The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Gods Must Have a Mean Sense of Humor

In Terry Pratchett's universe--which is, by my own reckoning, a superior universe, indeed--the gods don't sit and play chess with human lives. No, they play Chutes and Ladders (Snakes and Ladders, to those of you on the other side of the pond) and sometimes the ladders have been greased. I can well believe this. Consider, if you will.

For well over a year now I have been searching for a sock yarn that seemed to exist only in my fevered imagination. It was shades of rich, deep greens that would bring to mind a forest fill of elves and fairies and other mythical creatures. It had emerald and shamrock and grass colors all woven together and whatever sheep gave up his dignity for it was actually proud to have done so. Heck, he might have just stood up and offered the fleece off his back when he heard the idea for this yarn--so perfect was the combination of greens. Needless to say, I did not find it. I looked in every yarn shop, at every knitting event, in every possible place that a skein of perfect sock yarn might hide (leading me to believe that possibly the gods play hide-n-seek with us). I started to figure that the yarn couldn't exist--that my mind had produced colors that cannot exist in the real world lest the wool burst into flame from sheer hubris and be sucked into a rip in the time-space continuum.

Fast forward a few months. I am now starting blanket number 4 (about halfway through it) and have had a chance to take stock of my modest yarn collection. (Modest in the way that Brittany Spears is modest, okay, fine.) There is....a significant amount of it. There is especially a significant amount of sock yarn, and this is odd. I have checked, and I have just two feet. Mr. K is not very interested in hand-knit anything. I have one friend whose foot size I know. The cats are not interested in cunning little four-sock sets (Ed looked a bit interested when I mentioned that it might make him quieter when sneaking up on mice...but then he changed his mind when he realized the mice just might laugh themselves to death before he could taunt them to death) and no local businesses will let me pay with socks. I can only use so many draft excluders (those things you wedge under the doors, that some people think should be stuffed affairs shaped and decorated to look like weiner dogs--it is a comfort to know there is sickness greater than mine), my windshield wipers don't need covers at night, I have no use for knitted sock puppets with no faces (can't throw my voice, you know) and, although the local squirrel population does look a bit chilly, I am assured that they don't need tail warmers in a variety of bright wools.

To sum up:

1. I have a lot of sock yarn

2. I do not have a lot of time to knit

3. I have a lot of sock yarn

And being a rational adult (i.e., a whiny child who finally stomped her feet and said "Fine, I don't want the icky old green yarn ANYWAY"), I decided to cease the quest for the perfect, mythical green sock yarn. Which is when I found this on sale on e-bay:

For $12 a skein. And each skein is PLENTY of yarn to make a pair of socks. I want it so much my teeth ache.

The gods are laughing. And probably setting up the board for another round of "Torment the Humans Until they Whimper for Mercy." Bastards. So, what I need from you is reassurance that I absolutely do NOT need this perfect green sock yarn. That I will never wear the number of socks I could make from the yarn I already have. That a centipede would not wear the number of socks I could make from the yarn I already have. That you will come sit on me and smack me about the head with handknit socks if I don't give it up RIGHT NOW. Please?

If that doesn't work, please hide my debit card. And my piggy bank (which is actually a china cow at my house--the Cash Cow, of course). And my checkbook. And anything you think I could trade for yarn. I'll let you know where I live and how to get here and where I keep all of those things. Just give me a few minutes to check something out on the internet. No, no, it's not e-bay. Of course not.

Would I do something like that?
p.s. You'll notice I did not give you enough info to find it and buy it first...I said I had lots of sock yarn. I didn't say I was crazy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

....dudes..... (and also a killer pumpkin)

That is to say, thank you so much for the support. I swear, I really wasn't trying to get you all to give me compliments--at all. I really just wanted you to know that I felt badly about neglecting you when you've given so much to me. And that I'd give up writing if that's what it took to make it possible to give back. But, seeing as how there is an "arse whooping" in store for me if I continue with that plan (Mr. K loves that phrase, by the way, and wants me to stop blogging just to see someone do it), I'm thinking perhaps I need to consider other methods of dealing with the situation. But you guys are so very dear to want me to stay. As far as I know, I just sort of babble along and you are kind enough to be nice about it...thanks so much for telling me different. (Self-esteem issues? Me? Nah.)

But, on to the interesting stuff. Specifically, this:
I have been viciously assaulted by a rogue pumpkin.
No, really. See, it all started.....well, to tell the truth, it probably started a few years ago when I broached the idea of carving pumpkins at Halloween and a delighted Mr. K encouraged me with great enthusiasm. I had visions of some Hallmark card moment where the two of us lovingly gazed at one another and carved his and hers pumpkins...or something like that. I admit, the details were a little fuzzy, seeing as how most romantic scenarios I've ever seen do not include huge knives and piles of goo. But it was a moot point, anyway. Turns out that Mr. K, a scientist who has handled all manner of disgusting-ness, who slays hooved spiders without turning a hair, and who actually rolled around under the porch in the mud getting the hot tub all wired......has a problem with pumpkin guts. Seriously. He can stick his bare hand into a clogged toilet without a moment's thought, but the inside of a vegetable--ew.
I'm not sure what led to this issue, but I'll try to remember when I see Judy next to ask her if he was by chance attacked by a gourd or something as a small child. Which is not as farfetched as I thought before this weekend, as you'll come to see. Anyway, the upshot is that I am in charge of the Halloween decorating each year, a task I quite enjoy until the moment when I cut right when I meant to cut left and end up with a strangely picasso-esque pumpkin and a new assortment of profanity. (Of COURSE it's meant to have three eyes that's what makes it scary and who asked you anyway?)
This year, I got inspired by a picture online and decided to make a large pumpkin eating a smaller one. I know, I'm a sick unit. The idea seemed to me to call for a very large BIG pumpkin, and a very small tiny pumpkin--because without the disparity in size, the whole thing would just look weird. (Yeah, because cannabalism among hollowed out vegetables with candles in them is usually so very normal.) So I went to Albertson's and picked out the biggest pumpkin I could find, along with some of the little miniature pumpkins. Perfect. The monster pumpkin, as it turned out, weighed in around 29.5 pounds (70 some kilos).
Now, in my defense, let me say that I know this is not exactly herculean. I exercise every day and I lift weights and I'm not THAT big of a wuss. But pumpkins differ from weights in many ways, one of them being that they are round and smooth, and another being a conspicious lack of a handle. Okay, yes, there's a stem--but if you've never found yourself standing in the driveway surrounded by pumpkin chunks with juice and seeds all over your socks while speaking in loud, anglo-saxon prose, then you've obviously never tried to carry a pumpkin by the stem. You are fortunate, indeed (or smarter than I am, which amounts to much the same thing at times).
The bottom line is that I carried the pumpkin into the house by bending over it and wrapping my arms around it and waddling like a pregnant hunchback until my back screamed for mercy and then stopped speaking to me in anything but loud, pissed-off words. Note that this did not stop me from bending over for another two hours to carve the pumpkin....which may seem foolish to you but look at it this way: it did cause me an injury, but I got even. I cut it open and pulled its guts out. And took great pleasure in doing so, too. Here, the results--first the back-mangler pumpkin by itself in the daylight....

And then the whole scenario later at night with candles and the addition of a horrified onlooker pumpkin:

Note the carnage of chopped up mini-pumpkins scattered on the steps. As I said, I am a seriously sick unit--and being pumpkin-assaulted did nothing to put a lid on that particular problem.

