Monday, November 19, 2007

Yawn

My life is so boring, I keep forgetting it needs my participation.

Lately I have been killing myself trying to write a novel in one month, which should be impossible but somehow isn't. I was touring the Internet while avoiding actual work and discovered to my surprise that I still remembered my password after all! I was certain I had forgotten it, absolutley positive, but it turns out my old computer's update to Internet Explorer 7 made it impossible for me to use cookies and therefore log into this site. I thought I was just dumb. Turns out Microsoft is.

My new computer is a pretty little laptop that can not only burn CDs but DVDs as well. I don't even know if I can play those. I bought it because I am a writer and should write, and I know I will never do it if I am stuck at a desk. Especially because the desk is in the living room where every family member I have in the tri-county area spend most of their time. They also think it's cool to stand behind me and read over my shoulder, no matter what I'm up to. And on the first draft of a so-so work of fiction, that's just too much pressure. Did I mention that Dad likes to give editing advice on what he's reading? Yeah.

So now I can sit on my bed and do this thing. That is very, very wonderful. I also managed to discover something it seems every knitter in the world knew about but me, since I spent the whole summer and half the fall offline. Ravelry. Put your names on the list, people, it looks like fun. Plus, then there will be someone on the list behind me. I thought I was a savvy knitter! Please tell me I am not so deluded!

These entries, I hope, will become more frequent now that I don't have to explain them to my mother or tell my dad the address where he can read them for the umpteenth time.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Chronicles of the Monitor

My monitor was having some problems.

I tried to prod it awake with a gentle push of its buttons. It flickered, then went back to sleep. I unplugged it, tried again, nothing. Then I blamed Paul for breaking it, since I'm positive it was his fault, even if I can't quite figure out why.

That was when we took a trip to Best Buy, the adoption service I used to find my sweet, plasma screened monitor. The monitor vanished into the back room.

I went home, I waited. I drug the hulking, massive monitor over from my parent's computer, a machine that barely works on good days. I put it on my desk and hooked up the wires, noting sadly that it took up the full area of the desk, leaving hardly enough space for my keyboard and not enough for my poor mouse.

I waited the two weeks, then another two, waiting for my call. A trip to Fort Wayne is enough of an ordeal that I needed to be certain of the readiness of my monitor before embarking on it.

Finally, today, I staggered out of the house with my rescue inhaller clutched in my withered asthmatic hand to claim it. If they didn't have it, I would rip one of theirs free and take it home with me, along with an i-pod to make up for the time I had spent without it.

"Oh," said the pale-faced Best Buy Geek. "They junked that out. I'll get a computer person."

Thinking wryly that they should have informed me before throwing away one of my personal possessions, and that the description of a Geek Squad Member implies that the Geek is a computer person so there should be no need to call anyone, I stood with a smile stapled to my face.

Papers were thrown at me. I was handed a box.

I took the box home. And you know what?

This monitor is fifty-times better than my old one. To begin with, it has a wide screen, the glory of better resolution, and it matches my pc. I kicked the paperweight of my parent's monitor into the family room, and now I write, while the dog and cat play with the boxes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Two Cents

As the time for HP 7 draws ever closer, I have been assaulted by various friends and relations demanding my input as to how the book will end. I have been told by several of them that they believe Harry will die.

I, many months ago, took the time to write up my opinions, which I then posted on Facebook. This limits the number of people I can force to read it, so I thought it would be prudent to place it here.

I just have to say, after all these years of waiting for all the books to come out, I will be one disgruntled Potter fan if Rowling kills off Harry Potter. I don't think she will for several reasons:

  1. He is her moneymaker. Without a Harry Potter, she will lose the fan base which keeps her in a multi-million dollar mansion (presumably).
  2. No one will ever want to get involved in another book series she writes, because her readership will still be smarting from the loss of The Boy Who Lived.
  3. It would be bad writing.

Any English major could tell you that the only reason she would want to kill Harry is so that she can be excused from having to write more novels or from having to litigate with people who try to do it for her. It would be a cop-out, a way to make her life easier at the expense of the people who put her where she is now.

But then again--who will she kill? According to USA Today, two of the leading fan-run websites claim that Voldemort will be one of the casualties. But that leaves one more person. My mother says that Rowling stated that one person will be resurrected, brought back from death. If she's right, we can all guess that it will be either Sirius Black--since we don't know what was behind the curtain and if it was death--or Dumbledore.

I think Dumbledore is our man. Why? Because he is symbolically linked with the phoenix, which is reborn after death. Harry and Voldemort, the other two characters associated with the phoenix, have already returned from "death," Harry from the Muggle world and the Dursleys, which to him is separation from his true life and Voldemort from a disembodied exile.

Dumbledore has yet to do so. In support of this, we have his aged and careworn appearance before his demise, the song of the phoenix which came during his funeral, and the fact that Fawkes was no where to be found.

If Dumbledore is resurrected, there is a distinct possibility that he will be the other character to die. Since fans have been given time to grieve his loss and understand his sacrifice, the shock will not be so great as it could be.

However, I think the other character to die will be Snape.

He has the world convinced that he is evil and dedicated to Voldemort, but I beg to differ. He was asked by Dumbledore to keep an eye on Malfoy, to keep under cover as a Death Eater, and was forced to vow to help Malfoy achieve his goal of Dumbledore's death. He was seen by Harry to be arguing with Dumbledore, refusing to do something. What it was he was resisting, no one knows. I believe Dumbledore had a trump card, a plan of some kind which involved his death (or supposed death) as a way to strike another blow against Voldemort. By killing Dumbledore, Snape has cemented his position under the Dark Lord. His loyalty is no longer under suspicion, he has only one master. This places Snape at Voldemort's right hand. He can then make any move which he desires to get Harry to see Voldemort, to help Harry defeat Voldemort.

I believe Snape will be the second to die, and that he will die a hero's death and prove to the world that he is a good person. He will die to save Harry and allow him the chance to do what no other person could do, kill the Dark Lord.

BUT! IF Rowling kills Harry, the plot will not be resolved so smoothly. I think she will, if she chooses this path, come up with some kind of concept which makes Harry one of the Horcruxes. Voldemort has placed part of his soul in Harry, making it impossible to kill Voldemort without Harry killing himself, or one of Harry's allies killing him in order to slay the Dark Lord. This is a crappy and depressing end to the story.

But if I'm wrong about Dumbledore, Harry's connection to the phoenix becomes relevant. If Harry is the other character to die, it would make sense for him to be the one resurrected, because of the phoenix symbolism. Only one thing can be certain--I will be more angry than anyone has ever seen me if I lose my favorite literary hero.

This ends my mini-essay from Facebook.

However, since writing this, several people have suggested to me that Dumbledore might have used Horcruxes to save himself.

Excuse me? Dumbledore, use magic so dark and horrifically evil that Slughorn refused to even speak of it out of shame? Heck no. Dumbledore is a good guy. He would not resort to evil to prolong his life. Especially after the long talk he gave Harry in Sorcerer's Stone describing the way the wise approach death. Dumbledore did not fear death and therefore would not compromise himself to prevent his.

I will say again, I feel it in my bones that Snape will redeem himself.

Also, I project that it is a possibility that Harry might find himself as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, in fact, I project that Harry was destined for this position and that he will be the only person who can break the "curse" that prevents DA teachers from staying over a year at a time. Rowling set this up in Order of the Phoenix, when she showed how exhilarated Harry became while teaching his fellow students. Also, this will allow him to remain at Hogwarts.

Lupin is an awesome guy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Clarification

I use this blog as the sole outlet I have for what I am really feeling about an issue. Sometimes this makes people angry, but that happens when two people talk face to face too. The only difference is, when I argue with someone in person, I dissolve into a wreck of a person and take months to recover.

A friend let me know that a prior post about an argument was interpreted as my telling the world I was all right and the other person was all wrong. That was not the meaning of the blog.

I combined in that entry all of what was upsetting me at the time of writing it, a great many things, only one of which was that argument.

If the link is carefully read, it states that if a man does not make it clear to you what is intended in a relationship, it means he is "just not that into you." The same reasoning is applied if a man doesn't get back into contact with you. As I had been analyzing the argument I had, knowing that the person I had argued with had not attempted to contact me in response to the argument, the book I linked to came to mind. That was why the link was there. I felt like I wasn't wanted or desired. Therefore, I shared that feeling on the blog. I did not state that I was all right.

Then, I moved on to discuss what I planned to go on to do. I tossed off all the rage I had at my dad regarding issues we have, to be discussed with our therapist, I shrugged off the stress and pain of my illness, I forgave myself for the mess of classes and the decided atmosphere of underachievement that will emerge in my grades in the next few days, something that has caused me many tears. I left behind the fear I have about being well enough to work a regular job, something more than what I do at The Monitor, since I need another job to pay the bills. I also gave up the worry that I won't find a job that will pay enough or give me an environment I can work in with my health as it is. I gave up even more stress when I released the terror and fear I have about car shopping with my dad, knowing the many fights we will have resulting from the need to buy a new car and the conflicts of what I want versus what he thinks I should have. The final burden, the loss I feel after letting so many friends leave me behind, was also let go.

