Monday, December 25, 2006

Don't keep a secret from me!

I was going to write you a blog about my Christmas Yarn, but I read Jen's blog: Music is my Husband, and I have changed my mind.

Apparently, someone has a secret in my group of friends. Hmm.

It is a female, so it could be me, Jen, or Shannon.

Let's just say it isn't me. I have no secrets. I'm not smart enough to keep them. I can barely keep from giving away what I bought people for Christmas in conversation. It kills me to not talk to my friends.

So it could only be Jen or Shannon.

What could it be?

Is Jen moving out? Did she find a Christmas Boyfriend? Does she have a teaching job? Is she going to be an aunt?

And if the secret is Shannon's...I have no idea.

This is killing me, and it doesn't help that I'm hours away and cannot run over to Jen's to demand the truth. I can only hope and pray that she will give away the truth to me in another edition of her saga, or in a response to me. If she doesn't tell me soon, my stomach acid will almost certainly bore a hole through its carrier and into my torso, leading to my untimely demise.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Joy

Last night, I stayed up too late. I admit it. It was not my aim, not in the slightest. But it all comes down to socks.


Because that is, in reality, what life is all about.


I enjoy myself knitting; there is no pleasure like slipping on a warm woolen sock. Well, except slipping on two woolen socks. To me, that is an experience of great joy, first of knowing that I myself crafted my footwear with nothing but string and pointed sticks, second of knowing that I have the skill to do it correctly--my socks are NOT sloppy concoctions, and thirdly that I am my intended recipient and can enjoy both the process of knitting and the product I put on before I leave the house.


Knitting gives almost immediate gratification. A tangible item, finished or no, awaits one after an hour of knitting. I also can hold it in my hand, show it to others, and see their reactions, which I don't get from this blog, for example. You may well enjoy reading it, but I can't see you do it. But I can run up to you, whip off my shoe, and point downward at a wooly sock.


DSCN1717


How could I not? Just look at them!


So last night, I finished the Christmas Socks, which made me superbly happy. The last sock was knitted in two days, half in one, half in the other, as a product of the massive anxiety related to seeing the wrong side of the family for pre-Christmas. But yesterday, though the cause of my terror had subsided, I could not help but burn through the remainder of it simply so I could see the way they looked on. I originally intended to have them for actual Christmas, but I suppose Christmas Eve will do nicely.

Ohh! Check this out!

For those of you who knit, you probably know the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I adore her. She just wrote this post for those of you shopping for knitters this Christmas:


http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2006/12/23/print_at_will.html


I found this hilarious enough to come back after writing a blog only moments ago so you can enjoy it as much as I. And remember, like Steph said, their are gift-giving moments besides Christmas. Like: birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Mother's/Father's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, New Year's Day...need I say more?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Laura Learns Technology

A sock:


DSCN1723


And another:


DSCN1709


Yet another sock:


DSCN1707


And another, this time on two circular needles--a fancy new trick of mine:


DSCN1700


Here is a group shot of all the socks I had until about two weeks ago (more now):


DSCN1727


Now there are two more pairs and some baby socks. I have no life, but I do have a great hobby.

Happiness is Christmas Time

Poor Andy.

His holiday has been ruined by the demonic forces of Walmart. Since mid-October, he has had to deal with the lights, the ornaments, the trees, and the ever-present music of Christmas.

I feel his pain, I understand it, but frankly, that cannot stop me from experiencing Christmas Joy. Sorry.

Christmas fell flat last year, death can do that to a holiday, and The Antigrandparents only made it worse. This year, I managed to survive the horror of the annual Christmas Visit to the Mouth of Hell and have come out with my Holiday Cheer intact. Now my wrapping is done, the house is decorated, and I am prepared for a good time.

Author's note: this is the point where my screen flipped out and attempted to post this entry hundereds of times. Who knows why...

Fortunately, it seems, for once, as if the world is attempting to work with me here. I have no commissioner's meeting to run home to, no horrific nightmare of travel weather (as of now). The Anti Grandparents will be out of state, I have a good feeling there is yarn with my name on it somewhere under the tree, and I am almost finished with my Christmas Socks (so named because I purchesed the yarn to last me until Christmas).

