Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Finishing Weekend and Cyber Monday

On the one hand, I've been doing the rugged individualist thing, and finishing gifts and goodies that are truly one-of a kind. Pix next post; see below for this week's excuse.*

On the other, I've been doing my bit for the economy, and shopping for mass merchandise on line.

I've noticed that gift certificates have become accepted as gifts in and of themselves. There are snazzy envelopes, little stuffed toys that are made to hold a gift card, multiple layers of presentation--because, after all, it's about having stuff on and under the tree to gloat over during Advent, and to open on the Big Day. I'm not sure whether to celebrate the beginnings of common sense here, or to mourn the death of innovation.

Finding out what people want without asking is an art form in and of itself. Figuring out who's close enough to know their interests and hobbies (and the stash they already have; determining where to get a book on Egyptian fly-tying; and then keeping your cards close until all is torn asunder are all skills that take years to master.

Unfortunately, who has time for that anymore? And who has space for all the stuff you want, never mind all the stuff you receive? "Dear Aunt Ermintrude: Thank you for the SpongeBob underpants. I will think of you every time I wear them under my Armani suit to opening arguments. Perhaps they will bring me luck." At least with a gift card, if I wind up with SpongeBob on my lingerie, it was my whimsical choice, not a dotty aunt's memories of her beloved little niece from thirty years ago.

*No pix this time because I can't get on the floor. Threw my back out badly; the chiropractor may make it so I don't walk like Groucho.

Took a slow walk around the block for mobility's sake--if you don't move it, you will lose it--and was thinking "This is what it's like to be old." There was water on the sidewalk from the sprinklers watering a winter lawn. While the bike path was dry, that would mean stepping off the curb, and then back up onto it. Walking over the wet sidewalk meant staying on the flat, but risking slipping and not being able to get back up. Walking over the wet lawn meant a softer place to fall, but still slippery.

And pondering these options, I realized that this was why you'd see a senior standing at a decision tree like this, mulling over the best of the bad lot. Perhaps I'll remember this the next time I see a little old lady standing and shaking her head at a puddle in her path.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dude, Where's My Weekend?

Today tastes like limes and aspirin.

You'd think I had more to show (or at least tell) for forty-eight hours. I had only one time bound task--to take the cat to the groomers Friday afternoon. From this--

to this--

She insists she looks like a heraldic lion. I say she looks like one of Dr. Suess's marginalia.

I made some progress in a few arenas--I mailed off an Xmas swap and cards that were due at the end of the month, and I've put together and mailed a mystery surprise giftie--more on that after the presentation. The recipient may be one of my Tonstant Weaders, and I'd hate to be the spoiler.

I bound a book. One of the groups of seriously creative types I hang with decided that december would be a good month to just kick out the jams and collage together. This time, it's altered books.

Being a book snob, I wasn't going to to pick up one of the glued together jobbies at a secondhand store. I wanted something nicely bound to support the weight of altered goodies. It needed to tie shut so it could be packed with artwork and ephemera. And finally, I wanted pockets. Just because.

So I made a paper bag book, with a diamond stitched back, and an exposed spine so it would lie completely flat. (Yes, a hollow backed book or springback binding will do the same, but would be more . . . serious. Less playful.) The ends of the paper bags flap out, so an inspired artist could make a triptych, or if not, then one could glue two sides of the bag to make a pocket for a little bit of art--a tag, or an ATC with fibers. I think it'll be fun to play in and with.

I started playing with paper beads, rolling them on plastic core Q-tips. I have boatloads of textweight white paper that's good on one side, working in an office, and I have collected tons of colorful magazines and catalogs. I can roll a batch at a time, and that's how I plan to keep the workshop going--roll a batch, color that batch, coat that batch, make another. Like a waltz--roll two three, color two three, coat two three, use two three. Found a book that's on my Xmas list--
Creating Extraordinary Beads From Ordinary Materials. Wow. Skull beads with colorful top hats, corset beads, bowtie beads--I can so see these strung through fiber and spouting off the spines of books, and decos, and . . . hoo. Need a cigarette after that--was it good for you, too?

I'm within a few rows of finishing the body of the grey shawl, and will start the edging soon. I need to sew a little on the yoga mat bag, and then it's done. The zipper is in place, for pity grief, all I need to do is sew the strap on and do a little neatening. I've been meaning to get to that for two weeks now. It ain't happening.

And here it is Monday, and I meant to post an update Sunday, and well, good intentions and all that. At least I remembered to look at the calendar and get it going--rather than remember tonight, and decide that it was just too late, and I'd try again next time. Ironically, I decided to get a year's worth of post dates going, and gave me a schedule that gets more involved through the holiday season.

Ah, well. With any luck, there'll be more to talk about.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Happy Sunday

Today tastes like chicken. Tastes just like yesterday, and just like tomorrow. I could put sauce on it to alter the flavor, but I'd still be left with chicken.

And here it is a week later. The yoga mat bag has a zipper installed in it--one of Southwest Trading's rhinestone zippers so it really looks like Barbie takes up yoga. Hee. I just need to sew the strap on, and it's done. No pictures--it really looks exactly like the photo from before. Honest. Only with a strap.

Spent the weekend finishing up odds and ends. Cleaned the paper studio--can't believe how hard I was resisting doing that. Fifteen minutes later, and I could actually find everything--like put my hands on it. Spent a while out there putting together a squishie bag for a birthday gal, finishing up some ATC's for a challenge swap, and getting an Xmas exchange bag together.

It's really been the weekend to finish. Not that I'm complaining. I finished a small art project for a collaborative piece--a knitted swatch of lace with a little pin-size doll and some embellishments.

Ran a batch of numbers through that I'd spaced out pulling up a number for next time two-three times, and then had remembered to do it the next day. Which is good, I haven't misplaced the habit of writing this, even when I wasn't being sally-on-top-of-it, but at the same time, I've found that if it's on the calendar, I'm more likely to see and do whatever it is.

Nothing exciting to the world at large. The metaphor for this weekend is sitting on the couch, puzzling over lace, wondering why, if I have the right number of stitches, nothing lines up. Then realizing that the markers need to move on this row. Nothing earthshattering, nothing that will affect anything outside the living room. But that understanding makes all the difference in proceeding with the project.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Life in the Sybarites

Still coming down from a blissful weekend. Made no art, barely got the house licked and promised before bed Sunday, and the cats are not on speaking terms with me (at least, not until the food bowl requires refilling); but a great weekend nonetheless.

It all began with Spa Day on Friday. We started the Spa Day tradition last year, when Lynchpin was feeling blue because Hub was at an SCA event, and she wasn't. (He was feeling the need for some time with the boys. She had homework, the bane of any Master's program.)

So we decided to get a group together at her place, avail ourselves of the hot tub, make some delightful snackies, and paint our nails colors not found in nature. And then we realized that one of our mutual guy friends was a licensed massage therapist . . .

Enter Spa Day year two, the way we've always done it. (Once is the thing itself, twice is the way we've always done it, three times is tradition.) This time, Goldfingers brought a roaster oven and his Rocks of Bliss.

I never understood about hot rock massages. Rocks are HARD, after all. And hard and hot doesn't necessarily make for an improvement.

But now I get it. Oh, boy. I swiped one of Goldfingers' business cards, and asked what the going "friends" rate is. And considering he'll come to my own little home, on my schedule . . . well. It pays to know the right people.

Catch you Sunday. Hopefully I'll have something worth showing. This blissful smile doesn't count.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Four Letter Words

Today tastes like carrot bread, with butter that's a bit too salty and wispy with garlic. So close. So far.

Hold Fast. Love Hate. Give Take. Hell Bent.

Knitting progress proceeds apace, but I didn't realize before that a half-hour knitting on the commute in does not equal a half-hour knitting in the lobby before heading to the office. Maybe it's the stoplight knitting on the way home--no, because I get forty-five minutes on the ride back. But you couldn't prove it by the current carry-me, the Ostrich Plumes blanket.

Knit Geek. Lost Soul. Evil Twin.

I'd get a full ball knit up in a week before. Now it looks like it will take three. Maybe I can get some done in and among the trick-or-treating this evening. We've decided that since First Consort Gareth will be barbequeing in the backyard, I'll be the lucky one answering the door. It's nice out, so I'll sit on the front porch with my easy knitting. Maybe I'll bring along a basket of yarn to hide the candy in, and first offer balls and hanks as treats.

Fabulist. Aesthete. Eloquent.

Maybe next year I'll get my act together and get an old-fashioned rocking chair, one that really rocks and terrifies the cats. (I want one anyway.) I'd wear my Doc Martens, prop a fake shotgun behind me, put on a bonnet, drop a shawl over my shoulders, and sit and knit and pass out treats. Maybe.

Autocrat. Demented. Seraphic.

I've determined that the next project for me will be a pair of lacy wool fingerless mitts. I have an acrylic pair, but the wind goes right through acrylic. My hands are really sensitive to the cold, and stiffen right up when I drive in to work with the top down. The wind just hits right on the steering wheel at ten and two.

Elvenite. Eligiast. Matadore.

And that will help. However, that's just a short-term fix. The project I have in mind after that will take substantially longer--but the results will be more satisfactory.

Modalist. Optimist. Pedantic.

I want a pair of fingerless Sanquahar gloves. And I want to work in knuckle tattoos across the backs of the fingers. Why? Because I can, that's why. And the juxtaposition of biker icon and handknit glove appeals to me somehow.

Depraved. Diabolic. Sylvatic.

Hence the collection of four and eight letter words. Because I have a feeling I'm going to be knitting and wearing fingerless gloves for some time to come, and I want my list right here where I can find it later.

