••• Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year!

Animation removed for the purpose of improving upload performance pleasure

We're off to the annual neighborhood Ho' Down. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bra). This year it's my turn to bring a couple extra for ol' Bess. She's the perennial neighborhood Ho. Much to our collective disgust, she takes this role udderly serious.

After she's had a couple Vanilla Bacardi and Diet Dr. Pepper's, however, she's a fairly easy gussett.

Be safe. Knit sensibly.

••• Tuesday, December 30, 2003

You Pay, You Play
I finished my sister's scarf last night. It's about six feet long, for her double wrapping pleasure.

Here I am modeling a VooDoo .

Can I strike a pose or what? While I'm not nearly the knitter she is, my modeling moves might give that ever stylin' Becky a run for her bunny. Except I don't recall ever seeing uninvited body parts in any of Becky's shots. And I'm betting that she doesn't chew her cuticles either.

Bron wondered (in yesterday's comments) what's next on the needles, after I pay up on my current knitting markers?

Well Bron, let me tell ya. I dunno.

I'm eager to get back to the bundled cable piece that was put on ice for the holidays.

I'm doubly eager to start playing wit summa dis:

This Hot Pink stuff was delivered the day after Christmas, a la the You Know Who Bears. In the same package was another complete set of Denise needles.

Why a new set of Denise's? Because I was not aware that Denise cables are a licorice-like delicacy for Bella Booskies. I could have just settled for replacement cables, but I'm finding that my WIP needs have been exceeding my needling capability. With this new Denise set, I'm now prepared to practice pathological project propagation to the tune of 16-20 cast-on's at a time, at least.

My immediate new project goal (hopefully to start today, if I ever get out of this seat) is to get me one of them there furry scarves. Although I try to avoid trendy things (Ex: I refused to buy capri pants for about 3 years, but finally broke down after I realized they were here to stay), the fur is starting to grow on me and I like that it can dress (and fatten) up a plain, cheap yarn, in quick order.

My plan is to combine this pale peeish green Sirdar acrylic/nylon blend with this furry stuff from Lion Brand. At first glance these two don't really go well together, but the eyelash has a perfect match dash of the peeish greenish color in it and the trial swatch looked really good.

Here's a weird thing: I don't own a hand knit scarf. gasp. A knitter in Michigan without a scarf? I can hardly type the words.

Caker's went to Nana and Goga's today, so I could make some gift returns. I really missed her though, she's getting to that age where she's doing or saying something newly amazing every day.

So I gotta go now, and get me summa dat.

::I'm typing and running so please pardon any missed editing items::.

Edit note: (12/30/03 9:20 pm est) The picture of the up and coming scarf yarn wasn't showing up previously. In my hurryupiness, I had typed height/weight specs for the picture instead of height/width.

••• Monday, December 29, 2003

Post Holiday Debt
Not the kind you're thinking.

We paid for Christmas with cash only this year. Not personal checks. Green stuff. It was kind of weird seeing the pile of bills disappear, but I must admit that paying cash offered me a healthy, realistic appreciation of my hard earned wages. But that wasn't going to be my point here.

My post-holiday debt is gifts. Gifts I owe. Knitted gifts.

My older sister's birthday is on Christmas Day. While growing up and as a young adult, she was typically gypped out of distinctly recognizable birthday celebrations. Friends and kin alike would often skip the birthday gift, spend a little extra on a Christmas gift and call it a combo deal.

While convenient for the giver (I know because I'm guilty), this practice lacked the special recognition that most deserved on a most special day. This is particularly true for my big sister (I have two sisses, you've mostly heard of my younger) who is a selfless sweetie and a genuine, from the heart giver.

I now make a point, every year, to give big sister a distinctly birthday gift, wrapped in birthday paper, on her birthday. I've been doing so for 25 years. Until now.

I was on "last minute" target with knitting her a pair of wrist warmers, from Falick's Weekend Knitting book. It seemed an easy enough task until I got to the end of the first one and realized that it just wasn't wide enough. I added a couple of rows, which put "seam" towards the middle of the hand instead of the side and it was noticable. Yuck.

