••• Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hump Day Quickie 

I feel the need to apologize for the comment confusion on my last post. It seems that all but one of your comments was somehow broadcast to a facsimile blog, in a parallel universe.

::As you can read, my cosmic blog twin has a special gift of word. Short and sweet. I know, I could take a lesson...::

Evidently, the extraterrestrial forces that created this inconvenient, quantum glitch, reversed themselves earlier today. Which means you can once again, comment without fear.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, in this matter.

Yo quiero Art Taco Bell.

::And Kim, a special thanks to you for being willing to take a chance, on me. You're my hero. Chickie.::

••• Monday, September 26, 2005

Too Many Wrong Mistakes 

If you come to a fork in the road, take it. -Yogi Berra

What you see here is my new, current work in progress.

It's going to be a cardigan. Supposed to look something like this:

The yarn is from my Ebay Massacre Collection,'03.

It's called Scandia. It sounds like an STD. It looks like cinnamon-toast-and-raw-bluegill mélange .

What happened to Peaches?
A kegger happened to Peaches.
Thanksgiving weekend, 1975.

Disclaimer: Underage drinking is wrong. Not only is it against the law, but teenage alcohol consumption is the gateway activity to adult alcoholism. Yes, I drank while in high school. And it was wrong. Okay. Maybe I faked it a few times. Teenage-faking-drunk is wrong. It is also the gateway behavior to adult-faking-normal. The material contained within the remainder of this post, should not be taken as an endorsement of any illegal behavior or otherwise poor acting on the part of the youth of our nation.
In November of 1975, about one week after my 17th birthday and about three days before Thanksgiving, my boyfriend of 2 years dumped me.

On the Friday after that Thanksgiving, I attended a kegger. ::side note: In 1975, in my urban community, it was not uncommon for a group of high school students to pool money and rent a local Polish or Latvian hall, for an illicit aggregation of the barrel-o-beer variety. Which, of course, was wrong.::

When my recently detached boyfriend showed up at the party with a whore girl named Squeaker, I was devastated. So, I did what any self-respecting, drunk-faking, painter-panted (real ones, from the paint store), high school drama-queen would do. I crawled under a table, with an unlit Virginia Slim menthol, and had myself a cry.

Next thing I know, there's the face of a handsome stranger, peeking down at me.
Gotta light? I say.

Says the handsome stranger: Hey! There's a girl down here. She needs a light.

In three shakes of a jock strap, there were three more cutie pies peering under the table. One of them with a lighter.

Next thing I know, I’m out from under the table and being introduced to flock of jocks from the suburbs. One of whom was This Guy. The Guy who found me. We talked awhile, and I gave him my number.

He called me the next night, while I was in the emergency room, getting a thin wooden dowel (about a size 3 bamboo needle) carved out of my heel (hurt like a mofo). My grandmother, visiting for the holiday weekend, had answered the phone and taken a message, in our absence. He never called back. I later learned he thought my grandma was my mother, which scared him mightily.*

Fast forward to the spring of 1976. I’m in Washington D.C. on a Close-up trip. On the bus, I meet this really cute guy who attends high school with the guy who never called back. Of course,I ask if he knows him. And the cute guy says, Yeah, I know him. I was at that party. I had the lighter.

It was a match made in purgatory. His name was Al, and I dated him roughly four years, through college. (Emphasis on the roughly.) Al and that guy remained good friends and we all used to hang out on weekends. Al and I attended his wedding.

Big fuck-dee-doo. So what happened to Peaches?

I’ve never been a Surv*vor fan. But I had to watch this one. And it was so fun and so weird and so unsettling (‘cuz, dang, he looks the same, but old too. And I had a hard time wrapping my brain around how old we are. And it's not so much the looking old, as the years we spent getting there.), that I messed up big on my Peaches sleeve cap shaping. But I didn’t catch it until I was ready to cast-off, just before bed.

Because we were leaving for the cottage immediately after work, the next day, I had to come up with something quick and easy for the car ride. So I went bin diving, grabbed a 2004 Fall Vogue and voila, more Crap-on-a-needle.

Okay, so I’m easily impressed with stardom. But it’s not every day someone I used to know, is on one of the most popular TV shows of our time. Prior to this event, this guy was my only claim to fame, by association.

