Saturday, April 30, 2011


Finally finished, the gorgeous Swing Dress from Vogue Knitting Spring 2011 Edition, which I thought was a standout piece in that issue.  I knit it in Knit Picks CotLin--the color is called "Surf".

A couple of executive decisions were made on this project, the first being that I didn't go with the prescribed jute straps.  I think on the original rose color of the pattern, they were nice, but with the darker blue that I used, it may have been too much contrast.  Instead, I opted to knit the straps, thus adding about three weeks to the project!  I tried numerous stitches and widths--everything from wide and lacey to an i-cord.  My concern was that too much of that dark color too close to her face would visually distract from the face, or, if the straps were too intricate, they might take away from the lace on the bottom.  I backed down to about an inch wide, like the original, knit in plain stockinette, and as you can see in the picture, somehow managed to attach them cleanly--really happy with that.

The other executive decision was made by my daughter, who insisted upon threading a cord through the yarnover row below the bodice so that she could adjust the width and tie it with a bow.  So smart!

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mental Health Via The Internet

When doing "strange" things, or things that I think that I'm not so sure I should be sharing the fact that I'm doing them, I often check into Twitter, put the strange thing that I'm doing into the search and see if anybody else is doing that same strange thing.

Shut up--it makes me feel better.

Take last night for example:  Last night, I sat in front of my television (project in hand, so it wasn't entirely wasted time) and watched, swear-to-gawd, a Pop-Up Videos style replay of the televised broadcast of Charles and Diana's wedding from 1981.

Uh-huh.  Sat and watched the whole damn thing.


Hey, The Sound of Music wasn't on in the evening like it was supposed to be, OK?  Stupid ABC Family made Sound of Music the opener for Titanic!  Gag....that's just so wrong.  Titanic had the prime time slot on Easter, and The Sound of Music, which was SUPPOSED TO come on six-ish (because it is the right and holy thing to do) started at around 3 in the afternoon.  I missed all but the very end.

Please don't talk to me about DVR's and Tivo--I'm not talking about convenience, here--talking about right and wrong!



There I was, alone, pouting, Julia Andrews-less, when what should I happen to see but this show which was essentially running Charles and Diana's wedding video, the same one we all got up at 4AM to watch back in 1981, with no announcer voice, just little thought bubbles, like, "Diana's dress took 80 bazillion yards of silk to construct" or, "Doesn't Andrew look bored out of his mind?" or whatever.

And I watched it.

I watched it and kept watching it.

About 40 minutes into it, I did a Twitter check, just to make sure that, A) I wasn't the only person watching it, and B) That the people watching it who were on Twitter talking about watching it didn't appear to be total loons and/or otherwise ghastly.

They all checked out OK.

I then backed up and did a baseline check of people who are on Twitter who had watched The Sound of Music (miraculously, as they clearly have the television schedule tattooed on their cerebral cortex and knew when it was going to be on, unlike me...).

Those people all seemed relatively normal as well.

I think I'm OK.

I mean, I'm as OK as I'm going to be, as someone who watched the Charles and Diana wedding video and squinted to see pop-up factoids about the bridesmaids.  There's really only so much "OK" that they can attribute to you after something like that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More Stuff I Finished

I'm gonna be so clean slate by the time I get all these UFO's finished up, that I'll practically have my virginity back.

Or...probably not.

I knit one of these slippers about a year ago.  

OK, actually it was two years ago.  Shut up.

Then about a year ago, I knit the first half of the second.

What was extra lame was that I was able to finish the second half of the second slipper in one afternoon last week, which serves as a reminder that there really was no excuse not to just finish the damn project in the first place, two years ago.

What's most cool about these slippers is that I just steam-cleaned the harwood floor in the hall, so it's slipper.  Sometimes I get to see the teen who wears the slippers sliding past my office door on the slippery floor.

Sometimes she does it on purpose.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stash Reduction

The stash reduction project moves forward with these giant balls and cones of cotton (which my camera flash has distorted to look like Christmas colors...hmmm....the real colors are butter-cream, an orange-pinkish-melon-y color and a pale green.  Gorgeous and summery.).

I'm making this mass quantity of yarn into a throw blanket for the car/beach/tent.  Just a little something for the summer, unlike most of our knitting projects.  I didn't go with the GIGANTO needles this time, just a small (compared to Speed Stix size 50, anyway) size 35 needle and straight garter stitch--I'll let you know if I like it in one week.

Also, in case you thought I may have given up on the lace, not to worry--the main body of the top is complete, and I am knitting the straps for it.  I should be done shortly and will post pictures of my child wearing the top, with her back turned to the camera to avoid any boob lust.  Don't worry, it's the same shirt on both sides...