The extra rows should have been added before the thumb hole, which is made way in the beginning. I started the second piece, with the correct changes in all the right places, but ran out of time. So I gave her the yuck mitt, with a heart felt apology.

I also showed her this scarf in process, and asked if she would be interested. She loved it. (Scarf is Woolpak Lilac and Lion Brand eyelash).

The scarf didn't match the intended wrist warmers, however. So on my day of stinkin' knittin', I came up with a new plan.

What plan? A plan of power.
What power? The power of Voodoo.
Who do? She do.

The Voodoo's yarn is also Wool-pak 8 ply in Lilac (I know, it looks blue). I gave them a little hot water scrub to fluff them up a bit.

Who am I kidding? I fluffed them up a bit to obfuscate my gnarly ribbing. And it worked.

I also thought I'd give Cheddar some positive press by posting a non-pathetic shot of him.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, I know I Owe Some Mo'
This week I also hope to finish Mother- in- Law's turtle neck and a hat for my father-in-law.
And a scarf for me.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to knit I go.

••• Saturday, December 27, 2003

It's over now.
A time was had.
I feel not low.
I feel not sad.

Today, unbathed
I sat and knit.
The dishes piled,
...I gave a shit.

To sit all day,
This knittin' whore,
Realized her butt
Would get real sore.

So I stretched a spell.
And kissed a girl.
Then sat back down
To knit and purl.

My knuckles now
Are tight and gnarly.
My shoulder aches,
But I'm not snarly.

With no regrets,
Today was mine.
The Cakers Snuggles;
Beyond divine.

I'll soon return
To the family race.
I'll wash a load,
I'll wash my face.

I'll tweeze a brow.
I'll cook a meal.
I'll retake charge
With normal zeal.

But I'll not forget
My recent glory.
This day of knittin'
And smelling poorly.

Holiday Coping Strategies 101

When it comes to methods of escaping holiday madness, we can learn much from our fine furred friends.

(I have no idea what he was going for in there. The bag contained nothing but a grease spot, although earlier I had removed from it a package of peanut M&M's that a non-thinking family member had gifted to my 2 year old).

I'm thinking of designing something like this for myself, for next year. What a fantasy...Me sitting on the couch at Christmas with a holiday bag over my head, while my family runs around in a panic, looking for Christmas.

••• Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas

Note 1: Haloscan was not accepting new comments all morning, so if you posted, it's not here. It is now back to order. (1:17pm, est)
Note 2: Writhing Pigs were removed to enhance site loadability. 12/26/03

••• Monday, December 22, 2003

I'm really okay. I have all the shopping done, except for groceries. My husband has worked 36 of the last 48 hours, with the remainder of minutes being designated sleeping time. This means a healthy check coming in a few weeks, but also means I've been single parenting a delightfully wild child who no longer allows momma to knit in her presence. Any freetime allowances Sunday were used for potty breaks and underwear washings.

My husband is a sweet, supportive guy. But he's a guy. He's outcome oriented and focuses primarily on the happy factor. He just wants everybody to be happy. To look happy. To express happy. He wants everybody to believe in happiness. Always.

Says He:
It's gonna be fine.
It's going great.
Every year Christmas turns out great.
What are you stressing about?
You're almost there.
You're fine.
We're fine.

Fine Schmine
I'm a process person. While, I'm pretty sure that it's going to turn out fine, I am fully aware of what it entails to make fine happen. And I'm most painfully aware that it's all on me.

I'm sorry honey, pulling off a fine Christmas takes more than happy thoughts.

Pulling off a fine Christmas takes Thinking. A lot of Thinking. And Planning. And Coordination. And Doing. And Coordination of the Doing. And Coordination of the Logistics of the outcome of the Doing (aka The Done). More Thinking. And a smidge of Worry about whether there needs to be more Thinking. :: 'Cause if you don't worry just a smidge, somethins' really gonna getcha. ::

So, yes, it's gonna be fine. But fine ain't being pulled out of a hat. It ain't magic, mister.

The Holiday Confessional
At my momma's knee, I learned about self-imposed holiday stress, pressure and incriminations. I learned about worrying and fussing and feeling responsible for the holiday joy and rapture of thousands. Okay, hundreds. Okay, 15 to 20.