I went to grade school with him. And before the scrotum hit the fan**, my husband and I happened to catch the the late night peep show. Truthfully, I thought it was kind of funny. Totally in good face. I mean good taste. Of course, I didn't recognize the puppet as a member of my 6th grade graduating class, on account of the curtain, and all.

Speaking of curtains, I'm drawing 'em on this post. And this evening.

*My grandmother was a 4 foot 8 of all tough mutha. She was sharp-tongued and mean and scared of nothing. Except the telephone. When the phone rang, she would gasp in fear and clutch her breast, as though it was Barnacle Bill himself, knocking at the door. And then she would cry. If the phone kept ringing, she would eventually answer, say a few rude words, and hang up.

**It’s kind of an interesting case. The ACLU appealed it to the State Supreme Court. He’s become a local celebrity. For obvious reasons, I’m not saying his name, here. Read more here

It ain't the heat, it's the humility-Yogi Berra


••• Saturday, September 24, 2005

Peanut Butter Expectations 

A couple of weeks ago, our dog Cheddar was treated for a skin infection, with antibiotics. The dose was 2 capsules, 2x daily, with food.

Despite his predisposition for chomping on shit sticks, it seems that Cheddar has not yet acquired a taste for powdered ass, in capsule form. Enter: The peanut butter.

::As most dog owners know, peanut butter is the nose-schmear of champions, when it comes to getting any-size Fluffer to swallow a bitter pill.::

For 10 days in a row, after every meal, Cheddar had two pills shoved down his throat, followed with a dollop of peanut butter on his nose. Two days into the regiment, he had the whole routine figured out. Meaning, after every meal, he came to the kitchen with great expectations. Of the peanut butter variety. In fact, his love for the easy spread was so great, he pretty much forgot, meal to meal, about the other part. The pills.

Unfortunately, all great expectations must come to an end. And after the pills were gone, so was the twice daily nose dip.
But that first time he came to the kitchen, packing peanut butter expectations, I felt badly. Add to that, the confused, mournful stare, from his chocolate puddin' eyes, and paint me done wore down. And I gave him a little lick.

The next evening, against better judgment, I did it again. On the third night, however, I decided that this daily dance of deceit was done. I cut him off. Cold Turkey.

It took another three days for Cheddar to accept the reality that I would no longer be spreading it for him, in the kitchen. Yes, it was harsh and painful for both of us, but it had to be done.

Like Cheddar's brutal withdrawal of nose from nirvana, I’ve had a hard time giving up my peanut butter expectations, of the bygone days of summer.

That being said, it's probably been a good thing, to have had my nose to the grindstone, over the past three weeks.

With no reward.
And none expected.

Because that’s what made this weekend at the cottage, exceed my wildest expectation.

Pure Peanut Butter Surprise.

::That picture was taken early this afternoon. The Tootsies belong to me and my girl. Photography by Yours Truly.::

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••• Thursday, September 22, 2005

Do You Speak the Cottonese? 

In my last post, I presented a posse of potential post-pea-yach projects. Plus, I promised to preview another piece, in another post. For posterity.

Okay, maybe I didn't do all that in my last post. But I did make an inappropriate comment. Then I logged off my computer. Then I had myself a beer.

Anyway. Back to the future knitting plans, Part II.
The makings for The Next Big, Badly Knit Thing on my reality checklist, can be found in this here Bucket O' Cotton Ease. And, as you can see, I got me some (Not as much as some folks got, but people, this is not a competition.).

For those of you lucky enough to not be in the knatlist know, early in the summer, The List was foaming at the collective mouth, about Lion Brand discontinuing the Cotton Ease.

Since I'd never used the stuff, and also possess a healthy sense of perspective (i.e., it's fuckin' yarn, people.), I held no bitterness regarding this turn of events. Said sense of perspective includes the ability to recognize a good deal when I see one. So when I heard that Tuesday Morning* was selling it for 2.99 a skein, I cottoned up with ease.

And yeah, I did go to Tuesday Morning a couple times. A day. For a couple of days. ::You know what they say about cottonese. Twenty minutes later, you're hungry again.:: The first day of shopping took place during what I call my orange and yellow period. The second day was devoted to blue and green.

And when the Cakers saw this bin of sin, she immediately laid claim to my first day's pick, the orange and yellow. She then asked me me make her a sweater. Of course, I said yes. But not without taking a minute to assess the personal toll such an endeavor would take, against my own selfish knitting plans.