Euphoria. Serenity. Ecstatic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Month of Blogiversary Continues

Looking back over my first posts, I’m struck by how far I’ve wandered from the whole knitting theme. I thought it would be fun to have a place to track projects, but I note that several of the “first five” don’t even have a “finally finished” photo.

Part of it is working on five at once—your impact gets diluted. Knitting for an hour apiece on several projects is not the same as working five hours on one. And when you do three foot square (and larger) blankets, it can take a long time to show anything blogworthy. Five hours on one sweater can get you a sleeve (or significant portion thereof, depending on your gauge. Bulky wool on broomstick needles could conceivably get you an adult five-hour sweater!)

But what the hey—it’s well past time for an update.

This is a gift for a friend’s daughter who has been admiring the Linus blankets for years, and mournfully semi-requesting one in only the way a teenager can manage (“Y’know. . . it’d be okay if you knit ME a blanket one day . . .”) (Can’t actually ask for one, that’d mean you cared, and caring just isn’t cool.) When I graduated from high school, my grandmother presented me with a crocheted, cross stitched tour de force majeure that I had admired and lusted after since I was a tadlet. I still have that afghan, and pull it out and lay it across the bed sometimes. Since I am unlikely to have a granddaughter (gotta have kids first, I think) I’d like to do this for Mischief’s kid.

I have a couple of years yet. If not for high school graduation, then for Christmas during her eighteenth year. She’s nearly certain to have an eighteenth year. Good kid, but reminds me of me at the same age. Hopefully she’ll have an epiphany soon and realize all she’s doing is eliminating options.

This is one of the blankets for the Linus Project. Multiple strands held as one, and a dead simple lace pattern. I like the variegated effect without the color pooling—most of these are solids; I think there’s one pastel green and yellow variegated in the section on the needles.

I was at a Linus Project Blanket Bee when someone came in with easily three hundred pounds of yarn. Holy crap. Even my stash isn’t that big.

Everyone was digging for the big and bulky stuff--I grabbed as much laceweight as I could put hands to, and then a bunch of glum neutrals. I was planning on combining strands even then. The beige and gray and cream I picked up will go nicely with some chenille that’s been sitting and waiting to become for years now. Moral of the chenille—sometimes stuff’s on eBay for a reason.

This was another Linus find—nobody wanted sportweight. Their loss. This is a little more than half-done, and I’m hoping to have it finished by Christmas. Earlier this year I had FIVE blankets on the needles. Three are now cast off and living their lives elsewhere.

I’ve learned my lesson at last, I think. One for friends and family, one for charity, one for me and me alone, one for eventual publication, and one just because.

This one is for eventual publication once I finish the Boring Eternal Strap and sew a zipper in. I do the old yoga and the new yoga, so why not combine the two? The yarn’s cool—it’s dyed in long long lengths so it does that ombre thing as it rolls off the needles, and the colorways are soft and fade in and out nicely—no jarring stripes. Will keep you posted.

And this one is for me. It’s garter eyelet lace in laceweight, so it doesn’t look like much right now. It’s too big to spread on the needles, so you don’t see the designs. I think I’ve ripped this back more than I’ve ever ripped anything in my knitting life. I pulled out every trick in my lace arsenal to get it going—a lifeline at the point where the patterns change so I’ll have a place to pick up and start from, markers at every repeat, working from a chart so I don’t get lost in the verbiage, knitting only in a padded room with plenty of light . . . ok, haven’t tried the padded room yet. That would be next, however.

I’ve always said if you want it badly enough, you can knit it. I want this very badly. More than I thought I did when I cast on. Things are funny that way.

The yarn is a cashmere/nylon blend I found on eBay (curse you eBay! Curse you and your easily searched goodies!) I’m betting the spinner was disappointed in the color or the hand of the yarn—it’s a bit on the harsh side as a yarn. Knitted up, it’s not buttery soft, but it’s skin friendly. I’m betting it will bloom a little with washing and wearing, and plan to hasten that by overdying the rather blah grey with screaming bright primaries and secondaries once the garments I plan are completed. I don’t mind a heathery tone; it’s softly mottled as it is. The bright colors will be muted by the grey and should fall in the deep complex tertiaries I prefer. This one goes in the yellow dyepot, pictures to follow during blocking and post dyebath.

And the number for today—6. See you Monday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Circle-Slash Heart Blogger

Put a post together, but it needs visuals. And guess who's not in the mood to upload? (Hint--not me. I wanted to have this all done before I went to bed tonight.)

Will have a real post with photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Happy New Year!!!!

Hanging around Pagan Place, you found out about all sorts of calendars. It seemed like the group couldn't even agre on what DAY it was, never mind anything of import. Come to think of it, that was the way the whole family disfunctioned. We got there eventually.

There were a few die hards who led their lives according to the Gregorian calendar, falling further and further behind. At least one fella followed the Aztec calendar--I wonder how he's coping now that the end of days has passed? I always liked the celtic tradition, where the year ends at the first full moon in Scorpio. Samhain.

So the new year is coming, and it's time to clear away and finish that which is hanging on from the old year. Time to lie fallow through the winter, wrapping up and getting ready for the spring and the bursting of life to follow.

So I'm trying to get some new habits going in preparation for a blossoming sroing and a fruitful summer to follow. For some time I've limited the number of projects going so as to avoid overload, and now I've started listing them on a database (with a note as to the size of the thing, having stuck myself with five huge AND complex projects at the same time this summer!!! A FO, a FO, my kingdom for a FO!)

And of course the muse has come out of summer's too hot estivation and is babbling in my ear about all the fun ideas she has . . . during a time whan all I want is to wind down. The holidays are manic enough without trying to begin a bazillion lace projects (and that's all that would satisfy her, too. I have a sportweight lacy blanket for Linus that I started around Christmas last year, a laceweight lace shawl for me me me {another lesson learned--I have to have something going for me, even if I don't work on it obsessively}and a moose lace blanket for Linus using multiple strands held as one.) Dicomultivocuus wants me to start working on the Arizona shawl I have promised Terpsichore (a laceweight soysilk confection) and to start working on a Russian lace shawl (also laceweight, preferably cashmere, oh, and while you're at it, it would be nice to whip up some knitted ATC's using the froghair cotton in stash.

Yes. Yes it would. No, it isn't going to happen.

Not yet, at any rate. Not until I get some of this off my plate.

Because I had promised myself a spanking new story for the winterfest this year, and I had meant to be a better blogger. I'm no Joe Ito, by any means, blogging what I had for lunch as I'm eating it (can you imagine dating someone like that? Wondering if he's really typing a message back to the office, or bragging about your imaginative skills with peanut butter? Ewwwww.) The paradox of creating is that the more you create, the more you create. The more you learn that everyone has 100 bad paintings inside them, and the sooner you crank the bad ones out, you can start getting to the good stuff. If you quit in the middle, well, there you'll be, in the middle of crappy work (or at least, work that dissatisfies you), whatever you had learned draining away so that slowly you trickle right back to your first bad work. ("Nice cat, honey. That really looks like Poofy." "It's a GIRAFFE, Daddy!")

So in order to keep the words moving and the ideas flowing, I started musing out loud. (At least this way I don't get stopped for walking down the street, mumbling and gesticulating to the voices in my head.) And then life crept up and got in the way of updating three times a week (and then once a week, and then once every two weeks . . .)

So I stole an idea from the gamer I used to be, and figured that if I rolled a six-sided die (a d6, in other words) and added 1 to the result, I'd be posting at least once a week, without feeling like I ought to wait for someting momentous to happen. (As Danny Gregory says, everydaymatters. Place the spaces where you will.)

So, new habit for the new year. Roll dem bones and keep on rolling. See you next Tuesday.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Spike Needs to Post More Often . . .

. . . but right now, Spike is undergoing meltdown. (Today tastes like heavy water and chocolate.)

Too much life, not enough time.

Just realized my blogiversary was October 6. Ten days ago. If I send my blog roses, will it forgive me? Will it call my name in the midddle of the night? Will it put an arm around me during the long hazy grey lead days of winter to come?

Or will it sniff and tell me to find comfort among the postcards and knitted froghair lace?

Found a meme that looked like fun; results below. You go to Google, punch in "{your name here) needs" and then post the ten results to your blog/journal/external brain. I deleted the really gackin' Buffy references, cause, well, I can. If you've gotta see 'em, you have fingers, too.

1. Spike needs a scrub.
2. Spike needs volunteers.
3. Spike needs to go and resketch the entrance for Yancy #2, this can be done during the week.

4. Spike needs to move them to a earlier time,people are not gonna watch this at 11pm.

5. Spike needs to have something to aim for, to win the girl, lose the girl, something like that.

6. Spike needs to figure out who he is.
7. Spike needs to freely make that decision.
8. Spike needs a hit original show.
9. Spike needs a home where someone is home a lot during the day.
10. Spike needs to be able to mark events as "consumed."

Ok, memes are one short step up the evolutionary ladder from Quizilla posts, but every babystep counts. See ya in 1d6 + 1.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Back Down From the Mountain

Woof. Why does sitting still for hours and hours make you tired??

We went up to Greer, First Consort Gareth, Lynchpin, Hub, Mischief, RagDoll, and I; for to prepare the cabin for the annual storyfest that serves as an antidote to the saccharine goo of Xcessmass.

We chopped a metric boatload of wood, spandified the place, prepared and served a four-course dinner Saturday with paired wines, and then got snowed on while we re-packed the cars and headed downhill.