And I learned that at some point, within 72 hours of a fine Christmas, there must be a meltdown of the mama variety.

At Christmas, my mother's unpleasant reality was foisted and blamed upon the most vulnerable and accessible; her children. This particular dynamic worsened after my father died. While I know she mourned him the most at this time, I also think that when alive, my father provided a ballast of sensibility for my mother.

Not that losing emotional control is ever a good thing (unless it's a fit of giggles, I guess), but I am happy to report that I have improved on my mother's holiday beast.

My beast is fair. She has no unwitting targets. My beast is an emotional bulimic instead of bully. She just blows affective chunks, then stomps around in the mess (and sometimes wonders about the chewing gum she swallowed 7 years ago). My beast mostly vents, without unfair implication.

My beast also gives plenty of notice. When she's about to hurl, folks mostly know to get out of the way and/or remember to empty the dishwasher without another reminder.

I know I could beat the beast down if I really tried. But I haven't tried and I'm not sure why. It's just the way it is, for now. It's a legacy. And it's mine.

And even though it was wrong (wrong and more wrong) for my mom to project her issues onto the innocent, I very much understand how she felt.

And even though I make a different choice; a better choice (not a perfect choice), I admit that I have faltered at that fork in the dendrite. I have peered down that darker synaptic alley. I saw that it's a dead end. I will not go there.

To Mom: I've seen that place. I understand. And in my heart of hearts, I know you'd do it all different, if given the chance.

Speaking of Self-Recriminations
My mother-in-law's sweater isn't going to make it for Christmas. I effed up bigtime and didn't realize my mistake until one sleeve was completed.

I forgot to check row gauge. Okay, I didn't forget. I've never checked row gauge, and it's never really mattered. Until now.

I realized that I was running out of sleeve length before I could get in the appropriate increases, so started cramming them in at the last minute (Hey, I was desperate. I have 1000's of people to please. Okay, 100's of people. Okay, 15-20?). If you're picturing the end result being shaped much like a flat bottomed cone for ice cream, then you're thinking picture perfect.

My immediate goal is to get through one more work day without incident. I hope to accomplish this by spending lots of time at the homemade fudge trough (nobody will be looking for me there. But they're definitely on to my trick of hiding in the corner of my office with the lights off).

If you read today's earlier post prior to 11pm est, please note that I made a slight change, as indicated in footnote. I just wasn't thinking and hope I didn't offend anyone.

Hey Rocky.....!

Animated graphic removed for site loading enhancement.

"...Watch me pull a joyous, relaxed, smooth-sailing Christmas out of a hat."

"Awww Mom! That trick never works!"

"It will this time. Because I"ll be here.....Nothin' up my sleeve, but this here lithium drip."

No time for details on ensuing Christmas mama drama. Marcy May update later.

Or Marcy May not.

Editing note: I changed the link to my holiday "destination." In my hurry, I didn't really consider the implications of linking to a real place, where real people are hurting. And thanks, Greta for getting me to thinking about it.

••• Saturday, December 20, 2003

Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead? - Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

See? I have spirit.

I've found 3/4 of my decorations.

The tree is 3/4 decorated.

I'm 3/4 done on one sweater sleeve.

I'm 3/4 done with shopping.

My husband is 3/4 through his current project (deadline Monday).

And 3/4 through the last quarter of tonight's varsity basketball game, the scrubs were cut loose (we were getting a sound whuppin') and my son made a 3 point shot. ::Whee!::

Therefore, I'm officially 3/4 full of the Christmas Spirit.
Whee, again.

••• Thursday, December 18, 2003

Santa's Last Ho...
....Is about how I'm feeling (and/or who I resemble).

I have no computer access at home these days, so I'm posting from work, quickly (shhh) from the short order menu.

Work: Climate is currently beyond the Cirque-du-So-Fluster-Cuck of my original holiday prophesy.

Knitting: 6-inches done on one sleeve. Last night it was frogged to 3. Sleeve two is yet a twinkle in my eye (Twinkle, my ass. Sleeves suck. They're so messy.)

Christmas: Tree in stand, bare nekkid.