Fortunately, my higher mutha self smacked me down prevailed, and I set about to find the perfect pattern. And here it was, in a Miss Bea book:

I was so excited about this project, that I got right on It.

It didn't go well.

How so?

Well, let me explain. This is my brain:**

This is my brain on intarsia:


It's probably been at least 10 years since I did intarsia. Either my memory is faulty, or that portion of my pea brain has gone to seed, but I just don't remember it being this bad.

Notice that I'm not showing a picture of the front of the piece. It was bad. It was ugly bad. So ugly, in fact, it wouldn't even frog. I had to take the scissors to it. In several parts.

Half way through the cottony carnage, I wondered what the hell I was doing trying to salvage this cheap-ass shit, in scraps and pieces, when I still had about 20 skeins of orange?

Thusly, I threw it away. Gone, but not forgotten.

Finding MEME. Oh.
Imbrium tagged me for a MEME, as follows:
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

I'm a strumpet for uncharted sterile venues and cutting edge lectures on flossing.

I have not been keeping track of who has already participated in this recent Scheme du Meme, so I'll just leave it out for the taking.

Benign Whine

Tomorrow we're going to the cottage, immediately after I get home from work. I'm putting up the usual stink. Of course. But secretly, I think it's a great idea and am actually looking forward to a weekend of sitting and knitting and drinking at the lake.

What really won me over. was the husband agreeing to do all the laundry and ensuring that The Cakers does not take an afternoon nap at daycare. Or one oyster fork will not suffice, for the three hour ride.

But lets just keep this between you and me and the 27 other faithful readers. In the meantime, I probably should go stomp around a bit, and practice the fine art of being put out at the imposition.

*I was at the cottage when the Cotton Dis-ease first infected The List. Looking for the nearest Tuesday Morning store, I googled. Ever tried googling Tuesday Morning with a small town?

**I just found out that my brain and a pea were twins, separated at birth. We recently enjoyed a bittersweet reunion, over a bowl of succotash.

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••• Monday, September 19, 2005

And Now for Something Completely Different 


One sleeve of Peaches is nearly complete. Sweet, huh? Yea, but it's also the pits. I had hoped to have the whole sweater done, by now. For reasons still fuzzy to me, I haven't had time, lately, for anything fun, like recreational drinking, sex, nipple waxing knitting.

I did, however, get my lazy, socially-reclusive ass downtown, last Monday, to a new Stitch-n-Bitch group. Aside from the hostess, I was the only show. I definitely will go again. The hostess is really sweet and very motivated to get this pig to fly.

Nice as it was, I do hope that more than two people show up next time. When we were sitting there, last week, I was afraid someone was going to ask "So, which one of you is the 'Stitch?'"

Next on my dream list? I'm not sure. There are a few pieces in the new Knitty that I'm loving. From a boobage-practicality standpoint, my main crush, Arisaig, is out of the question. Lest it be called Airy, Sag.

2nd choice, Leaves in Relief, has fallen from the list, for the same reason. I mean, there's relief and then there's Relief. Not that I'm not proud as heck of my personal foliage, but I'm not quite ready to branch out. In that direction. But, dammit, give me the same sweater in a weeping willow motif, and I'm on it. Sadly.

My third favorite is Josephine, for which I have neither the yarn in my stash, or the motivation in my heart.

And Astrodome really sparkled my fancy. But that colorwork, I hear it tarsia.

A little more visible on my reality radar is Wendy's (Knit and Tonic) Not-S0-Shrunken Cardigan, a pattern I have already purchased. I'm thinking maybe Cascade Indulgence, for this one? I even have some. Yes. I do. Lime Green.

But first I gotta finish that little Pee-Yach Peaches. Right? Right?!? ::Hint: It might only take one or two words of discouragement, here::

What was that?

Well, maties (twas a brief nod to Type Like a Pirate Day), I just finished a 14 hour workday (Open House at my school), so I am whipped. And, my husband just showed up with a couple of cold ones. Stole 'em off a witch, he said. ::Requires ponder.::

There was to be another segment of knit-related information in this post (no, really.) (Gosh!) (There was!), but I'm feeling the need to wrap'er up. And if I don't post this now, it will sit for another two days (I can't post from work anymore. bastards.). At least.

I just need a few minutes more, to think up a clever closing.

