January 25, 2008

I Am a Lucky, Lucky Blogger

All I can say is, WOW. What truly extraordinary comments and emails from all of you. Halfway through reading them (for, I must admit, the fourth or fifth time. Yes, all of them—four, five, maybe even six, times.), I had a slightly hysteria-tinged giggle when I remembered how, when I started this blog, I vowed to keep the personal stuff to a minimum, in fact, not even mention my relationship. Boy howdy, did I take a header off that bandwagon. These blogs—they do suck you in. In a good way.

So much encouragement; so much good advice; so much understanding; such intriguing, and sometimes funny, personal stories; so many things that made me tilt my head and say, "Huh. Who knew?" Now, if I could only take all that good will in pill form. Better Living Through Chemistry Comments!

Kris, in response to your question, yes, I/we will be at Madrona. I’m not taking any classes but TMK and I will be hanging out Saturday and spending the night at the hotel so, to one and all, feel free to stick a foot out and trip us up—gently, if you please—if you see us cruisin’ on by. Last year we slummed in the big open area outside the market but I understand that the market will be almost twice as big this year so I’m not sure if that space will exist. But, please, keep an eagle eye out. (Diana/Crafty Coug, I’m afraid I won’t be at Stitches.)

Rachel H, please do send me the “Lene” article. You can email it rymorriss at yahoo dot com. Thank you!

Daisy, in response to your request, Dale-Harriet did send me her “Philosophy of Love,” which is very beautiful. Dale-Harriet, whatcha’ think of posting it on your blog, if you haven’t already?

Diane, if I had your bread-making machine, I'm afraid I would have to shoot it. Y'know how I feel about sock monkeys? That's the way I feel about "The Little Drummer Boy." Dunno why; there's just something about that parum-pum-pum-pum. Now, watch, tomorrow morning TMK will sing "The Little Drummer Boy" while she makes coffee.

Robbyn, thanks for the “You Make My Day” award. Ditto to you. We have been blogging chums for a long time and through much thick and thin, haven’t we? So glad to know you’re out there.

And Ken-bob, pal o' mine, you're telling me all I have to do is go stock up on ketchup? Again, I find myself tilting my head and saying, "Huh. Who knew?"

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gym.gif What I’ve learned from going to the gym so far: It is very easy to fall off the treadmill. However, because the treadmill moves vertically in alignment to your body, and ever backwards, most people shoot straight off, you know, backwards. Yet despite all the unbreakable, unbendable, immutable laws of treadmill physics, I managed to fall off…sideways. Apparently I can’t swing my hands by my sides, walk rapidly, breathe rapidly, watch the treadmill display, and watch TV all at the same time. Seriously. I looked up at the TV for the briefest of seconds, lost track of my feet, and…TIIIIIIIMBERRRRR! Only it wasn’t anywhere near as elegant or gracefully linear as a tree falling in the forest because there were arms and legs and a bootay and wobbly thighs and two eyes momentarily bulging with terror involved. Thank God I wasn’t also trying to chew gum. The results would’ve been disastrous. (Somehow I managed to convince myself that every single person in the long line of bicyclists behind me, all of whom were facing me directly, and all of whom had a beeline view of said bootay and wobbly thighs, had all blinked simultaneously, at the exact moment of my prat fall, and no one had seen a thing. Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. But it was enough to get me back on the treadmill.)

I’ve also learned that, sociologically, gyms are extremely odd places. This gym is large, probably not as big as some in L.A., but, still, it’s a huge room full of hundreds of pieces of equipment and hundreds of people, all of whom are pretending no one else is there. There’s a minimum of talk, a minimum of eye contact, and a vague sense of social discomfort and unease pervades the air. And then there’s the nudity in the locker room and more people ignoring each other and the territoriality about lockers and towels and places to sit and people looking at each other and not looking at each other and giggling embarrassedly. Not my kind of place. Give me the bookstore, my beloved Ferals, the occasional gentle and friendly hug and three hours of girl-talk any day.

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I tried to work on the Flower Basket Shawl last night but after fifteen minutes, it died a violent death, meaning I ripped it off the needles…and actually squashed it. I truly did. I grabbed it with both hands and squeezed and wrung and mangled it viciously, so pissed was I at the stitches that kept slipping off and running down*. Hmmmm; perhaps it’s time to take some more meds. Or eat some more ketchup.

*I did have a lifeline in place but it was about four rows down and I had knit those four rows so many times I lost count. Hence, the moment of berserk mangling.

P.S. For those of you who aren’t Galaxy Quest fans, or haven’t seen the movie, I suppose I should have explained that when the pig-creature was transported from the surface of the planet to the ship, things did not go well. It arrived inside out. 'Nuff said.