I finally found a subject worthy of spending the last gasp of my cellphone's batteries on--

--an elk skull FC Gareth's Uncle D found in the woods. Clearly the elk had dropped of natural causes, so Uncle D cleaned the skull, and arranged it here, on the back porch under the upper deck by the door of the Tunnel to Everything.

Prayers and good wished for Uncle D please--he's having some serious health issues. In my family, we'd cite the punchline to an old joke, and say, "He's on the roof."* Thanks.

*Guy comes back from vacation, asks his brother/roommate what happened while he was away. B/R replies, "Oh, the cat died." Guy is crestfallen. Tells B/R that when there's bad news to share, you break it gently. "Se, you should have told me that the cat was on the roof. Then a couple days later, mention you hadn't seen her for a while and you were getting worried, a little. Then tell me, oh, you found the cat, and she had died. Get it?"

B/R is nodding his head all through this diatribe. "I got it." he says.

"So how's Mom?"

"Uhhhhhhmmmmmm . . . she's on the roof?"

(rim shot--ba-dum-bum-CHING!)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Pussycat, Pussycat

Ok, have not been to London recently (and have not viddied any queens), but did go to Florence, Italy for a marvellous 10 days--and only just got caught up enough to start blogging again.

The trip isn't over till you've done the laundry and finished up the journal entries. Therefore, although the plane touched down 9/17, the trip just ended yesterday, when I glued the last wine label in the emphemeral Travelling Art Journal.

It appears that the legend of this trip is going to be the serendipitous finding of a paired wine tasting. We were wandering the streets of old Firenze, looking for a place for lunch, and we came across a menu whose format we recognized--matching wines with courses. For that very night. So we popped in to see if this was an every night thing, as we usually save a blow-out meal for the last dinner in a place, and this was the next-to-last dinner.

Ah, no, tonight only, the chef explained. She would put together a paired menu once every couple of weeks, depending on what was fresh in the markeplaces and what came in from the wineries. So we decided we would eat in the local equivalent of McDonald's (i.e. a cheap, fast, filling meal) in order to have one special dinner.

We discovered that Chianti actually works with certain flavors (like liver) and certain textures (like duck-the oiliness of the bird cuts some of the roughness from the wine). A big surprise to these two non-red drinkers.

Finished a knitted lace tank while on vacation--those 14 hour plane rides are good for something at least. It's bad when you realize you're watching "Herbie -- Reloaded" and it's better than nothing. Hooooo.

Signing off for now to dig through the e-mail morass. I hate to switch to no-mail because I'm afraid of missing something, but then getting caught back up is nightmarish.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Party From Hell

We have a number of August birthdays in our little circle, so each August we’ve tossed a party in fancy dress, often with a LARP (Live Action Role Playing) theme. Barbarians, vampires, spies and diplomats, what have you. It keeps people flowing and interacting with folks outside their segment of the circle, and lets new faces mingle without wondering “What am I going to TALK to these people about?”

This year was a big year for several of the August babies—they are turning 40. Those birthdays ending in a zero are always big, starting with the big one-oh. You’re finally not a baby any more, then you’re finally not a punk kid any more (and on your next birthday you can go out and get verschnikitt legally), then you’re no longer an arrogant twenty-something—you’re a grown-up who deserves to be taken seriously, and then you’re at the middle of your life. What now?

Well, we believe in being prepared, so instead of the usual elbow-in-the-ribs funeral 40th party, where everyone wears black, and the wives/lovers/husbands of the celebrants wear veils and sunglasses we decided to go to what happens after that, and throw a huge Heaven and Hell party.

Two of the circle live side-by-side next to each other, and had just installed a gate between the houses to cut the walk short. Their back doors are a lot closer together than the front doors. So the space between the homes became purgatory, with Heaven on the right and Hell on the left.

Ready for the tour? I’ll be your guide to the party to end them all, so remember what I look like—there are people you wouldn’t want to end up following, no, no.

We’ll start by turning right, through the gates of Heaven, where the monks of St. Benzedrine are chanting “Stairway to Heaven” softly and sweetly . . .

Down the hall of mirrors—hey, I always thought vanity was a SIN???—and past the Oracle of Delphi where the Oracle is performing a reading (fortune-telling???), through the Temple of Solomon and the belly-dancers (And what about lust??? That’s one of the Big Seven!) and into the kitchen of manna (don’t get me started on gluttony, now . . .) where the chocolate fondue fountain showers gently next to the mounds of strawberries and angel’s food cake, with Odin’s ravens watching closely over all . . .

Enough of that! Back out through Purgatory, where the way is clearly marked with good intentions . . .

And we all know where those lead . . .

Although the results may not be what we intended . . .

Sometimes they’re not a bad idea . . .

We’re at the gate!

Be sure to look up as we pass through . . .

And go by the dance floor, with souls writhing as the DJ whips the flames higher, and cranks up the volume on the screams. We’ll walk through the feast hall (be sure to try the devilled eggs, made by our resident castrato) and then out through Hell’s Kitchen to the festivities presided over by the Darkness Incarnate. If it gets too warm, try a dip in the pool . . .

But beware of the lifeguard!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Round and Round the Ring

Today tastes like apricots. Apricot conserve, to be more precise, with cashews, and just enough sugar to take the sting of the fruit out. With Devonshire cream (expensive at fine food stores) or the Mexican version (cheap in the local supermarket) both as thick as sour cream, but sweet and unspoiled.

I promised pictures of the final Hellmouth, promising blogger that I am, and they will be up this weekend. Roman riding leaves me little time for much else during the week, and last weekend was hectic. (As if this weekend will be any better—I’m dreaming again, I see. Haircut, lube the car, massage, dinner with Mischief—and get 65 paste pages whomped up because I’ll only have two weeks in September to complete them and get them sent where they need to go. Right.)

Although it looks like that situation may be improving. Rather than three horses, I’ll be able to cut back to two in October. It’s not Job 3.0, with the no roaming provision and the loosened skin parameters, but it’s at least Job 1.6, a step in the right direction.

I'll be working for Arthurella, doing collections paralegal work for Wilcox & Wilcox (and writing their newsletter, too, it looks like. Go here for a sample, under the August 4 post. Blog style covering dry topics such as tort reform. To me it reads like brownie batter and pickles, but apparently the sweet and salty and chocolate and crunchy appeals.) In addition, I'll be doing the work of Job 3.0 as it comes up, only I won't have to have a hand mirror on the wall while I do it. So long as what's gotta happen happens, the Once and Future Boss minds not.

So basically, I go on vacation and come back to a new job. And then, hopefully, another new job come January -- but working for the same company, just at Job 3.0. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's Original, but is it Art?

27 pounds of yummy vintage paper landed on my stoop today, and I only had time to page quickly thru one magazine before I had to run to a class in journaling. I have fallen in love with a new paint (Luminare), and am plotting how to acquire lots of it in many colors very very quickly. I could roll around nekkid in the stuff, which would probably encourage First Consort Gareth to let me buy as much as I desired.

Oh, but it's gorgemous. Especially the gold and colors--gold and violet, gold and pink, gold and green. What I could do with a heat gun and Tyvek and dryer sheets.

And a million dollars. Siiiiiiiiiigh.

This is the month of enforced poverty, before we go to Florence. It’s like fasting before Thanksgiving, except this is like fasting the month before. And working across the street from a bakery. A bakery that specializes in French pastry.

Hellmouth is complete and looking good. Pix to come, I promise. I had forgotten how much I love paper mache. The squooshy gooshy squeeziness like mud between your toes, the way pulp acts like air drying clay—only lighter, and given to armature work. I made the nose of the face by taping bitty water balloons together and then coating them in mache—and then I took and resculpted it in crumpled newspaper, finally topping it off with duct tape and another sheet or two of paper to make it work the way I wanted without adding more weight.

And now I’m thinking masks—not for this party, I’ve NO TIME at all. If I’m lucky and fast I’ll be able to whip out a pair of fake fur boot covers to go over my hooves before the party. But this will have to get done tomorrow at the absolute outside in order to work.

Ah, but for Dead Man’s in October, I could have a mask to rival Venice’s Carnivale. A domino extended up over the forehead, with rays sweeping back over the head and up that hold the mask on. Sanded fine and smooth, and painted with the colors of light, weeping pearls on fine chains. Oh my, yes.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Circus of One

Today tastes like iron, garlic, and persistence.

Some weeks ago, during a long and evil down period, Mummie Dearest sent me a note, signed with her signature howling coyote, that read “Trust your mother, not those who doubt you.” I hung it over my workbench in the paper studio, where I would see it as bookends to the work day as I left and as I returned. It’s an external source of faith for times when I can’t bootstrap myself.

And in the last couple of weeks, a bunch of stuff has come together like that moment in breadmaking where you finally have enough flour, and the dough magically stops being a sticky mass and all rolls up into a clean elastic ball.

I submitted a poem to Annie Modesitt for her new book, Cheaper than Therapy. What the heck, electrons are free, right? She’s accepted it—actually sent the publishing agreement and all that. Watch for Cheaper than Therapy this fall, in the rapidly growing knit lit section.

I’m riding several horses with one behind, and hoping to quit the circus act soon, but there you go. I wrote an article for a former and (hopefully soon) future boss (the once and future boss? Should I call her Arthurella? Hmmmmm . . .) Anyway, I wrote an article about the then-pending Junk Fax Prevention Act (which passed, by the way. Basically what this does is makes it easier (and legal) for marketers to spam you via your fax machine (where YOU pay for the paper and toner. This was a total non-no under the TCPA—47 U.S.C. §227. The new bill can be found here. It takes effect January 1, 2006. Quick, fax your congressperson and tell him or her to put down the crack pipe!)

