If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shopping Trip: The Auction House, Revisited

The auction house is a wondrous place. If you have one near your area and you have some time to kill, the auction house is where it's at, let me tell you. You just never know what you're going to find there.

Like this. I saw this and a million questions ran through my mind--What is that? Where did it come from? Is it haunted? How is that played? Is that one of those Chinese Harps the assassins in Kung Fu Hustle played? How hard would it be to learn how to play one of those? And about 999,994 other questions that I won't go into here.

The auction house is also home to things you may not have seen for many years. (Or never, if you're young. What? You're young? Way to rub my face in it. Thanks.) I saw an old cigarette machine this last time. Remember cigarette machines? It used to be--back before anyone cared about things like that--pretty easy for kids like me to buy cigarettes from the drug store, but once in a while, there would be someone your mom knew in the store, shopping or something. So you couldn't get them there. Then, you'd have to go to a restaurant and buy your cigs from a machine.

Fifty cents (a nickel more than buying them at the drug store) and a pull on the lever and you would have your Marlboro reds. Easy peasy.

Listen, I'm not condoning smoking at all. Especially not by children. Those of you who have met me personally know that I am very anti-smoking. But, what can I say? It was a different time. It was my childhood. So the cigarette machine was kind of a fond/sad reminder of that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ow! My Effin Toe!

I've broken my little toe.

It hurts. It's taped up and swollen. My shoe feels weird. I'm a little limpy and I can't walk very fast. And I'm dumbfounded.

People, you know I'm a sleepwalker. I have been a sleepwalker my whole life. And I have done some freaky-ass things while sleepwalking. (Just a few weeks ago, in fact, I woke up in the morning with all the couch cushions in my bed. So apparently, I got up, went to the living room, deconstructed the couch, and brought it all into the bed with T and I--without waking him up--something that would have taken several trips to do.) And I have bruised myself a few times. But I have never broken a bone.

Apparently, I'm a better walker in my sleep than in my waking hours.

I was just walking, not running, not impaired, not carrying anything, not in a hurry, not distracted. Just walking. And I kicked a chest at the foot of our bed. Kicked it so hard T, who was several paces behind me, said "What was that? It sounded like a chicken bone snapping."

And I thought to myself, "Yeah, it did sound like a chicken bone snapping. I wonder if I broke my toe?" But I thought that couldn't be possible. It didn't hurt.

Not right then, at least.

When I did it, and for about the first 3 minutes after, I didn't even feel my toe at all. And then it all hit me at once.

So, here's my advice for you today. Don't kick brass-cornered chests with your little toe. Sorry. That's really all the wisdom I can manage right now. My toe hurts.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Zombiepocalypse Has Begun!

I hate to be the one to tell you. In fact, I hate that I know this at all. But the Zombiepocalypse has begun. And wouldn't you know, it started in Florida?

Apparently, Miami police were forced to kill a naked man Saturday, because he was chewing the face off another man and wouldn't stop. I kid you not. Go here to read the story. Naked. Chewing the face off another guy.

He was actually gnawing this guy's face so badly the victim is in critical condition. And witnesses say he growled.

The story I read was not specific about whether the police brought this face-eater down with a headshot or not. It did say he kept eating the other guy even after he was shot and that it took several shots to take him down, so I'm guessing one of those must have been a headshot.

Nobody knows what caused this. Nobody knows why these two were both naked. Nobody knows why it took so many shots to stop the attack. I'm not asking those questions. I'm pretty sure I already know the answer.

What I'm wondering is, is anybody watching the victim for signs of infection? Patient Zero. I'm just sayin'.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday UFO - Still

The one bad thing about The Year Of The Afghans is that afghans take so freakin' long to knit. I feel like I knit and knit and knit and never really make any progress on this thing.

Well, okay. I make some progress. I've worked on this a couple of days this week and have made about to the 40% mark (not counting the edging). I guess that's progress of a sort.

Kind of sad progress. But progress, I guess.

Yeah, yeah. I know. It's not a scarf. It's going to take longer than a two-hour movie to knit it. I know all that.

Anyway, here is the afghan (Not spread out, of course, so M doesn't get any pre-Christmas spoilers) so you can see the progress. I held a blue tape measure next to it, so you could see how long it is, but it doesn't look that that idea worked out. But I guess you can get a good idea from looking at how long it is compared to me.

Oh, and here is my tip of the week: Since I need both hands (and apparently my full attention--ask me how I know that) to do the cables in the tree sections, I have been listening to my Kindle read to me as I knit.

Now, I know you're saying "But Patwoman. Why don't you listen to audio books on your iPhone? The Kindle reads like a robot."

