September 15, 2016


Posted by Ryan at 02:57 PM | Comments (12)

Partly because of the “Ack! I’m mortal! If I die, people will come into my house!” realization that comes with cancer, partly because I’m no longer the proverbial spring chicken, partly because—although I don’t subscribe to the Gratitude way of being—I want to better appreciate the unbroken, unchipped, and unstained things I do have rather than mindlessly buy more, I’ve entered a phase where I get more satisfaction out of deep-sixing crap than acquiring it. I’m not taking it to what I consider the emotionally frigid Marie Kondo/KonMari extreme; I’m more in the “Do you really need six colanders, a set of kitchen knives that bend when you use them, eight moth-eaten t-shirts, and an 80's dress with big shoulder pads?” camp. With the collateral result that lately I’ve been avoiding buying anything that smacks of “tchotchke.” However…

Many years ago, the ex- bought a new overstuffed armchair. I made the mistake of sitting in it the “wrong” way: sideways, my back against one armrest, my legs dangling over the other. There was much and immediate scolding, finger waving, clutching of pearls, and insistence that the chair was now going to crumble into dust at our feet. (It didn’t.) Fast forward a few years: I acquire a new overstuffed armchair. From that day forward, I make it a firm policy that any friend who comes to the house for the first time has to spend at least a little while sitting sideways in the armchair. (The armchair has acquired quite a bit of good juju that way, not to mention the great satisfaction I've acquired out of giving the ex- the virtual finger.)

Further, friends, family, and Dear Readers who know me to any extent know that I go a little mad around books, so much so that, a few years ago, I went to our local library sale—which is so vast it takes up an entire warehouse—and came home with 70 books. Seventy. Seven followed by a zero. (Also one of the reasons I’m simplifying. While most of my life I subscribed to my mother’s theory that books are somehow hallowed, over the years that feeling has greatly diminished. True, I have the one Bookshelf of Sacrosanct Books but the other mumblemumblehundred books started to feel simply burdensome and were trundled back to the library for another go-round.)

Lastly, there are these two goofballs, the loves of my life:


To put together all these fragmented pieces—tchotchkes, overstuffed chairs, a neurotic ex-, books, and cats—I present a recent acquisition which powered right through my new “no tchotchke” firewall:


I know, right?!

Plus, every time I look at it, another virtual finger goes wafting my ex-‘s way.

July 21, 2016

Black and White and Bed All Over

Posted by Ryan at 10:59 PM | Comments (2)

I know that some of you Dear Readers are friends with me on Facebook and have seen these photos but for those of you who aren’t and are also fans of that goofball, Benny—I present his latest.

You may recall that in February I cobbled together a more livable guest bedroom for Big Sister’s visit and that the cats did what the cats do.


Fast forward a few days. Big Sister was heading her way back to San Diego and I undid the guest room and folded up the rollaway bed. But, if you think Benny was done with the bed, you have another think coming. I present as evidence:





And my favorite—I had just given him a long skrootch on the chin and he was completely zonked.


June 28, 2016

The “Cap’n Crunch Dishcloth”

Posted by Ryan at 03:18 PM | Comments (1)

Even though she bore three children, our mother was not much of a one for offspring. Oil and water, really. So she was certainly not much of a one for childish arguments. Add to that the fact that she was not a proponent of sugar or desserts and the occasional box of Cap’n Crunch became A Big Deal. One particular box came with a prize—a Cap’n Crunch iron-on decal. One decal. Three kids. The fight was on. Rather than involve herself in our spat, while the argument raged and while no one was paying attention, Mom quietly took the decal and ironed it on her own shirt. Problem solved. (While Mom was quite proud of herself (she wore the shirt for many years), we children remained semi-comatose for days in the face of this unquestionably genius parental betrayal. Indeed, my sister and I, who are now both “women of a certain age,” still remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday.)

As we all adjust to my being out of the house more, Joon has developed a new game—taking small balls of leftover cotton yarn and unrolling them all over the house, specifically around and over and under chairs and chair rungs. And I kept picking them up, day after day, rerolling them and, admittedly, doing a not particularly good job of putting them away. Until the day I decided I was done, so done, with the new game, took all the balls—unrelated in weight or color—doubled them and knit them into a dishcloth. I have no need for a dishcloth—any more than Mom had a need for a decal on her shirt—but…child-rearing problem quickly and sneakily solved, in a way that cannot be undone*. I am my mother’s daughter.