It would take some kind of horrible nightmare to screw this thing up. Let's wait and see...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Christmas

Oh, tomorrow will be Hell. Absolute Hell.

Christmas with the people I fear above all others.

So here is how it will go:

Pre-dawn. Laura crawls out of bed and dresses, knowing that whatever she wears and no matter how clear (or not) her skin is, she will be looked up and down and found wanting. If I have worked out, I will be called fat. If I have proven myself academically, I will be told to get a job and move out. If I wear a beautiful sock, knitted by me, I will be told that somehow it is unattractive to Them.

8:00 a.m. Laura gets into the car. She sits in the back, whips out a sock and knits her way to Elkhart. Along the way, Dad recieves two or three phone calls demanding to know why he is so late, despite the fact that our arrival time is set for noon.

Noon. We pull into the driveway. She asks us why we are here so early. He told us noon, she said five. She has a Hair Appointment and has to be gone by 2:30. She won't reschedule. Or cancel. Christmas and the family can wait. We sit on spotless furniture in a room copied peice by peice from a decorating magazine.

12:30 p.m. We eat around the tiny kitchen table, knowing that we are not worth the use of the dining room, which would only afford us a little more leg room. But we do not deserve that. Food is eaten. Dessert. Coffee dispersed. We sit until our backs begin to seize up, as She tells us about dead relatives and their miserable ends, dispairs about her health, and demands to know the particulars of Laura's life, which She will passive-aggressively tear apart.

2:00 p.m. We all sit carefully in a circle. Gifts are handed out. One by one, beginning with the eldest, the gifts are unwrapped. A picture is taken of each person with their present after it is opened. No one unwraps anything prior to anyone else. No one rushes anyone else. Smiles are, of course, optional.

2:30 p.m. She goes to her hair appointment, either forcing Dad to drive her or Him. The rest of us wait in the house or the salon.

4:00 p.m. Leftovers are dispersed, eaten, and someone falls asleep on a chair. Paul has long retreated to the TV room to watch Spike marathons of Star Trek and James Bond. I knit.

Time Unknown. Dad, complete with Furrow, decides that the time is right to flee. He drives in complete silence. We do not dare disturb him. Arriving home, we each find a corner of the house to sulk in. Laura flees to Jennifer's house for peace.

The family will, depending on the severity of Her behavior, suffer depressed emotions and increased anxiety anywhere from days to weeks to months, or, in the incidence of last Christmas, a year.

Last Christmas She criticised my mother for being away. She said Mom should have been here instead of with her father. She thought She was more important, even though Grandpa needed Mom to be with him, since Grandma had just died. She thought Grandpa needed to prioritize and realize that we needed to have Christmas together. She wanted to be Entertained. She insulted my mother then, to my face. And I have not forgiven her. I am physiologically unable to handle that task.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Candy in a Bucket

This is a sad story, so brace yourselves:

I am sitting at work, writing a blog. Well, okay, that isn't the sad part.

Once upon a time, Laura woke up all by herself at nine in the morning, without the traditional shock from sleep wrought by the alarm clock or parent nearest to her. She crawled out of bed, knowing that she would be Doing Something during her day. She would be shopping. Ready for fun, she dressed, cleaned her teeth, ate something, and made the traditional vain attempt at creating an attractive exterior for others to see (basically, poking at skin with varied cosmetic products to simulate the flush of life which some organisms lack and must artificially produce). She then recieved a phone call from her friend, Becky.

Becky exclaimed. "Come walk to Studio Jewelry with me so I can pick up my rings!"

Becky has joined the Dark Side--my single friends who have suddenly sold out to become coupled off in a semi-permanent way or married. Once we frolicked free from future plans, now Becky has a house, a fancy dress, and a tafeta-swaddled sausage of a bridesmaid named Laura. But being supportive of her friend's drastic lifestyle change, Laura got in her glass-filled car (long story) and drove to North Manchester. No Becky.

Becky, bless her, had gone about other business.

Alas! Laura sat and waited for her friend, assuming that an interview or meeting was taking place. Laura would not be a bother.

