Friday, November 11, 2016

I think my mojo may be returning

I have been in a craft funk for a couple weeks. I couldn't match patterns to yarn, I'd start projects and decide they were ugly, and I decided I hated most of the yarn in my stash. It was not a good headspace to be in this week.

Sometimes when this happens, it's all in my head. There's nothing objectively wrong with my projects, I just hate them because of Reasons. But I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case this time. Case in point: my attempt to use some of my souvenir yarn from Alaska.

I have 400-ish yards of single-ply fingering weight wool/silk blend from Bad Sheep Yarn in North Pole, AK. It's Peregrine, which looks somewhat like the skein in this listing for the same colorway on another yarn base:

I brought it in to the store, found a yarn that coordinated with it, and decided I wanted to make The Love of Spiders shawl by Melanie Berg:


So I wound my yarn and got started. It's a basic triangle shawl shape and the slipped stitches make things a tad fiddly, so I was willing to write off my discontent with the way it was working out for at least a few inches. 

I got it to the end of a pattern repeat, then showed it to knitting friends. "It's not BAD," was the nicest thing anyone had to say about it. "It just looks like the slipped stitches are all messed up," my boss told me."

Ouch. (They weren't messed up; the yarn just wasn't playing nicely with the pattern.). I would insert a photo here, but apparently it was so ugly that I only showed it off in person.

So I pulled it out and found a different pattern, one with no slipped stitches and fewer fiddly bits in general. Bigger chunks of color, in recognizable lines, which should have helped minimize the "It looks like you messed it up" aspect of things. I got started, let it go for a couple inches, and while it looked better, I still looked at it and thought, "Meh...." Like, it made the yarn ugly, when it really isn't.


Everyone told me how much better it looked, which still didn't mean I liked it. Last night in a fit of pique I ripped the whole thing out and started a third project. "If it keeps refusing to be a shawl, fine. Screw shawls. I'm just going to make a striped cowl and be done with it."


See that? That right there is what the yarn wanted to be. Good thing, too, because my next option was going to involve a flamethrower and a lot of hysterical cackling.

I was so emboldened by the return of my mojo, today I scrapped another project I was hating on, and I used the yarn to cast on for another shawl entirely. And now that I am 2 hours into the project, I'm pretty confident this one's going to work out, too.


Now I just have to finish an ugly mohair cowl (there's no way it will ever be ugly enough for me to willingly rip back mohair) and decide whether my current sock project is too awful to live, and the funk will be entirely past. Just in time, too, since I'm going to have a LOT of knitting time pretty soon ...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Apparently I'm a sore loser, an alarmist, and a bad parent. So glad that was explained to me.

I'm still trying to process my feelings on the election results. Well, maybe "process" isn't the right word. I already know how I feel, but dealing with a mixture of profound disappointment and murderous rage isn't comfortable. "Tamp down to a manageable level" is a more accurate description, I guess.

What made me so angry yesterday was the proliferation of statements that derided those of us who were upset as being "part of what's wrong with the country." I didn't hear this from people who reluctantly supported the candidate because they were party voters, or from people who voted for the winner because they were voting against another candidate. I heard this from the Fuck Yeah 'Merica! supporters, the ones who seem to support the man no matter what he does or says. One of these folks - a picture himself of white male privilege - actually had the nerve to lecture those of us who were trying to figure out how to explain this to our children, saying we needed better parenting skills. 

The reality of things is, unless the stock market crashes, the election results will not have much of an impact on my life, at least in the short term. I am privileged. I am white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, raised as a Christian, married, old enough that unwanted pregnancy is unlikely, overweight enough that people don't hit on me or grope me or make comments about me when I walk down the street. I have a stable family with good health insurance and enough money to be comfortable. I do not fear for myself.

I fear for my daughter, who will have to deal for most of her reproductive years with the decisions made by the Supreme Court appointees the new President selects.

I fear for our non-hetero friends, whose marriages may be under threat and whose way of life will certainly be de-legitimized by the new Congress.

I fear for my daughter's non-Christian classmates, whose very presence in the country may now be seen as a threat.

I fear for my acquaintances with mental health issues or chronic illnesses who rely on the Affordable Care Act - as expensive as it can be - to qualify for any health insurance to help manage their conditions.

I fear for people who don't look like me, whose very face proclaims them as "other," regardless of where they were actually born or raised. People the newly-elected President seems to have no respect for, and no interest in understanding their lives or views.

I fear for my friends who have relied on food stamps, WIC, and subsidized housing to get them through rough patches that were not entirely their fault. 

I fear for my friends' older children, who will be going to high school and college in a world where assertive women are seen as "nasty" and judged on their looks rather than their accomplishments. Where comments about sexual assault are waved off as inconsequential, and women who are brave enough to come forward to face their abusers are vilified, mocked, threatened, and - worst of all - not believed.

