celtic Memory Yarns

  • At 2:19 PM, Blogger Charity said…

    Poor Martha Stewart. For someone who thinks she knows so much, that's pretty sad.

    Oh, I SO hear you about the list. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who does things like this! :0)

  • At 8:01 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    Whatshername as the oh-so-elegant girlfriend: that would be the underappreciated Madeleine Kahn, and my best friend at work and I were giggling over "taffeta, darling".



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