All the while, Laura continued to wait for the call from Jennifer or Shannon proclaiming the beginning of the shopping excursion planned for the day. Not expecting her friends to wake up before noon, Laura did not call anyone. Now she feels like an idiot and sits at her desk chair, waiting. Hours pass, perhaps days will soon turn to weeks. But Laura has a pathetic and miserable existence empty except for the brief glimpses of friendship at which she grasps. And rather than giving up hope and going back to sit in a cold, dark (light bulbs burned out) bedroom, she waits.

And as if to make the misery complete, Laura cannot even post this new blog, since for some reason, the Mac at her place of employment does not work and play well with others and therefore refuses to publish posts in anything other than gibberish.

So Laura waits with only a bucket of anonymous candy to console her...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Day Without a Project

I finished a pair of socks last night, and though that may seem a cause for celebration in the world of project-knitters, for a process knitter miles and miles away from the nearest LYS, life has just become very bleak.

The problem is as follows: I am a poor college student and the only transportation I currently have is a van with no brakes. Yes, that's right, the universe has tried and failed to kill Laura yet again. I am beginning to become bored with the many chaos-inspired attempts at my life. I am no longer suprised at the near fatalities. So I won't bother with the brake story. It's boring to me.

But that means that I can't get to the Shuttle Shop (my Warsaw haven) unless I hitch hike or discover previously hidden car-repair talent. I am stuck.

Without a project.

What is a girl to do?

Many friends of mine could argue that it is finals week, and that might be a good time to put the knitting away and study for a while. I disagree. I took such agonizingly boring classes this semester that I could care less what happens grade-wise. Really. I don't even plan on checking the grades. I just have lost all drive to achieve. That may be an improvement over the misery I put myself through over the past years of my life, but I don't see it as a cause for celebration or for grief. Just the usual apathy.

I have a bundle of double-pointed kneedles in my hand, more in my room, and only tiny scraps of yarn to knit into...nothing.

And seeing the holidays come closer and closer, I no longer have an excuse to blow all my money on yarn. I need to be a good girl and spend my money on Christmas presents and car repair. That way Laura won't kiss glass at sixty miles an hour when her brakes fail, or when the bald tires skid over ice, or when whatever it is that sends billowing, acrid smoke out of the van's engine poisons her and leaves her stranded in the snow, her frozen, cyanotic corpse still open-mouthed, since her sinuses forced her to become a Mouth Breather.

Yarn is just too expensive for a college student to buy in large amounts. I can't just build up a massive stash and pull down a fun color or texture when I'm bored. I'm stuck. Mom doesn't complain, but I think she has a bad feeling that I will begin to delve into her cashmere supply and knit a pair (I used the same kind of yarn for a gray pair of socks for myself). I mean, what is she going to do with so much red? There isn't enough for a sweater, or for a matching scarf and gloves. But there is just enough for me to knit her socks. And there is nothing in the world like cashmere socks. I promise.

Life is bitter and lonely. I have no wool to comfort me, no crisp pattern freshly printed off the internet or carefully written down in line by line instructions. No opportunity to create another sock pattern (I make my own now) or use one of Nancy Bush's beautiful vintage sock patterns.

I try to console myself with images of another day, a day with new yarn freshly wound into a ball, but it is of no use. My needles and I are forced to use the remainder of the day as one of rest, wearing perhaps my lounging socks made of hand-dyed silk and cotton or the forest green socks in the shell pattern made to precisely match the turtleneck I bought at Elder Beerman for practically nothing. Perhaps I will bring out my first pair, made from wool spun with aloe so that it conditions my feet as I wear them or the most recent pair, made from the same yarn used to make the Weasley sweaters in the first Harry Potter movie (Rowan Tweed). Maybe I'll put on my favorite blend of colors: Rocktober by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, a wool I knitted into a knit three, purl one ribbing that gives it a stretchy feel.

But in my heart I know it will not be enough. I will have all the socks in my lap, wondering which I should take apart and re-knit so I can have something to do.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ditch Mitch

I have a problem with Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana.

I know what you're thinking, "Laura, is there actually a polititian out there you don't have a problem with?" And I swear there are. I just haven't met one yet. But honestly, the problem I have with Mitch is personal.

The man tried to kill me.