Okay, I'm going to hobble back downstairs to my hot water bottle. But I do love you guys. And thank you for liking what I write. I love doing it, too...but like my creative writing teacher once said: writing can be a little like wetting yourself in a dark suit: it gives you a nice warm feeling, but people don't necessarily notice anything. Thanks for noticing. Seriously.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I just spent a delightful hour going through and reading the blogs of friends and leaving a few comments here and there. It was pure joy. And it brought my attention sharply back to my dilemna: between work and other pursuits (many), I find that I have time to write my own blog, or time to read and comment on others, but not time to do both well. I miss whichever one I don't do. I know many of you do both without a blink or hesitation...all while taking care of children. I suspect my perfectionist streak has much to do with this--I can spend 20 minutes leaving a two sentence comment because it has to be "right".

All of which is to say that I'm sorry if you've felt ignored or unimportant to me. Truth is, I had more fun this last hour than I've had in a long time, catching up on the stuff you're all up to. And I'm not sure how I'll resolve the dilemna. When the miner's blankets are done, I may shut down the blog altogether. Or I may decide to post once or twice a week and use the other days to catch up with you. Or something.

I do welcome suggestions...and again. Forgive my absence on your wonderful blogs. I've missed them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Disclaimer: Ms. K truly enjoys her job, and actually finds 99% of the people she encounters to be delightful or funny or fascinating or just plain fun to be around or some combination of all of those. That said, there are those things that make you shake your head....and those things just happen to be funnier.

It's amazing how priorities change in life. For instance, on Monday I thought that a good day at work meant that people had been nice or I had accomplished a great deal or one of the docs had thanked me or whatever. After Tuesday, I now know that it's a good day at work if no one brings in a child who barfs up her body weight in macaroni and cheese in one of the rooms, leading the doctor to come out to me smiling to say "yeah....we have a little emesis problem.....can you take care of that real quick?" From "need to get a lot done and make the doctors and patients as happy as possible" to "no macaroni and cheese barf" in one day. It's all in the perspective. And perspective is just one of the many benefits you get when working in a medical office. Another is constant exposure to a particularly sturdy brand of optimism that seems to take hold of patients everywhere. Among the things they believe:

  • merely seeing the doctor is enough to resolve your symptoms. Doing anything the doctor said, up to and including taking any of the prescribed medications? Pshaw. Totally unnecessary.

  • likewise, merely being in the same room as the doctor is enough for him or her to figure out everything that might be wrong with you. Tell the doctor all my symptoms? What, I have to do EVERYTHING???

  • people working in a medical office have immune systems armed with suitcase nukes and a limitless supply of weapons for hand to hand combat. It's totally unnecessary to cover coughs, sneezes, etc.--just let it fly.

  • the doctor would be delighted to refill the medication he prescribed four years ago--even though that's the last time you saw him. And you can call at 4:57 on a Friday night and have the medication for the weekend, because no one at the office is doing anything at all except waiting for you to call.

  • the results of the x-ray/ct scan/blood test/whatever you had done half an hour ago are probably already available, and all you need to do is call the doctor's office. Right now.

  • you are the only person needing forms filled out for your child to be able to have medication at school. It's fine to wait until the day before school starts, drop them off, and then ask to pick them up again in half an hour.

  • the girl at the front desk has complete control over how quickly the doctor moves, and if you're unpleasant enough to her, you'll get seen immediately. (this one boggles me...because even if she DID have that kind of power, wouldn't being nice to her be a more effective strategy?)

  • if I lie about things like my smoking habits, my eating habits, or my exercise habits, it won't matter. Doctors are all powerful and can keep me healthy no matter what I do.
  • The nurse/medical assistant is a genius with perfect recall and mind reading abilities. Therefore, it is only necessary to remember that you take "these little blue pills that my other doctor gave me" for him or her to figure out the name, dose, and amount you take.
  • If you reason with a 20-month-old long enough, they will completely understand the reason for the shot and will stop crying and hold perfectly still without any parental intervention at all.
  • No one else waiting to see the doctor has anything else to do all day, and would absolutely love to wait a bit longer so that you can be seen after walking in half an hour late. The doctor was just sitting around waiting for you, anyway.
  • The office policy of "please do not wear perfume to our office" really means "everyone but you". We just forgot to put that in there.
  • It takes no extra time for the doctor to have two patients instead of one, so if you're there for your child's asthma and want to talk about this strange rash you've had for awhile, go for it. Appointment length is a loose concept anyway because, as mentioned above, none of the other patients have anywhere they need to be.
  • If you've booked back-to-back appointments for your children--say, 1:00 and 1:30--it's perfectly fine to "split the difference" and come in at the start time of the second appointment. What's half an hour?
  • The only reason we don't handle your request exactly the way you want it handled within 37 seconds of your phoning in is that we need you to yell at us and call us names. We wish you'd do that every day, because it has such a positive effect on our productivity.
  • While it's true that we denied your prescription refill request last month because you haven't been seen since 2005, and it's also true that you were told that but still haven't made an appointment, go ahead and try to get it refilled again. Who knows--maybe we forgot.

Today is Friday and I know that the optimists will all figure they can get their refills at 4:59 tonight. And you know, I fuss about it a bit, but I have to admire their absolute conviction and resilience. Because they'll do it again next month. And quite probably the month after that as well.

May you have a delightful Friday, and may you experience only those optimists who don't make you tear your hair out. Don't even get me started on optimistic drivers.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Treatise on Many Things

Okay, so probably not really a treatise...I just always wanted to use that word in an offhanded and breezily intellectual fashion, almost as if I were naturally glib and clever. We all have our fantasies.

First, squares. This first picture shows six squares from my beloved sister of the heart, Marianne:
Delightfully soft, and one of them (the purple one) even has a dragonfly that stubbornly refused all attempts to photograph it.

This next photo shows two really beautiful squares from Kitty Mommy:

Kitty Mommy, I'm in awe--how you got these done with all the other goodness going on in your life, I'll never know. But I'm grateful. You've also convinced me that I absolutely MUST buy some of this yarn in the pink colorway...or maybe the blue and brown...'cause, you know. I don't have any yarn to knit with.

The next picture is extraordinarily special....see if you can guess why:

Yep, they're beautiful but no, that's not why. It's special because one of these squares is number 180. I'm not sure which--the one with the stripes was given to me by Kristy a couple of weeks ago, but the other three were handed to me last night by Marti so they are 178, 179, and 180 in whichever order you care to look at them. Marti says she doesn't want a prize for last square--just recognition on the blog. Marti, you got it. For those unfortunate enough not to know Marti, she is funny, talented (beyond belief, actually--she can knit, spin, design, draw, write, and play soccer, and probably a lot more that I'm not thinking of right off the bat.), and an all around delightful person to know. Her dry wit has caught me off guard more than once, and I adore people who can do that. She's also trying to teach me to spin, which is a HUGE testament to her patience (as is the fact that she hasn't told me to quit whining about it not being perfect...or even in the same zip code as perfect). Marti rocks. And she is officially the maker of square #180.

As to the rest of you, I am speechless, tearful, and in awe of the goodness that each one of you represents. Look what you did! Okay, wait until I finish sewing them together and edging them...then I'll put up a photo of all the blankets and THEN you can look what you did. I know the families are going to be deeply touched and will be wrapped in all your love all winter long.

If I ever again doubt the power of knitters, just thwap me upside the head with one of those "pound of love" skeins of acrylic baby yarn. It'll serve me right.

As long as we're talking about awe-inspiring, breathtaking things (which we were and which you are), Mr. K took this picture last night from our hot tub on the back deck:

Those giant trees are in our backyard and, on nights like last night when they're not threatening to throw branches like javelins at the house and the car, I love them.

So, back to Sears on the weekend. Mr. K has spent much of the summer nursing along the Exxon Valdez, also known as our 12+ year old riding lawn mower which developed a disconcerting habit of spitting oil out randomly in the yard. (Some people are trying to shrink their carbon footprint; thanks to the Valdez, we could fit ours with an Olympic sized swimming pool.) Surprisingly, this did not alarm Mr. K as much as it did me, and neither did the occasional expulsions of thick, white smoke that made me wonder vaguely if my ass had caught fire while simultaneously avoiding that particular bit of knowledge. Oddly, the possibility of flaming ass was less concerning than the fact that the smoke made it difficult to see the spiders before running into them. My ass will psyche, after finding a tomato sized striped spider on my head planning a meal for 170 friends....not so much.