Yes, I know. I rather like that.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Totally Effin Missed The Eclipse

I've been thinking about the eclipse for about a week now. I can't believe I forgot about it!
Yeah, I know. Here in Indiana, it would have been only a partial eclipse, so not really all that spectacular. But still.

I really like to watch astronomical events. Eclipses are a little scary for me, though. Not scary--like, superstitious scary. But scary because you always hear "Don't look directly at an eclipse." Or they always tell you to use some sort of weird contraption to view it. Something with a tiny pinhole and aluminum foil and a long box...

That can't be real, right? Does that make sense to look through a 3 foot long box with a little pinhole? It just seems to be some kind of prank. "Haha! Look at Patwoman with her crazy 3 foot box! I was totally making that crap up. Did you believe me or something?"

I knew someone who looked at the eclipse with sunglasses on. It was back in high school and it was right at lunchtime. We had to walk from the high school building to the jr. high school building (because that's where the cafeteria was) and teachers were very sternly cautioning us to not look up at the eclipse, or we would burn out our retinas.

I didn't have any science classes that semester, so I didn't build one of those crazy pinhole boxes. Instead, I walked from the back of one building to the back of the other, pretending to look for something in my purse so no one would suspect I was afraid of burning out my retinas. (I don't know. I was a teenager. Apparently I thought it wasn't cool to be afraid of being blinded.)

On the way, I passed some kid who was looking up at the eclipse. He was wearing sunglasses. He wasn't writhing in pain, screaming "Ah! My retinas! My retinas are burning!" either. But, I didn't take the chance.

Later, I mentioned this to my mom and asked if that kid wouldn't have felt it if his retinas did actually burn. This is the really scary part--Mom said not necessarily. Apparently, there aren't very many pain receptors in that part of your head, so you could really damage your eyes badly and not feel it.

I wonder if now--30 years later--if that kid suffered lasting damage from that?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Love Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards

Even if they are sometimes slightly inappropriate. Like this one, from the new set. It's kind of offensive.

But I laughed anyway. Don't judge me.

Truth be told, I rode a short bus for grade school. I lived so far out in the country, there were only 6 kids at most at our bus stop (and usually only 2 or 3) so the school did not dedicate one of the larger buses to our route.

So I rode bus #3 all through grade school. In jr. high, they sent bus #2 to our route, before it made the stop on the south side of town. I walked to the top of the hill and waited in the gravel lot of the closed-down grain mill. (It wasn't an derelict area, though, by any means. There were houses all around. Now, btw, that mill is gone and there is a little park-like area with a flower garden.)

There were kids that were younger than me, who went to the elementary school, but they didn't have to ride bus #2 after the year I went to jr high. I'm not sure what happened. Maybe a parent complained because we were riding the short bus? Maybe some kids complained?(But, because I actually did ride a short bus, I don't remember there being anything out of the ordinary about that.) Or, more likely, maybe the city got some sort of funding for special ed classes and they had to dedicate that bus solely for special ed in order to qualify?

That's probably it. We actually got another full-sized bus that year, come to think of it. (For a total of 4) Yeah. I grew up in a very small town.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Movie Review: Dark Shadows

Part of the Mother's Day Extravaganza was my choice of movies. I was really torn between Avengers and Dark Shadows. I chose the latter, mainly because I knew I could always get T, R, and M to go see The Avengers with me.

It's a little hard to explain Dark Shadows--the real DS, not the Tim Burton film--to a younger person. They just don't get it. Maybe it's that they are used to a higher quality production, even in a TV soap? Maybe because they are used to better special effects, more takes, etc? I don't know. I keep telling them, it's not that the original show was so good... It wasn't art, after all.

R and M both said the movie was "Kinda crappy." I tend to agree.

I really wanted to like it. I was so excited to hear it was being remade. And that Tim Burton was remaking it. I thought, T-dog (That's what I call him. We go way back.) will surely pump in some cash-bucks investments and this thing will really be gorgeous! And the cast! Depp, Pfeiffer, Jackie Earle Haley (who I am really appreciating as a dramatic actor these days, btw), Chloe Kickass Moretz (also, excellent actor)--how could you go wrong?

And Seth Grahame Smith wrote the screenplay. So I really expected something dark and brooding, with just a touch of black humor. Something more Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which I read) and less Beetlejuice (which I do love, but for different reasons).

Then, I saw the trailer. And I was worried. But, I thought, you know how movie trailers are. They only have the stuff the marketing department thinks will appeal to the most people. And I had read that Johnny Depp was a big fan of the original Dark Shadows. So, surely, Burton didn't completely miss the point and make this all one big fish-out-of-water joke?

I wish I could tell you differently.