Ok, enough parenthetical exposition. Anyway, one of the attorneys on board for Arthurella saw it, and asked me if they could re-publish it in their newsletter. Now, mind, it reads very much like the paragraph above, soapbox and all. Chatty and conversational, with a couple of definitions, references, and what it all means to you. Not a lawyer’s tone at all. Way cool, sez I, so long as I get a byline. Better yet, add a contact for the fledgling company so we can get some ink out of it.

And they did. Not only that, they asked me to whip up an article for their firm for September with reference to Arizona’s tort reform laws as they apply to personal injury caps! Woooo-hoooooo, a project to sink my teeth into, with a guaranteed audience. Crunchy, and good with ketchup.

And as mentioned earlier—one behind and three horses. Arthurella has me doing some of the work that will become the full time position (soon, o soon). I’ll be the liaison between the company and the out-of state attorneys who work for us, so we’ve been getting my contact info together, and I’ve been starting out with phone calls and e-mails to fellas who’ve been out in the cold for a while, making demand and waiting for fees to come their way so they can file suit. It’s very similar to a job I used to do for her—and very different at the same time.

It’s been far too long since I was captain of my own destiny. Arthurella hates to micromanage, and I’m used to reporting in at each and every step—boss, I tied my LEFT shoe. I’m going to tie my RIGHT shoe now, may I? (She’s also bright and logical enough to realize that if you grouse about being asked to APPROVE each step, you don’t get to BLAME when the employee makes a mis-step.) So I’ve been telling her my strategy, and informing her of the promises my mouth makes so our behind can cash them.

I’ve been tap-dancing with this one fella, dickering over a fee agreement. I finally got him to show me his, and it was more than we could handle. I told him that, and counter-offered—then spent the afternoon chewing my fingernails to the elbows, worried that I’d blown it. That I’d exceeded my authority AND ticked off a potentially powerful partner in this gig.

Opened up my email this morning, and there’s a response from the guy. Opened it up gingerly—and he’s fine with our counter-offer, wants to get this show on the road. I smoothed another’s ruffled feathers—hopefully they’ll stay that way. I’d forgotten about the plunges on the roller-coaster ride of a new company.

But the highs are so high. And the thrill of effectiveness; of actually making stuff happen on your own recognizance and judgment makes it worth learning to juggle flaming chainsaws while walking a tightrope.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I Hate Being the Grown-Up

I haven’t given up on this space, it’s just that my hands have been full of paper and paste.

I spent the weekend working on the Hellmouth. It’s given me a new appreciation for what it must be like to be a dentist and see nothing of people except this gaping maw, forty hours a week. I now understand why they want to get chatty just as your gob is full of metal; it’s an attempt to connect with the human on the other side instead of a faceful of teeth.

I had been thinking of how to do the teeth. Since the Hellmouth is the arch you pass through on your way to the Hell section of the Afterlife party, I’m going to have to tweak the perspective a little. Molars are most recognizable biting surface on, but if I keep the canines and incisors in true anatomical position, all you’d see would be edges. I think I need to go viddy some art where the mouth is a gate (like Bosch, or some other medivalists, or at least that flavor) to see if putting the canines and incisors face-on (like when someone smiles at you) works in terms of what you perceive as opposed to what you see. After all, I don’t expect too many people to stand in front of this thing analyzing and picking it to death. That’s more my gig.

So anyway, I figured out how to sculpt the molars, and spent Saturday evening doing that (and trying to impress upon Vinnie that a little bit each night goes further than a whole honkin’ lot one weekend. Sigh.) Sunday I whipped up some paper mache pulp and coated molars. Got a little more than half done in a couple of hours, so now I’m hopeful that I can finish off the rest this week—a little at a time! They’re going to need as much time as possible to dry before we try to set them in place next Sunday.

I also want to whip up the canines in 3-d and put together some snaggly pointed incisors in 2-d—kind of rotating the teeth into their recognizable positions so the shift isn’t so abrupt. The eyes are more or less complete (tho’ I’d like to pulp the lids to make them “pop” more) and the nose is basically done (tho’ it needs pulping to smooth out the bulbiness some. Using masses of itty bitty balloons has its drawbacks.) Then, of course, everything needs to get good and dry before painting. Which in this miserable monsoon weather means three times longer than you’d think.

And that’s really the rub. If work progressed in bits and bites on this thing, then we could have it done and painted before the actual party. However, it feels like I’m the only one who wants to see it all come together and be done because the other two have chronic startitis. (I suffer form the condition, too, obviously.) And I’m really annoyed because I have stuff I’d rather be doing, too. I have projects that are important to me and to others in my life, and I don’t get the time I’ve invested in this thing back.

So all I can realistically do is keep slogging and keep saying, “Hey, could you give me a hand here? Could you do this one simple, specific task?” But I still really hate to have to be the grown-up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Previous Oral Fixation

We used to go to the mall and buy huge soft pretzels, with little cups of American cheese to dunk the pieces in. Lori, stick straight stick slender, proud of her tanned kneecaps. Karen with her round freckled moon face, Gwen with the overbite she could stick her thumb behind with her teeth clamped. She could have modeled for Matt Groening.

Spring break, summer break, winter afternoons lumpy with clouds. The mall with its “cobblestone” floors and fake lampposts to add character. Sweltering in the heat under layers of clothes—none of us drove, so we walked or took the bus. Shivering and sunburned in halter tops and cutoffs rolled up our thighs.

The pretzels were expensive, hard on our pocketbooks. And they went so fast in their hot salty cheesy chewiness. But one would do for a light lunch or heavy snack. We’d sit on the low walls of the greenery islands, licking salt and cheese from our fingers as we consumed them, struggling with our timing. Fast enough to enjoy them while they were hot, but slow enough to make them last a little longer.

Sometimes I think everything would be all right if I could just have a pretzel like that again. But they taste different now. And the mall has lost its infinite realm of possibilities.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Orthodontia From Hell

So, Spike--where ya been lately? Haevn't heard from you in over a week.

You're usually good for a couple posts a week about the minutia that make up a life examined. But you've not commented about this year's crop of kittens ("meeps" in these y'ere parts) hiding from the oncoming storms in the grass that badly needs cutting; nor told the old jokes about the relationship between a circus and a sorority and the girls you work with (a circus is a cunning array of stunts . . .); or even griped about how summer is great for yoga, but miserable for the paper arts you enjoy (it's finally hot enough to get a good stretch going--but now it's too hot to work in the garage!).

So glad you asked. I've been leading the merry crew in building the mouth from Hell.

Or rather, the mouth TO Hell.

A dear pal turns forty this year. Yes indeedy, he is officially OLD. (We won't say how very very soon I'll be officially old.) So we're throwing him a big party.

Or rather, a Big Honkin' Party. We throw big parties a couple times a year, with 200 through the gates in an evening's time, but this time we wannado a Big Honkin' Party for the old guy so when it comes our turns, we can say, "Oh, la, that's been done already--I think I'll just put in a reservation for a paired tasting. In Vegas. For five." (Crazy like a fox, indeed.)

So there's three families in the old dude's neighborhood who all know each other from way back when. (Actually, there's more. The gang is taking that square mile over.) The three homes though, all back onto a park, so you can open house A's back gate, walk through a greenbelt for a few yards, then tap on house B's back gate. This means three houses to throw a Big Honkin' Party in, and no one will call the cops.

Rather than doing a "you're OLD now, ha ha ha" theme, we decided to go with the afterlife, and do Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. A LARP grew up around this theme (yah, we're a bunch of unreconstructed geeks) and then we started thinking food (barbecue in Hell, alcoholic milkshakes in Heaven, a nice cheese and veggie tray for Purgatory?) and decorations. We'd need to have icons at the gates and doors so you could tell where you were, right?

So Vincenza volunteered to build the Hellmaw. An eight foot tall mouth sculpture. Yeah. Gonna be great. And then she realized she didn't know how.

So then I opened my eight-foot mouth and suggested we build it out of paper mache. Use chiken wire for the basic sculpture, then coat it in strips, then coat that with a nice layer of pulp, and Bob's your uncle.

Oy. Next time, someone just shoot me, 'k?

I forget between one time and the next how HARD it is to communicate vision, and explain sculpting, and work as a team with people who are creative but inexperienced at the medium. I'm banging away on the monster's three-lobed eyes, dipping and rolling to make the sockets more . . . sockety, with hard rims around the edges where the eyes peer out, thinking it's obvious that the first layer (or three) suck because edges stick up and curl as they dry, but that it gets better as you go, and that you have to sculpt and pull and push and manipulate to get the form you want at each stage--it doesn't magically all come together at the addition of one tiny strip. And then behind me, I hear the sounds of a team falling apart because the arch isn't PERFECT.

I do well on my own--but please, someone explain to me that I can't teach what I know. I don't have the patience to explain it three times--and then go in and put my hands on the person's hands to show what to do and how to do it. I tend to take it over, and that's not what I want.

But hey, it's coming together, and will be just fine for its function.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Sometimes Words Are a Writing Exercise

Sometimes words are the blood around bamboo splinters under my fingernails. Sometimes words are bourbon from a square glass bottle. Sometimes words are frosting gliding onto a hot cake. Sometimes words are a shy cat creeping around the door into my room. Sometimes words are menstrual blood hitting the floor in clots. Sometimes words are syrup drooling onto Sunday morning waffles. Sometimes words are toilet paper spilling into ruffled folds next to the wastepaper basket. Sometimes words are a blanket tumbling off the bed. Sometimes words are water breaking out of a dam.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Ongoing Soap Opera

So--finally feeling like I've come back to myself after the stress and angst (und Sturm und Drang) of the last month. Perhaps starting a new month has something to do with that.