Now, you might be thinking, "Yeah, way to go, Laura, throwing it all out of proportion again. What did the guy do, give you a splinter? Squeeze your hand to hard? Trip you with a poorly positioned campaign poster?" The answer is no. The actual event was much more direct. More tangible.

When dear old Mitch was running for office, he made the extravegant, gas-guzzling purchase of an RV, which he decorated with his catchphrase, "My Man Mitch," and painted in festive colors. He then toured the state, visiting each and every county. And on the day he drove through Wabash county, roaring down State Road 15 as he poured out Greenhouse gases, I was on my way home from church.

Everyone who knows me, or has read my blog knows the many complaints I have about my car.

We have a love-hate relationship, you see, we love to hate each other. When I do something nice for it, that action is reciprocated with a massive head-gasket blowout. Or worse. But the biggest complaint I have is that of the color.

Fill a glass with some water. Now walk outside. Stand on the asphalt nearest to your home. Now pour the water on the aspalt, taking care not to spill any on your clothing, shoes, or socks. Your skin will dry if moistened. Most medical experts agree that skin is waterproof.

The color that the asphalt has attained following the pouring of the water is the exact color of my car. The color of wet pavement. Now imagine a cloudy, stormy day. Are the colors not very similar, especially to the untrained eye? And can we not agree, that the nearest thing to an untrained eye in rural Indiana is any other driver on the road with you?

So, in short, my car blends in perfectly with the rain, the pavement, and the cloudy sky. This has almost resulted in my death several times. On the day that Your Man (he's not mine) Mitch was driving on State Road 15, it was cloudy. My car blended nicely with the clouds as I drove on State Road 15. Mitch and I were heading toward each other.

Now in a perfect world, Mitch and I would have passed each other. I would have thought, "Hey, would you look at that, they're still giving Republicans licenses to drive. Imagine that!" He would have thought, "What kind of an idiot doesn't buy stock in Big Oil and get themselves a new car with the profits?"

But this is not a perfect world.

So Mitch's driver was taking his half out of the middle of the road. The road I was driving on at that minute.

We grew closer. I began to be concerned. I had, since I do live in Indiana, no where to go. We have no shoulders on our country roads, just massive ditches guaranteed to make your call roll over faster than you can scream, "I never should have bought that SUV!" I decided to share a message with Mitch's driver. I began to wave my hands in a desperate gesture, directing the driver to move over in his lane. I even screamed for him to do so. I was certain he had still not seen the little tin can barrelling down the road toward him. I then honked my horn, continuing the wave and the verbal barrage.

Mitch took this to mean something different.

Perhaps his driver had told him about the crazy girl honking and waving as she screamed. Perhaps he thought, "wow, I couldn't do any better than having a voter as fired up as she is!" I don't know.

What I do know is that just as I began to lower my car into the ditch, slowing to a complete stop half in and half out of the chasm, Mitch Daniels stepped into the cockpit area of RV One. He smiled as my hazard lights, activated as a last effort to save my miserable life, glanced off the polished surface of his head. He waved and gave me a cheery thumbs-up as he whizzed by.

The air currents the RV displaced rocked my little car as I trembled in his wake.

Now let's talk science. The frame of his RV is positioned at least as high as a truck or SUV's, if not higher. I have a compact car that is shorter than anything I have ever parked next to, except for one bicycle at work last summer. The frame of my car would have fit neatly under that of his RV, shearing the top portion of my vehicle off along with my upper torso and head. This is a process I have dubbed "detorsification." Not only would I be killed in that action, I would also meet an unfortunate fate concerning my seat belts.

I have what one safety expert called, "suicide belts." The kind that automatically move across your chest when you sit in the car and close the door. In an accident, the belts in my particular car have been shown to snap like matchsticks or not bother to engage at all, resulting in the driver and passenger kissing glass at sixty miles an hour. Not the ideal Sunday lunch.

So, Mitch, honey. I really am sorry. But when you go on television and call for my support, encourage me to be physically fit (are you going to pay for that gym membership, buddy?) and tell me that hocking the toll road for a sweet chunk of change that would theoretically buy a lot of yarn but won't ever be used to fix the pock-marked, cratered road (SR 16) I live on, I have to say, I'll pass. Have fun down in Indy, but don't expect me to invite you back to stay. I have a no-tolerance policy for near fatal accidents/murders, and I don't usually give my support to people who have shown a conscious desire to see me dead.