Even that didn't really budge Mr. K, but he caved in at last a couple of weeks ago when I noticed the mower not cutting all that well and opined that "perhaps the belt slipped" and he went to look and the belt was actually hanging out the side of the mower like a very tired snake. He initally went to replace the belt but, as he wandered around the manly area of Sears (you know the one--lots of tools and machines and men scratching in an undignified fashion and burping a lot), he was suddenly lured by the siren song of new lawn mowers. Shiny ones, at that. It was a candy store with horsepower.

He gazed upon these wonderous creatures for some time before finding me trying on jeans upstairs and encouraging me to "just come down for a quick look." And, much as I love attempting to avoid spiders while choking on smoke and dribbling oil down my leg, I finally agreed to come look at some mowers that actually turned on, stayed turned on, and cut grass. A novel concept.

Now, those of you who read this blog or know me personally know that Mr. K is my dearest friend and greatest love and I adore him. However, I am not blind to his foibles, one of which is making decisions at a glacial pace. Which is why Saturday afternoon found me seated on a riding lawn mower in the Sears basement, coat still on, sweating all over a plastic bag containing my pair of jeans, and repeating several times "they're both comfortable, I'd be happy with either, I don't think it matters much." Good times. Still, I must admit that Mr. K almost invariably makes very good decisions, likely because he thinks them through (and through and through and through and through and through and....), so I sat patiently and answered his questions and sweated on my jeans bag. And we were nearly there...heartbreakingly close, in fact, had it narrowed down to two....when the salesman said brightly "Of course, there's also this one over here, have you looked at it yet?"

I'm assured that the salesman will be fine, and that it's not necessarily fatal to have a crazed sweaty woman try to stuff a plastic bag full of jeans in your mouth. He got off lucky in my book.

But the upshot is that we brought home a shiny, black riding mower with a loud, manly engine and enough cutting power to take care of the astrodome in about 15 minutes flat. It really is quite macho.

I think I'll call it Black Beauty. Or Spider Crusher. I'm not sure which.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fast Fly By

Which is to say that the weekend mysteriously got away from me and now I have about minus 5 minutes to get on the exercise bike so I won't be late for work. I promise to write more tomorrow about the weekend (What bright, shiny new thing was purchased for Ms.K's comfort and brought home yesterday via trailer? How long did it take Mr. K to decide on it? Why did Ms. K come to the conclusion that all salesmen should be shot on sight? These and other answers when we return tomorrow to "As Ms K's World Turns").

BUT, I did want to show you what Childe did:

With the 6 that Marianne just sent to me (but aren't here yet for me to photograph--rest assured, I will), I believe this brings us to 176 of the 180 needed. (What wonderful prize is in store for whomever sends me number 180? Tune in tomorrow...)

This is what I did:

When not at Sears wondering if salesmen eat their own young. It still needs to be edged (the blankie, not the salesman) but I think it's awfully pretty.

Finally, since I have no humor of my own to offer you this fine Monday morning, I offer the work of a cartoonist from my local paper:

Why this made me laugh so hard, I don't know. It probably says something slightly disturbing about me.

Keep on knitting, and learn from the above: stay away from Sears on weekends, and always keep your shell on.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chutzpah, and the art of Wife Traps

chutz·pa /ˈxʊtspə, ˈhʊt-/
Pronunciation[khoot-spuh, hoot-]
–noun Slang.
1. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall.
2. audacity; nerve.
Also, chutzpah, hutzpa, hutzpah.
[Origin: 1890–95; < Yiddish khutspa < Aram ḥūṣpā]

Oh, and number 3: Mr. K. Whom I adore and who is my dearest friend and my greatest love but still. Chutzpah. Let me tell you the story and I'm sure you'll agree.

I am a morning person. This is not by choice so please don't throw things at me. Believe me--I know that the bright, chirpy, larks of the world are not roundly adored and I even know why. I don't hold it against you that you find me nauseating when I rise from my bed fully functional at least 20 minutes before the alarm, or when I mention that I have only actually heard my alarm clock about 3 times in the past year (twice were when the power had gone out and the damned thing had reset itself for midnight). It is worth pointing out, though, that as much as I might have an advantage in the wee hours, truth is that I'm a disaster at night, falling into slumber with all the self-control of a 3-year old by 10:00 no matter how exciting the movie or book or knitting or whatever is. I've seen the beginnings of more movies than probably anyone you know...but you could completely lie to me about the ending and I'd never know. Not unless it's one of the two I actually stayed awake for.

Larkdom aside, however, I always wake up in the early morning and this time of year, that means wandering around the house in the dark. I do this so as not to awaken the above-mentioned chutzpah king. So this morning I went down at around 5:15, thinking to feed the fur people who were all laying money on whether or not I was actually smart enough to understand that leaning on my head and screaming into my ear while I typed meant "Feed us now, or we'll start eating you." I made it all the way down to the entryway...before encountering the sole of one of Mr. K's shoes, lying on its side in the very middle of the downstairs hall. I ran into it piggy first--the piggy that had none, as it happened (the piggy that ate roast beef was, happily, spared) which is now the piggy that rained fiercely whispered profanity down on the tender hours while hopping madly about like a twit. One bent toe, and the morning was still young. This was not promising.

I fed the cats just in time to keep all my limbs, and then went up to exercise. On the way there, I decided to head back into the bedroom to get my cell phone, as my boss knows she can call me early if she needs me to come in early and it's easier to use the phone than to shout wildly into the dark. I headed into the bedroom....and WHAM. My knee made absolutely ferocious impact with the dresser drawer. The dresser drawer that Mr. K had left standing open. One bent toe, and one battered knee with instantly purpling lump. No, this was not a good beginning.

And worse, it was actually NOT the beginning. Because earlier this week I tangled my feet in the sweatshirt Mr. K had left on the floor, set my sleeve in the sauce he'd dripped on the counter, and tripped over a 9 x 13 pan of rainwater sitting on one of the back steps (don't ask--I still don't get that one), which promptly flipped up and dumped icy water down my sock to pool in my shoe. So this morning, once the culprit--the beloved husband, I mean--woke up, I gently described this series of mishaps. My intent was to end with a gently worded request to try to perhaps stop setting wife traps all over the house because he already has me and because I may have to beat him firmly about the head with a slipper full of cat litter if he doesn't.

Before I could get to the moral of the story, however (the one about the man who would rather not explain the presence of cat litter and slipper fuzz in his ear when he gets to work), he said this:
"Wow, Honey. You should be more careful."

I should....what? I should be more CAREFUL???

Chutzpah, I'm telling you.

While I have you, please join me in wishing a very happy birthday to my delightful "cybermom"--that is, the mother of the booby-trapper, my mother-in-law. I hate calling her that because there really isn't any "in-law" about it--she's my cybermom and I adore her wit and her kindness and her wisdom. I don't know how old she is, but I know she's old in wisdom and young at heart and in spirit and utterly wonderful. Oh, and still a superhero who has managed to send me enough squares for nearly two whole blankets--by herself.

Happy birthday, Judy. The world is a better place because you're in it.

Oh, and Mr. K? About those wife traps? I'm telling mom on you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Full Moon Over Washington

I'd have been better off if I hadn't seen this. The catalogue people know this, of course--this is why they send them to me, poised to arrive at my weakest moment: the end of a long day, when I am weary and worn and tired of being nice to idiot insurance companies and idiot pharmacies and doctors who would rather walk down the hall and interrupt me to press one button on the computer than simply do it themselves (I imagine it's supposed to help me "build character". Yeah, well, my character looks like Goliath on steroids, push your own damned button.). At such moments, it would be possible to convince me to take out my credit card to purchase 16 pounds of cow manure if it was photographed attractively and the 17th pound was free. Never mind the tools of my obsession (okay, OUR obsession--I know you understand all this).