Perhaps a new job creeping into being has something to do with that also, but I'm reluctant to call the gods' jealous attention to something good coming that has not reached fruition, so -- more on that later.

Tying up some loose ends that were interrupted (Blog, Interrupted?) by the necessary finale of seem and the aftermath thereafter, this will be a series of written gesture poses about posts that I alluded to wishing I could write; but that weren't there then. (And if you followed that last sentence, you probably didn't need an explanation for what follows. If I lost you, sorry. Come back in a week or two; I'm still getting my head back together.)

Right before Grandfather died--or rather, right after I got the sad news, but before I left to go to the funeral--Mischief, Vincenza and I went to the opening day of an exhibition dedicated to Surrealist Art. Vincenza asked, when we met for breakfast that morning and she noted I was a little distant, if I was still up for a museum crawl. We had made plans Saturday evening, the night before, and then I got the news at o'dark forty-five Sunday morning (one of the pitfalls of answering machines. Evil news hangs on the tape like a poison fog, waiting to blow into your ears without so much as a warning ring.) I told her that life was for the living, and that there was no way I was going to miss this.

It's a lesson I learned some time ago, and I'm glad I got it young enough to do some good. Appreciate the strawberries when there's nothing you can do about the tigers and the cliff.

It was a great time, even though most of the art was flat. I don't like paintings because I always want to turn the frame over and see the back side. You'll find me off to the side, craning and peering at one that really catches me, because I'm trying to see the SIDE view. I know, it doesn't work. Perhaps I should write a short story about what happens when it does. Hmmm.

But they had enough sculpture to be fun. A shame they didn't have Dali's winged snail--that's one of my favorites. And perhaps it's my wimpy little ego (and my logophilia), but I find it rewarding when I find the name of a technique I use when I play ATC's used in "real" art--the kind of art that gets lumped into a movement, and then displayed in museums.

It was fun to meander and look at stuff that you weren't being sold, and thus didn't feel like you ought to covet it. That's the part I don't like about artisan markets/craft shows--the mere fact that there are price tags on the stuff means that someone thought you ought to want it enough to pay for it; and most of the time, I don't. I just want to look, and find inspiration where I can--ooooh, shiny!

For the first time in 600 years, the full moon fell on the summer solstice. And Lynchpin and I sat down to hash things out.

I wish I could say that this was all planned, that we had chosen the date and to meet outside under the stars knowing that this was an occasion of special magnitude. But actually, it was Mischief's doing. And we all just happened to have that day free.

As you may know, Lynchpin and I have not been friendly. Frankly, I've been staying away--as far away as I can. I have real issues when it comes to fixing people--I've walked away from relationships where it was clear that "he'd be perfect if only." Honey, he ain't perfect. Deal with it, or walk--but fixing is not an option. If he wanted to be fixed, there are plenty of women who have already told him about his pending imperfection, and the fact that he's chosen not to fix it means that he ain't gonna.

And besides, that opens up the whole can of worms where the Other says to you--"You're great, but you know . . . If only . . ."

So Mischief has been the middlewoman in this mess, really enjoying both of us, but walking on eggshells for fear of pissing one of us off by mentioning the other. And here's the thing--I don't and have never hated Lynchpin, just found her behavior hard to be around because so many of the aspects I dislike are ones that I've rooted out of my own self.

It's like finally getting off the needle, and then, as a condition of parole, being required to minister and witness--in a shooting gallery. All around you, you smell the matches and heating opium, the rubber of the tubing; you see the match flames and the junkies on the nod, and while you try very hard to listen to the angel on the one shoulder and remember the climb out of suffering and the work you did to retrain yourself to new choices . . . well . . . just a little taste . . . urg. I have choices, so for a long time, I chose not to be around that kind of energy. I work forty hours a week in a pissing contest; I don't want to spend my free time in hip waders.

Ah, but Mischief was getting the role of the frosting in this Oreo, and not happy about it. So she set up a meeting and offered to mediate (probably because she knew Lynchpin and I are both sufficiently avoiders to duck out of actually sitting down face to face without someone to lose face in front of). I was braced for an hour of yuckitude, cos I'm like a guy when it comes to "working on a relationship." Lay out your position, why you feel that way, tell me without dramatics where you're coming from, and I'll do my best to understand your world. "This is obviously true for you; so what kind of world is this true in?" But please, please, please don't give me this soft squishy querying "I don't know, but . . ." (Honey, if you don't know, who does? And why aren't they here?)

And instead . . . well, we figured out what we saw in each other all those years ago when we first met, and when we began becoming friends. In about fifteen minutes.

And then we spent the next four hours hanging out and drinking lattes. Under the full moon, with the year slowly tipping into winter. (And yes, come December 22, the year will tip back into summer again. Time is ponderous, viscous, and elastic. The seasons catch up slowly.)

This Friday, for the first time in almost a year, we'll be joining our friends again. I think I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My Guardian Angel Smokes Borkum Riff

Today tastes like vanilla, cream, honey, and bourbon. And oddly enough, it smells like Grandfather’s tobacco.

I drive a convertible (in Arizona, eleven months of the year are topless weather, after all) and I finally understand the attraction for a dog when it comes to hanging its head out the window, ears flapping in the breeze, eyes slitted and nose pointed into the wind. If I lived through my nose, I’d be too distracted to drive. As it is, it’s great fun in orange blossom season.

Not so much fun driving past the cemetery. I can tell when it’s a “burn day.” And sometimes when I’m really hungry, it’s hard to tell the difference between that and the barbeque joint a few blocks away. My own personal Stephen King moment.

Right now though, we are paying the price for a warm wet spring with lots of lush plant growth with the inevitable summer wildfires. Mummy Mountain, in the heart of Phoenix, is burning from a lightning strike, and the streets look like San Francisco. I can barely see the purple hulk of Camelback Mountain, three miles away as I write this. It looks like a watercolor of a mountain—a sharp purple outline at the top, and then melty shades of purple, with soft trickles of dark veining and little pops of highlighting instead of the rich tight detailed crevices and sharp texture I can usually see.

So yes, while I understand that what I was smelling was a combination of burnt plant material, the mélange of perfumes from shampoo, deodorant, and cologne (oderant??), and hydrocarbons; it still combined in a sweetly nostalgic form that was like having my guardian angel riding shotgun on the way in to the city, bopping along to the alien surf music that is Blue Man Group and Logictrance.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pick What You Want, and Pay For It

Toady tastes like root beer that's been left out on the porch overnight--and now it's three in the afternoon.

Hot, sticky, cloying, flat.

It's review time at work, so all the bosses are snippy, and nothing can be done right.

And this leads into priorities and settling and the connections between them.

Settling used to be the worst thing I could imagine. Getting stuck with less than you really wanted simply because it was comfortable, and change is inherently disturbing. But at the same time, you do need to choose what is maximally importnat in your life.

Do you want six adorable stairstep children? Then you need to make hatching and rearing the brood your main priority--not a high-octane career (because those often require you to work late at the office, or drag work home with you, or work on the weekends) and realize that there won't be cash for exotic vacations for all eight of you--unless the other parent makes it their mission to support the family and keep you all in nametags for the weekly dinner with the breadwinner.

And some may say that the homemaker in the above scenario settled for that role. A shame about Pat, getting a degree and all that work, just to marry and raise children. Do you think the eight year old is into Proust yet?

But Pat made the choices that led to that life--agreed to marry Kim, agreed to be the one to stay home and care for the brood--heck, agreed that children and a big family were worthwhile goals in life, and that kids need to be raised by parents, not daycare. And agreed that a high-octane career and hundred mile an hour lifestyle was not what was desirable because of the choices that are precluded by that.

So I'm working in a career path that I outgrew years ago, and am frustrated by a job I can do in my sleep. And yet--the very banal nature of what I do allows me to do other things on the side and in the corners of my head, such as blog to keep the writing flowing, and do paper artsy stuff for fun and trade, and design knitwear for fun and profit.

If I had a higher-powered job, I'd have to yield focus to that in order to keep the gravy train from overturning. If I took a creative job, I'm afraid the muse would simply go hide in the bathroom with the door locked.

So am I settling, or is it simply that my priorities are to earn enough bread to make a well-rounded life?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Back at Last

Today tastes like heavily salted butter, lemons, and lipstick. I'm just glad it's the weekend.

Last night was Vincenza's birthday. She had decided she didn't want to get any older. I told her the options (you got your classic method where you cease to move through time--or space for that matter; and you got your modern method where you ignore the event completely--no cake, no party, no additional year.) She wasn't too happy about either.

Then Mischief and I put our heads together and decided to throw her a party at a hot-dog place. With helium balloons so we could all sing "The Lollipop Guild" at the end of the night, an Elmo tablecloth, and an ice cream cake.

We grabbed a table outside and proceeded to fingerpaint the town red. Vinnie decided she was four this year. Next year she wants to be seven. I suggested that she be 21 in 2007 so we could do a pub crawl or martini tasting.

Met with Terpsichore last week, and she's delighted with the new project. I really ought to sign off and write the pattern.

More later. I was going to do a riff on settling and priorities and the varied costs of both, but right now I don't have the stamina.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Back again

While it is good to see one's family again, I really cannot recommend doing it this way.

Borkum Riff will always smell of bittersweet.

I picked up the ingredients for a Coke Cake at the store, and will bake one tomorrow after work. The plan is to eat a little, then freeze the rest in individual slices for later consumption.