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Sunday, April 17, 2011

There's Always Some New Low

I have taken to trying to get my kids' friends to laugh these days.  My children no longer find me amusing, so, I crack wise with their friends in the hopes that if my children are ever talking to said friend and claim that their mother is a Lame-O, that the friend will stick up for me and stay something like, "Oh, I like your mom!  I think she's funny!"

I'm not entirely sure, but I believe that this is the height of pathetic.

Late last night, at the corner of Lake and Lyndale, while waiting for pedestrians to clear the intersection, the comment, "OK children, count the drunk hipsters!" was given a healthy guffaw by my daughter's boyfriend.  That sort of thing is important to me, since if he wasn't in the car, my daughter would have likely rolled her eyes and muttered one of those "Oh-my-gawd-mother" things that she does to show how utterly retarded she thinks I am.

The boyfriend is also especially fond of my not-really-road-rage commentary involving other drivers being, ahem, assholes, morons, and/or idiots.  

My daughter finds this kind of talk annoying.


On the same car ride, different daughter, after being picked up from a party, commented that the hostess had a friend visiting from France and that the two of them spent most of the evening speaking to one another in French, a language not shared by any of the other party-goers.

Since I happen know the hostess and think the girl is the one of the most down-to-earth kids I've ever seen in a high school, the line, "Pretentious bitches!" was meant to be funny.

Sadly, none of that daughter's friends were in the car, so, that one fell flat.

The knife in the heart moment of the drive, after the boyfriend had been dropped off and it was just the siblings and me headed home, was when one daughter commented that she thought Top 40 disc jockeys on the radio were so mean compared to the jocks on the rock station.

Here, finally, was my undeniable area of expertise.  After all, I spent 14 years in the radio business, during half of which I was a night time jock on Top 40 stations.  I knew, without a doubt, the real answer to that question--hell, I'd been mean to at least a billion teenagers in those seven years, and I knew exactly why they did that: Because kids eat that shit up.  That's the truth, y'all.  The truth.

I waited for the children to look to me for an answer, thinking, any minute now they're going to turn to the expert, the one who used to do that for a living, and ask, "Mom, why are they like that?".

They never asked.


I would not be denied.  I volunteered my answer.  

Somehow, they were not impressed.  

How could that be?  14 years of my LIFE in that business, and I don't get to speak in defense of the craft of giving teenagers crap on the radio?

Now, somebody please explain to me why I'm so hell-bent on getting my kids acknowledgement, when if it were anybody else who didn't think I was interesting/amusing, I would have blown them off a long time ago?  Maybe I am as lame as they say.  I think I'll stick with the (easy) business of making their friends laugh and give up on these two deadbeats, entirely.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Brain Needs Spring

There is one dumb thing about smoking that I truly miss, and that is going outside.

Sure, I could go outside now, as a person who no longer smokes, but...I'm weirdly purpose-driven and feel like if I'm going to be outside, I should be doing something.  I don't like wasting time.  Time is the only thing I have that's worth anything.

Anyway, back to the outside.  Smoking gave me something to do, outside.

In the winter time, as a non-smoker, it makes absolutely no sense to put on your coat and shoes and go outside and stand around for 5 minutes.  Hell, that activity makes no sense in the Spring either.  The difference is, in the Spring/Summer, the warmth makes the reasons to go outside so much more abundant.  Almost every day, there is something, like, I'm sunning myself on this rock, or I'm raking the yard, or I'm planting/maintaining the flower bed, or I'm stirring the compost.  Whatever it might be, it's easy to think of a reason--projects practically scream your name--and it's easy to put on flip-flops (or not) and just walk outside.

As I'm throwing my windows open to air temperatures that would make me slam those same windows shut in the Fall, my brain re-awakens to the infinite possibilities of the Spring.  You can feel the potential.  It's a beautiful thing.

Here is my little pledge for Spring, and it's not that I'm going to be better at maintaining the flower bed, or that I'll commit to getting out and taking walks every day.  Those things are good and I will most certainly be keeping them in mind.  Instead I just want to keep this feeling in my head--this fresh start feeling, where you know that things will get growing, literally and figuratively, as soon as you take an action--and I want to apply it to everything.  That's the brain I want for the rest of 2011--kind of a gardener brain, who's willing to plant things and tend them and share a great big harvest when it's all grown tall at the end.  THAT is what "outside" means to me--doing the work and seeing the results.

Cheers to leaving "just surviving" behind, if only for a little while, and getting back to thriving. Viva Spring! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Have I Mentioned That I Have One Good Cat And One Bratty Cat?