In the meantime...hmmm.......Go shit in your hat.

••• Friday, September 16, 2005


Remember the Post That Won't Be Written? It done got writ. It really was a snap, once I figured out the problem. It was this here picture. It messed up the story. I think it was trying too hard.

Figuring this thing out ended up being a bad news/bad news story. The bad news is that I don't get to use the picture in my post. And the other bad news is that removing the picture was kind of like taking a blog dump, in that it cleared the way for me to post this long, boring-ass tale.

So let it be written....

Begin the B'Guy
I may have mentioned that my son's first night away at college was somewhat difficult, for both of us. And included at least two tearful, child initiated phone calls.

Keep in mind, we're talking about a nearly nineteen year-old man-child. He isn't about to call his momma from college and cry "I wanna come home."

Hell no. He's a guy. Almost. He’s a boy-guy.

So, the boy part of the boy-guy calls home, apparently in need of his mother. But the guy part of the boy-guy can’t just call up his mother and tell her that he’s lonely and scared.

No. He’s gotta call his mother on the phone and talk some crap. More precisely, he's gotta call his mother up on the phone and indignantly imply that the computer she bought him for college, is flawed. He knows this to be true, because he hasn’t been able to access the university internet system, after about, ummm, three minutes of trying.

After reassuring him that his new laptop contains all the technological blessings necessary for a fruitfully wired college experience, I reluctantly confess that I am unable to help him with this particular problem. Leastways, not at 11:00 pm, from a distance of 180 miles.

Unable to fathom this vague abandonment, he starts to cry.

I’m lonely.
I’m homesick.
I just want to get on line and talk to my friends.
I hate it here.
He says.

Now I'm crying, but hiding it pretty well. But, I’m tellin’ ya, it was all I could do to keep from saying: Sit tight, honey. I’ll be there in two hours, with your own personal tech crew in tow.

But I didn’t say that. Instead, I suggested something even less plausible, to a boy on the cusp of guyhood: Is there someone you can ask for help?

Can you ask someone for help?
Like who?
A Roommate?
The RA?
What's an RA?
Someone on your floor?
What floor?

Luckily, this particular discourse brought me to my emotional senses. The moment of pain had passed. And we say goodbye.

Twenty minutes later, he calls again, and tells me that he was almost online, but was now getting error messages. Messages he proceeds to read. To me. So I can help him. But I can’t help him. For the words are without meaning. And once again, I am helpless to ease his pain.

For the record, I am not one of those moms. You know, of the helicopter variety. In fact, as mother’s go, I’m more of the “Don’t let the chopper prop hit you in the ass…” ilk. Really.

But this is a delicate situation. This is the sort of experience that could stick in a son’s mind forever. That being said, how a mother responds at a moment like this, can have lifelong implications. That is why, at times like this, a mother will do all that she can.

Some call it love. I call it ass-coverage. That way, if a boy becomes so traumatized by not having internet access on his first night at college, that he eventually throws his life away on vintage skank and midnight bowling leagues, he can’t blame his mother. Because she was there. For him. Dammit.

Which is precisely why, after another tearful goodbye, I got on the university website and found out there is a 24-hour tech support hotline. (That's where Ms. Cleo was gonna come in...but didn't. Who knew?) And, if the hotline hotties are of no avail, I tell him there is a computer lab in his sister dorm (joined at the cafeteria), open 24 hours a day. A place for him to procure immediate, internet satisfaction.

I called him with the good news.
He was not impressed.

Are you going to call the tech line?
Uh, probably not.
How about the computer lab?
Maybe later. I’m watching football.

The next day, my son called me no less than a dozen times, with cheerful updates on his internet hookup progress. Evidently, his roommate not only knew how to get this thing going, he even had software to share, to expedite the process.

By mid-afternoon (about call number 9) my son was talking to me on his cell phone, while Instant Messaging buddies, all over the country. He was happy and chipper and back to his old self. And eagerly awaiting my visit, tomorrow.

At 12:30 Sunday, I call him to say we're leaving home and will be at his dorm at 2:30 sharp.

At 2:15, about 10 miles from campus, I get a call on my cell and hear that he just found out there is a mandatory dorm floor meeting at 2:30. It probably won't take too long, but we might want to drive around awhile.