And since I am a yarn-weakened creature (and you make take this to mean "yarn and anything to do with yarn"--hell, standing too close to a field of sheep could probably do it), I went immediately from the shiny, glossy catalogue to the shiny, glossy website and found the set of needles and clicked the shiney, glossy "add to stash" button. And hugged myself gleefully. I love those needles. And then I realized something: it would cost $10.79 to ship those bad boys....but if I bought just $10.01 more worth of merchandise, shipping would be free.
Folks, I tried hard. I mean, I tried HARD to make myself just order the needles, pay the shipping, and be done with it. But I have relatives and ancestors who did things like save and re-use wrapping paper and scotch tape, wash aluminum foil in the dishwasher and re-use it, make popsicles in ice cube trays out of the 1/4 teaspoon of juice left at the bottom of a dish of sliced peaches and for all I know I might have had ancestors who read the newpaper one article at a time for a month so they didn't have to order the newspaper as often. All I know is that the dead ones would have spun in their graves like tops if I'd paid $10.75 to get nothing when I could have paid $10.01 and gotten something. Anything.

This meant that I spent the next hour selecting and rejecting items, trying to get a little over the minimum for free shipping without getting WAY over. It's no good saving $10 if you have to spend $30 to do it. I worked on it last night. I worked on it this morning. I angsted over this, all the while realizing that the needles are on a first-come-first-serve basis and that if I wanted to receive them before my mind goes and I no longer recall what they're for (a day which seems closer at times than at others), I'd best make a decision before the start of the next decade.

Finally, I chose some sock yarns in two colors (don't ask me which ones--it could be old twine wrapped around a toilet-paper roll at this point for all I remember) and set about putting in my order. And, after a frustrating 20 minutes trying to get my computer to enable cookies so I could complete my order (since when did COOKIES become bad??? Seriously, if they're bad for your computer, shouldn't they be called something like "pattern mistakes" or "moths" or "unmatched dye lots" or something?), I finally got in and triumphantly hit the right button to complete my order. Which is when I finally realized what I probably should have realized the LAST time I ordered from Knitpicks.
How did I not know that Knitpicks is right here in my own state? Vancouver, Washington, to be precise (not to be confused with Vancouver, B.C., although that's a common mistake), which means that for all my finagling and strife, I got to pay for no shipping--but plenty of Washington State sales tax. I hate sales tax. And honestly, though I keep asking, no one in the governer's office seems interested in sending me a clear and concise accounting of what they're doing with all the money they've been tacking onto my purchases since I was old enough to push my own quarter across the counter for a candy bar (yes, I am old enough to remember when you could buy a candy bar for a quarter. No, I do not care to discuss this.).
To ease my troubled mind I went down and spread out the envelopes that all the lovely squares came in, and I asked Miss Gracie to make another couple of picks (Ed was out doing cat stuff and opted not to be bothered with stupid human tricks). Interestingly, Grace seemed to have some sort of understanding of her mission this time--I spread them out and she approached them carefully, sniffed each one in turn before carefully laying a paw on first one (Karen in Utah) and then another (Vivienne in Great Yarmouth). I have some fine sock yarn heading both your ways as soon as I can get to the post office (likely Saturday, although I'll do it sooner if I can). Here is the booty to be had--I'll let you be surprised as to who gets what:

There's a skein of Monarch sport weight in Ruby Redmond, and a skein of Opal handpaint. I'm hoping you might send me a photo of what you make.
Lastly, I have to show you the sock I've been working on when I'm on the exercise bike. I can't work on the blankets there--not enough room, plus they're quite heavy--so I do get to do a little something else from time to time. This is a little arrowhead sock made from the beautiful yarn Celtic Jo sent me:

It's not really a weird shape--I just sort of arranged it badly. I was still annoyed at the governer at that point.

I did end up placing my order as it was, by the way, and I'm looking forward to getting the needles. But I'm still thinking I might have to go up to Olympia so I can moon the governer's mansion. Or something.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Invasion, Part Deux

First, allow me to start whinily by detailing the injustices in life which have allowed me to catch the upper respiratory virus that's been going around the office....after everyone else has had it and gotten better. And you know how that goes--if you get it first, everyone feels sorry for you, if you get it along with everyone else, everyone commiserates with you, and if you get it last, everyone just says breezily "Oh, yeah-I had that last week. I'm fine now." Fabulous, but my head still contains enough snot to grease highways from here to outer Mongolia (am I the only one whose mom used to describe things as "slicker than snot"? I am? Sorry. Then the highway reference is probably pretty gross. She also said things were "slicker than shit through a goose" but that begs all SORTS of ugly pictures), my hair hurts, my throat has been rubbed with steel wool, and I'm cranky and whiny. Since I woke up this way yesterday and spent the entire day huddled under a blanket, cursing the cheery, happy co-workers who gifted me with this, I have not yet drawn names for the yarn I promised, but I will. I'll do it tonight or tomorrow night. I did have to work today (and aren't you glad it wasn't your arm I was bending over to read skin tests when my nose started running?) so my plan for this evening is to collapse exhausted onto the couch and do further cursing of my cheery, happy c0-workers. I read somewhere that getting absorbed in a hobby is good for recovery. Cursing healthy people seems as good as any.

ANYWAY. So on Saturday Mr. K felt strongly about mowing the lawn one last time before fall is fully upon us (my argument that we live in a virtual rainforest and fall is NEVER fully upon us fell on deaf ears) so he sharpened up the blades of the riding mower and had me drive around in ever decreasing circles until all the grass was short. (Do you ever think what aliens from space might thing viewing our activities? Like planting and watering and tending grass which we then hack down to the the ground while driving around in circles? Let's just say they're probably not going to stop and ask us for our accumulated wisdom...or even directions to the next "little alien's room" for that matter.) What he and I had both forgotten, at least initially (I remembered real jiffy quick) was that while the spiders around the house had been duly shopvacced, the ones on the OUTER edges of the yard were enjoying a respite, a dappled autumn afternoon--and these were the very edges on which I had to mow. There are a lot of spiders around the edges of our yard.

In truth, Mr. K and I both think that there are more spiders this year than we've ever seen, which lends some credence to my theory that every one we kill has an enormous funeral and all of his family and friends move in, waiting for an opportunity to break my legs or put the evil eye on me, or whatever. And Monica, I'm not at all sure what kind they are. I know we have what Mr. K refers to as "little wolf spiders" (which is like saying "slightly trashy rock star" when discussing Brittany Spears) but they are hooved and tend to hang out in the sinks and showers for maximum scaring potential. The ones outside are striped and huge--like cherry tomatos with stripes and legs and little black hearts. I think I've heard them called "money spiders" because of an old superstition that having one outside your door means you'll come into money. Aside from the collection the neighbors are raising to try to bribe me into not screaming quite so much when taking the garbage out in the wee hours, this has not proven true for me.

So, on my first pass around the yard, I nearly drove right into one of the aforementioned black-hearted tomatos. I was not impressed. Neither would Mr. K have been if I hadn't finally stopped flailing long enough to grab the steering wheel, mere inches from the tree that had somehow leaped into my path as I tried to look at my entire body at once, certain that the thing was there SOMEWHERE. After that, I started watching and, sure enough, there were tomato webs stretched across my path at intervals all around the yard, with nasty little occupants sharpening up the cuisinart blades in preparation for a tasty meal of Knitingale. This would never do.