I should have explained this in a clearer way. I apologize.

Also, reading that excerpt and all of what it said about how a woman should be treated made me feel special. I liked that. I wanted to express that, but it may have been misinterpreted.

I've been stuck in my house, out of touch with my friends for a long time. Some of them read the blog, and they took what was written here as being related to the single recent event which they are aware of. There was and is a lot more going on with me than that.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hey Idiot Girls!

Laurie Notaro, the funniest writer I have ever known of and one of my personal heroes (just read how much it took for her to get published!) has a new book coming out May 29.

Here's a link.

A sigh of relief, uttered from deep within my soul

I just read something illuminating to a situation I have found myself in. It proves me to be excessivly right in all things. I am vindicated. I knew it all along. Here is the thing.

I am going out to buy this book, then I am never going to allow anyone to talk me into changing the strategy I was implementing prior to one year ago. I will use the book, at my bedside, to ensure that I remember to not forget.

I hereby declare myself free of all obligations, stressors, and negative stimuli! From this point forward I will be calm and I will focus on the aspects of my life that will give me the tools I need to succeed as a human being in the world. I will read. I will start writing, really writing, again. I will have a manuscript in my hand by the end of the summer, then I will start editing.

I feel as if I have been used, for when I needed support through my illness, I was left on my own. I will not allow myself to feel that way again.

My father taught me a lot, some of which left thick, deep emotional scars all over my psyche, but the most important (positive) thing he taught me lives immortalized in the excerpt I have linked to: I rock as a human being, I deserve only the best, I have vibrantly attractive qualities. I am going to trust Dad.

The master plan

Years have gone by since I bought my first MP3 player. I had just graduated from high school; back then an MP3 was the size of a brick and about as heavy. My player could hold a grand total of eleven songs. It took an hour to download them from Windows Media Player, and the sound quality was horrible. It ate batteries like I eat leftover Chinese food. Needless to say, that relationship did not last.

Christmas the year before last, I pulled one from a box. It was love at first sight, the shiny pink Sony player held hundreds of songs, almost every CD I had in my collection. I used it and used it. I set it up to play over my pathetic car stereo system while I drove, I wore it while I ran, we went everywhere together. I learned to knit socks with headphones on, took it on the walks between buildings on campus. I studied with it. I loved that thing, more than any other little electronic device I had ever met.

But then, my love grew to be too great. I bought too much music, and since I loved it all, I put it all on the little player. And it grew too full. Now it's pink belly is swollen with music, and I have even more waiting in the wings. I need more.

There is a plan in place.

Every birthday, I get money. This will go in the i-Box, where my MP3 money lives. My textbook buy-back money is in the box. If money remains after the car purchase, a portion will make up the difference. I am getting an i-pod. The one with the movies. I will get Monk. I will play it as I knit. There are knitting podcasts. Need I say more?

Life will be good. Very good.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Just a second...

Summer has arrived.

Paul has moved home. I know this because when I try to make a telephone call or connect to the internet, I hear the buzzing of a dial-up connection, already in progress. World of Warcraft has consumed such a larger portion of Paul's soul that there is no room for anyone else to have freedom of internet usage. The remainder of Paul's soul is consumed by console video games and family, in that order.

"Paul, want to go to the store with me?"

"Paul, it's dinner time!"

"Paul, I need you to clean the kitchen, please.'

Every question is answered with...

"Just a second."

I love having Paul home, but it would be nice if seeing him was included in that.

He has missed dinner, going to the movies, all things simply by not noticing the movement, sounds, cataclysms going on around him.

In the past, I have passively allowed for Paul to dominate the phone lines. I've gone to work if I want to have contact with cyberspace. I start up new hobbies, neglecting the blog, never checking my e-mail.

This year I have changed my mind.

Today, I kicked him off-line and took over, I searched for over an hour until I found two new recipes to try, part of the summer goal I have of expanding my repitoire in the kitchen. Then I left, went to the grocery, came back with the ingredients for fettucine alfredo and the English staple, fish and chips. Those are the experiments for the week.

The alfredo was good.

Now, back home, I just finished feeding my brother before I refused him the internet again. That's how it goes now. I get first pick. He gets the internet for gaming after the important things I have to do for work are finished.

Sorry Paulie!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

YES!

IT WORKED!

This is a test.

Can I post from work? Really?

I'm sitting here, waiting for my mother to call me back, realizing that I have left my cell phone in the car, and not caring. Perfect time to test the water.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Closing?!

When I started knitting seriously (I dabbled for years but only got addicted in the last year or so), I went only to Warsaw's The Shuttle Shop for wool. I loved that shop. But girls need their sock yarn fresh and new...

That was when I went to the Cass Street Depot for the first time. Mom needed shetland wool, and the Depot was, according to fellow knitters, the place to get it. The first time I walked through that door, I gasped. There was more yarn at the Depot than I had ever seen in one place.

I found sock yarn for my mother's birthday socks, and I discovered a gorgeous yarn I had never seen anywhere, even in magazines.

It was Koigu KPPM. I bought four skiens. At the time, I knew next to nothing about sock knitting. I had the mechanics down but nothing more. To me, if the yarn was the right weight, it made good socks. Therefore, I have two pairs of Koigu KPPM socks.

Some people may gasp in horror at that. But those are my favorite socks of all time. I will wear them until they fall off of my feet, then I will put them carefully away. No yarn colorway can compare to the parrot greens and raspberry pinks and purples swirled over those socks. They may not wear as long as socks with nylon, but they will wear better.

Rachael called me today with dire news. The Depot is closing. It seems the owner has had enough. She no longer wants to deal with the ins and outs of running a yarn store.

To Rachael and I, this is incomprehensible. Both of us dream of knitting for a living, neither of us has the capital to open a store of our own. Thinking of the Depot, we see an established client base, a beautiful location, in short: a business that wouldn't fail.

If I could suddenly inherit a massive amount of cash, sell an as-yet-unwritten novel, or heck--win the lottery--I would find a nice spot and open my own yarn store. Buying the Depot, to me, would be just as good, better, because I wouldn't have to struggle for funds in the first few years. Rachael and I want to wave our fingers and have the Depot as our yarn store, where we will teach classes and buy too much yarn and knit all day. We would host book signings and give the Yarn Harlot enough chairs so that all her audience members can sit down.

Then I come back to it again--the Depot is closing!

Where will I get my buttons? I have a sweater waiting for buttons right now, desperatly so, and I was only waiting to heal from my illness to rush up and buy some. Plus, I find all the best knitting books there, books I never even knew I wanted. Never even knew existed. Other patterns--the Depot is my place.

And the yarn.

I buy a lot of yarn online--it is just practical. But there are times when I walk into the Depot and just can't leave without something.

Why will I even go to Fort Wayne?

Sure, it has Jefferson Pointe, DeBrand's Chocolate, a Gap, but come on--if I am going to drive for that long, there had better be yarn at the end of my trip.

I know people who drive from all parts of Indiana to go to the Depot. Now where will they go?

I have a backup fancy yarn store, sans buttons. Warsaw is my everyday, but for the snazzy, special yarns (Debbie Bliss, anyone? Lorna's?) I go to Stitch by Stitch in Highland. I love that store too, but that is three hours from my house. Not a day trip.

I think I speak for a great many knitters when I say that this is a tragic day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Terror

I am immersed in French history right now, much more so than I would like. However, I have written all the papers I need to write except one, and that is a very good thing. Tomorrow I will write the last one.

Tomorrow I will also study for my Ed. Psych final, which shouldn't be so bad. The professor has supplied us with a study guide. We are in college and we have a study guide. This is odd to me. I thought study guides were a high school thing.

I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, though.

As classes are ending, my thoughts move to the summer. The summer. My favorite time of year. I can knit my way through the hottest months of the year, which is a joy, but I also have other plans.

Unlike during most summers, I have decided to record these plans and share them with the world. This way, I can hold myself accountable.
  1. I want to go to the zoo.
  2. I want to visit at least two knit shops that I've never seen before. While there, I will scout out different sock yarns and laceweights for future use. I also plan on signing up for as many newsletters as possible.
  3. I must finish the redecoration of my bedroom. I need to install new window hardware, find a valance, and shampoo the carpet. I also want to do something about my bookcase and the little shelf I keep my tv on, since neither match the furniture.
  4. I am going to scour through all of the childhood debris in the basement, my closet, under my bed, and other places. I will keep what is meaningful and important, all other things will be given to other kids or destroyed.
  5. Once I have gone through my basement debris, I plan to paint the walls and the floor which has been damaged by the water which once poured from the water heater, water softener, and washing machine. Now that those are fixed, the basement can be nice. After that is done, I want to turn part of the basement into my yoga studio.
  6. I will get the stock situation under control, get the money, and then turn around and put that money into good use--I will replace my peice of crap car and then hope that my former car dissolves and absorbed into the dark, cold place it deserves.