The nice, crisp, in-focus photo features the "good" cat doing his Vanna White impression with my work in progress, nearing completion.

The other, blurry photo is what we'll call an "action shot" of the Bratty Cat ripping the knitting out from under the good cat's watchful gaze. Do you see the look of shock and horror in Jack's (good cat) eyes? You should have seen mine...

The shirt, and the Bratty Cat, both survived to show off another day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Six Degrees of "Screw You"

There is a lady at my office who quit her job last week.  She quit, among other reasons, because she can't stand our boss.
The same day she told me about it, my best friend's partner also quit her job. 
She was pissed at her boss.
Aren't we all?
Neither of those ladies had any work lined up, or anything to fall back on, like, say, Powerball winnings.  They just said "Fuck this" and quit.
I want to admire these women.  I do.  I mean that takes some balls. 
Now...unlike me, both women have partners who are employed and with whom they share household expenses, so it's not like there's no money coming in.  Unfortunately, there is no conceivable way I could give my boss the gigantic "Screw You" that he so richly deserves without ending up living in a cardboard box somewhere (and if I did, I can assure you that I would refuse a crust of bread from that loathing runs that deep...).
I think that having that kind of faith, that things will be OK, even with little or no money, is a good thing.  I have a similar kind of faith.  I really forge my own way in a workplace, which is why I've been so fortunate in work situations in my life--managers (normal ones) really love those self-starting types.  Within the confines of the job description, I really do whatever the hell I want to do to get to a goal and virtually never ask permission unless it's one of those this-is-dicey-I-might-get-sued/fired kind of things.  The wrong kind of manager--like the one I have, for example--is threatened by that kind of go-getter, because they think they might make them look bad.  This type of manager might react by making life miserable--or trying to, anyway.  Here's an example: 
In our office right now, there is a written policy that says people have to ask permission before they get up and use the bathroom.  Seriously.  We're all perfectly grown up there--no school children on the premises, and yet we are expected, on the occasion when we might need to pee, to seek out a member of leadership and ask to be excused. 
That's the kind of rule that a truly fearful manager makes, to try to control every movement (bowel movements, included) that takes place in the office.
Have I ever, even once, asked permission?  Oh hell no.  I'm forty-fucking-four years old, and perfectly capable of assessing the need for my presence at the computer versus my need to relieve myself.  Most grown-ups are, and, ALL grown ups who work in my department are well advanced in that etiquette.
Still, I'm directly disobeying, and if he ever got excited about anything, my boss could probably hang me out to dry on that one rule alone.
That kind of "Screw You", I have no problem with.  I'm involved in several of those right now, and I'm probably not setting a good example to the new people, but, like I said, I don't need a parent, because I'm forty-fucking-four years old.  Having said all of that, I'll be damned if I'm going to walk away from money because my boss goes out of his way to be a jackass.  No...I think you're gonna have to push me away if that's the deal.  Unless it's for the sole purpose of grabbing another, larger paycheck, then I will remain in the receiving line as long as they'll have me.  I think that's a more impressive "Screw you" than just quitting.  Doing well by ignoring idiots is really the best revenge.  Besides, this is serious on-the-job training for how to deal with complete pricks--might come in handy later.
I am 100% certain that there will never, ever be a time in my life where I will feel like I can or should reach out to my current boss for any kind of help.  After all, this is the same guy who promised me he could make a few phone calls on a job I was looking at within the company, and instead of doing that, he just sent me an email that said I wasn't qualified for the job, anyway.  He's an asshole like that.  He's not Team Shelly--not a nice person, and since he's so UN helpful, he's really of no use to me, anyway.  So I'm not worried about burning that bridge--I could care less. 
Because I am smugly certain that the shit he inflicts on others comes back to smack him in the face on a regular basis--could be his car doesn't start, or maybe his kid never calls him...whatever...I believe that no dramatic scene involving me telling him off while I walk out the door could ever be as good as what he brings upon himself.  In fact, it's those dramatic scenes that allow these jerks to continue to play the victim and illicit sympathy when what they should really be getting is....that shit in the face thing.  Also, that's how I know he won't fire me....there's no way for him to be a victim if I'm the one getting fired...
Anyway, I say bring it.  I'll stand here and take it, and maybe I'll whine about it sometimes but mostly, after I've left here (and I will leave here, soon enough, and forget all of this stupidity) I'll be a better, stronger person for not having just run away when it first started to suck--before I had my legs back under me..  And years from now, when he's burned his last bridge and comes to me for help, it will be the most delicious laughter, ever.