I tried all the logical things--screaming some more, nearly driving into multiple stationary objects, and flailing desperately but to no avail. They seem to have brought every friend they ever knew. Finally, when he stopped laughing long enough (he'll pay for that), Mr. K presented me with a thin, light board that I could hold in front of me as I drove, swatting the offending nasties out of the way before they could land on me and suck out my brain or whatever else they might have been plotting. (Yes, I did watch too much cheap horror as a child..why do you ask?)

And so it was that the Knitingales held their first ever jousting event--with the brave Lady Knitingale perched on her trusty riding mower, jousting pole at the ready, and then driving hell bent for leather into the webs of the enemy, unconcerned for her safety.

Well, okay. So absolutely panicked about safety--but not, oddly, worred about plowing into a tree, running my stick into a tree and impaling my torso with the other end, or getting my stick caught on something and pulling myself from my trusty, oilsnorting steed. No. I was worried about one of the little buggers leaping for safety to my hair and as such spent much of the next two hours waving a stick crazily with one hand while using the other to swipe ineffectually at my head. The riding mower pretty much was given free rein. I rather suspect that the back yard appears for all the world to be completely covered in complex crop circles at this point. I am absolutely not one whit interested in trying to remedy that.

By the way, I did prove once and for all that spiders have not just a sense of humor, but a vicious one. I noticed one spider on my way around and, knowing that I had to get close in to where it was, planned to attack with my stick when I came back around. But when I got there, it was gone. Which, of course, forced me to wonder where it had gone, how close I'd gotten to it in the first place, and what that strange tickling sensation on the back of my neck was (turned out to be my hair...but for a minute there....well, you know). Took me a few more rounds and a LOT more batting at my neck to finally look up and see the little bastard, about 15 feet up, laughing like hell as it watched me circling around trying to locate it.

Okay, I can't prove it was laughing. But I'm pretty sure I heard some evil, tomato-y snickers.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Not of the body snatchers, but rather, the Ms. Knitingale's dignity snatchers. Because all dignity flies right out the window when I stride obliviously into one of these:

See, I got up this morning in one of those happy, Pollyanna, the world is great, "hey kids, let's put on a show!" kinds of moods, in the throes of which I am wont to do strange things like schlep outside just after dawn in my Seahawks fleece pants, my bright red fleece jacket from Victoria (if you don't think THAT'S a color palette to melt the mind--Seahawks colors are gray-blue and white with a lime green accent), and Mr. K's giant slippers which I hold on my feet in the dewy damp grass by curling my toes into a collection of ten tiny, little white knuckles, with the giddy plan of taking artsy shots of ordinary things because I apparently am deluded into believing that I just missed a career taking pictures for National Geographic by thiiiiiiiis much.

Really, I should just lie down until this sort of mood goes away. My neighbors probably wish I would.

Anyhow, I looked toward the gnarly tree in the front yard which isn't all that old but has a sort of "old tree" personality (at least, at dawn in a crazy-person outfit, viewing the world through a camera lens and ten layers of bizarro vision, it does), thinking there might be a lovely picture there. And that was when I noticed all the spider webs.

Marianne, I know you like the spiders and I'm sorry for thinking them soulless little beasts who have meetings each fall on how to rotate taking turns clattering up to me on their little spider hooves for the sheer pleasure of watching me scream and dance around and try in vain to see the top of my head, certain that one of the little monsters is probably perched up there, plotting how to get me back to its web where it and all its spidery hooved buddies will eat for the next month. But there you are. I am probably on some black list created by Mother Nature for this.

This morning, though, with the sun glinting off the dew caught in the spiderwebs, and my brain tripping on some sort of giddiness thing, even I saw the beauty of it and thought to clench Mr. K's slippers further onto my toe knuckles and wander closer to the tree to take the above photos. Pretty, no? (Try not to notice that the bottom one is in there sideways--the program I use to manage photos and I had a terrible falling out. Frankly, it's a wonder this was the only casualty. It's best not to talk about it.)

So there I was, clicking away, thinking how proud Marianne would be when she saw that I had sort of seen the light (I still wasn't ready to go pet the little horrors or anything, but I was at least seeing them as less than completely evil in that moment) when I happened to look down. Which was when I saw that another enterprising spider had built another web extending from the tree in front of me, to the ground, also in front of me. And right about crotch level (mine, not the tree's) was a glaring, pulsating, nasty spider, sharpening up its teeth and reading a teeny tiny cookbook entitled, no doubt, "To Serve Man." Or something like that.

If I'd moved an inch forward (which I had been about to do in order to get a few more pictures) I'd have been wearing him like an 8-legged bikini bottom and the whole neighborhood would've been awakened by my screaming like a banshee, tearing off my pants, and stomping frantically on them while simultaneously batting at my head, all while gloriously bare-tushied in the bright new dawn.

Mr. K apparently has some feelings about my displaying my tushie to the neighbors, bright new dawn or no, because he spent much of the afternoon sucking up spiders around the house with a shop vac. He does this frequently, which leads to my repeated nightmare in which one of those sucked-up critters survives by eating the others, growing to the size of a volkswagon before picking the lock and marching upstairs while I sleep to smack me around for having it condemned to suckage.

It was not a good start to the day.

This, however, made it all better:

These five squares were mailed to me by Tola, but made by several people. The diagonally striped one has a note that indicates that it is reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz movie, in which things start out sepia, become black and white, and eventually become brightly colored. Nicely done. I can't wait to put it in a blanket.

Now, unless I miss my guess (and quite frankly, it's more than a little bit possible that the spider thing has cost me a number of exploded brain cells...a good spider dance can do that to you), that means I have 155 squares of the 180 needed. You guys are beyond amazing. Just 25 more to go. Two of the blankets are completely finished and ready to go, and I'm about to lay out a third. I can hardly believe we did this. When they're all done, I'll have Mr. K take a picture of me in the middle of them all. Wish I had pictures of all the talented artists who made them.

Tomorrow I'll get Ed or someone to pick out some more prize recipients. I located some Monarch sock yarn in the Redmond Ruby colorway which I had purchased for myself but which I have opted to donate to this cause. Someone will be making Ruby Redmond socks soon. You may want to kiss up to Ed if you're a Ruby Redmond fan. He particularly likes Friskies tuna and egg....and also mice. In no particular order. (But please don't mail mice to my nerves are still shot from Mr. Crotch Spider.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yes, Amy, There is a Yarn Fairy

Remember Amy--the startlingly beautiful young lady in my office whom I (brought over to the dark side) taught to knit? We were eating lunch today and discussing knitting (what else?) and she mentioned that she's knitted a blanket for her new puppy (miniature doxie--and so cute he kind of makes your teeth ache) is about to start one for herself and that's when she made this statement:

"I have so much yarn I can hardly believe it. I don't know where it all came from, but it's suddenly overflowing my yarn basket and I need a new place to put it all." Proof positive, by the way, that Amy has been a knitter all along, just needing to grab that first pair of needles: she said she needed another place to put it--not that she needed to get rid of any or stop buying it. That's my girl.