A. Husband working 16 hour days (and nights).
B. Former star and captain of Freshman and JV basketball teams has ridden bench in first two games of Varsity season. I need to remember to bring my frogging project to next game to keep from crying.
C. Mom is coming for visit this evening.

Work, again: Today was "Wear Green and Red Day" (yeah, together).

Health: Is there such a sickness as "color combination toxicity?"

Affective Functioning:

Daily Prayer:

Thanks to all for the humorous, unwavering support in response to my last post. Y'all rock. I'd hoped to respond individually to comments, but it simply wasn't meant to be.

••• Monday, December 15, 2003

Tales of a Beanie Weenie
I've knit not a stitch since Thursday evening. This is a conscious choice, and I'm okay with it.

My original Christmas project list included beanies for all my nephews and nieces. Considering my own son's aversion to the London Beanie, I decided to poll my siblings on whether or not their offspring would be interested.

The thought behind the pre-production polling was to avoid knitting my knuckles knarly for knaught. My younger sister wasn't sure about two of her boys, but added "It doesn't matter if they like them. Do it for all or do it for none."


So I add two hats to the current list of five. And I notice that I'm not breathing so easy. Either my lungs have shrunk or that knot in my stomach is growing and encroaching on my sacred sacs of life.

Then I remember that all three of my sister's boys have larger than average-size heads. This will have considerable impact on stitchage per cappage. I'll need more time. I breathe deep, the gathering gloom.

I also have to finish mother-in-law's sweater (UxBridge Striper). It needs two sleeves.

I hate sleeves.

I love Beanies.

I procrastinate.

Before I left for shopping on Friday, my plan to knit beanies was still intact. As I shopped, I noted an urgency to get done, get home and get circular.

For my family Christmas celebration, we don't purchase regular gifts for the kids or for siblings. We buy each child (and adult) a stocking gift. The gifts are stuffed into a humongous stocking (five feet tall) and at the designated time, the stocking is dumped on the floor. Each kid has a decorated bag for their respective gift gathering pleasure. It's a fun-filled festive, frenzy. Even my 25 year-old married niece still sits in on the fun.

So, back to Friday shopping. I'm waiting in line at the checkout of the sports equipment store and see this basket filled with miscellaneous do-hickies. Teenage-boy-stuff-it-in-a-humongous-stocking-typa do-hickies.

On impulse, I scoop a handful and dump it on my pile for purchase. I notice an immediate, physical response to this action. I was breathing better. I felt lighter. Relaxed. Celebratory.

Okay, maybe not celebratory.

In one fell scoop, I'd cleared hours of knitting and fretting off of my holiday to-do list. And added a month to my lifespan.

Friday night, however, I still couldn't make myself start on those sleeves. I still needed something. Some sort of purification ritual. Something to reflect my reborn spirit. I needed to clear my fiber palate.

So on Friday night, I knit not. Instead, I organized my knitting. I cleared out numerous unfinished project bags. I found and put away most of my Denise needle points and cables. I reorganized my knitting book shelf. I brought all beanie yarns to the basement, and any other yarn unrelated to the Berrocan turtleneck was hidden away.

When finished, I vowed to not knit a stitch for the rest of the weekend. Neither would I look at a pattern book, or cop a feel of Indulgence.

At 1:00 a.m., I looked around and saw that it was good.
I said "dang."
I went to bed.

And I knit not a bit for the remainder of the weekend.

::Gawd, what a boring post. My only other option was an anti-holiday tirade. And no, my tree's not up yet. So whazzituya? ::

••• Saturday, December 13, 2003

Are You There Blogger? It's me, Marcy
My blog was incommunicado for at least 3 hours last night. After two hours, I had a thought that someone at Blogger might be interested in my problem. In the light of a new day, however, I'm feeling kind of embarrassed at my naivete.

In my quest for assistance, I first checked Blogger's Main and Status sites. I finally found a place to send a request for help, at the bottom of the Support page. Whew!

After I sent off the pertinent information, a message came up that said something to the effect "We'll do what we can to help, but keep in mind that paying customers get first priority." Gasp!

I shouldn't complain because everything seems in working order at this time.

I shouldn't complain because I'm enjoying the benefits of a welfare blogging state, on Blogger's dime.