Posted by Ryan at 01:09 PM | Comments (29)

January 23, 2008

Blech.

Depression sucks. Anxiety sucks. Panic attacks suck. And, what’s worse is suffering depression, anxiety and panic attacks...when your life is actually going pretty well. What gives? TMK and I are definitely working things out—thank you, Jaysus!—but, unfortunately and regardless, before I realized things were on the upswing, the Screwed-Up Brain Chemistry From Hell kicked in uninvited and with a vengeance, shanghaied my brain and body, and left me quivering like a bowl of really bad hospital jello, without even pineapple pieces to give it some stability. (Or, if you're a fan of the movie Galaxy Quest, imagine the pig-creature after the crew transported it from the planet's surface to the ship. Yeah, like that.) And what’s even worse, is feeling like this when you’ve never felt like this before, when you’re usually a sociable, upbeat, outgoing person (local knitters will tell you how hard it is to get me to shut the eff up!) and now your days just feel like the grayest of the gray, with some blackest of the black thrown in. To any and all of you who’ve been through this before, I tip my hat to you. You are survivors of the highest order. But I am on meds—two to be exact; one for every day, and one for The Really Bad Days—and TMK hauled my protesting ass to the gym last week to get me some mentally and physically stimulating cardio. I now have a membership. We’ll see how long that lasts. Of course, there is the upside to all of this: 20 pounds gone!

Speaking of relationships, quite belatedly, TMK and I want to send a shout-out to Elizabeth Spinner (Slytheringrrl) who left a comment in December saying, “Y'all are kind of a long relationship inspiration, don'tcha know. Yes you are, to a pair of straight, white, Republican Christians.” What a remarkable comment, Elizabeth. I think you would be surprised to know how much it meant to TMK and me, and how often we have mentioned it to each other. There are hundreds of wonderful things about having a blog but the acceptance that gets "beamed" at us from our readers from all walks of life is the best.

Knitting? I’m afraid it has fallen victim to the Brain Chemistry of Doom. Like a dog fetching his master his slippers, whenever I’m at her house, TMK places in front of me whatever my current project is and watches intently, ever hopeful that I will gather up the "sticks and string" and begin that rhythmic and unending insert, wrap, slip off, insert, wrap, slip off motion but...nothing. One of these days I expect her to start nudging my hand with her nose the way the dawg does when she wants attention. And I, equally hopefully, pray that the Flower-Basket Shawl will miraculously knit itself but...go figure...that doesn’t seem to be happening.

Lest this entry be all doom and gloom, here’s something that amused me this morning and may amuse you: During the holiday season, TMK got a shiny, new espresso maker that, to this day, she still pats and caresses with great wonder. This morning, as she progressed sequentially through the flipping and twisting of the various levers and nobs and switches required to make The Elixir of the Gods, I overheard her singing the theme song to Space Odyssey: 2001. It went something like this: Duuum (flip). Duuuum (turn). Duuuum (twist). DA-DUM! (great burst of steam). Hysterical! And if I know TMK, she had no idea she was doing it, and this entire paragraph will come as a surprise to her. I expect an email or phone call from her any minute now...

Posted by Ryan at 11:21 AM | Comments (51)

January 14, 2008

Such a Loooooooooooong Way To Go

Sorry, Dear Readers, but spamming has gone crazy today so I've had to close comments on this entry. Stupid spammers.

Does this look like a Flower Basket Shawl?

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Does this?

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Nah, didn't think so.

Wish me luck. (Already I'm wondering, what's with the rounded edge on the left, and the pointy edge on the right?)

Posted by Ryan at 10:06 AM | Comments (13)

January 11, 2008

Friday Short

When your relationship is already rocky, when your girlfriend walks into the room, it is not, I repeat, not a good idea to greet her with, “Hey, there, gorilla face.”

Unless she is, in fact, wearing this...in which case you get a pass. But just barely.

I continue contentedly knitting on the Trekking sock, although I’m growing ever more alarmed about a large section of mustard color that seems to be lurking in, and inching ever closer from, the ball of yarn. I keep pulling out less and less yarn at a time, and pulling that yarn out more and more slowly, hoping that maybe that will delay the arrival of the mustard, although in my heart of hearts I know the awful truth. Mustard, oh, how I loathe you, you stomach-churning filth of a color that can’t decide if you are brown, tan, yellow, orange, beige, khaki, gold or a grotesque combination of All of The Above! You Satan of yarn colors! You blot on the otherwise heavenly and pure world of fiber and art! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!*

Truly, I feel a bit as if I’m walking down a dark alleyway with a mustard-clad thug creeping up behind me. Hmmmmm...perhaps my self-defense technique will involve scissors.