I don't need to do these things in any particular order, I just want them done. I especially need that car. Right now.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Just a few more complaints, I promise.

Finals are coming and I don't want to study. Why, may I ask, do so many professors base their entire semester grade on one test? That makes me obsess even more than usual.

All I really want to do is enjoy the weather. It is gorgeous outside. And, after a small investment, my family is now the proud owner of an interim grill.

Paul and Mom cleaned off the fancy gas grill at the end of last year. This was because:
  • Dad thinks grills do not need to be cleaned after cooking. This means that the nasty, charred remains of every meal he cooks on our grill remains there until it reaches a state in which it is too charred to cling to the grill. Then, it either falls into the flame and starts a small fire, or it affixes itself to the food we consume. Can you say gross?
  • Dad also believes that, since grilling takes place outside, it means grills do not need any kind of care and may be left outside, rain or shine, all year long.

After noticing the pathetic state of the grill and knowing her only daughter was inches away from swearing off barbecue altogether, Mom and Paul began to scrub.

However, when they removed the top to clean the inner workings, they found that the heat source dissolved into rusty sand. Dad killed the grill.

All last year, we had no barbecue. It was miserable.

Yesterday, that changed when Mom and I bought a dinky little charcoal grill that was most likely designed for tailgating. We, however are using it to both take the place of the big grill and to guilt Dad into drilling a few tiny holes into the gas grill, rendering Paul able to install the replacement heat source. This five minute task has taken nearly a year for Dad to complete so far.

I just finished the marinade for the veggie kabobs I plan to contribute to dinner tonight. It is only three thirty and I already want dinner just so I can have an excuse to start cooking. Maybe I'll just cut up the pepper and onion...

Friday, May 11, 2007

It came...

I waited all week for the mail; living in the country is marvelous but having to wait twice as long for packages can be killer. Having placed the order on Sunday, I knew it would be a long time coming, but I didn't care. I was too sick to go to the yarn store at that point, and all I wanted was a fix.

Finally, though, as I sat on the couch today, right after my last post, working on a sock, the doorbell rang. I rushed over, soothed Darcy (the pup), and took the package, a slim brown envelope. I knew what it had to be.

Lace Style, edited by Pam Allen and Ann Budd, containing the pattern for my Lacy tank top, the Essential Tank.

I had purchased the yarn on Wednesday, denim-colored Misti Alpaca lace weight. The pattern called for the yarn to be doubled, so I bought seven skeins. They waited on the top of the stash...

But no longer. I cast on this afternoon, right as Dad pulled into the driveway following a week long trip to Colorado where he hiked in the mountains and attended his sister's graduation ceremony.

I was lucky enough to get gauge right away--I cast on with a size seven needle instead of a size six, my tension is so tight that I always start with one size larger and then move up or down if needed.










Sorry the pictures are blurred, I did the best I could with my hopeless camera...











Unfortunately, the needles I have in a size seven are as dull as all get out--inadvisable with a fine yarn and a lace pattern, especially with my tension. I've fallen in love with Addi Lace needles, so I am dragging the corpse to Warsaw tomorrow to visit The Shuttle Shop [This isn't their page--they aren't online, but it has a good description of what the shop has and other LYS in Indiana, which is great to have], where I hope Kathy can hook me up with a pair.

I bought a size four pair when Addi first released these beautiful implements, and I fell right in love with them. They are sharp enough and lack the slippery coating that would cause dropped stitches when working with a lace weight yarn. Also, and I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, they have a distinctive smell of pennies.

This makes me think of Dad.

As a child, Dad worked at CMI, Wabash Cast Aluminum. Every day, when he came home from work, smelling of molten steel and covered in bits of tiny metal that gleamed in his hair and rained down onto the carpet as he pulled off his work boots, he would empty out his pockets of his wallet, his pocketknife, and his change before going into the basement for his shower. He put these items into his Work Basket, on the top of the refrigerator. The basket held bills, coins, and the bullet that ricochet up and hit Dad in the bum when he went hunting and had a friend that forgot gun safety.

When the basket became too heavy, Dad would pull it down and thump it onto the dining room table after dinner. Paul and I would then crawl up onto the dining room chairs and kneel on them, leaning over the table, and seperate out all the pennies from the nickels, dimes, and quarters. Then we would pour the silver into the basket again along with the bullet and the envelopes. Paul and I could keep the pennies; we would count them and put them in careful piles of ten each before dividing them evenly between our two piggie banks.

The smell of Addi Lace needles reminds me of all that.

Finally!

I am a tall and skinny girl. For my skinny-ness, I am a very tall girl. AND I am long waisted.

As you can imagine, this makes jean shopping dissolve me into uncontrolled sobbing or leaves me hating myself and my appearence more than I can ever explain without seeming incredibly arrogant to all of you. Stated simply: no one can be shaped any way other than "average" and buy jeans in this country.

Some people still think you have to look like a model to shop without pain. That isn't true either. I have been accused of being statuesque, even model-like in shape (we won't touch on appearance, that would ruin the mood and make me cry again). No, in this country with our expainding waist (and every other) lines, you have to be at least four inches or more shorter than me to be as thin as I am (which they believe is a child size) and at least thirty pounds heavier in order to get jeans as tall as I am.

Maybe if I was willing to buy five-hundred dollar jeans, this would be different. But I, hardened by the hell of jeans shopping, still will not pass the hundred-dollar mark.

I spend hours at The Buckle looking for jeans that fit. When I finally find them long enough that fit in the waist, it doesn't matter what style I am buying, I just go for it. So even though I would kill for a real pair of "skinny" jeans with their long, straight legs, I must buy huge flares which embarrass me simply because they fit.

Buying jeans is painful for me, it is even worse for my 30" 36" brother.

We had both given up hope. Then I was reading Grumperina, and I saw a link for True Jeans.

Jennifer, check this place out.

They take your measurements, your body type, your height and weight, and compute what fits of what jean brand will fit you best of all. This service would work even better for me if I was willing to spend as much for jeans as an i-Pod, but it still lists hundreds of pairs of jeans for me and doesn't crowd the site with pairs that won't fit me.

They have skinny jeans. Boot-cut. Capris.

This place is amazing. I didn't cry once. They even have little stars that tell you just how good the fit will be. And for cheap girls like me, they let you sort by price.

This might sound like an advertisement and maybe it is, but I have to tell you, these people deserve one.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Toe up

I'm trying to be a dedicated sock knitter.

It is my goal to try everything and anything, to make certain that I have mastered the art of the knitted sock. I want to be able to pick up any pattern at any time and knit it; I want to take whatever tools are at my disposal and use them, no matter if they are double pointed needles, circular needles, or herbs and a spell book.

I've read Cat Bordhi's books on the circular needle fad, I've tried that. I'm not a fan. But that's okay! I can forgive myself for my lack of enthusiasm there, the reason is simple. I want to recapture with knitting what has been lost in our Wal-mart culture. I honestly believe that we shouldn't take for granted the fact that we can run out and buy socks five for a dollar, I want to understand that there was effort put into their construction, that someone worked to give me these socks.

I also want to be able to remember, every time I pick up my yarn, the fact that my grandmother knitted socks for her whole family doing the exact same thing I am doing right now. She turned the heels. That was her thing. No one else in the family could turn heels as well as Gran. Although she died before she had the chance to see me knit a sock, turn a heel, graft a toe, I know she would have been proud. The torch was passed. Honestly, that history alone makes me incapable of giving up my DPNs.

As I flipped through the new IK, I read an article on toe up socks, where instead of starting with the leg, turning the heel, knitting the foot, and grafting the toe, you cast on, knit the foot, the heel, the leg, then cast off.

How freaky is that?

My first thought was that this idea would just be wrong. Then I thought it would look ugly. Then, I decided it had to be done.

I cast on. I made myself a toe. I turned the heel, I worked up the leg. Let me tell you what: it looks exactly the same.

But still, I am not a fan. I am a traditionalist. I have the way I make socks, and that is not going to change barring the advent of new, sturdy, non-warping wooden DPNs that won't stab me when I trip and fall on them and still is sharp enough to do lacework.

A fish out of water

Asthma is the most uncomfortable thing I have ever been diagnosed with, and I have been diagnosed with a lot of stuff.

I thought endometriosis was the worst, but even having major surgery was a walk in the park compared to sitting all day on the couch, straining to pull air into my seriously deflated lungs.

I can't concentrate, I can't read, knit, or even really sleep. It is like all those dreams I have had for the last year of being smothered are coming true in real life, and this is not a fun experience for me.

I went to the doctor again yesterday and left with more drugs than Woodstock. He said this treatment would keep what I call The Alien Baby from trying to burst out of my chest as I work on making myself a nice, Laura-shaped dent in the sofa cushions. I hope so.