I shouldn't complain because I think Biz Stone is a biscuit. And if not for his book, Blogging, I wouldn't be here right now.

I shouldn't complain because at least Blogger didn't have the audacity, in my wee hour of need, to pop up a PayPal link offering me an immediate upgrade to the paid service.

But at 1:00am, being unexpectedly disenfran-blogged can make a person feel very alone. Abandoned. Vulnerable.

So, for the record (i.e. for ye Blogger gods, capable of smiting me down with one swift keystroke),
I'm not complainin'.

I'm just sayin'.

••• Friday, December 12, 2003

Chilled morn sublime
And I'm playing hooky
To shop for gifts
And bake a cookie.

Gotta keep this brief.
Gonna shop for kin.
I'm just waiting for
The meds to kick in.

I knit this up last night. It's Bonne Marie's Vanilla Beanie made up in leftover Lamb's Pride, Koolaid dyed and beige Lion stuff fisherman wool.

Hmmm...The lion laid down with the lamb. Maybe I should call it the Peace Beanie.

I made it a bit shorter than what the pattern directed. This change wasn't based on some artistic vision. I just wanted it to hurry up and be done, so I increased the decrease rows.

I'm not sure if I'm going to meet my goal of making hats for all the nieces and nephews for Christmas. I'd forgotten that I still have to finish a sweater for my mother-n-law. I'm going to get back to that and then see what time I have remaining.

This is what I do. I have great ideas, always a day late and a skein short. Then I nearly kill myself trying to get it done. I want it to be "just right." In reality, peeps don't really give a rat's patoot if I knit them a vanilla beanie or a fake fur weenie.

I should be at the mall right now, but I'm kind of enjoying having the place to myself. It's going be nuts around here for the next few weeks. Husband's working day and night on a huge project, varsity basketball season starts tonight and I have to work through December 23.

How fun does that sound? A social worker trapped in a high school with 1800 holiday frenzied kids and 100 plus crabby adults? That's me in the corner.... sniffing the pages of my DSM-IV...losing my religion.

I'm off!
And I'm leaving too.

••• Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Oh Yeah, I forgot this part....
For the purpose of determining possible interest in the Marsan Watchcap, I showed a picture of StaceyJoy's model to my three favorite guys; husband, son and father-in-law.

In all three conversations, the first guy response was "Is it a girl's hat?"

Me: No, why?
A Guy: Why do they show it on a girl mannequin?
Me: Well, she looks like a girl mannequin, but after wearing a boy hat for all these years, she now has balls.

::A Guy Silence::

Me: So, I can put you down for one Marsan?

Okay, that part about the balls is made up, but the rest is true story!

••• Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Go Forth and Proliferate
I've been proliferatin' like fleas on a Labrador honeymoon. And in case you didn't know this, fleas have it all over bunnies when it comes to getting busy.

In matters of proliferation, I believe that safety comes first. But being safe and having fun aren't mutually exclusive, as I recently learned through StaceyJoy's pleasurably ribbed Marsan Watchcap

And since we're on the topic, what about that age-old question: Does size matter?

Yes, it does.

Ribbed or not, if you want a good fit, size does matter. That being said, I'm afraid this little Marsan cutie ain't cut for much but a coffee cup cosy.

I don't know what went wrong. The row count is correct, but the hat is way too short. Perhaps my cheap-ass acrylic just didn't have what it takes to provoke or inspire a tall, firm (ahem), stand-at-a-tension effect.

Didn't I notice that it was too small? Uh, yeah. But I thought the same thing about the London Beanie and it ended up being fine. And this time of year, I'm trying to cut back on my Worries of the WIP. Heh, that'll teach me.

I like a bit of diversity in my proliferative play. Here's a scarf (3/4 done) I'm working on in Berroco Plush Crayon Mix. This piece looks familiar? Well, it ought, on account of me stealing the idea dy-reckly from Sweet Greta (whose name is "Great" spelled sideways).

Cyber Poop Scoop?
A couple days ago, prodigal sister Rachael had a little accident in my "comments." I really didn't mind because clean-up was a snap, with this handy anti-poop button:

Gotta go.....May all your droppings be easy on the scoop.