*A rhythmic clapping of coconut halves to anyone who can tell me where this comes from.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Posted by Ryan at 04:33 PM | Comments (30)

January 09, 2008

Meat, Elephants and, Now, Blue Snot

Hi, Crazy Bag-o’-Meat Lady here.

First, and vastly most importantly, please join TMK and me in sending supportive, knitterly, bloggerly thoughts of love to Norma who had to put her dog-of-her-heart, Vincent, to sleep. We’all knew it was coming, but still… Hugs to you, Norma.

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If I take anything away from the emotional chaos that’s been TMK’s and my life for the last three months, it will probably be this: Hours into yet another one of our long, drawn-out and intense dialogues (or, more aptly, monologues, since it was mostly an outraged me yelling unidirectionally at her until her brain bled), I found myself saying, sincerely and emphatically since I was convinced it actually meant something important and deep at the time, “Tuesday is not your bathtub!” Tuesday?! Bathtub?! Not?! WTF?! Poor TMK. That’s the kind of psychobabble drivel I bring to our negotiation process. All I know is, in hindsight, the phrase (No, really, it meant something. At the time. Really. It had something to do with how my sister’s old cat used to think her bathtub was his “safe place” when he had been naughty and...oh, never mind. It’s not making any more sense now than it did before.) enchanted me enough that if I were to start a new blog, that’s what I would call it. The “Tuesday Is Not Your Bathtub” knitting blog. So much more fun than “Mossy Cottage,” mostly because it Makes. No. Sense. Whatsoever.

What else have I been struggling with this endless, eternally gray winter? Frozen laundry detergent, that’s what. See, if there’s one thing my real-life mossy cottage lacks is heat. And the detached garage? Why, it has none. No heat. And no insulation. And a cement floor which radiates cold with an almost sentient viciousness. Which became a problem in particular this year when, after welcoming into the fold my new washer and dryer, I had to switch to a high-efficiency liquid detergent. Which freezes quite readily. Which means it comes out of the bottle, if it comes out at all, like a cold mucous-y blue blob of snot, which then I actually have to pinch off with my fingers.

So, inexplicable bags of meat, the wacko rantings of a woman on the edge, and frozen jugs of blue snot—surely spring is somewhere around the corner?

Knitting, you ask? Why, yes, some knitting is going on. A pair of socks in the light blue Trekking in this picture, which is striping up in a completely unexpected way, some stripes fey and water-color-y, some bold and inna you face:

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After Disaster #2 with the Four-Acre sweater, I thought it was time to return to my knitting roots for a while. Aaaaaaah. That feels good.

Posted by Ryan at 03:53 PM | Comments (29)

January 07, 2008

Bags of Meat, and Elephants

Because of The Troubles, I must confess that I’ve been more than a little unreliable at work. My production is not up to par, and occasionally I’ve needed to just up and leave when my nerves have become worn down to the very last healthy, sane, functioning one. My behavior must look a little odd to the other people here since I’m usually a very steady, reliable, quasi-jolly sort—and no one knows about my “lifestyle” or The Troubles, so there’s no rational explanation for why I’m doing what I’m doing. However, I’ve discovered the one thing that will really make you look like a whack job: Walk in to the office carrying, inexplicably, a ziplock bag full of meat. Now, there is a logical explanation for this: TMK made a pork tenderloin this weekend and sent some of the leftovers with me this morning. But at the last minute, before I launched myself out the door in my usual Monday-morning flurry, she discovered she had no opaque shopping bag, no paper bag, no nauseatingly cutesie Hello Kitty lunchbag, no nothing to camoflauge what I was carrying. Sure, I put the bag in the refrigerator as soon as I got to work but for one brief, shining moment, I saw myself as the others must see me: The Crazy Lady doing the Quasimodo-shuffle through the office corridors, clutching fiercely and possessively to a small bag of meat. Any minute now, my keycard should mysteriously stop working.

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Remember this?

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See what I tried to do there? See how I tried to be all knitting-blog-adorable and say the sweater was big enough to fit an elephant and then took a picture of the sweater with an actual elephant in it? Yeah, well, my friends, thirteen inches into the sweater, I got my comeuppance: It is big enough to fit an elephant. And not a toy one. One like this:

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No, no, not a cartoon elephant. A real one, like this. Only bigger. Much, much bigger.