In the meantime, I have been shopping online. I have been fiddling with little mini-projects, like learning to cast on for the toe of a sock using the Eastern Method in the new summer 2007 IK. I think it would have been pretty funny to watch, I've never grumbled quite as much as while working with four needles and eight stitches.

Now that I am feeling just a tad better, today (I'm off the medicine that made The Alien Baby grow) I am about to start on the massive stack of papers I need to write for all the classes I have been neglecting.

I have to:
  1. Write a lesson plan
  2. Write a paper on my field experience
  3. Write an essay about ethical journalism (which I doubt really exists)
  4. Read a bunch of chapters in varied texts in preparation for the finals which are...next week
  5. Think thoughts to foster healing which will allow survival through the next week and beyond

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Welcome Home Laura

Ahh, to post from home again.

I had so many problems with my old site, I had to trash it and move forward in any way I could. Now, I am here, with all my quirks and obsessions, for the convenience of those friends who like me well enough to drop by and visit.

I have been reassured that this program is mac-friendly, which I appreciate.

I also must say, the spell check is a nice touch.

I will be re-posting blogs from my old site as time goes by, but I first wanted to put something up so I could look at my crappy monitor as it frizzles away and think, "I did something this afternoon after my doctor's appointment."

It also will allow me to forget that the book I ordered, Lace Style, edited by Pam Allen, has not yet arrived and may not for several days. And that I don't already have the yarn for the first project I plan to begin from said book. And that I don't have the first ball wound double stranded. And that I didn't find enough stitch markers and place them in the basket. And that I didn't find needles in all the right sizes.

So this is like, a distraction. Or something.

It only has to last for about another fifteen minutes, though, because then I head off to the Manchester College Knitting Circle's weekly meeting. My health has been horrible, I have been confined to bed, but I refuse to miss a meeting.

Look for pictures, older posts, and more entertainment as time goes by...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Nose Knows

I hate my nose.

Not the way it looks, the way it works. It seems to me that at all moments, there is something or other going catastrophically wrong with that organ.

It began in my childhood, with me sleeping on one side, then the other, in order to ensure that I had at least one working nostril. Thus able to partially breathe, I would drift off into a fitful sleep peppered with villainous individuals attempting to smother me with varied objects.

My mother would try to help. She would give me hot, boiling bowls of water, have me l
ean over them, then drape a towel over my head in order to trap the steam and allow me to breathe it.

Bless her, this only made the problem worse. I was forced to gasp like a fish for air as my nose closed further and further off.

I would salvage pillows from all corners of my home, making a kind of ramp for my back and head which would keep me sleeping in a sitting position. For years, I would awake wondering why I could not find the air in my room, only to realize that Mom, in her infinite kindness, had thought I was uncomfortable and had removed the additional pillows.

Later, as time went by, I began treating my allergies with an array of noxious chemicals, none of which had any effect.

I did amateur duct work to prevent heat from entering my room, and had many arguments with Dad about the open window I left in my room in the dead of winter. I was allergic to the dust and mildew in the vents, and the heat kept my nose blocked off completely.

Then I made an excessively expensive purchase of a humidifier, which I used to fill my room with enough humidity to keep my throat from closing off when the heat went on, which would consequently prevent me from sleeping or kill me.

I tried more noxious chemicals. I threw out all my scented belongings, then my mom's, then my dad's. I selected the laundry soap, the dish soap, the candles, the shampoo.

After 22 years of struggling, I finally resorted to the only treatment that yeilded any results, regardless of the consequences. I became a chronic user of nasal spray. I admit I am addicted, but what can be wrong about finally being able to draw an unhindered breath?

All day I have been without this glorious compound, and I am in the worst pain imaginable. I feel like my head is in a vice. I know, that in exactly thirty minutes, I will speed to CVS to get my fix. I will tear open the cardboard, rip away the plastic safety seal, prime the pump, then give myself the sweet relief I long for. Then, breathing deeply, I will drive home.

We have vaccines for polio, smallpox, cures for the plague, treatments for cancer and malaria. Why then, does no one think to create some kind of working solution for people like me, with no relief from chronic allergies?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Places Like This Make Holy People Go Blind

There is a jazz bar near Aimee's house.

This was where we, the cool, the adult, the mature post-college and college students would go on our visit to Michiana. We would have a Night Out. There would be Music. Not just Music, but Jazz.

Aimee, being the kind, sweet, innocent young woman that she is, was concerned.

"Are you sure this will be okay?" she asked for the sixteenth time as we entered her mother's car (her own being far too filled with the Essentials of Commuting to support THREE WHOLE people. If you are a commuter student, you will understand). "I don't want you guys to be uncomfortable..."

We, Jennifer and I, assured her we certainly had seen far worse in Peru alone, nothing else could shock us. We shared horror stories from Miami County, complete with bathrooms too filthy and potentially hazardous for Roman to allow us to enter. Rooms with smoke so thick, one could not find the bar, let alone order, and places where the bartenders needed help knowing what alcohol went into what drink, since they were only ever asked for beer.

Aimee was not consoled.

She was certain this place, Phoenix-something, as she told us, would be nicer than that piano bar, Rumrunners, which had horrified her on her 21st birthday. This place, recommended by her father and several other companions, was bound to be (as she said) "classy."

This was hard for my Aimee. She goes to Bethel. She could be lynched or burned as a witch, for even being seen with Jennifer and I, who by Bethel's standards were so evil that the sun flinched away from us during the daylight and clouds covered the moon when we ventured out that night. So horrible among women that our red-tinted eyes lit the city streets as we...danced.

Bethel is heating the pyre for Aimee.

We have decided to meet at the Skin Pit. Maybe Hell can finally deal with some of our incurable lesions, which some refer to as zits.

The bar had a guy, a nice guy, checking ID when we entered. He was the same age as my father, and a poor excuse for a bouncer. His arms were as skinny as mine, and he looked about as mean as the guy at my church who makes sure to shake everyone's hands before they leave.
He was the best part of that bar. We should have sat by him, talked to him, and gotten to know him, seeing as he was the only part of The Phoenix which was, well, savory. Bless him.
We found a seat in the corner by an old and unused piano. Aimee and Jen began to discuss the wimpyness of Bethel music students. They don't know their keys, can't transpose, and many other things. Aimee reported that she is planning on telling potential employers that she took her music classes at Manchester.

And, Dad, remember? You wanted me to visit Bethel? Apply there?

In your face.

Then the band came out.

This is where things get a little freaky.

This is where the fifty and sixty year old band members take the chair-lift up onto the stage so their hips won't give out, pull up their pants and hold them there as they sing, and begin the music.

The singing prompted my friend Jennifer, who knows the music these men were singing (better, even, than those who were singing it), to being her commentary.

"TOM PETTY!" she would cry at the end of each song, pulled from the late fifties, and sixties. "FREEBIRD!!!!!"

Soon she realized these men had removed their hearing aids before the show and began to simply mutter: "Sing it right..." followed by an outcry of, "IF YOU ARE GOING TO HARMONIZE, DO IT RIGHT!" while screaming in my ear, "HE ISN'T A THIRD ABOVE!"
This meant something to poor Jen.

In the meantime, the drunks had staggered off their bar stools, pushed away their more-sober friends, and waddled out onto the dance floor. While the lead singer used his elbows to secure his pants as he grasped the microphone, my personal hero, Mrs. Mom Jeans, reeled onto the floor.
Now she might have been Ms. Mom Jeans, I don't know.

Either way, she had affection for her partner. Great affection.

Her spindly hands reached, down, down, to her dance partners buttocks. She grasped, and kneaded her target like bread dough, possibly attesting to the age of the man in question and its effect on the elasticity of his skin.

At first I did not realize what I was seeing, thinking that it must have been some kind of optical illusion. But when other inebriated, staggering grandparents drug themselves onto the floor, I knew.

I had a friend. He bent towards me from his table, continuously asking if I could see the stage. He seemed to think that the lead singers profuse sweating had drawn me to this bar, or that I would fall helplessly into drunken admiration with him (impossible, since I had no noxious liquid clenched in my hands).

"Can you see?" he yelled at me, followed by several gestures and mouth movement that may have been an indicator of continued speech.

"What?!" I shouted back.

"Yeah!" he said, then staggered away.

Meanwhile, the throng of dancers was growing. A moderately young woman was on the floor, bumping and grinding in a way that did not befit her rapidly decaying joints. As if the physical contact was not enough to convince her dance partner to take her home with him, now, she began to draw him to her with the allure that only someone with a fifth of Jack Daniels coursing through their bloodstreams can, by prying her shirt from her ample muhoogilas, thrusting them in the direction of her partner, and displaying her camisole, which was not fufilling its duty.

At this point, Aimee had paled. She begged me to tell her if I was offended. I was laughing too hard to answer. My response was only to scrawl on a fragment of notebook paper a sketch of myself, blind, led by my dog on another visit to Aimee's.