Trigger warning: Picture of remarkably ugly dishcloth ahead (because it’s an arbitrary combination of mercerized and non-mercerized cottons, white Sugar 'n Cream, blue variegated Sugar 'n Cream, and something shiny and purple but still cotton… Plus, as I just realized, literally as I took the photograph, half-way through, I forgot I was doing seed stitch.*)


*At least, not in the absence of opposable thumbs.

*The doubling of the yarn was simply so that I could nyah-nyah-nyah in Joon's face as quickly as possible but I may also inadvertently have become a convert. Doubling the yarn increases its scrubby quotient considerably.

June 26, 2016

An Image

Posted by Ryan at 09:43 PM | Comments (3)

(To clarify, because a friend was concerned, I am fine. This was just some gentle musings on living with day-to-day depression that I wanted to write and express, in case there were other people who could relate, and the thoughts just sort of...ended up on the blog.)

Although I live with it every day, give or take an hour here or there—or a whole day, if the stars are aligned—this morning I had strong visual of what living with depression is like, what trying to do something, anything, is like when you feel this way. (I really struggle with this new Way of Being because I didn’t grow up depressed. Sure, I had a couple of episodes, but this fucker—I'm sorry, but there's just no other word for it—came on strong eight years ago and has never left.) So, the visual: It’s like being asked to make something without being given any of the necessary materials.

Life: Hey, I need you to make a dress.

Sure, no problem, Life! I’ll make a dress. That sounds like fun! Where’s the cloth?

Life: Oh, no, sorry, you can’t have any cloth.

You: Oh, okay. I’ll try to find another way to get some cloth. No problem. What about some thread?

Life: Nope, no thread. Fresh out.

You: Um, okay… I might have a few pieces of thread around here; I’ll look. A sewing machine?

Life: Nope. And the thread you thought you had? I found it and threw it away.

You: All righty-y, then. Scissors?

Life: Nope.



You: A needle?

Life: Nope.

You: Ooooookay. So now what?

Life: I dunno. But you still need to make a dress.

You: (silence)



Life: Hey, you need to get up and out and do something.

You: Sure, no problem, Life! I’ll do something. That sounds like fun. Where’s the energy?

Life: Oh, no, sorry, you can’t have any energy.

You: Oh, okay. I’ll try to find another way to get some energy. No problem. What about some motivation?

Life: Nope, no motivation. Fresh out.

You: Um, okay… I might have some motivation around here; I’ll look. Effective medication?

Life: Nope. And the motivation you thought you had? I found it and threw it away.

You: All right-y, then. How about a good hit of caffeine, then?

Life: Nope.

A good night’s sleep?

Life: Nope.

You: Just a general uplifting of spirits for no reason?

Life: Nope.

You: Ooooookay. So now what?

Life: I dunno. But you still need to get up and out and do something.

You: (silence)

June 20, 2016


Posted by Ryan at 05:43 PM | Comments (3)

While I’m waiting for this shrug* to finish drying (ignore the butt-ugly towel; it had a mishap with bleach many years ago so now it's my blocking towel. Or a cat towel, depending on who gets to it first.)…


…how 'bout I squeeze in a blog posting?

Kmkat and Janna wanted to know what the secret was to making CoBaSi your bitch. The secret is five-fold:

1. Before you put the skein on the swift, stretch the yarn between your hands and snap and straighten the strands as much as possible (if nothing else, this puts the yarn on notice that you're going to whoop its skinny ass).

2. Once you put the skein on the swift, as much as possible tidy up any dangling loops (with CoBaSi, there will always be some and they have it in for you).

3. Check the two free ends to make sure the back end is for sure in the back and the front is for sure in the front, meaning it only travels around in the front and doesn’t all of a sudden hop onto the back.

4. Go slowly.

5. If all else fails, take a flamethrower to it.

On the store end, last week Sharon and Gregor, representatives from Rowan of England and Germany respectively, came into Acorn Street. We spent a good 45 minutes talking with them about their visit to the U.S., the store, what we carry--the usual LYS chit-chat. Sharon and I huddled in the sock-yarn corner for about 10 minutes and yakked away...which is when she casually mentioned that she knit the iconic sweaters and house scarves for the Harry Potter franchise. To the day I die, I will pride myself on the almost “Harry who?” look I was able to keep on my face. I Google-stalked her after the fact and, sure enough.

That was the good news, the fun news. The bad news? She bought some yarn and a pattern from us...and when I went to work the next morning, the second page of the pattern was still sitting on the printer. Page 1, winging its way to England; page 2, not so much. Fortunately, it was a Ravelry pattern so she will receive a .pdf file but still--of all the customers, right?

* If you're thinking, dude, that doesn't look like a shrug, you’re right. The idea is that you’re supposed to seam the ends into short sleeves and then it becomes a shrug. I will report.