The memory that will stick with me longest will be the time at graveside. I was touching the casket, reluctant to turn and go, eyes filled with tears. My husband was beside and behind me, with his hand on my right shoulder. I felt someone rest his head on my left shoulder, and couldn't figure out who it was--or how First Consort Gareth had contorted around me like that. A moment later I realized it was Li'l Bruddah. He's been a pall bearer for all of his grandparents now--one of the mixed blessings of adult masculinity.

I promise to be more fun later this week. Right now, I'm tired and raw, and not really up for a discussion of museums and friends and art-alongs.

Good night.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Brief Leave of Absence

Today tastes like burlap, glass, and burnt bone--a painful sort of sweetness.

Grandfather has passed on. The funeral is tomorrow.

I fly tonight.

Back soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Do Not Trust Greeks Bearing Footwear

Had a great Memorial Day weekend—got out of the Salt River Valley and up to the White Mountains. Cool pines, aspen trees, wildflowers still blooming. Deer grazing practically up to the cabin, instinctively knowing that hunting season is months away, so it’s safe to taunt the monkeys.

Then I returned home to the Shoe of Damocles.

No, you read that right, the SHOE of Damocles. The sword will fall and kill you where you sit, the shoe, on the other hand, will leave a lump that will be weeks in going down. You will survive the experience, but the feasting and orgies lose their luster for a bit. My grandfather, you see, is dying.

He’s the last of that generation within our family, and would have been ninety-nine this July. (Will be ninety-nine? What is the tense to use when one speaks of one who is currently among the quick, but will soon not be?) He’s been talking to ghosts for the last four-five years, thus, this ending comes as no surprise. He’s going to join his companions now and take his place at their dumb supper.

Fortunately in this day and age, he’s been able to avoid that last trip to the hospital and is in the home and bed he’s lain in for the past fifteen-twenty years, ever since he and his wife broke up housekeeping and moved in close to family. (They’d been in that house since the 1940’s, stacks and stacks of Life magazine piled in closets dating back to the week they moved in.) I wonder sometimes at what we have lost sight of with modern medicine and the ability to preserve life (After a fashion.) (For a limited time.)

The family could have insisted that Pop be taken to the hospital, and loaded into the Intensive Care ward, where strangers would put IV lines in his arms and hands to keep him from dehydrating and in case further measures were required. Ah, but the boundaries between his Then and his Now are thin, thin, so they would have had to tie his hands to the rails to keep him from pulling out the IV’s. And visitors are restricted to visiting hours, and the dietician knows what nutriment would best become him, and he’s all but stone blind and post deaf and surrounded by strangers who don’t know who Walt is (the son who died as a teenager) and can’t tell him that of course the horse was tied up and Daddy will come and take him home soon.

We have nurses in the branch of the family out there, who are more than qualified to comfort him with ice chips and aspirin, to keep the bed clean, and to ease the pressure on his skin to avoid bedsores. And really, what else could be offered save comfort? We’re in the waiting period now.

And how I loathe waiting. Waiting especially for an outcome that you know each and every detail of—there’s no surprises here. It’s like reading a novel where you know each and every twist of the plot—not because you love it so that you’ve memorized it, but because it’s sooooo predictable, right down to the “surprise” wedding you’ve seen coming since the conflict was introduced. And yet, you can’t just put it down and walk away; you have some obligation to wade through this, each and every page, each and every paragraph.

I was very selfishly wishing that the funeral had been held some weeks ago so I could have the awful waiting part behind me, and get on with the healing. Like debridement or lancing a sore—the anticipation hurts more than simply getting it done and healing.

And yeah, at the moment it’s all about me—it IS Margaret I mourn for. “Read a POEM!” as Handy would say. (Handy? Who’s Handy???)

Sometimes I get flashes of empathy with a lemming who’s far enough back in the crush to see the cliff coming and realize what it means, but to have no choice to continue along in the mad rush. Perhaps there are strawberries along the way and perhaps they are amazing sweet as in the Zen parable, but the bottom line is that the moment will end. You’ve lost another talisman between you and the void.

And so one hears the whir of the Black Combine creeping closer and closer through the field.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I Say "Feh" a Lot, Lately.

Today tastes like cardamom, wormwood, and amber. Aromatic, yet bitter.

Still in state of high ambivalence about work. On the one hand, I'm finally getting some baby step valuable experience that could go on the resume and help find a better job where the bar (and the pay) are higher. On the other hand, I'm working 45-50 hours per week to try and get it all done, and I have a sneaking hunch that some animals are more equal than others when it comes to remuneration and workload, and especially the remuneration to workload ratio.

Have just about decided that it's time to begin looking--not frantically spamming each and every want ad with a resume in a frantic effort to get the hell out, but to watch for any good looking leads (and to make myself available for good looking leads) AFTER the trip to Italy in September. To put in the time to manufacture a position that is perfectly suited for me, and then to go find someone to pay me well to do it. If nothing else, the feeling of having options will ease my frustration with the high school environment.

And still highly ambivalent about the annual August Revelry coming up. Several good friends have been asking if they’ll see me there, since I’ve been staying away in droves from just about everything to do with Lynchpin and Hub since last fall. And this year’s August Revelry looks to be a history-making goodie much like the Millennial Party. Elaborate costuming, set decoration, three houses for the overflow, and big big LARP (Live Action Role Playing) all night long. Come as you aren’t, in other words.

Mischief has her shtick all laid out, from headdress to props, and is beading her beady little eyes out working on an Egyptian collar neckpiece/breastplate. Vincenza is googling images from the movie Legend so she can go as Dark Lily, complete with Tudor wirework collar. Me, I’m currently accepting bribes to finish a tunic (grommet the sleeves—that’s all that’s left). And still I say feh.

I say "feh" a lot, lately. I've been weeding out lists where I've just been whacking the delete key instead of reading posts; and soon the ones I just lurk in will be going as well. I dropped one that I thought I'd be going old and grey with. I thought I was going to miss them, but then I realized that the them I miss are the them from five-six years ago. We have all moved on.

I've been inching out of the local knitting guild, as well. Last fall, I sort of stopped attending meetings religiously, then I skipped the Christmas party, and I haven't been to a meeting save once this year. My knitting time is precious to me; I don't want to spend two hours of it twice a month to sit with people who belive you need to have a pattern to knit a dishrag or a scarf. I was working on a Linus blanket (Ostrich Plumes with a Basketweave edging) and was asked where I got the pattern (?) and then in hushed tones if I'd thought of putting those two patterns together myself.

Good lord 'n' butter! I love Ostrich Plumes--it's a lot of bang for your buck and is easy to read besides. I love Basketweave for the same reason. I needed something non-curling for the edging (and Basketweave doesn't curl) so there we were. If I hadn't loved it when I got going, I would have ripped it in the swatch--or just pulled back to the border and done a striped Basketweave. No more talent than making a pie crust and filling it with eggs, cream, cooked meat, cheese, and onions and peppers. Quiche isn't hard. Nor is knitting. No reason to need your hand held for the rest of your life with either one of them.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Antidote for Lousy Work

Today tastes like a fast-food cheeseburger. It smells really good, but then you take a big bite and it's a wafer-thin well done patty on mushy white bread that sticks to your teeth like nougat.

Antidote for lousy work? Awesome play with wild women.

I have desparately missed the circle I knew in Santa Fe. One of my buds was a jeweler who kept a studio/showroom in a converted garage. She was apt to keep funky hours--up for two-three days at a stretch, working while the vision was hot in her head, then crash for eight-ten hours and do it all over again.

She liked the energy of a houseful of folks, but didn't want the care and feeding of roommates, so she issued a standing invitation and directions to the spare key to her best buds. Come by anytime! Let yourself in if I'm sleeping and no one's around when you knock.

So I'd swing on up during the weekend with a project of my own, plop onto the couch and we'd chat during the easy bits, and simply sit companionably during the tough stuff, and I'd browse her eye candy, and sooner or later someone else would come by, and a party would accrete, one by one.

Creative folken all around, an artist drawing the person embroidering, the jeweler soldering and buffing and cutting, a scuptor at the kitchen table working on a Froudian sculpture using the artist as a model because he was poking his tongue out like a little child as he drew.

Egos checked at the door; nothing to prove to anyone, just the thought in your head taking shape under your hands and seeing how much of it you could get out into the world. Sometimes a chance comment would give you wings, or at the very least, let you put some feathers on (or around! For EMPHASIS!) the bald spot. (By heaven, this is a BALD SPOT!!!)

Sitting and wireworking a shawl pin at Vincenza's table with Mischief watching TV in the next room--well, I could have been back at Tuf's, wating for the water to boil for tea.

Goddess watch over you and keep you, dear Haviland. You and all the krewe.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I Swore I'd Never Never Never Do This

but here it is, Thursday and I haven't touched the blog.

It's been busy here. Had company this weekend, so this week has been dedicated to doing all the things I would have done on the weekend.

And of course, had several epiphnies which must be 'splored, except I have to finish off the other projects I'm in the middle of so I can clean up, rather than pushing piles of half-finished art around and around.

So I'm really anxious to get back in the studio, which is wunnerful, but I gotta work, and o'course work is busy busy busy, so I'm working late, which means I have less time for everything I wanna.

And I guess this lameoid post is an attempt to get more original text than quiz result crappity posted so I don't feel bad when I flip the switch and run away again to make serendipity squares and scribble words normally seen only on vocabulary flashcards on 'em and call it art.

Tho' this particular quiz crappity is closer than most. Enjoy.

How to make a Spike

3 parts anger

3 parts courage

5 parts instinct
Add to a cocktail shaker and mix vigorously. Top it off with a sprinkle of caring and enjoy!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Assmillinery 101

Today tastes like really good hummus topped with lamb and pine nuts. Gallons of the stuff, with bushels of pita bread and some olive oil, and oil cured olives. And feta. Oh baby.