Ever tried googling "poop" or "barf" under Images? It's an amazing world in here.....

••• Saturday, December 06, 2003

Thrilled With Crabbiness
Looky, look!
My Sister of the Blog, Amy, gave me an early Christmas gif. It's a personal icon to be used when I need to represent my ever transitory state of being unfit for human consumption. She's aptly titled "Marcia's Crab." And I love her.

Not only is Amy a sweetie, she's also very talented. For that is one well-crafted, crabby looking crustacean.

I've been really busy and continue to be so. So I need to make this short.

On the way home from work yesterday, I remembered that I had a haircut appointment today. To which I said "Yeah!" Then I thought "I get to see Migena (my hairdresser)." "Yeah!" again.

Then: "Man, I need to start thinking about knitting her that scarf for Christmas."
Suddenly: "Oh, Man! It's December 5! Tomorrow will be my last hair appointment before Christmas! Think fast!."

So I zoom off to the yarn store and picked up some of that, out of which I made this, last night:

I realize that shot of the yarn is blurry. The fur is Berroco Sizzle and the other is Classic Elite, Gatsby in French Blue. I originally envisioned a much looser fabric, but couldn't find my (as of yet, unused) size 19 Addis anywhere.

The color combo is my own invention. The results (in person) are quite mesmerizing. Makes me think of a peacock, in that from far away you think you're seeing one color but up close you realize it's much more complicated.

Now that I'm done with the scarf, my new obsession will be hunting down the Addis. Those puppies weren't cheap.

I haven't been around here much and unable to respond to comments, as I love to do. My husband has been working on a huge project, and if he's not hogging the computer, he's at the office. Either way, he's not been available to help with "The-Notoriously-Naked-Cakers."

Naked Toddling. It's Cakers new thing. Yeah, adorable.

But she's not potty trained. This means that Full Monty, she needs to be in my range of vision at all times. Even in Cakers-proof zones. Yeah, adorable.

Gotta Run!

P.S. Amy, the gift of pun is both a blessing and a curse.

P.P.S. I haven't given this post a final proofing. Sometimes ya just gotta close your eyes and hit the button.

••• Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I finished the back of the Berrocan Turtleneck, but it was slow gowing. The turtles and frogs have been getting along far too well, here in my living room.

Over the weekend, I clocked significant stitchage on the back piece. As I approached midpoint of an exhilirating descent into the armpit cavern, I realized I had made a decrease goof. ::I swear, these simple stockinette pieces always get the best of me!::

So I cussed a mighty streak, and a-froggin I did go.
And a froggin' I did go, some mo.

And then I cussed a mighty streak, again. 'Cause I done jumped over the frog pond, by three inches, and landed in a pile of pooh.

Even as I type the recap, I'm cussing in my mind's mouth.

Is there a cute little name for over-froggin'? Leapfrog works for me.

Ribbit shibbit.

Special Guests

On Sunday, I distracted myself from the ambiguously amphibious with this rendition of the London Beanie, from Sarah, of Knit Happens fame.

The hat is for my son (although The Cakers has recently donned, wearing nothing else but a dimpled smile and daddy's Ugg slippers) and made up in Encore in his school colors. ::We're Michigan State fans around here, so don't you "Go Blue" fanatics go thinking stuff:. FYI: Cam's high school took the state football championship over the weekend, 2nd year running.

The London Beanie is a quick and fun knit. I did have some aerobic bungling along the way, as I tried to retrain and retain in da brain, how to knit circular with two needles. The only appropriate size circs available to me were a bit short for comfortable, two-kneedle knitting.

In fact, I had several crabby moments with the two, too-shorts, where it felt like I was appendage wrestling a creature of this ilk.

My next project will be the Marsana Watchcap from Red Lipstick.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, as I have much on my Christmas knitting roster. But with no promises to anyone, I've left myself plenty of escape routes.

Yikes. It's bedtime.

I'm too tired for a clever parting wrap-up. So here's an old standby that's related to nothing in this post: "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you throw up."

That is a shot of my college sweetheart. Although some say he was a stoner, he truly was my rock, I'm tellin' ya. I feel kind of bad that I took him for granite. .