Underneath, I wrote carefully, neatly in the half-light: "It's things like this that make holy people go blind."

Friday, February 9, 2007

Classes

I apologize, everyone. I seem to ignore the blog whenever classes begin, which is a terrible way to treat you. However, I learned from prior experience that if I begin work on the blog shortly after classes start, I don't slack off as much.

Ha. Yeah. Maybe...

This semester I am taking only courses I want to take. For fun. Unusual, I know. How can a person like me handle it? I mean, piano? Journalism? These classes are just pulled from thin air! How can I survive without some course that makes me absolutely miserable and makes me want to drop out and join the circus?

I might be able to handle it.

In truth, sitting here, holding my brand new, clean, wood-scented Editing Pencil (no eraser, editors don't make mistakes) I can think of nothing negative about the courses I am taking.
It's the weather I keep thinking about. It is cold in Indiana right now, so cold that one cannot feel one's hands after mere seconds in the elements. And classes are not all in one building, certainly not. Plus I have to park.

I began the week in a pea coat, military cut, of a charcoal coloured wool. I went to Fort Wayne, spent some time with Mom, and ended up coming home on Monday with something better suited to the weather, a coat that completely erases any hint of "womanhood" from my profile, but makes me more toasty warm than I can ever remember being in a coat of any kind. I spent the beginning of the "winter" here knitting up a pair of pathetic excuses for mittens. I love them, nonetheless, but I have noticed something while wearing them and the new coat.

They don't match.

Sure, both are blue, but it looks as if a new set of knitted mittens are in my future. That is something I dread.

Here's the thing: no one ends mittens in a good way! I can't bind off without them looking pointy or just square, and I hate it. I solved the problem on my first pair by kitchner stitching the end like a sock, then sewing the corners on the inside to make it look rounded. It feels TERRIBLE on the inside, plus it makes the mittens feel too small for the pinkie fingers. And the thumbs are in the wrong place.

I bet I'll have to make another pair anyway. And then a matching scarf, since the one I just made looks nasty with the coat.

I miss the warm.

Friday, February 2, 2007

For Jennifer (Again)

The dark-clothed villain tiptoed through the library, the candlelight flickering ominously against aged leather tomes. Visible in the half-light was the form of a woman. The intruder knew that, if light had been stronger, he would have seen her uncontrolled mass of hair, barely shaped into a recognizable style, her pale, almost translucent skin, her gangly limbs akimbo as she leaned over her knitting. The nameless foe grew closer, closer, until he could see the yellow light touch the girl's gown, the handwoven Scottish wool blanket, her custom-made socks. He crept nearer, making no noise, he had carefully been trained not to do so.

He reached out his hand...

"Ahh!" cried his victim, unleashing a blood-curdling scream, loud enough, the villain thought, to awaken the entire household. He whirled to flee, only to find himself face to face with the business end of a sword.

"Unmask yourself!" demanded Laura. The other woman put down her knitting and removed a wig, which Laura had carefully constructed from her own hair. Laura had drafted her handmaiden, Emma, to take on this dire task, in hopes of drawing the killer out. She had clothed her friend in a dress from her own wardrobe, so the intruder could not be suspicious.

The black-clothed fiend pushed back the hood from over his head, unwound the dark bandages that concealed his face, and stood without guise before the two women.

"You're kidding me," Laura snapped. She put down the weapon. "I cut my hair for this, you freak!" she sighed dramatically. "Do you know how hard it's going to be to get it that long again? Come on!"

"It's true," said Laura's handmaiden. "Who do you think has to style it?"

Laura gave the other woman a significant look.

"Sorry, Miss," Emma replied.

"It's not as if he hadn't already noticed," Laura soothed. "Andy!" she shouted, "You can call the whole thing off."

"Tee Hee!" the intruder laughed. "You really went to a lot of trouble! The look on your face!"

"You punk!" Laura groaned.

"Oh, you were scared!"

"Daaad."

"But you weren't expecting me, were you? You thought I was some killer!" Laura's father, village idiot and pastor of Ro'an, gave her a gleeful smile.

"Honestly, if you keep this up, the next time someone really tries to kill me, I'll just let them do it since I'll think it's you."

"You know you love it!" he replied.

"No, Dad, I really don't."

He grinned back, and she knew he would never stop. From the moment of her birth, he had begun to pop from around corners and shout, bang on windows at night, and sneak up to frighten her. She only hoped he would be prepared to stop her reflexive strike if he frightened her while she was armed.

"So, when are you seeing Andy this week?" he asked, five times in rapid succession.

"He's here now."

"Oh," her father became suddenly nervous.

Andy walked through the door to the library, holding a sword of his own, drawn.

"It was just my dad again," Laura told him.

Crestfallen, since he had longed for the opportunity to prove himself once more in battle, Andy sheathed his blade.

"And you wondered why I have trust issues," Laura said.

Just then, the door flew open once more, with Lady Hannerstein flying through it, her long blonde hair streaming behind her, trails left by tears marking her cheeks.

"Jennifer!" Laura gasped. "Whatever is the matter?"

"We are overrun!" sobbed her friend. "You must protect me. The Horde has taken Gre'valu! All is lost."

Laura, amazed at how some people could cry and still not look like that thing that burst out of that guy's stomach in Alien, took her friend's hand. "Don't worry, Jen. We'll think of something. Until then, I promise we'll keep you safe."

"I don't see how," Jennifer replied. And with that, she swooned in a dramatic and very real fashion. Shocked, Laura's father managed to catch Jennifer before she struck her head on the pianoforte, which would have been incredibly painful, and something the author would not wish upon her friend even in the fictional sphere. Even though it would have been marvalously climactic.

Upon seeing the terrible fate that had befell Lady Hannerstein, Emma fainted, falling gently onto the couch as if she had planned her desent. Which she probably had.

"Wow," Laura's father said. "This swooning thing is getting to be real popular. All the young ladies seem to be doing it," he looked meaningfully at Laura.

Our heroine sighed, picked up her knitting from under her handmaiden, and sat on her cushioned stool before the fire. Looking up at her father's expectant glance, she rolled her eyes, "Not going to happen Dad."

A pity the girl is so stubborn; it would have finished off this scene in a wonderful Tableau.

What can an author do?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weak

I have no idea what is happening to me.

As days go by, I seem to become more and more exhausted. Every day, I have trouble waking up, getting out of bed, getting dressed, you name it. Now, those of you who have read the shiny pamphlets in your doctor's office will tell me, those are symptoms of depression. But here's the thing--I'm not sad!

I'm happy. In fact, I'm ready to do stuff, like go to the mall, study, learn, see a movie, visit with friends, anything. I want to knit!

I have been to the doctor, he has nothing to offer me. I've had umpteen blood tests, nothing. I'm beginning to wonder if this thing isn't psychosomatic, but then I would have other symptoms besides the physical, right?

When I was younger, feeling this way would have been evidence to me that I was about to shoot up another four to five inches in height. I don't think that's going to happen for me. At least not in this lifetime.

Here are the illnesses Web MD has told me to look into:





That's right. Apparently, unless I am about to off myself or others in a violent way, or near death due to a critical illness, I am doing great.

So Laura, working together with a search engine and several living medical professionals, has determined that, whatever her illness might be, no one can say.

This is immensly, immensely frustrating. I cannot tell you how annoying it is to have a to-do list and not feel up to doing anything on or around it. I am sick of waking up and not getting out of bed for HOURS afterward, not feeling up to go out or to take Darcy for a run.

I spent all last semester struggling with this. I had hoped that the break I took during this month would have allowed for some manner of recovery. That was too much to wish for. Now all I can do is push myself, day by day, until this goes away or until I suddenly fall dead and the doctors finally figure out what was the matter with me.Until then, I will watch House Tuesday, then go to class the next, all the while pretending that I want to be doing all the things I do, and am not just killing time until I can fall asleep again. Sigh.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Darcy the Pup

photo


My baby. She is adorable here, in the first months of her puppyhood, helping me drive to Griffith. Don't lecture me, this happened for a total of three minutes, just intended to take the picture.

Okay, I understand. My love affair with my Darcy is none of your concern and you do not really care about seeing pictures of her. So if you don't want to see pictures of her, here is your solution:

Don't come to this blog anymore.

Beep...............Beep...........

Beep..................

I swear. Every five minutes. Like it was on a timer or something!

It is. But still!

For the life of me, this cell phone is beyond my comprehension. I got this thing barely a month ago, and still, I cannot figure the thing out. I can answer a call. I can hang up. Most of the time, I can text message, although at times, it will not send for some reason.

Supposedly, I can send pictures.

This is impossible. Paul and I have tried everything. We have activated something called Bluetooth, which Andy says helps my phone make new friends with other things (or at least that is how I understood it) and teaches it to share. My phone does not work and play well with others. It also must be some kind of Existentialist, because it refuses to acknowledge the existence of anything beyond itself.