Really, the only fly in the ointment is this one case I'm wrestling with. Boss2 is dealing with The Thing That Would Not Die (it is a BAD thing, a very very BAD thing when three days before trial starts (1) your client tells you that, well, actually there are some errors in the data you've presented as gospel; (2) promises to have the raw data right to you, by Friday at the latest; (3)delays until the night before trial).

Cabeza del Queso is undergoing meltdown. I had not understood how exceedingly well Boss2 kept everything in perspective until I really saw him in action. Henceforth Boss2 will be known by his superhero name of Perspective Man {fanfare}.


"Perspective Man!! Perspective Man!! It's a dire emergency! The City needs you!"

"Has the world ended?"

"No . . ."

"Is anyone bleeding? Any open head wounds, sucking chest wounds, babies crying?"

"No . . ."

"Well, then, it's nothing that can't be fixed." Perspective Man took his feet down off his desk, arose from his comfy leather chair, and took his cardigan off the hook on the back of the door on his way out to save his beloved City.


So anyway--about Assmillinery. There is a pithy and pungent phrase I really like--asshat. (I know, Rabbitch likes "asstrumpet"--for those speaking through the nether orifice, I assume) but being a fan of the chapeau, I like asshat. The person in question has not quite achieved full recto-cranial inversion, but good lord'n'butter, he's headed that way. Buttocks perched jauntily on his cranium, legs waving merrily like those springy deeliebobs that were soooo hot in the eighties. And if you're not old enough to remember the eighties, you probably aren't old enough for this blog.

And hey, if you're going to be an asshat, you might's well get some feathers and ribbons out of it. Hence assmillinery--a well-decorated asshat.

And then of course you get into ranking the asshats. You have the Magritte Bowlerasshats; The 500 Asshats of Bartholomew Cubbins; the 10-Gallon asshats; and then, at the very pinnacle, the Queen Mum asshats.

And that last, me dearios, is the type I wound up dealing with this afternoon. Boss 2 took on a simple personal injury case with property damage--a real bread and butter case. Client is a tich on the needy side. (Aren't they all.) But she's pleasant and reasonably articulate (which they all are most certainly NOT). Knowing Boss 2 is up to his li'l earlobes in the Case From the Pits, I put together a string of queries and suggested solutions, and ask his opinion, becuase, well, I can always get another job if'n I really screw the pooch. He can't get another license, so really, it's his dime and my time. S'a'right, I'm not the one working from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. while the Vile Drama plays out. Boss2 says do everything you can.

Which means, do everything a lawyer would do, except square it with me first before you give legal advice, and pass the phone to me if there's advocating to be done.

Client calls, and mirable dictu she's been able to get to the towing yard, get her final personals out of the car, and has some bad news. It's been on the lot long enough that it can be deemed abandoned, and the title pass to the towing lot--so she'd be minus the car (totalled) and the cash-out (which we're haggling over).

Call the tow yard, and get into assmillinery.

Employee says company policy won't let her make the calls to Responsible Driver's Insurance, and no, she lacks the power and glory to hold off on acquiring the ttile to the "abandoned" car, but if I call her boss at 555-1234, there'll be no sweatsky. (This is after thirty minutes on hold.)

Dial 555-1234, ask for Mr. Gloriosky. Who? Not on the auto dial directory either.

Ok. Call Magritte Bowler asshat back (another thirty minutes of music from the 70's 80's and whatever we want) and she says, no, no, call Mr. Gloriosky at 555-2345. That's his direct mailbox number.

Try again. Get an automated system that wants an extension the first time, directs me to a full mailbox when I punch for the operator the second time, has no listing for Gloriosky the third time.

Decide to bypass the 485th asshat of B. Cubbins, dial the main line for the company, ask for Mr. Gloriosky, and am routed to Sandbagg's voice mail. Leave message for Sandbagg. Rather snarly sort of message, like a very polite 300 pound gorilla slowly losing patience.

Dial main line again,ask for Mr. Gloriosky, am transferred to first automated system, asking for non-existent extention.

Dial main line again, ask for Mr. Gloriosky (because each time I do this, I get a new operator, and eventually someone will screw up and actually connect me with who I'm looking for. Or so my logic runs.)and am transferred to the full mailbox.

Dial main line again, amusing self by putting all this in a cut and dried memo to the file. Get an operator who is busy and distracted, because he tells me I can reach Mr. Gloriosky at 555-3768. Hmmm. No relationship at all to what 10 Gallon asshat was telling me.

Leave message for Gloriosky. (The heavens open up, an angelic choir harmonizes, light shines down on my office--ok, that last happens pretty nearly every day. However, this is SPECIAL light, ok?)

O course, Gloriosky has not returned my call at all, at all. So I do a little research, and draft up a letter to the DMV asking them to put a hold on any title transfers for the next 30 days. And hey, if this goofs up Responsible Driver's Insurance's Plans, well, they COULD have agreed to cough up the bux to get the car out of the storage lot (not to mention doing thier inspection back before moving the title was an issue).

Cuz lemme tell you, the folks at R.D.'s Ins. Co are Queen Mum asshats. With feathers AND flowers AND ribbons.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Lhassi With a Mango

A forum I post in has a thread for do-overs. What did you do (ten minute, ten hours, ten years ago) that you’d take back and “do over” if you had a chance?

I posted that I wished I’d gotten into yoga sooner, then started to explain why—but then realized it made a better blog post. So if you’re here from Postcard X, welcome. Get a drink and put your feet up. May I suggest the mango lhassi? That’s what today tastes like, sweet without being cloying, and creamy without mush. And mango. Mmmmmmmmmango.

I hated hated hated gym because I am athletically declined. I never saw much point to running, jumping, being active simply for the sake of being active. I like to hike; the world is pretty. But to have to get on a pair of shorts and run around--then change quick quick quick and dash to your next class; or change and run around right after lunch--ick.

And stretching. Hated that even more. It seemed like all the girls I went to school with were made of rubber, with powerful core muscles, so they could flip upside down hanging on the parallel bars, do the front splits and put their chins on the floor, stand on one foot and lift their other leg up over their heads.

And now all two of the guys who read this blog are saying “Where the hell was I???” Trust me fellas, this was back in the days when girls had cooties.

So I hated to stretch—stretching hurt, dammit. None of this “you may feel a slightly intense sensation now” nonsense. I know pain when I feel it. And since I hated to do it, well, I didn’t. Not if I could avoid it.

And there’s a lot you can do to avoid doing something you don’t wanna do, after all. Feeding the dog your Brussels sprouts, pushing all your stuff under the bed, walking past the growing pile of laundry with your nose in a book—great avoidance techniques. Until the day when you have an ingrown toenail, and you can’t get to your feet to free the little monster.

Not in one session. No, in several tiny little increment sessions, gasping for breath at the end of each one because you can’t find room for your ribs and lungs and organs when you’re bent, seeing as you haven’t bent since they stood over you in grade school when your toes were much closer to your hands.

And close behind that came the day when I wanted a meditative practice—some time each day to set down my problems and clear my head for a bit so I could come at my “stuff” fresh.

And then the clincher—I’m a big Cirque de Soliel fan. Deeply envied the contortionists just as I envied those limber girls in grade school. Walking through Barnes & Noble, I saw a pose on a yoga calendar that struck a memory—and when I looked at the back and saw more that only needed the makeup and costume to be exactly what I had seen on stage, I realized that I could do this too. All it would take is practice.

I’d love to relate how one year later I can go from Mountain to Wheel (with one leg in the air and my elbows on the ground, thank you). I’d love to relate how I practice twice every single day for half an hour in the morning and evening. I’d love to say that all my emotional quirks have been smoothed and resolved, but well, I’d be lying. Like a cheap rug, one that you keep telling yourself will lie flat once it’s been used for a while, but no matter how many parties you hold, it still humps and bumps in avocado green and burnt orange swells.

I’ve made progress. I’m making progress. I’m working to get my afternoon routine back in place, and the morning routine is solid. It’s part of getting ready for work, and I’m more likely to forget to put on my rings than I am to forget to do my six stretch day-opener.

However, every time I get frustrated that I can’t get my hips on my heels and my head on the floor at the same time, I think of a yoga teacher I knew, who still couldn’t get her head to rest on her knees in the long classic hamstring stretch that was my grammar school nemesis. It’s as much acceptance of your limitations as it is the drive for progress at any cost; and that’s the lesson I wish I’d learned earlier.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Gratitude Tastes Like Ganache

The Dowager Empress Odie-Bird asked what I was grateful for today. Yet another example of balance (THWACK!!! Thank you, Enlightened Master.) in that after the week from hell crawling through broken lightbulbs on a salt flat, one must not lose track of the few good moments. The coffee breaks in Hell, as it were. Go to the bottom of the page for that joke, if you don't know it. Yes, down there below the line of asterisks. Meet me back up here when you're done.

So, with that in mind, I am:

Grateful that it is Friday, number one.

Grateful that I have many varied interests and will never know the hell that is truly nothing to do.

Grateful that I have fans in a mail art group who will send me stuff!

Joined Postcard X 'cause I like to make stuff. I don't necessarily want to keep everything I make, tho', and I like to swap stuff that is complete in itself (too bad for Addicted to Puffies). I found Nervousness to be standoffish and too rule bound. (Example--to participate in a swap, you have to complete a swap. But to complete a swap, you have to participate in a . . . Not a bad idea, but--see above. Very Vonnegut. Pfffft.)

