October 17, 2014

Redemption

Posted by Ryan at 05:25 PM | Comments (2)

In an attempt to redeem myself for the “cat pee” dishcloth, I present:

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I smiled while knitting this because I so clearly remembered how, when I started knitting, I postponed learning how to cable as long as I could because I knew it was going to be hard. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to practice all the knitting skills I needed before I attempted--and failed at, I was sure--making my first cable. Then when I did…harharhar. Harharhar. Heeheehee! Snort. Snicker. So, years later, it amused me to just see myself plowing right through this pattern without thinking about it. Not to say this pattern is easy-peasy (it has six different cables in it) but each one was just a variation on the basic “hold in back” or “hold in front” with some fiddly finessing. And knitting with two needles and a cable needle is a piece a’ cake when you regularly use four or five needles for socks. All in all, this took me mebbe six hours, tops? Incidentally, awesome, free and accurate pattern if it you want to give it a try.

(Aaaaaand I just found a mistake. Big pouty face. Never mind. If I were really that upset about it, in six hours I could have another.)

October 11, 2014

A Tight Fit

Posted by Ryan at 04:06 PM | Comments (2)

Oh, pshaw! You didn’t really think Joon was able to lay exclusive claim to the bright-yellow box, did you? Monsieur Benny truly made himself at home. (The burgundy color at the bottom of the box? Possibly a t-shirt but I’m taking the Fifth.)

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Thank you for all of your warm and supportive comments. They touch me more than you know (maybe as much as a bowl of chicken-noodle soup?). I’m working with a psychiatrist, I've lined up a new therapist, I have an appointment with gastroenterology and, as Big Sister and I say when faced with life's yuckies, On We Go.

I was also tickled to discover this in my location tracker:

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I have a sneaking suspicion that the one from Provence is my lovely French cousine Maria, sister to Cousin Tom of Dulaan fame. Si c'est le cas, bon jour, ma belle cousine! (And, as I like to remind my readers, this is all the information I get so your identity is safe; I know squat-else besides this (and what you provide in the comments.))

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In order to maintain my knitting cred, I give you Possibly The Ugliest Thing I've Ever Knit. Fortunately, it’s nobbut a dishcloth so no rending of garments or tearing out of hair over hours of time wasted. Still...ew.

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Thing is, in the ball, this yarn is unique and lovely, a mix of rich cream, a light yellow, a lovely coral and a medium brown. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it; it made me feel calm. But the finished product? The opposite of calm. Twitchy, even. I finally figured out why and why, specifically, I tend to hold it away from myself with two fingers. Knit up, the light yellow looks exactly like cat pee. I keep expecting the dishcloth to reek of Eau de Boy Cat (except that Benny doesn't have accidents). And the rigidity of the stripes is the opposite of the soft, drape-y, soothing swirl of color in the ball. Lastly, there’s the fact that I was just lucky that the main stripes landed square in the middle of the cloth. I don’t like to think that things go well in my knitting because I’m lucky; I’d like to think that, because of my 13 years of knitting experience, I knew there were going to be stripes (which I didn't) and I gauged and calculated for them (which I didn't), which is why they are where they are (which isn't). I deeply resent the perfection of the middle stripes. Of course, it’s possible this just means I should get a therapist sooner rather than later.

October 01, 2014

A Blessing

Posted by Ryan at 08:05 PM | Comments (12)

So, yeah.

I’ll be the first to admit that things have not been going well. A month ago, I simultaneously (literally on the same day) (1) developed an ulcer and (2) slid feet-first into Ye Olde Depression Pit. (Begin Public-Service Announcement: Ulcers are not caused by anxiety or stress or acidic foods. They are a bacterial infection which can affect the lining of your stomach (and which is communicable! Ironically, you can get ulcers from other people which, some would argue, holds true even if you stick to the “anxiety or stress” theory). I’m on the standard treatment: Three meds, including two antibiotics. End Public Service Announcement.)

The depression? The depression has been Weird with a capital Wuh. As far as I can tell, there was no trigger. Emotionally, I feel fine. No anxiety, no sadness, no panic attacks. Despite this, five other symptoms of the Big D hit me like a sledgehammer, namely, lethargy; iffy eating (I won’t eat for two or three days and then I'm face down in the food trough for 24 hours); an inability to leave my bed; an inability to leave the house (but I’ve managed a few trips out now; see “trough” above); and a desire not to see ANYbody (which is très bizarre for someone who is an extrovert of the first magnitude, the kind of person that introverts stare at from afar and say, WTF?).

This post, however, isn’t about the ulcer or the blooz or, for that matter, anything negative. I just needed to lay the groundwork for this:

Despite the fact that she herself is going through treatment for cancer, a close friend has been trying very hard to help me. First she offered to deliver food but by then I was able to make brief trips to the store myself. Then she offered for her husband and daughter (with their buy-in; I’m close with the whole family) to come clean my house but I declined because right now my house looks as if a madwoman lives here (any minute now, a pile of dishes is going to teeter right over and scare the crap out of the cats). But they are a family that is as stubborn as it is big-hearted. They must have had a discussion about how to get around my stubbornness, specifically, how to get through my front door without my noticing. So this is what arrived in the mail today:

Layer 1:

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Layer 2: That’s a half-gallon of chicken-noodle soup, people. You need two hands to carry it. And lookee—socks!!!!

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Layer 3:

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(I haven’t tried the food yet but based on appearances—the contents, the sturdy packaging, the inviting design, and the whimsical boxes (each a different cheerful color and motif on the inside)—I can confidently tout Spoonful of Comfort, the company that offers this service. Although their specialty is chicken-noodle soup, I hear they also have a wicked tomato-basil.)

And the gift came with a side-benefit that I don’t think the retailer or my friend had in mind:

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August 12, 2014

Good Grief!

Posted by Ryan at 11:49 AM | Comments (6)

Occasionally I dip a toe into my family’s genealogy but it’s not a regular hobby. I’ll be online, get the urge, click around a bit, learn something interesting, and two minutes later the urge sputters out. But this week I learned that even those two minutes can lead to rocks that are better left unturned. In short…I have an ancestor named Nimrod.

A couple of nights ago, I researched an ancestress on my mother’s side of the family (the Frys) named Marcia Lucia Ave Maria Van Pelt Buckingham. I found information about a Marcia Lucia Buckingham in Ohio whose mother's birth surname was Van Pelt—all spot on. Then I learned that her father was Arthur Buckingham. And then I learned that his brother was named Nimrod. How hoomiliatin’. Good ol’ Uncle Nimrod.

Along these same lines, while researching the origin of the surname on my father’s side of the family (the Morrisseys), I, of course, stumbled across those sites that tout specious family histories, coats of arms, and mottoes. Morrissey motto? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Sounds noble but still…yuck? But when I looked at the general “images for” page, quite a few of the sites were somewhat consistent in the coat of arms they displayed so maybe there's something to it. However, in keeping with the theme of genealogical humiliation, apparently I am related to Charlie Brown.

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August 09, 2014

Oops!

Posted by Ryan at 11:28 PM | Comments (3)

For years now I’ve made my own beaded stitch markers. When I make them, I slip into The Zone (you know, that same one that has you knitting until the wee hours of the morning even though you know you'll have a hellacious knitting hangover the next day) and end up churning out so many I beg friends to take them off my hands. I pile the markers in the center of a table and say “Have at” and they delicately and politely take…one. When I urge them to take, take, taaaake, they delicately and politely take…one more. Oy. Then it hit me that if I just slapped on earring findings instead of a jump ring, I would have earrings—things I would actually use and keep! But I might have gone a little over the top with that, too:

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