And then there is the beeping.

On my old phone, which the company gave out for free (so it was cheap and crappy) I could tell I had missed a call because the little rubber handheld-things on the sides would gently flash with colored light. I would smile, undo the keylock, and check who had called or texted me.
On my new phone, the blasted thing begins to call out to me in the most annoying way possible, atonal beeps, spaced evenly apart in a manner which convinces me that the beeping is over just before it begins again.

Here is what I have tried to make the beeping stop:

1. I have gone into settings and placed Reminders on Silent. This silenced the entire phone.

2. I have silenced everything EXCEPT the ringer. This made everything silent, except for the beeps.

3. I have silenced the phone. This resulted in my inability to find said phone, because it is super-skinny and lightweight, so I cannot find it and calling it results in...more silence. The phone has been lost in my car, purse, room, couch cushions, office, and (somehow) yarn stash.

4. I read ALL the instructions (not just the ones I thought mattered for my problem) in hope that the issue I needed help with was hidden away in Changing the Language of Your Phone or Color Schemes or even Taking Pictures. It wasn't.

5. I prayed.

This last one I am sure will work. If it is the will of God. Maybe. I don't know.
The steps I have not taken:

1. Called Centennial Wireless. Reason: They will just attempt to sell me add-ons or to try to convince me that I need to pay the fees and replace my shiny new phone. Or they will just do what they did when I bought the phone, throw it at me and tell me I'm all set and then escort me out so they can take care of the next customer.

2. Asked Andy to learn my phone and explain it to me. This would be shameful for me, I could not bring myself to so admit defeat. Besides, he has enought technical things to learn without my phone being among them. And then, how would I know how to do it myself? Maybe someday I will want the beeping. Will I be able to bring it back?

I have begun to turn off my phone. For no reason. Also I have begun to leave it in the car, or my purse, or just at home in order to avoid our little disagreement. I don't want an argument. I mean, it is just doing its job. Who am I to judge?

But I just want a little peace. The other night, it wouldn't stop no matter what button I pressed and I had to sleep with it all the way across the house and I STILL could hear it. Then in the morning I realized that I could have just turned the thing off. I was sleepy.

Plus, there is the ringtone thing. I would love to change the ringtone, by downloading something fun and putting it on the phone. But I can't figure out how to make that happen. I can't even find ringtones without them being on sites with porno people on them. This is wrong.

And to make matters worse, people from Dad's work--church--have figured out that I answer my phone way more than him (maybe because part of me hopes that the ringing means I have friends. So I have now become his answering/secretarial service WITHOUT EVEN GETTING PAID FOR IT! In the past week, two people (one of them crazy--I am totally serious--have called me and left messages for him).

As of this moment, I am announcing to the world:

I am not my father!

Nor will I take messages for him not transmitted via the home phone. You know the number.
I do not know, or care, where he is right now. If he comes home, good. But otherwise, it saves time and energy just to assume that he ceases to exist when he leaves our house. Then I don't have to remember whether tonight is prayer meeting or Hands of Hope. Besides, in this family, caring = worry and I have enough to obsess about. So I choose something that will lead to less acidic stomach acid.

I do not want to have to spend twenty minutes assureing you that I am not angry at you for making this mistake. If you want to see me angry, call me from your Sprint phone or landline and suck my minutes dry. Then ask me if I am angry.

I will no longer pick up the phone if it does not tell me who you are on caller id. I paid for that for a reason.

I used to get paid to be a secretary, but I don't anymore. If you would like to employ me to answer your calls and connect you to the appropriate pastor, let me know. We can work something out.

And, finally, Centennial: do not text me with elaborate sales pitches. If I want more minutes or a companion plan, I will come to you. I know where you live. And if you want to keep those blue shirts of yours nice and clean, don't tell me to relax. I'm not angry. But I will be...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Yummy Yarn

I found the most delicious yarn the other day.

Dearest Aimee took me to Erica's in South Bend, which I admit I underestimated.

The commercials do not do that place justice. It was like my mother's craft closet had been expanded, shelf after shelf of crafty things, all layered on top of each other. As I walked in, I thought the store seemed cluttered, was sure it was similar to the Indian yarn shop in Kokomo, which is filled with LOTS of stuff, just no good stuff. I was wrong.
Walking up to each shelf, I saw a well-organized collection of good and amazing GREAT yarn. The cluttered appearence only existed due to a desire to have as many projects as possible by utilizing all the space the building has to offer.
I found beautiful raspberry silk yarn from Nepal. I wanted it.

I found gorgeous Andean wool, hung in hanks, in every color of the rainbow. I found finger-sized twists of laceweight yarn made for charity.

And I found cotton. Hand painted. Peach and raspberry, lilac and grape, every shade of green... I brought home a pet skien:









This is Patagonia, a glorious cotton made by Araucania Yarns. This is a Chilean company I had never heard of until walking up to a pile of colors.

I couldn't keep it like this forever and still have it on my person at all times, so I rolled it into a ball which lived in my purse for some time.But finally I decided I needed a project to make it into, something I could carry with me and show people without them thinking I was insane (I have some people up north who are VERY concerned about me...).
















Here is the project in progress.




























The needles are from Lantern Moon and made of Rosewood. Very posh.


Incidentally, up north I also finished another project, the socks of Mountain Colors yarn Paul bought me for Christmas.




It was a close call...there was only this much left at the end...

















Yeah. That's an egg. Plus a quarter. And the tiny ball of yarn.

The pattern is from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road collection. It is called "Whitby" after a town in northern England.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Movies

Last night, in need for something to see at the movies, I went with some friends to see Night at the Museum for the second time. We really wanted to see a movie, and since one of us had not seen it, we went.

Apparently, knitting in the dark is shocking to some people. And the fact that I kept it up through the entire movie was suprising to my friends. Especially Andrew, who was unaccustomed to the knitting in general.

I am working on my Whitby socks, inspired by a pattern worked into sweaters in the north of England. Nancy Bush, thank you. At any rate, these have a few cables and a knit-purl pattern. Apparently, it is suprising that I can keep this up in total darkness.

If the blind, in the days before Walmart, could knit, sew, make lace, and embroider, I think the least I can do is knit in the dark once and a while. I mean, look at Little House on the Prairie, Mary could sew better than Laura even when she had gone blind. I bet Mary could sew better than me too (you know, seeing as how I am a different Laura...yeah. I didn't laugh either).

Today, I looked over my progress. I noticed something alarming.

"What?" you ask, "Did Laura screw up the pattern so badly that she has to undo all she worked for?! Seven dollars of work? Not counting the alarming price of refreshments!"
No.

I knit FASTER in the dark. If I were BLIND, I would get done with my socks in HALF THE TIME! I am amazed. This is shocking.

Now the whole thing does not seem to work when I just take of my glasses. Apparently, seeing an Impressionist painting of the sock I am working on still counts as "seeing" and does not help.
However, due to the fact that my eyesight is rapidly decreasing, alarmingly, even, I take comfort in the fact that I will still be able to knit when the eyesight goes completely.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

And Now...

Just when you thought I could do nothing worse, when you thought the trauma in my life was all over, or at least that there would be repeat after repeat of the same damages...

I just dropped my tiny embroidery scissors, stabbing myself in the foot. Yes, they stabbed me. Officially. Broke the skin.

How? I picked up my knitting case, and the scissors fell out, stabbing me.

It HURTS.

An Open Letter to the Dethmeister, in Gratitude

Note: as I switch all of these over to the new site, the comments that inspired this post have to be left behind. If interested, you may link back to the old site http://revolvingdoor.blogsource.com to see the comments.

You, dear sir or madam, have made my afternoon.

Not only is this tangible proof that other human beings read my blog, it proves a distinct point which all my dear friends know.

Bless you.

I hope NBC continues to play Deal or No Deal for you. I will not be watching the shiny bald pate of Howie Mandell as he talks to an imaginary banker hidden in darkness in the wings, but I am glad you enjoy him.

I have never been a fan of gameshows, or the lottery, or combinations therein, so perhaps I am foolish.

In my mind, television should fufil the same entertainment parameters as novels, with a distinct and well-written plot, beautifully described, three-dimensional characters, and believeable conflict. I, however, am an English major. We have different tastes than the rest of the masses. I concede openly that others may not appreciate the glory of the obsessive-compulsive detective that is Adrian Monk, or the symbolic wonder that is Gregory House.

Forgive me for treating your beloved show harshly; I was overwhelmed with the horror of car-trouble and an empty home.

Yours,

Laura

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Grr. Arg. Boo. Hiss. Anger in the Family Room.

I'm having trouble with my "car" again, and instead of going outside and attempting "repair" I think I will write a little blog for your amusement.

Yesterday, my mom took me to Kroger. "You need food you like to eat, Laura," she said to me, guiding me down aisle after aisle of canned soups and vegetables. "I'm going to give you some money too, so you can go out to eat if you want to this week."