Anyway, I wanted to help her with this yarn explosion issue, but the same mystery seems to take place at my house on a startlingly regular basis and I've yet to figure it out. I've had some guesses, though.
  1. There are several sheep holding AA meetings at my house when I'm asleep (wouldn't you drink heavily if you knew the world was populated with people holding pointy sticks who wanted to make you naked?), and they leave behind bits of yarn in lieu of coffee and donut money.
  2. The dust bunnies under the beds, the fridge, and possibly under any cat who lies still long enough, have started their own version of "Extreme Makeover: Dust Bunny Edition" wherein they turn from disgusting clods of dust into lovely skeins of fiber (I could possibly debunk this one by looking under the bed....but I don't wanna).
  3. The ghosts of all the handknit items I received but failed to appreciate BK (Before Knitting) are haunting my house. Fortunately, they are all happy and lovely ghosts.
  4. A herd of Alpacan rebels, fed up with the cold climate of their native home, have taken refuge in my craft room. They don't want to be sent back, so have perfected the art of lying very, very, very still. In brightly colored mounds.
  5. Unbeknownst to me, one of the plants Mr. K brought into the house when we married is actually a yarn tree. I've never seen it blooming, but I'm loathe to let go of such a delightful possibility.
  6. I've been the victim of a drive-by yarning. Many, many times.
  7. In a heretofore unknown weather phenomenon, banks of yarn clouds regularly move into my craft room and rain heavily. Not anywhere else, though.
  8. The cats have located my drop spindle and become more adept at spinning cat hair than I ever will with any other fiber. They can apparently dye it, as well.
  9. Fairy tale characters have been sneaking in and out of my house for some sort of nefarious purpose, and Rapunzel got sick and tired of all those witches and children and princes and dwarves climbing up her hair. It's obviously taken many tries to find just the right substitute. In fact, based on the amount of fiber, she may still be trying.
  10. The universe, impressed by my patience and fortitude (shut up, it could happen) has decided to reward me with a new ball of yarn every time I swear at my current knitting project.
  11. There's a hole in the time-space continuum that allows the gentle yarn people of Woolotopia to leak through into this reality. They like it in my house, though, and have given up trying to explore our world or spread their message of peace and lanolin.
  12. I don't just sleep walk--I perform stand up comedy in my sleep, but am so bad at it that I get pelted by the audience. Thankfully, they do not have rotten tomatoes, but merely balls of yarn to throw (they are sadly mistaken if they think this will discourage me, but there you are).
  13. They've started giving out yarn with every fill-up at my local gas station. Judging by the size of the infiltration of fiber products, it would seem that my car gets about 17 inches to the gallon....give or take.
  14. My collection of sweaters have been getting way too friendly with one another, and the house is filling up with their love children.
  15. Santa Claus totally gets me. And I've been so good, I don't even have to wait for Christmas.
  16. It's really an infestation of very cleverly disguised mice. Which would also explain why it's so hard to keep the cats out of the yarn.
  17. What yarn? I don't see any yarn.
  18. It turns out that spinning your swift very, very fast while winding hanks of yarn actually produces a worm hole in space though which balls of intergalactic yarn hop like little wooly rabbits until the spinning stops. Like the Tribbles on Star Trek, they're soothing, soft, comforting, slightly addictive, and born pregnant. They have litters of about 50.
  19. When I wanted to confront a co-worker but was too chicken and uttered the slightly crude phrase "I need to get some balls", a genie in the watering can overheard me. He didn't understand the reference and couldn't quite figure out what I wanted balls OF, but figured yarn would be a place to start. Good thing I didn't say I wanted balls of steel. I don't think the floor boards would have held out.
  20. Every time a new ball of yarn is purchased, a yarn fairy gets her wings. And I feel a personal responsibility to make sure that there are no fairies run down while jogging or trying to hail cabs. Or falling off of ferries. Fairies falling off ferries would be bad.

Have any of these things happened to you?

Square count is holding steady at 150, meaning I need just 30 more. I believe the Yellowstone Unravellers were hoping to send another 16 to complete one blanket made just by them (they're so cool) which means I'm even closer than that! I'm so excited. Miss is, too. I've not had the heart to tell her I'm mailing them all away.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Have you ever wondered what we did before the internet? If you're my age (or, God forbid, OLDER), you grew up without even guessing that people would actually have computers in their homes but still....doesn't it seem like a basic essential these days? There are so many things I know that I wouldn't have known without the internet. For instance:

  • I would not have known that my penis is entirely too small. Thankfully, there is a nice person who calls me attention to this on a regular basis via e-mail.
  • I would not have known that Brittany Spears, to everyone's great astonishment, is not mother of the year material.
  • I would not have known about the famous moose-burp study
  • I might never have learned that I have almost no chance of surviving a zombie attack, that I would be neopolitan if I was an ice cream flavor, or that my vampire name would be Jezebel the Demented.
  • I would not have known that a very determined man could play the piano with....well...something other than his hands. I won't link it, but if you're an adventuring sort, type "piano man" and the name of the body part in question into google. Dudes. I had no idea. He probably isn't getting those e-mails I mentioned.
  • I would not have known that there are at least 7456 things you can do with marshmallow fluff.
  • I might never have learned the fine art of prespending 60% of my paycheck from the comfort of my home office chair in my jammies (thank you SO much, Knitpicks)
  • I wouldn't have known that there are literally dozens of ways to mutilate and otherwise abuse Peeps....or that there are so many twisted individuals thinking up those ways.
  • I might have missed seeing a close up photograph of a holy grilled cheese sandwich (remember the sandwich with the Virgin Mary on it?)
  • I also might not have known that the woman with the sandwich had a likeness of the thing tattooed onto her breast. (Well, yeah...what would you do with a holy sandwich?)
  • I would not have known just how many dangers are lurking in the world, trying to get me--like deodorant, underwire bras, and the invisible beams from cell phones.
  • A logical follow-up to that last--I also wouldn't have known just how many people out there are a few french fries short of a happy meal.I wouldn't have known that I can knit a novelty yarn sweater for my cat (happily, the internet can also point me to the nearesty ER after I try to get the thing on the cat and am in need of 200+ sutures).
  • I might never have heard about the woman whose cousin's sister's boyfriend's boss's brother's maid ate a handful of pop rocks washed down with coca cola and her stomach exploded. I would have completely missed the opportunity to download a free cowboy hat smiley for my e-mails
  • It would have taken me much longer to figure out that I have all the wrong clothes (I have failed to replace my entire wardrobe every few months--can you imagine?), am too tall, am not blonde enough, am not an interesting enough lover, and am in dire need of botox and cellulite thigh cream.
  • I would not now have the opportunity to choose from thousands of possible halloween costumes online, all of which boil down to assorted incarnations of prostitute--whether you want to be a witch, an angel, a goth fairy, or a nurse, you'll have your goodies hanging out.
  • I wouldn't have learned that I have the symptoms of 47 rare diseases and can expect to live through next Tuesday at about 7:45 pm.
  • I wouldn't have known what happens to spiders on drugs (watch this to the end--it is SO worth it!)

I also wouldn't have met you guys, though, and that really is the best part of all. Even better than spiders on drugs.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Food Network Has a Lot to Answer For

It started, as such things often do, with an innocent comment, this time from Mr. K: "Honey, what do you think about having our friend, Daniel, come over for dinner Sunday?" to which I replied cheerfully "Of course, Sweetie--it'll be good to see Daniel." And things sort of went downhill from there.

For those not in the know, I do not cook well. In fact, I barely cook at all and the best thing that can be said about my culinary talents when I DO attempt to cook, is that I can be charming enough to distract my guests from whatever it is they happen to be eating (their guess is often as good as mine). That, and I do bake pretty well, so I can always cleanse their palette with enough nicely-prepared chocolate to give a moose seizures.

Keeping the above in mind, wouldn't you think I'd have said something like "Great--let's get Chinese and I'll make brownies"? Or something of that ilk? Hell, if I make the caramel brownies and serve them with vanilla bean ice cream, it might not even need to be GOOD Chinese food. But no, I said this instead: " about if I make some creamy potato soup, and some fresh bread?" This is actually not too bad so far--there's a company that makes a pretty passable potato soup mix that I've used before--it's fine if you dump in some cheese and corn and some kind of meat. But I just wouldn't shut up, try though I might to SHUT myself up. I then said "But I think I'll make it from scratch. And you know what else? I think I'll try to make a roasted potato soup. Roasting gives such good flavor." Like I know what I'm talking about. Like I'd know a roasted potato from a baseball mitt in a blind taste test. Please.

