Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Won't, I Won't, I Won't

Because sometimes, the plates all come tumbling down.

I've hit this meme before but somehow it hasn't become stale. (For me at least, what think you, o Tonstant Weader? Dull as the bright shiny toy on December 26? Rather play with the box it came in and the ribbons?)

And interestingly, the album title is what's moving and grooving for me today. What am I evading? What am I accomplishing by evading it? And what will happen because I'm not doing something I should? Will the walls all crumble? Will the world end in a whimper of micro-black holes?

Or will I find space I hadn't anticipated, like when the parking lot is full up, and you turn around to leave, then just as you pass by the first row, someone backs out right in front of you. Like when you forget your lunch and your wallet, so you rummage in your desk for that half a granola bar you swear should be there, and the boss tips you a twenty for your hard work this week. A moment of unexpected grace as the parachute blossoms above you and you are caught in the arms of the wind.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust . . .

Today tastes like capers, yellowfin tuna sashimi,and plum wine. Salty bitter sour, buttery, and sweet. The flavors of a minor victory.

So . . . If you read the last post, you've found out that I am giving up consumption for a while. (Consumption be done about dis?) I feel up to my earlobes in things that never get an honest chance to be used because there's too danged many of them. Like having too many projects on the needles--you knit and knit and knit, but never get anywhere.

A good chunk of the charity stash is in fine weight acrylic on cones. Apparantly I'm not the only knitter with eyes bigger than her needles, because one day, while I was working at a Project Linus Blanket Bee, a donation came in. It seems that they'd finally had to put Aunt Suzie the crazy machine knitter away, so they'd cleaned out Aunt Suzie's attic and found she'd been insulating with yarn; could we use it?

No kidding, there was a pile of yarn about the size of a VW Bug sitting there on the floor. You could swim in the stuff like Scrooge McDuck.

The hoards rushed in and scooped up the worsted, but there was a bunch of acylic laceweight cones left that no one wanted. I was trying to be good, but when our Project Coordinator asked me to take a look and see if any of it could be used . . . well, I only have so much self-control. Prolly take a particle physicist to find it--it's very very small, and has an enormously brief half-life.

So I ended up with cones and cones and cones of laceweight acrylic. To go with the skeins and skeins and skeins of babyweight acrylic I already had . . . but my secret plan was to twine several skeins/cones together to make worsted weight. And I have a pattern I like for this, and you don't have to twine it all before you knit, and . . .

And you can see the same little devil on Crazy Aunt Suzy's shoulder whispering that, hey, after all, she knit with MACHINES, so it was so much FASTER, she'd blow through her stash in NO TIME, so she ought to buy some MORE . . .

So . . . I've been nibbling away at the cones, just like I nibble away at the big skeins, and just as I nibble away at the tiny leftovers until it's all gone into a blanket, buh-bye. But dang, there's a lot of yards on a cone.

Hence, it a little celebration when I finally eat that last bite and leave only a tail to finish in. One of the purtiest sights there is, a nekkid cone.

I wrapped it in part of the binkie it gave its yarn for. One down . . . eleventeen to go. I'm looking forward to the day when I finally finish off the cone of white the SIZE OF MY HIPS. Seriously, that cone has gone into at least two three by five foot blankets, and is still rolling along.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obsessions, Posessions, and An Epiphany

Today tastes like that apocraphal morning after. Where you've been subsisitng on Ryecrisps, cucumbers, and green tea for a month because there's a big blowout coming up and you want to splurge, and then you do--cream puffs and champagne and red meat and Really Exquisite ChocolateTM and lots and lots and lots of each of these, and then some more. Wheeee!!!!

And then you wake up the next morning, and the Party Bus has left the station. Without you. You're standing in the terminal huffing diesel fumes with your luggage piled around your feet, and confetti drifting in the breeze like colored dandruff.

It finally hit me this afternoon. I hire someone to clean my house, but I told her (counts on fingers) three years ago that we'd handle the decluttering and putting stuff where it belonged.

The house sparkles. What you can see of it under the piles and mountains and heaps of stuff. Most of it stuff that entertains me--stuff to make stuff with, stuff to watch while I'm making stuff, stuff that honors a relationship. We don't really buy much new except for clothes (and even then, I'll buy socks and undies at the discount store, and outerwear at Goodwill if they have something just right).

And this afternoon, it hit me. I am a slave to my stuff.

When things go missing, it sends me into a tizzy. But there's no place to put it, or the place is so cram-jammed with other stuff that I can't find it even though it's right in front of me--there's just too many things!

So not only do I have a bunch of physical stuff, I have emotional stuff about my physical stuff. Stuff about my stuff, and stuff about being stuffed with stuff.