Best foot forward

Nothing starts a semester off worse than being ill. More and more accumulates daily, forcing the student to overcompensate upon returning to class. It seems as if this fate often befalls me.

This semester, I missed over a week of classes after only being well enough to attend the first week in full. I missed all the logistical information, the last-minute assignments, the field trip information, the projects, the group work. Now I have too much to do and too little time in which to do it. The semester is drawing to a close and I could care less. I have done all the work I care to complete and that is it. I plan on being done. I'm taking Jan term off and not looking back. I don't care anymore.

And I have developed a singular attitude toward all this, one that may become hazardous to my GPA: "You can't make me!" I don't feel like studying, writing, or taking on gigantic projects single-handedly. Usually I force myself into action anyway, since I have nothing better to do. But one change has occurred since the Spring semester ended.

I began knitting, buying seasons of The X-Files and found a boy who didn't scream blue murder and claw at his eyes every time he saw me.

Of all those things, the one with the greatest impact on schoolwork-neglect ratios is the knitting. Certainly the most detrimental thing I ever could have done was pick up a knitting needle. Now instead of studiously examining texts, reading ahead, and making absolutely sure my grammar is perfect, I am turning heels, casting on, and weaving the toe closed. I am learning complicated patterns and shopping for yarn online all while pretending to write a paper.

And it doesn't just strike me at home! No, socks are PORTABLE knitting projects. That means that a person can easily find Miss Laura sitting through convo, a movie, or simply alone in the Lounge or the library while knitting faithfully at a project. Where once my friends saw me recline with a novel, now they find me with a new ball of yarn.

I shop the yarn sales, the discount bins, coming back with multi-colored strands of merino, smokey gray cashmere from Italy that exactly matches the color of my cat's fur, or a soft striping of gray, blue and green with aloe and jojobo oils in the strands, leaving your hands conditioned and soft as you knit, or your feet when you have completed the project.

I find hole-in-the-wall yarn stores born out of abandoned railway depots or in a strip of anonymous storefronts in Highland. I leave cradling bamboo kneedles, intricately carved buttons for the purse I plan to make over the winter.

Sleep becomes a thing of the past as I plan to work "just one more line" or turn the heel before curling into a wilted Laura puddle and sleeping away the cramps in my fingertips.

If the endless trips to yarn stores like Stich by Stitch in Highland, the Cass Street Depot in Fort Wayne, and, most importantly (because it is closest to me) the Shuttle Shop in Warsaw were not enough, I have discovered the glory of the knitting world ONLINE! There are a massive amount of websites dedicated to helping lonely knitters like me socialize, and before I knew it, I had found a soul mate in the person of another blogger: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, who knits and writes, just like me. Bless you, Stephanie! And will you teach me to spin?

I want a sheep now. A merino sheep. I will care for it, pet it, love it, and shear it, spinning and dying the fleece as I create my own individually crafted sock yarns. Don't tell me how absurd this is. I want one. I already have a sheep dog!

I have reached the point where I have created a photo album of the socks I have made, so thrilled by them that I plan on making them available for the world to see. I may be walking holes in them, but I can honestly know that their woolen souls will live on in blogging infamy for all time. Or at least until blogsource decides that this Idiot Girl is never coming back and wipes me from the internet as a whole. We'll see.

I Suck as a Blogger

Why?

For the same reason I suck as a human being. Too many people wanting too much from me in too short of a space of time. I would love to give you a sound and fascinating description of why I have not given you, oh glorious reader, something to pour over while pretending to work or study. But I don't have one.

In short, I have been writing, working, and home-work-ing myself into a coma, one that may go on for months.

But I get January off. Let freedom ring! No classes to bog me down, no horror of extra homework, and plenty of time to knit a sweater and finish my novel. Glorious.

Now, if only the stupid server would allow me to post blogs for you from everywhere, not just this crappy computer in a crappy campus computer lab, we would be in business.
BLOG DESIGN BY DESIGNER BLOGS