It was at this point that things might have gone differently, but for Mr. K's cruel and unusual comment: "Sounds great, Honey. I know you'll make something really wonderful." I know, you're thinking "What a sweet and encouraging husband." But no. This is not encouragement. This is fostering dangerous delusions of competence. You must know that no good can come of it.

To put it another way, I think that if I went on the reality show Top Chef, I'd be told to pack my knives around the time I approached the world famous chef judges--most likely after a fellow contestant just offered braised duck with a ginger fig sauce and a cauliflower puree seasoned with things I've never heard of--and said something like "Good evening, Chefs. Tonight I have for you a plate of rice-a-roni brightened with frozen veggies and weenie coins. I've got some pre-shredded kraft cheese if you want to garnish it properly. I'd recommend the 2007 diet Pepsi to compliment it. What? It's seafood night? No problemo, Pierre. Let me just whip open this here can of tuna."

Anyway. I then proceeded to make matters even worse--there's got to be a demon living in my head, I swear--by finding multiple recipes online, reading them carefully, AND THEN DECIDING TO WING IT. Don't ask me, I don't know. And yes, I was sober.

My plan was simple--cut up potatoes, place in pan with olive oil and herbs, roast. Take out half the potatoes and puree them with chicken broth and milk. Mix the resulting puree with more chicken broth, the rest of the potatoes, and some veggies and ham. Simple, no?

No. Because I am to estimating amounts, what Brittany Spears is to parenting. Or underpants. I never think a mere 3 pounds of pasta looks like NEARLY enough food for two people, one of whom just had oral surgery and can only eat water. The same holds true, it seems, for making soup. I roasted two pans of potatoes. Two entire pans. For three people. Moreover, I somehow skipped the part about stirring them frequently, so spent an unholy amount of time scraping the crispy bits out of the bottom of the pans. I splashed potato puree on every conceivable surface, I almost choked the blender with too much potato and not enough liquid, I got olive oil on my favorite shirt and one of my favorite cats.

From then, it was just a nightmare of guilt and recrimination, as I tried to balance liquid and spices and seasonings and so on (you know the drill--"oh, it's too spicy--add some more broth. wait, now it's not seasoned enough--add more seasoning. Wait, now it's too spicy again..."etc.). At some point, Mr. K came in and helpfully offered things like "I think it needs some heat. Did you put pepper in?" and "I have some great hot sauce we could try." Men are confusing. They SAY they don't want to be swatted viciously with half an onion, but then they do stuff like that. Anyway, the soup doesn't taste all bad at this point...but would you all like to come to dinner? You and all your friends? And would you like a doggie bag of oh...say, three quarts of roasted potato soup? Each?

To add insult to copious soupy injury, my kitchen now looks as if a hurricane hit it. The blender is potato puree coated, the stove looks like it has soup brail on it, there are onion bits from here to hell and back--and speaking of onions, how did I forget that whole "stand there blinded with tears while holding a sharp implement" thing? It's been awhile since I used fresh onion, apparently, and clearly my boycott was justified. The things are vicious and obviously do not wish to be cooked. But back to my hurricane--I cook as if there were an award for "most dishes and utensils used in the preparation of an only average meal". If only there were. Hey, the award could be a year's worth of take-out....

The soup and I, by the way, are no longer speaking and will not be seeking counseling to try to repair the rift. We know when a thing is not meant to be. It is clear that I should stick to things I know more about.....Yep--blankie number two, ready to go. Breathtaking in my estimation. And in someone else's, too:

I'm not sure if you can tell, but I was stitching the thing together when this was taken, and Miss was actually underneath the finished portion with only her head sticking out.

I think she likes it.

I think my poor guests will be here soon. I do have some cookie-dough brownies for dessert...maybe I'll float them in the soup like croutons. At least it'll be a dinner they'll be talking about for awhile.

Friday, October 05, 2007

We All Saw This Coming

How does one know when one has turned the corner from "loveably eccentric" to "a couple of french fries short of a happy meal"? Hell, I just might be short the burger, too.

See, I'm not surprised at all when I find myself talking to the radio, the news, the cats, my football team ("Good Grief--why don't you just walk up and HAND them the ball????")or even my knitting ("let GO, you bastard!" is heard frequently when I'm trying to crochet squares together and the hook catches a thread instead of the whole strand and...well, you know). I no longer think it's all that odd when I stand in my closet and muse out loud "Okay, so who wants to be worn today?" Yeah, I know. One man's whimsy is another man's nut job. But still, I figured I was okay because I had a relative long ago whose cheese slowly slipped off her cracker, as evidenced by her naked forays down the street at night to steal pea gravel from the neighbors piece at a time (which makes sense, really--I mean, it's not like she had pockets to carry a whole BUNCH of pea gravel) and I still see that behavior as kind of out there. My standards of sanity may not be terrifically high, but I'm clear on what they are. Naked gravel theft: bad. Yep, still pretty much together.

Anyway, I may be forced to look to another standard of measure because today I caught myself my HAIR. Yep. I was walking up the stairs at work and caught sight of myself in one of those weird hubcap-shaped mirrors that make everyone look like a swollen goldfish? And they put them in the corners so you can if you're about to run into another swollen goldfish? And I was well into the following monologue before I realized that yes, I was talking to my hair:

"No, no--we talked about this. I gave you the choice. I said you could flip up or curl under and you chose under. You may not go back on your choice now. I'm sorry if you're not happy with your choice, but it's too late to make another one now. And no, flipping up on one side only is neither cute nor whimsical. Particulary when it's the side on the left back of my head. Beside, remember yesterday? Remember you chose to be flipped up? And what did you do? You remember, I know you do. You curled under on one side only. I expect better from you than this, I really do."

I know, it's bad. I also offered today to make offerings to the computer gods for Dr. V--we agreed that it might take lettuce or carrots, since it was clearly a geriatric hamster with bad arthritis and a limp running the server, if speed was anything to go by, and threatened to introduce birth control to the laundry basket to stop the out-of-control reproduction that seems to be going on in there (it's a party all day in that basket, judging by the enormous number of offspring that keep turning up--there's just no way Mr. K and I have worn that many socks in the last three days). See? The elevator's going up but really only stopping on the half floors. It's a sad thing.

Oh, and I might have slipped a bit of a cog while speaking to the person at a mail-order company who was allegedly working in customer service, but I find that terminology to be a heinous act of deceptive advertising. By the time I called, I had placed an order (a month and a half ago), e-mailed about the order's whereabouts twice, called once, and then e-mailed again--all without response. Cogs were definitely in danger by the time I called again today. And, in my current state of "flexible sanity", it made perfect sense to me to ask calmly "Am I bothering you by trying to do annoying things like purchase merchandise from you?"

I will defend this last, though, because not only did I get a full apology, I got a discount on my next order once they determined that the missing one is never going to come because the manufacturer discontinued it and they never got around to sharing that teensy, tiny little detail with me...or, apparently, the 39 other people waiting for the same items. A better person than I would probably not find it funny to think of the company scrambling to right this situation.

For a happy thing, though, check out the delightful bounty that arrived today from Childe:

13 of 'em, if you're counting, and each more beautiful than the last. Childe, you're a rock star. She also threw in some money for postage which was totally unnecessary, but much appreciated. These squares will be warming some very fortunate folk.

I'm off to welcome home Mr. K. And to be thankful that the neighbors have a paved driveway. This seems like it might be a good thing.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Law of Knitingale

You've all heard of Murphy's Law, I expect--that old adage that if anything can go wrong, it will? Yeah, well Murphy was a big girl's blouse. He never would have stood up to Knitingale's law, wherein if anything can be made more interesting (read weird) and amusing (read downright irritating), it will become so at the speed of free cashmere leaving your local Knitnight. For instance:

Imagine you are Ms. Knitingale.

Imagine that you are a moron (I realize this is repeating myself).