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And it’s heavy. So heavy that at its current length of just a skosh over a foot, I can already imagine my boobies being squashed down by the massive gravitational forces of fifty pounds of fabric stretching down to my ankles. (Add a bag of meat to that outfit, and you’re talking a major can of crazy!) And the stitch pattern and the yarn are having yowling catfights with each other, calling each other ugly and frumpy and skanky and two-bit ho’s. So I think it’s back to square one with this guy but not before I apply Rule #1 of Knitting: Before—before—you frog something, take lots of measurements, up, down and sideways, and do lots of calculations, since doing this after the sweater has been reduced to a large, amorphous pile of slightly kinked yarn is not quite as effective or revealing or mathematically accurate. Ask me how I know.

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Update on the Baby Harris Project: Step-pappy reports that the whole thing was a smashing success! Apparently every item was taken out multiple times during the course of the weekend and paraded in front of the new baby, new mom, friends, family and extended family. And I'm not surprised, since I had to take everything out of the boxes and do some similar parading at least five or six times during the few hours that the boxes were in my office. You did good work, ladies. Amazing, fantastic, heartwarming work. Thank you.

Now, off to whisper sweet nothings to my bag of meat.

P.S. Wish Mossy Cottage luck, Dear Readers. As far as I know, I am now the owner of the nwkniterati domain name for the next three years. However, since I was clueless during the entire domain-name transfer process, and since the domain name is scheduled to expire tomorrow, who the hell knows what's going to happen? Fingers crossed everyone!!

Posted by Ryan at 03:35 PM | Comments (24)

January 02, 2008

Baby Harris, Here We Come!

These boxes, dutifully covered in baby-motif wrapping paper by Ryan “Five Thumbs” Morrissey, and containing a heartwarming assortment of knitted and sewn baby accoutrements…

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…are in my office as we speak and will be going home with Step-pappy to Lori Harris and Lovie today! (Update! Step-pappy and I walked the boxes to his truck five minutes ago. They're officially on their way to the new mother, and will probably be delivered on Saturday. Thank you all for making this such a rewarding and fulfilling project!!)

Pictures I forgot, and the latest additions:

From Beth in St. Paul, MN, pristine white socks and a cozy earflap hat Lovie can definitely grow into. Yay!

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From Minnie in Omaha, an emerald-green crocheted sweater, perfect for a little girl, or so says Priscilla, the Model of the Day, who, soon after this picture was taken, tried to smuggle the sweater out of her dressing room:

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From Kathryn in Wisconsin, an ultra-cheerful cotton bib:

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From NancyO, she of the 157-Items-For-Dulaan-All-By-Her-Lonesome, a sweet, cream-colored crocheted sweater:

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Damn these overpaid artistes! Priscilla just threw a big hissy and said if an ice-cold magnum of champagne wasn't delivered to her room This Instant she wasn’t coming out to the set. So, let me introduce Peanut-Butter Bear, actually one of the sound-system and lighting guys, but he said he was happy to fill in for La Diva. This caramel-colored hunk of bear flesh is wearing an amazing contribution to the Baby Harris Project, a sweater knit in rich, deep pastels, using a remarkable cotton yarn that has the cool, drapey feel of silk. Who knit it, you ask? Yeah, about that. It’s someone from Ferals but...argh!...I forgot who gave it to me. If this is yours, chime in, please! I know you, and I know I know you; the name and face have just fallen victim to a Senior Moment. A looooong Senior Moment which, so far, has lasted a couple of days. (Update! Dear Reader (and knitter of the bath mitt) Michale tells me this sweater came from Ellen.)

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Peanut Butter Bear was called back to his sound and lighting duties, and Priscilla is still sulking a la Miss Piggie, so we brought in Blue Bear-y, one of the cafeteria guys. Sure, he looks a little rumpled but you would, too, if you’d had a hairnet on not five seconds before. Here, Blue Bear-y is wearing an adorable contribution from local knitter Andrea. This sweater is perfect; perfectly knit, perfectly seamed, perfectly cute, and, when it was produced, made all the Ferals go weak at the knees from the cuteness of it.

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And here Blue Bear-y is cradling a nicely wrapped baby bath-washing mitt made by local knitter Michale. Poor Michale; she had to explain to a clueless me, very carefully and slowly, and with lots of hand gestures and pantomiming, why she had made only one, and how, no, it wasn't a warm mitt for wearing out on a cold winter's day, and how the mother would hold the baby in the tub with one hand and wear the mitt on the other to wash the baby and...well, it was all quite beyond my uterus-free self.

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Thank you everyone for the supportive and positive thoughts you sent to me and TMK. The relationship is by no means back to where it was, but, with the army of therapists we have assembled and the money we are throwing at them hand over fist, surely we can get back to something approximating normalcy?

(P.S. Speaking of health, mental, physical or otherwise, if you ever find yourself fretting over the state of the American or Canadian health systems, read this recent entry from Cuzzin Tom. That should set you to rights.)

Posted by Ryan at 12:19 PM | Comments (13)