And I fear for all of us in a world where gaslighting apparently has no negative consequences, and people care more about their own righteous beliefs than they do about the truth. Where a candidate can make hundreds of statements that are blatantly, proveably untrue, and still get elected. Where the media doesn't have the balls to call out a candidate for his lies, and the American public doesn't even care.

So if you've been thinking of those of us who are upset by the election results as alarmists who are overreacting to not getting our way, I suggest you check your privilege at the door and try to empathize with people who aren't in your position. No, this election won't influence my life much, but it sure as hell is going to influence those of my friends, neighbors, and fellow humans. And you belittling my concern for those people is just reinforcing my bad impression of the supporters and apologists of the winning candidate.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


So, I forgot to post last night. Probably for the best, as it was likely to be an incoherent rant on the state of the election, and there are enough of those online already.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

I really do love fall

Last night we stayed at the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park. Got up early (thank you, time change!) to go for a walk on some of the trails. 

Well, I say "trails," but really it was a boardwalk. The leaves smelled every bit as good when we crunched through them as I had hoped.

Swamp grass is so pretty in the sunlight...

Saturday, November 05, 2016

When Jason buys me a surprise ...

... he gets the good seats. Thanks for taking me to see The Book of Mormon in Detroit!

Friday, November 04, 2016

A walk in the park


Thursday, November 03, 2016


... am going to need a Phantom mask soon.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Spot the Wonder Mole

Today I looked in the mirror and found a new mole on my face.  It wasn't there yesterday, but today - bam!  Mole!

I tried to wash it off.  I poked it to make sure it wasn't an unusual pimple.  I scratched at it.  I asked my family to confirm that I wasn't imagining things, it really wasn't there yesterday (it wasn't).

I searched for "mole appeared on face overnight."  I looked at photos of fatal skin cancers.  I looked up the phone number for my mother's dermatologist.

And then I said fuck it and went to bed.

The End (I hope)

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I am all about the bribery and/or threats

Today's bargain:
  • If I finish this blog post before my daughter finishes her homework, tomorrow I get to send her vegetables instead of a few pieces of Halloween candy in her lunch.
  • If she finishes her homework first, she gets ice cream for dessert (and Halloween candy in her lunch tomorrow).

I would feel bad about making this sort of deal - after all, isn't motivation and perseverance part of what homework is supposed to be teaching her?  But let's be honest.  My kid's homework isn't exactly thrilling, and she's easily distracted by pretty much everything.  Too much noise, too little noise, people nearby, no people nearby, needing a sharp pencil, admiring how sharp her pencil is now, having to go to the bathroom, having to hide in the bathroom to use the iPad she's not supposed to have until after homework is done, needing a snack, needing a different snack, needing even more snacks because meals are something other people eat ... all of those things derail her from the "let's finish your science notes in less than two hours" train.

It's handy to have something I can say in place of the usual, "Are you actually working on your homework?"  I already hate the sound of my voice asking that question, and it's only November.  One of us is going to explode if I have to keep that up until June.  But not keeping on her back just leads to procrastination, bedtime meltdowns when she panics about what she didn't accomplish, and bad grades that give her headaches and stomach aches and a bad case of "I don't want to go to school."

For some reason, it's less annoying to both of us for me to say, "Wow, you really don't want ice cream tonight, do you?" every time I see her staring at a wall.  She bolts back to the table and gets back to work when ice cream is involved, let me tell you.  "Which kind of veggies should I send tomorrow?" is a little more passive-aggressive, but I'm willing to go there if it gets the assignment done.  And as a side benefit, trying to keep her motivated means I actually have to write a post, which I probably would have blown off otherwise.

Homework isn't the only area where I'm using a carrot-and-stick approach.  Another fun motivator I instituted this year: If I have to drive her the 30 minutes to school (because she dawdled and left home too late for the 5 minute drive to the bus stop) I will spend the entire drive to school lecturing her about all the human sexuality stuff her school doesn't cover in health class.  If we leave the house in time to make the bus, I keep my mouth shut and we listen to the radio.

I made it through female anatomy, male anatomy, consent, and non-heterosexual relationships before she realized I was serious and I wasn't going to run out of material any time soon.  I even had a video all loaded up on my phone to supplement one of the discussions - it was epic.

I have also offered to send pictures of her (very obviously uncleaned) bathroom to the mother of the boy she liked, and threatened to send photos of her carelessly discarded clothing to her grandmother so she knows not to buy Liza any more nice outfits.  I'm kind of a bitch sometimes.
But hey, if it works, I can play the Evil Mom card occasionally.  I certainly wasn't getting anywhere with my other approaches.  Maybe eventually I'll figure out some way to motivate my child that doesn't involve threats of embarrassment and/or withholding treats.  In the meantime, I'm hoping she gets lazy in the mornings again.  I don't want to have all those pictures of STD symptoms saved on my browser for nothing.