I have clothes I don't wear because they don't fit my body. (Too small in the waist, too big in the hips and thighs. In the same garment!!! What am I going to do--regain the inches I've peeled off in exactly those spots?) Clothes I don't wear because they don't fit the image I want to project. (Punk and goth are just not the same after twenty-five . . .) Shoes that hurt my feet after a few minutes, but that aren't anything special to look at. (If you wear nine-inch heels, you're expected to be sculpture. But if you have a pair of two-inch heeled pumps that are just as uncomfortable, there's no payoff. They're just pumps, for heaven's sake!)

A lot of my stuff is stuff to make stuff with, and a lot of that is stuff that gets sent out into the world. I knit for charity most of the time. I knit for myself and those close to me sometimes. I get that. I get that the hard part of getting rid of stuff I don't need will be getting rid of the stuff to do stuff with.

So I'm starting where it's easy. I spent an hour last night working on the casual side of my closet. I need seven T shirts (five to work out in, two to slack around in). Done. I got rid of the extra jeans (only need two pair -- Casual Friday and a spare). Cleared out old and cherished sweaters that I could fit THREE of me in--they were "oversized" when I bought them, and there was a LOT more of me then.

Tonight I'm going to hit the work side of the closet. Then maybe I can see what I really have to wear. I don't need more than three pairs of black pants, ten overall printed T's, and ten silk shirts. My black jacket needs replacing--but I have it's sucessor on hand. I just need to take it to the tailor to have a couple of buttons moved and the sleeves taken up to 3/4 length.

That gives me two week's worth of outfits (or two wardrobes--one fall/winter/spring in the T's, one for hot and muggy summer in the silk). Maybe I'll watch for 3/4 sleeve plain color T's to go with my broomstick skirts for summer, with flats. I love the look of those skirts, and how cool and floaty they are when the humidity's high. Maybe I'll put that on my want list and see if the urge cools down. (For a while, I really wanted a laptop. REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted a laptop. Would have sold my soul for one. Last week, DH Gareth found a great deal on a used one on eBay, and asked if I wanted one. A laptop? For what? I spend too much time online as it is . . .)

And then? Maybe the living room and kitchen, possibly the library. Yeah, the library makes more sense. Get rid of the books that are taking up space, that I've read enough times that I don't reach for them, that I can get at the public library if I have to have to have them. Then maybe I'll have room for the DVD's that I watch as I knit.

I don't expect I'll ever get really Zen and spartan, like those hypermodern rooms featured in magazines where everything is streamlined and stark--the colors are white, eggshell, and sand, with one lily in a black glass vase. I just don't want to wind up with banker's boxes of stuff piled in closets (Jeans, Stuffed Animals, LP's, 8 Tracks [flinch]) or stacked in rooms and screened with gaily-printed curtains. I don't want to live in a pile of decorative clutter any more.

I won't be a slave to my stuff.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

If I Had a Nickle . . .

Today tastes like the remains of a good idea, and frustration with what I hath wrought. Yup, carmalized brown butter Rice Krispie Treats just about sums it up.

See, I had almost the perfect pattern for a Linus binkie. One pattern row, one simple return row. But I wanted it in strips for portability and because it is so hot and humid that my brain cell has wilted and I can't remember the winter when I shivered in my thin, thin blood and moaned about freezing in the sub-100's and wore fingerless gloves to the office amid remarks about not getting but a half-day at Christmas and my diminutive (stature-challenged, differently large) son (male offspring) Tim.

So do I listen to good sense and sit down with the pattern? Well, to a point. Perhaps the one on my head.

I count out the repeat (15 stitches) and then, rather than spending 20 whole minutes swatching, I go off chasing undomesticated waterfowl across the 'Net, looking for the PERFECT perfect pattern--a ripple afghan, knitted, in strips.

I spend 40 minutes on this wild goose chase. Fruitless? Absolutely. Like a plum tree in Phoenix in the height of summer. Crispy fruitles; branches on the ground fruitless; crawling off to dip roots in the pool before expiring, gasping, on the lawn fruitless.

Then I sat down, counted carefully, cast on . . . and in ten minutes had my pattern proofed. Grrrrrr . . .

It's gotta be the heat.

Here goes: the PERFECT Ripple Pattern

Leftmost strip: CO odd multiple of 15 plus 4: 1 SS, 2 garter edge, pattern, 1 SS

Center strips: CO same odd multiple of 15 plus 2: 1 SS, pattern, 1 SS

Rightmost strip: CO same odd multiple of 15 plus 4: 1 SS, pattern, 2 garter edge, 1 SS.

Work first 4 rows and last 4 rows in garter.

Pattern: Sl 1, k 2, *k2tog, k 5, yo, k1, yo, k5, ssk* end as per strip. Purl back starting on row 6.

Gotta be the heat.