Well, we didn’t drive around for awhile, because this is North Bumfuck, Michigan. There’s no place to go. So we arrive at the dorm. And wait. In the lounge. For one hour and ten minutes.
Which was plenty long enough to read and re-read and read again, the posters, hanging on the walls of the main hallway (a hallway that runs from my son’s floor, through the lobby, and on to the cafeteria. Where he eats. Daily). On these posters was the Welcome Weekend, dorm itinerary, covering a four-day period (Thursday thru Sunday. My son arrived on Friday. Today was Sunday. You do the math.)

And on these posters, it was written: Sunday, August 28, MANDATORY FLOOR MEETINGS…… 1st floor, 2:30. 2nd floor 3:30, etc.

Next to each of the dorm activity posters, was a professionally-done, hugely fonted poster, with the heading: Can’t Get on the Internet? A Tech Support team is available 24-hours, in this dorm, through September 10…or you can call this number...blah blah blah.

After sitting in the hot, stuffy lobby for over an hour, for no good reason, the reunion with my not-so-long-lost-idiot, was none too cheerful. Of course I had to ask: "I'm guessing you didn't see the posters in the lobby, with the weekend schedule and the mandatory floor meetings, and the 24-hour tech support? Here? In your dorm?”

What Posters? He says.

Be still my throbbing head beating heart!
My sweet baby boy has done grown. Into a Guy.

Post Post Note: He’s coming to town for his first-home-from-college visit. He’s catching a ride with his best friend and fellow Guy. No doubt, with two uncharged cell phones in tow. No map. Or money. I hear Toledo is beautiful this time of year.

••• Monday, September 12, 2005

One Hand Flappin' 

I've been working on a blog post for days.
Yep. One post. Days.
Nope. This isn't it.

You know how you can put two, perfectly tidy balls of yarn in opposite ends of a bag, for the night? And then, in the morning, you reach into the bag for a tidy ball, only to find that, somehow, overnight, the balls have tangled?

Well, that's what keeps happening with The-Post-That-Won't-Be-Written. For four nights in a row, I've gone to bed believing that my post was neat and tidy and ready for publication.

Come morning, after a final review, I find that, much like the balls in the bag, my story somehow tangled itself, overnight.

And no, I haven't been drinking. Today.

The post will be written. Come hell or a competent federal official.

In the meantime, I'm goin' with a safe bet: A Cakers Tale.

Yesterday we went to Meijer (It's like Walmart, only not as Walmarty). As we're heading for the checkout, I realize I've lost the Cakers. After backtracking half an aisle or so, I see her standng next to a clothing bin, wearing pink earmuffs.

Can I get some Dora the Explorer Earmuffs? She yells, from about 20 feet away.

No. You already have a new toy in the shopping cart. I yell back.

Can I get some Dora the Explorer Earmuffs? Again.

Ana, it's 95 degrees outside. You don't need any earmuffs. You already picked out a toy. I said no. So let's go.

What did you say, Momma? I can't hear you.

Okay. You earned them.

••• Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Fruits of My Labor Day 

As you can see from this recent family photo, I am pretty much over my case of Empty Nesting Doll Syndrome.

With all my heads in all the right places, I was able to rekindle my love for knitting, which allowed me to resume work on Peaches, over the weekend. After finishing the right front, I easily slipped into this sleeve.

Despite a harrowing, four-hour trip north with She-Who-Will-Not-Shut-Up*, we enjoyed a brilliant weekend at the cottage. The weather was perfect; two cooler sunny days, followed by two balmy summer-past teasers.

*I'd rather remove my eyeballs with an oyster fork, than endure that ride again. "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...Mommy, Gramma is sleeping now, right? ...How I wonder what you are...'Cause she's tired, right? Mommy? ..Up above the world so high...My butt hurts...Like a diamond in the sky....Someone tooted. Right Mommy? But it wasn't you. Right? Yes or no?....Twinkle, Twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are."

While I initially planned on sharing more details from the weekend, in this post, my heart just isn't in it. It feels inappropriate, somehow. And even as I was enjoying the weekend, I felt guilty. And lucky. And scared. And enraged. And inspired.

Help Is On Its Way
Saturday night, my husband and I went for one last sunset cruise on the boat. Just the two of us. And one bottle of wine.

As we headed back to the cottage, I turned for one last look at a setting summer, and was greeted by this image:

Doesn't it look a little like a fleet of angels, heading south?