My, I thought, my mother sure is nice to me. Most Mom's would expect you to pay for your own extra-curricular eating practices and mine wants to pay my way.

I asked her what she wanted to eat for the week, but she seemed non-reponsive. She didn't care, I should choose, and so on.

In the doggie aisle, she loaded the cart with Darcy's food. "I wish I could find something she likes," Mom said. "You know, besides the cat's food. But I don't want to try her with anything new since I won't be here to take care of her mess if it upsets her stomach."

What?

Apparently, either I did not hear or was not told that my mom was leaving town for a few days, going up north to stay with Grandpa.

She had brought me to the grocery store to help me out with food while she was gone. So I could feed myself.

Wow did I feel dumb.

So now that my cupboards are well-stocked, I look forward to the prospect of...

Wait.

Hold on for just a minute.

I should be looking forward to this?!

Let's examine what the rest of my week is about to look like:

Dad will be at work, visiting, preaching, and doing his Irish-whistley thing all over the county.

But not at home.

Paul will be perpetually on campus. But not at home, since he doesn't have a car (and I can't come get him, as evident from the first paragraph and the next) to come home with.

I will be at home. Why? Because my car keeps overheating for no reason and I don't want to be stuck in Fort Wayne or Kokomo with no way to return, waiting for Dad, who would be very angry at this point, to come and pick me up before prayer meeting starts. Also, I am too poor for an unrestricted shopping spree. So Fort Wayne is out. And so is any other town with a bookstore or shoes or yarn (yum). Blast.

I think I will have to resign myself to warming the cushions of my couch with my ever-increasing bulk this week.

I should be used to this. I mean, what kind of world would it be where I have entertainment that I do not create for myself? Still, I would far rather be surrounded with...one human being than alone for the ENTIRE DAY! Because not only will I be alone all night, but during the day as well! I will have only Darcy and Myst to talk to, and though dogs and cats are nice, they aren't very talkative. They let you carry the conversation. You pick the subject, you answer your own questions.

Therefore, Laura is in the computer lab, typing away and looking at lacy scarf patterns, simply to avoid the monotony of Fox 28's evening lineup of old reruns of varied comedies.

Happy thoughts, happy thoughts...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

................

My life is so boring now, I cannot even begin to explain.

Right now, I am avoiding the tone-deaf yowls of American Idol contestants by attempting to write you all a blog. However, the misery of daily life has overwhelmed the usual hilarity of my existence.

In the morning, I turn off my alarm clock.

In the afternoon, I wake up and get out of bed. Dress. Go to work, then come home.

After that, I get out my knitting and sit in front of the television set, watching until sleep comes, at which point I go back to my bedroom to sleep.

All this laziness has given me time to think about what one needs to achieve supreme laziness, true sloth.

One must have one's knitting. Without it, life cannot be complete. I suggest something with a simple pattern, easily memorized. I use the classic, hand-knitted sock pattern I have created which fits my foot exactly.

Food is also important. Let's assume you have a well-stocked pantry. Make blueberry muffins, some kind of stir fry, or soup. With those choices, you can continue to go back for more without having to do any more cooking. Instead, the steps needed will span only between the couch, the fridge, and the microwave. I like to eat three wimpy little dinners, allowing me to skip lunch altogether and skimp on breakfast. But you pick your on meal plan. I sometimes eat three large meals and then my two additional dinners. "Elevensies" and "Pre-dawn" are their names...

Clothing choices are vital.

You cannot, say, lay around in a turtleneck sweater. These are highly painful after a while, they create the illusion of strangulation. I cannot wear one above three hours without trauma. Still, I look good-ish in them, and wear them often. Thus Laura takes another blow for good-looks.

I like the Victoria's Secret pyjama selections. They are best. No one else makes them long enough for my freakish, spider-like legs and still skinny enough for my emaciated corpse of a physique. Plus they come in happy colors and not the sad pastels of the elderly.

Pause... My father will not stop harrassing me in his usual vengeful manner. I must state that in order for Ideal Relaxation to ensue, one must rid themself of the negative influence known as my dad. He believes I should "do something productive." When I threatened him with a blog-based outing of his cruelty, he laughed and told me I should get better material so I could be "a better blogster." Proving himself ignorant of lingo and insensitive at the same time, his speciality. What a punk. Dad, when you read this, know that I know what you're getting at. I'm not moving out. You will never get control of the remote again. Take a deep breath and start packing for that third-rate Home I saw on Sixty Minutes...

Now we get to the most important part of an evening of sloth. Television...

BLAST!

I forgot!

Apparently, network television has decided to throw all its worthwhile programing out the back door and invest it such marvelous shows as...

One versus One Hundred!

Regis and Kelly!

CSI all day, every day

If one Law and Order is good, twenty a week will be better!

Can you say..."You're FIRED!" ?

American Idol, otherwise known as...how do we create another one-hit wonder?

Reality TV, which does all it can to make life seem terrible, except model a show off my life, which would possibly have to be banned due to viewer suicide...

And the worst of the worst, the most terrible show ever made, the most shameful excuse of television choices...

DEAL OR NO DEAL!

It seems I will have to invest either all of my savings in boxed sets of television from my youth and early adolescence, which was actually good, or throw money at cable, satillite companies, you name it, just to entertain myself for an hour every night. Because, usually, that is all the time I have to place toward my own amusement.

My question is: why bother?

Just charge everyone for TV. We're Americans; we'll pay it! I SWEAR we will.Anything is better than DEAL OR NO DEAL. I mean, if I wanted to stare at a shiny bald head and a bad suit, I'd go over to the retirement home to volunteer more often. It has progressed into a kind of NBC lifeline, the only part of their network which brings in viewers. I wonder if they know that investing all the money they plan to throw at the individuals too stupid even to play the lottery in quality programming, or just spending the cash they burn outfitting those showgirls that stand there for no reason on better writers, might just save the network and put it back on top?

I would crawl, over jagged rocks, barefoot, for miles, in extreme heat or cold, just to see Monk. Tony Shaloub is amazing. Or Lost! Still my beating heart! Fish biscuits for Sawyer! Fish biscuits for EVERYONE! And to top off the glory, perhaps, maybe, an episode of The 4400! Glory be!

I could spend what meager change I can pull together on an IPOD to get these episodes quicker. But think, Laura has only dial-up. That is all she can have in the dark corner of the world where she lives. So I would spend hours, days, years to download Mr. Monk. All I can do is sit here in my chair, dreaming of the better life I could have had if I had been born into a non-literary family who accepts the inevitable pull of the cable bill.

My life is cold without Monk. I miss him the most. That sweet little man, with his perfect suits and everything put just right. His organization makes me feel the most supreme joy. That is what my room is like, my house will be like. I vaccum just as carefully, in a grid pattern. Sigh. Monk.

But I have no choice. I will take out my cold steel knitting needles and my channel changer and sit on my hard floor, watching reruns of poor television shows as I sit, making yet another sock. Tomorrow, I will do the same thing.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Car

Here we go, complaint time.

"What is the matter with your car, Laura?"

Oh, thanks for asking, why don't I just share?

First, the windshield is leaking again. Pouring down to the seat, where guess who sits? Me! Yes, everytime it rains, which is every day here, I get to use my towel, or better yet, appear as if I have wet myself each time I sit down to drive.

Second, for some reason, I have a problem with the car overheating and becoming unusable. This results in the constant entrapment of Laura in various places, such as Pizza Hut.

Third, somehow, the driver's side door wants to keep itself open at all times. Like when I am driving down the road. So it must remain locked. Always. Or I get pulled out of the suicide belts and crunched into a Laura-pulp on the highway. The headline would read: Local girl well blended by traffic on way to knit shop, corpse placed in matchbox awaiting burial.

When will my Pepsi cash arrive? When will I have new wheels? When will I no longer fear for my life and those of my adored passengers?

Nocturnal

Yeah, I stopped sleeping again. At least at night, I seem to be doing an adequate job of sleeping during the daytime.

Here are the reasons behind this:

1. Knitting is fun.

2. I can't fall asleep unless I have watched an X-Files episode.

3. Paul makes a lot of noise during the weekend, keeping me awake until at least two or three, which forces me to continue to watch X-Files and knit until he retires, then continue to do so in my "winding down" phase.

4. Dad wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every day.

5. I have friends who need less sleep than I do.

As a result of all these factors, combined with stress and, I think, the devil, have created in me the urge to stay up all night long and sleep when the house is quietest, ironically, during the day. So I am pretty darn tired. All the time. No matter what.

Is there a solution for this?
I think so.

1. Moving to a far away place, where night is day.

2. Surrendering to my agrophobia and staying inside the house forever.

3. Drugging Paul.

4. Drugging Dad.

5. Drugging myself.

I think the last one is the most feasable. Although I could do the stress thing, or schedule an exorcism for me or my home.