I did a swap with one artist--I sent her three abstracts, she sent three whimsical ATC's--and a Starbucks card with enough buckage for a beverage and a snack. On the Starbucks card, she appended a post-it that read:

(I know a cat named . . .)



as a thank you

for sharing your

blog . . .

Very e.e. cummings, the way she laid it out on the bitty yellow square.

God bless you, Ms. Rosewater.

Man dies, goes to the Very Bad Place and is met by the Evil One Hissownself. Evil One tells Man that he can choose how he spends Zorostran eternity--but one he's chosen, he can't change his mind. The first choice is a room filled with men standing waist high in boiling blood. Man declines that particular fate.

Next room, men standing up to their shoulders in boiling urine. Nope, not there either.

Last room, men standing in feces to thier knees, drinking coffee. Man asks if he can have a cup, Evil One agrees. This is the best coffee man has ever had. This is coffee the way coffee was intended to be; coffee of the gods themselves. Wow.

Man chooses this room. Evil One assents, locks the door on his way out. Man feeling pretty smug--all things considered, this ain't too shabby.

Stubby tubby devil walks in, tosses down his cigar butt, announces that "Coffee break's over, boys! Go back to standing on your heads!"

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It's Only a Little Addiction

I wish I could say that today tasted like mango margaritas, brought by a handsome and flirtatious cabana boy while I lounged in the shade between two palm trees, dandled in a Oxhacan hammock; a fine spiderweb where you use your body as the spreader bars. Under a tropical sum, swaying in the balmy salty breeze, charting intricate lace patterns—no, dictating them into a hand-held recorder to play back in Dragon later so I wouldn’t need to proof a secretary’s work.

Unfortunately, today pretty much tastes like cat food smells. Dry cat food, at least. Greasy and crisp, with wheaty overtones, and a vague spoiling milk smell.

I have a bottle of bubbly from America’s oldest winery (founded in the 16th century, when that part of the USA belonged to Mexico) chilling in the fridge for the day when this trial is over, and I will order a case on the day that the verdict is appealed. (Because I know that it will be, and we’ll ramp up at least once more after that. Sigh. Put the lawyers out of business--get it in writing and make sure you understand what you’re signing.) This could be very good business for that winery, but it’s wreaking havoc on my general “life is about balance” motto.

I’m back to yoga in the afternoons. The whole routine fell apart when we went to Mexico last Thanksgiving and I didn’t want to carry the bulk, weight, and space that my mat takes up. (Never again—when we go to Italy that mat is coming with. I can get by on fewer clothes.) So of course when we got back to Arizona it was cold and dark and icky and waaaaaaaah. (Excuses, excuses, mara mara mara.) The morning routine has been rather slipshod until lately, now that it’s warm and the mornings are bright. I look forward to July when it’s in the eighties around 6:00 a.m., and thus warm enough to go out on the porch first thing. I plan to pick up a space heater this winter when such things are again available, and use that to stretch the porch days out for a while. There’s those awkward periods of spring and fall (Na’too’ot, in the native tongue [embedded joke—tourist is talking to Yaqui Indian, says “The Navajo call winter ‘the Season When Thunder Sleeps.’ What do your people call winter?” Yaqui shrugs. “Na’too’ot.” The tourist raises one eyebrow, and asks, “And summer?” Yaqui answers, “Hot.”]—you were warned at the entrance that this is stream of consciousness!)

Anyway—awkward periods of spring and fall where it’s too cold to effectively stretch outside, but you don’t want to warm the house up any more. (Winter will find me and my space heater in the foyer to the backyard, pumping out the joules.) I’m hoping that having a heater to plug in outside will allow me to continue my hatha routine and keep moving and motivated through the winter. Yes, even when it’s dark and icky and cold and waaaaah.

Thinking about ATC’s, my little addiction. (Knitting is the big one—just finished seaming the black and blue cardi, am swatching the moss stitch bands, and contemplating zippers. I think a tight moss stitch band with a plain black or matching blue zip, as this is a classic sweater—nothing flashy except the poured-on fit. Ah, the wonders of ribbing.)

Anyway, ATC’s. A kind soul responded re: shaker cards, suggesting that I sew them together. An interesting idea. I may have to try that and see what happens. This morning, I started thinking about laying them out as a sheet of ten since I use 8.5” x 11” cardstock anyway.

Essentially, I would alter the cardstock on the fronts, then lay out the 10 card cut lines on the back. Cut the windows on one sheet, lay the frames. Lay the backgrounds on the other sheet, fill the frames, lay the glue and dry under pressure. Less likely to slippy slide out of alignment as the little individual cards. Let everything dry, then cut them out and slap labels on. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

And that led to thoughts of quotation cards. I like them—but I hate my handwriting. It’s on the to-do list (I think—that may say “hamburger” after all. {Holds mental list upside down in an attempt to improve legibility.}) So wouldn’t it be fun to alter some cardstock, then use the computer to print out quotes in the appropriate size—then alter the paper to make it fun, in a different way than the cardstock. (F’r instance, paste cardstock and watercolored paper. So the stock makes a frame around the quote, which is a keeny bit on its own.)

Ah well, that’s what weekends are for, right?

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Gremlin of Doubt

Today tastes like salt, chili powder, and aspartame. At least it's food this time.

I've been in a tailspin lately (no kidding, Spike? REALLY??) and it's impacting the creative process. As I mentioned before, I'm very very new to flat art, and I feel like when I go into the paper studio where I also park my car without turning on the light in the kitchen. I'm flailing wildly for the pull string that I know is here somewhere, and at this point in the highly personal movie that is my life, I hear the Carmina Burana (yes, the O Fortuna section with all the sopranos) strike up in classic horror-flick fashion and during periods like this I can almost feel the hand of the Nameless Shambling Horror reach out to put the string in my hand so I can hit the lights and gaze into its slavering maw. (You thought its Maw was bad, did you see its Paw? [rim shot])

So anyway.

Have been wrestling with shaker ATC's. I got two to work well, and then all the rest have been exploding in little beady glitterbombs as soon as I touch them. The acetate is really really slick so the glue doesn't want to adhere. The poor stuff can;t get a foothold. I wound up pulling the batch of 12 apart (and pulling them apart is perfectly apt--it was like shelling boiled shrimp.) and trying again, cutting down the acetate to the bare minimum to fill the window, using lots of Elmer's to hold the foam spacer bits, and using gluesticks on the acetate. That seems to help a bunch. Now I just need the Patience Fairy to stop by (NOW! NOW NOW NOW!!) so I can do one step on one card at a time without going visibly greyer.

Top it off with the topic of the week on the ATC lists being "I got cards I don't like." When you engage in trades with random folks, you get . . . random stuff. Sometimes it will be to your tastes, sometimes it will be well-crafted, and sometimes it will be a smiley face sticker on a torn bit of manila cardstock. If you are unwilling to take the chance that one of your eight hour masterpieces will be traded for a clipping from a magazine--then don't do it! Save your bestest for trades where you can see what you're going to get.

I see a lot of the vintage stuff, and I see the things with wings, and most all of it looks alike to me. People frequent the same stores (both B&M and online) and buy the same products, and while they use them in slightly different ways, the point of a rubber stamp is that each impression by the same stamp looks . . . the same. Perfect when it's an edition, fine for a series where the backgrounds and hand-coloring ring some small changes, not so good when three dozen artists' work starts to become interchangeable.

Those of you who've been here a while know that my ATC's are like my writing (is like my knitting--see a trend here?) and do not look like anyone else's. (This may not necessarily be a Good Thing.) So threads like this are apt to get under my skin, and whistle up the Gremlin of Doubt in a hurry. (It's like the sound of a can opener to a cat--means there might be some good eats here; so hurry over and see.)

Bleah. If I were happier with my sketching abilities, I'd know just what to do. It's bad when the cure for the blues makes you even bluer. So instead, I strted pushing shakers even further. I came up with one where there's an acetate window in the front and in the back so you can see through the card, and I filled part of the void with beads. Maybe I'll do a series of them--or maybe I'll just keep this one in the notebook, and take it out and gloat over it in the middle of the night.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Kinhin, or A Fiber Runs Through It

Today tastes of rosewater, of vanilla extract, of tobacco. I am sucking on a hookah, and want more than anything to spit the foul thing out. But it's attached to the ventilator.

So I knit. I have finished the knitting of the sweater, a ribbed cardigan (raglan, v-neck, black and skipper blue. The body is black and the sleeves are skipper blue with a narrow stripe of black around the left bicep. The neckband will be skipper blue in seed stitch, for those of you keeping track.) It's been my travelling companion for weeks now, from the sofa in my living room to Mischief's housewarming party, to the couch in the lobby at work where everyone knows me by sight. Some stop to chat about who they knew that knit (mothers, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, younger selves), others tell me that they used to, but can't find time anymore (cough) bullshit--we all have the same 24 hour spinning span; time is where you make it (cough) and one has taken crochet hook back in hand, and shows me her projects as she completes them.

One passer-by tells me that one day, ONE DAY she is going to be right there as I finish, and see the final result. I plan to wear this wool sweater to work in the fall and winter (and I'm learning that when you drive a convertible, the cool season spreads out like a fat woman's thighs when she sits) and I plan to make sure to mention that THIS was the project I was knitting on this spring.

So work sucks, and I can do nothing right. But I can rip back the seam on the side and re-work it till it comes out right.

After work I went to FourBuck$ and had a cup of Chantico. It's drinkable ganache--Heathcliff in food form. Dark and wild and brooding and bad for you. I finished seaming the sleeve I had been working on this morning when the clock dragged me away to slog through the workday.

Shrug. No brilliant insights this time, folks, just a sleeve and two side seams, and a cup of hot chocolate.