Monday, May 28, 2007
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
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:
- He is her moneymaker. Without a Harry Potter, she will lose the fan base which keeps her in a multi-million dollar mansion (presumably).
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
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
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.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
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
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.
- I want to go to the zoo.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
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
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.
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:
- Write a lesson plan
- Write a paper on my field experience
- Write an essay about ethical journalism (which I doubt really exists)
- Read a bunch of chapters in varied texts in preparation for the finals which are...next week
- Think thoughts to foster healing which will allow survival through the next week and beyond
Wish me luck.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
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...