Let me know what you think...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Riverhouse Spa

Laura visited the spa today, the one located in her bathroom. She withdrew armloads of beauty products gathered near and far throughout the state of Indiana, Chicago, Spain, France, Italy, and England.

She arranged these products, selected the day's torments, and began the procedure.
You see, Allure often tells readers that the following steps ought to be taken to make one's skin beautiful, lusterous, radiant, and youthful.

1. Be between infancy and the age of eight. If the former is not applicable, follow the remainder.

2. Exfoliate: This is when the beauty industry gives women the permission to use anything from sandpaper to industrial grade acid to remove the first few layers to the whole epidermis of one's flesh. For this purpose there are cleansing pads, scrubs, dermabrasion, chemical peels, and the steel wool you keep underneath the sink for stubborn stuck-on food caught on skillets.

3. Soothe: Women then apply a liberal amount of mud to their faces, cooling their third degree burns or those incurred from ionizing radiation and attempting to clean one's skin by purposefully making it filthy. Then one waits for the mud, clay, etc. to dry, firming to the point that the facial muscles are rendered immovable. The purpose of this treatment varies with the product's advertized talents. Some inspire skin to be soft, smooth, and bright. Others claim the oil wells contained in the pores can be erased, something I believe impossible without a full-scale Exxon Mobil engineering team and several oil rigs with hundred-men working teams pulling all night shifts for months on end until the strain of being seperated from family and the real world causes them to lose what fragile grasp on sanity such workers must have to volunteer for such duty, finally using their eating utensils to consume their comrades, if attempted on my skin. Still others intend to remove every blemish ever existing as well as those planning to emerge in the near future.

4. Cleanse: this means more scrubbing. Preferably with an oil-free and non-drying non-soap cleanser which will keep the delicate layers remaining from shattering in an explosion of dermis.

5. Toner: removing all other grossness which held on with all power imaginable.

6. Moisturize: Yeah. This "fixes" all the damage you just did. Kind of.

So there Laura stood. Products everywhere. Interesting packaging, bright colors, light fragrances. You know how it goes. She preformed the steps above. She applied her make-up. She went to work. She came home.

And now she writes this blog.

So here are the conclusions...

No matter what I do, what I try, what anyone manages to devise in laboratories around the world, there is nothing anyone can do to make my skin perfect. Perfection being the only result I will settle for in all aspects of life, this makes me rather angry. I can only wonder about people whose skin is more difficult to deal with than mine. I must have spent so much money on this stuff, all proven to be worthless to me. How do other people pay their bills?

I could quit. I have tried to do so before. I have told myself--why care? Your skin is your skin. But invariably, the next week, I am there in front of the mirror preforming the same procedures. It would take a divine intervention to make my skin stand on its own without this kind of terror. And that probably won't happen.

What strikes me as even more traumatic is the level of effort most people put into other parts of their beings. Me, I pretty much have given up on any body part covered by my clothing, but there are some people who work every day to have not an ounce of fat on their whole bodies. Me, I just buy the control-top panty-hose and pretend I exercised. Then I lie to myself and say no one but me knows the difference. Then I go to Olive Garden and work on my personal goal of consuming my body-weight in fried cutlets and soup.

There are people in the world who take this even more seriously, who become obsessed and have surgeries and diet and are still miserable. If I had less to obsess over in my life, I bet that would be me.

I would rail about how sad all this is, how cruel the world is to women, but we have all heard it before. And, in truth, it would be hypocritical for me to tell you this should stop. I buy the beauty magazines, the same as all the other girls my age. I look in the mirror too.

All I'll say is: this kind of living is pretty darn hard to deal with.

Monday, January 8, 2007

V Day

Jennifer, her long blonde hair inspiring envy in all female shoppers around her, waltzed up the seasonal aisle in Walmart, perusing the shelves bedecked with lurid red, pink, and white objects, surely designed as optical tourture devices.

"You're going to have a Valentine's Day this year," she asserted.

To me it sounded like she had said: "You're going to have a heart attack, you're going to file for chapter eleven bankruptcy, you're going to catch the plague from walking in a Canterbury train station, you're going to get cancer from eating those Fruity Pebbles." As if the greeting card holiday was a kind of traumatic event falling down upon humanity once a year.

She then pulled down a carton of chocolate golf balls which proclaimed, "Wanna play around?" on their cellophane surfaces, causing me to blanche and cling to the nearest hot-pink stuffed monstrosity for support.

What's a girl to do?

I have often proclaimed that I have the emotional maturity of a small child, with the kind of committment phobia that only years of having a father like mine can give to a girl. I have insisted that I am the mean one, the half of the relationship which will most certainly be the cause of every fight, argument, or hurled inanimate object. I consistantly prove myself to be so.
Just look back in time. I have argued with people regarding the following meaningless things, just so I can argue:

1. How much some beads cost. Like, three beads.

2. Who took which pictures on a roll of film.

3. Soda, or pop?

4. Who sucked more as a writer, Hemingway or Fitzgerald (they both are essentially the same style).

5. How to properly make a bed (military or hospital).

6. Why no one should touch my pillows, why I have to wash clothing if I spill water on them when they are already clean, why I must bag my own groceries, why I must arrange things by size and shape, why this is not abnormal at all, but a smart thing to do.

Yeah. So how is a jerk like me to, overnight, become sensitive and understanding, then channel all that into "romance" which I am not all that sure really exists outside of those cheesy novels I find in the grocery store. Three for a dollar at the library. Or you can just bring in some old ones and trade. I know these things.

See, all that I know boils down to useless information, nothing helpful like how to change a tire or figure out a 15% tip. I know how to snort cocaine so as not to lose any of the powder--this will never come in handy. I know that babies are not born with kneecaps. I know how to buy octopus and shellfish. I don't eat either.

So now that this Idiot Girl has found a guy other than Man Behind the Video Store Counter Who Smiled at Me Once and Guy From Kroger Who Does Not Flinch and Avert His Eyes in My Presence, I am left without what most humans agree should come with a person: an instruction manual. I get not handing them out when you meet someone, but could I not have been born with one for myself? Just for reference?I could use one.

Plus one to show me how to work my phone. This is getting pathetic.

Friday, January 5, 2007

For Jennifer

Nurse Laura placed her dissertation down on the end table and wrinkled her nose. The air had not smelled quite the same in her favorite sitting room since she had rid herself of the dead rat left by her phantom of a visitor. She had sent her Andrew to investigate the intruder, using the carefully placed GPS locator chip she had slipped onto his--or her--person during her feigned swoon. She hoped the intruder, almost certainly, she deduced, a music major with nothing better to do with her--his--time, had not the presence of mind to remove it before Laura's beau traced the location of the hiding place to whence the criminal had skulked.

"Breaking into the mansion," muttered Laura, lifting her finely-crafted hand knitted sock from her work basket and beginning to cast on for its companion. "Really, how 19th century.

As she uttered her complaints, Lady Hannerstien, Jennifer to her friends, flounced into her room, cheeks aglow with youthful passion and energy, bouncing blonde curls trailing behind her.

"Have you any news?" Laura asked. Her friend had insisted upon allowing her time to rest, but Laura's natural curiosity had grown to such levels that she was no longer able to abide in her sitting room, leaving the investigations to the "stronger sex" and the trained professionals. She could not stomach simply waiting about for her companions to dole out handfuls of information as they pleased.

"I don't really want to talk about that right now," Jennifer replied.

What better time, thought Laura, was there to talk about such things? The sunlight played across the keys of the pianoforte. Laura, upon seeing the state of the long-forgotten instrument, had insisted that it be removed from the dank quarters it had inhabited and had instructed the finest craftsment to tune and clean it. Unable to play herself, she had asked good friends from Manchester's Conservatory for the Arts to enter her home to entertain her during the evenings as she knitted. Lady Rogers, away on an expedition to the south, had promised to play for the party upon her return.

Kindly, Laura allowed the subject to drop, as Jennifer regaled her with tales of romantic events occurring throughout the land, the stories of her family home, and the trauma of the bitter land Gre'valu.

But as her friend, blue eyes glittering with hidden light, left as suddenly as she had come, Laura resolved to do something about her assailant. She drafted several letters, smiling to herself as she thought of what would ensue.

The best way to catch the fiend, she thought, would be to play at his own game. Laura used the glory of Bluetooth, a magic taught to her long ago, to contact Andrew. He would need to help her draw the villain into the trap she was to set.

As darkness fell over the mansion, Laura descended using a passage of which only she knew into the heart of the building. She brushed cobwebs from her eyes, unafraid. Deep within the mansion, she opened an abandoned trunk she had placed there long ago, when she had left her former life for the one she now lived. Opening it, she pulled out a cloak, woolen breeches, a linen shirt. Laura carefully dressed herself, then took the sharp dagger from beneath the clothing. She cut her long, luxurious maple hair, keeping the strands together. Alone in the candle light, she began to sew.

By the time the black-dressed intruder returned, Laura would be ready for anything.

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