Imagine that you are a bit self-control challenged when it comes to collecting scrubs (that is, I am a scrub whore of the worst possible order, and could probably outfit the entire NFL, their wives, the cheerleaders, and several of the players dogs in medical wear if I so chose...which would almost seem appropriate, given that those guys have "soon-to-be hospital patient" written all over them..but I digress).

Okay, now imagine that a friend has offered to sell you some scrubs she can no longer use, at bargain basement prices. Got it? Excellent.

Now, imagine that you receive the scrubs from her in the mail and are particularly enamored of a pair of turquoise scrub pants with a matching top in magenta with turquoise trim (need I say to imagine that you also have the subtlety and good taste of a tiny car full of drunken clowns?). And then imagine that you suddenly notice a stain on the magenta top and it becomes quickly apparent that a sandblaster couldn't get the damned stain out. You do not wish to embarrass your friend by pointing this out to her. You ADORE the outfit and you have absolutely nothing that matches the pants (which are not stained). What do you do? Do you:

A) Sigh, remind yourself that they were ridiculously inexpensive anyway, chuck both pieces, and move on.

B) Consider that the scrub gods are apparently having some sort of unholy union with the knitting gods, try on the pants to see if you even like them when they're on, and then tuck them away until you find a matching shirt.

C) Eat chocolate.

For the record, C is always a good option. Now, if you chose either of the other two, you are not Ms. Knitingale, and you know nothing of the law of Knitingale and you are way smarter than I am and poo to you with knobs on. Because what really happened is that I found a local scrub store that carried that line, found a new shirt to match the pants, and delighted in my luck...until today when I tried to wear the outfit and found that the pants were both too short and too wide and would only fit me if I strapped pontoons to my legs and squatted slightly. Now, of course, the bargain basement scrubs have already cost three times what they started out to cost WITHOUT purchasing a new pair of turquoise pants that actually fit, but the shirt doesn't match anything I own unless I am prepared to look like turquoise beach ball with a stick on top.

Knitingale's Law, I'm telling you. And if you were thinking of pointing out that I could have saved myself a great deal of anguish had I either tried on the pants when I got them OR established somehow what my friend's measurements are these days (she doesn't live close by and we've not seen one another in some time), let me remind you that I am also the woman who took apart a sock for the third time the other day when a beloved friend said it looked too big....and then was foolish enough to try it on when it was halfway unravelled and realized that it would have fit perfectly. It was, of course, a lace pattern that would have been nearly impossible to get back on the needles.

In my defense, I couldn't try it on before I unravelled it because it was on 4 dpns. Still, it seems obvious that a smart woman might have avoided trying the thing on once all hope was clearly lost, sockwise. Then again, if I had, it would have been far too big and Beloved Friend would have been exactly right in her estimation. These things don't occur if they wouldn't be really funny to some sick bastard somewhere.

In brighter news, however, look what came in the mail today:

The sharp-eyed among you will recognize more work of Super MIL--9 more from my wonderful mother-in-law. There are also 5 from Annelle (the lovely black and white ones at the back) and 1 from CCR in MA who has naughtily failed to provide name OR address so that I might put her in the drawing. Tsk. But you're wonderful and I thank you all so very much. The square total stands at......

134. Since I need a total of 180, that leaves just 46 to go. I'm agog. Which is good...the world could use a few more gogs, I suspect....

Oh, and Ed has decided that he needs absolutely nothing in life except this fireplace and this pillow:

He certainly doesn't need any hairless thumbed ones...although he did say to tell Monica "mewowr"...which I'm pretty sure means "Hi, Monica!"

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

(Un) Reality TV

I accidentally flipped my TV channel to a reality show the other night wherein these women were all competing to be the "girlfriend" of this former rock star. And you know, it was kind of like watching a train wreck: it's awful, and you really don't want to see it...but you can't take your eyes away. So I ended up watching a bit of it and now I really wish there was a way to bleach my brain.

I can only say this (scrambles up onto soapbox...feel free to go about your business and return when I've returned to reason): What has to go wrong in your life--horribly, spectacularly wrong--for it to seem like a really good idea to appear on national television dressed like a 1980's prostitute and trying to convince a balding, middle-aged, has-been rock star that you're worthy of his affections? C'mon, now. You'd lose less dignity wearing plaid capris and a boob tube to a $12,000 a plate fundraising dinner.

For that matter, you'd probably lose less dignity riding a unicycle down main street wearing a thong and a feather least until the boa caught in the spokes and you tipped over. And maybe even then you'd still have just a tad more pride than these women.

There's something inherently weird about reality TV, in my mind. See, I love my job and my life and I love working with people and so on. BUT, I think anyone who works with the public in any capacity will agree with me that you don't need to pay for cable TV or even tune in a network to see nasty, unreasonable, manipulative, and downright stupid behavior. Which begs the question...why watch it on TV? I can see people be unpleasant any old time--all I have to do is tell them that the doctor can't see them now that they're 25 minutes late for a 15 minute appointment and I'll be wishing it was TV so the expletives could be bleeped out.

Here's another question: is there a line anywhere that the TV execs will draw? That is, will the day ever come when they'll toss around an idea for a reality show and say "Nah....let's not do that."? No...I'm pretty sure that if it can be thought of, you can watch people do it and be mean about it. Watch your TV guide listings for such scintillating offerings as "Redheads Eating Soup and Calling Each Other Names", "Depressed Clowns Hitting Each Other With Pie and Calling Each Other Names", "Elephant Trainers Cleaning Dung Our of their Sneaker Treads and Calling Each Other Names" , "People Who Like Fluffernutter Sandwiches and People Who Don't Sharing a House and Calling Each Other Names", "27-Year-Old Virgins Who Collect Bottle Caps and Live With Their Moms Calling Each Other Names" and "Snake Wranglers in Love With Ladder Manufacturers and the Women Who Hate Them--All Calling Each Other Names."

My co-worker says that the thing about reality TV is that it isn't--people don't behave like that unless they're motivated by a lust for money and limelight. But I can't think of enough zeros behind the one on a check to make me style my hair in the latest in hooker chic, pour myelf into a skin-tight dress, and sleep with a man I barely know who is also sleeping with at least one other woman and then describe that other women in words that would make a sailor blush--all on national TV. Could I just put on a leopard print bikini, paint myself with mint chocolate chip ice cream, and walk down my block with a flashing light on my head and a sign saying "I'm a little minty pixie"? And maybe singing limericks? It would be way less embarrassing.

All that said, I think the reality--the REAL reality--is more like this:

That's part of blankie number two, about halfway finished.

These two squares--the purple one and the orange/turquoise stripey one--were both made by Lily in California and you'll notice that one is already finding a home in blankie #2. Sorry about that Lily--I mean to get a picture before I put it in there, but it just wanted to be in that row of that blankie and who was I to argue ("Blanket Squares and Blanket Makers, Calling Each Other Names")?

The box that came yesterday had the white block with Massachusetts on it from Cheryl, the autmny looking sqaure and the absolutely drool-worthy handdyed yarn from Debbie (it's called "LadyBug" and I'm already jealous of whomever wins it!), and another square that didn't photograph nearly as pretty as it is and which had no identifying label. If you had a beautiful square in that box that was black flecked with all different colors and soft as a kitten, let me know so I can thank you personally. And a huge thank you to all of you I DO know about. Man, you guys just keep rocking my world.

I guess TV execs don't think anyone would watch something about people like us, reaching out to give love and hope to other people. Boy, are they missing the boat. I'll leave you with some of my favorite song lyrics. I'm not sure who wrote it originally, but it's on at least three different albums that I own and listen to incessantly, and I love it each time (this is just the last verse):

"I feel a touch, now will I hold on?

Reach out with love, to those with no one?

With a kindness such, it lives though I'm gone.

I feel a touch, now will I hold on?"

Sure seems like you guys have that part down pat.