If only Johnny Depp had brought the intensity we know he is capable of to Barnabus. If only Seth Grahame Smith had watched even one episode of the original (so that he would see the depth and complexity of the characters he was writing). If only Tim Burton had decided to make a film even half as enjoyable and thought-provoking as Edward Scissorshands... Frankly, I feel as if they all just phoned it in.

And I'm not just one of those people who think nothing should ever be remade or re-envisioned. (I've watched all the Batman, Terminator, and Star Trek reboots, after all and I'm ok with all of them.) But listen, the Dark Shadows TV series from the early 90's was better than this.

Lest you think I didn't enjoy anything of this movie, I did think the sets were beautiful. And the characters all looked good. Most of the actors performed well. And the music was good. That was probably the best part of the movie. (But why didn't they use the theme song, I wonder?) It really was only the writing, directing, Depp's and Bonham-Carter's chewing up the scenery, and the ridiculous and tedious sex scenes that I had a problem with.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Mother's Day Gifts

Yesterday was such a great day. We just spent time as a family. And there were gifts. So it was kind of like Christmas, but only for me. Ha!

No, really. The best part was being with R, M, and T. But listen how well my kids know me!

M gifted me with a set of pens and 2 blank journals to write down all the story ideas that I have that seem to flow when you least expect it--all the snippets of descriptive narrative I randomly think of, all the plot points I want to remember to make, all the brilliant dialogue that you have to write down right away or risk losing forever!

She also refinished this lovely plant table. Lovely blue-green with copper tile inlays. She brought over a plant, as well, but it has to stay outside, since it's highly poisonous to all living animals. (Foxglove.)

R gave me a boxed set of BlueRay discs--the Underworld movies! I love the Underworld movies! Not because they're art, or anything. But because they are so effin fun! I could watch any one of them over and over. (Now I can watch them all over and over.)

The set also includes the digital download to my laptop and the anime shorts. I didn't even know there were anime shorts! Fabulous!

We ate dinner together. I had a steak, which I don't do often any more, but OMG can I just say I love red meat? And we saw the Dark Shadows movie. Afterword, I played a new white/green Magic deck versus T's white/red and won two out of three times.

So it was a very good day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of you. If you are not a mother yourself, then you have a mother or know a mother. Wish them a happy day.

I wanted to remember my mother, Dee, here for you. She has been gone a long time now, longer than I have been a mother myself. Yet, I still feel the loss just as sharply as I ever did. I was thinking about it today--how does one appreciate their mother when their mother is gone? Flowers on the grave? It's hours away.

What I've decided is that I would tell you about my mom and about the ways I am like her. That way, since you know me, you will know her a little, too.

1. Mom loved people who could make her laugh. She loved to laugh and she wanted to laugh, but it didn't come easy. You had to earn that laugh. I used to try and make her laugh by belting out a really bad rendition of "Hey Big Spender", with a dishcloth as a prop. She loved T, by the way. He cracked her up all the time. She would've loved R & M for that same reason.

2. Mom was a sleepwalker and did a lot of crazy things in her sleep, too. She broke her leg in her sleep, even. I have never injured myself more than a bruise, but I have done done some pretty dangerous things.

3. Mom was crafty. I've already told you she taught me to knit and crochet. She did hairpin lace and quilting and sewing, too. She could also draw very, very well. She didn't do it often, though. Maybe she felt drawing was just impractical? I don't know.

4. Mom loved to read. She read voraciously. It was probably the reason I learned to read so young. There were always books in the house, books of all kinds--Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie Mysteries, science fiction, Tales From The Cryptkeeper's Vault, Alfred Hitchcock magazine, romance novels, encyclopedias, historical biographies, Life, Look, newspapers, comic books, Readers Digest condensed novels...

Two things are important about this. One, we didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. Yet, every Saturday, when we went to the grocery store, we got to pick out a comic book or magazine. And every 6 weeks or so, when the Weekly Reader flier was passed out at school, we got to get 2 books. Each. So that instilled in me, at a very young age, the importance of knowledge.

Two, Mom was not very restrictive about what kinds of things we could read. Her opinion was that all reading was good. I read a lot of crap, certainly. But I also read a lot of really good things--things that made me think. I think this is maybe the best thing Mom ever did for me--allow me the opportunity to experience other opinions and other thoughts and beliefs, other ways. I feel that such a freedom has made me so much more capable of deciding what I believe in and who I am than people who have only been allowed to learn one set of opinions.

Mom would've liked to read my blog, I think. She might have thought I used the f-word a little too often (That's one really big way we are different. Mom never said it. She always said "the f-word." Even in relaying what someone else said: "He said 'F-word you, f-er. You can f-word yourself for all I f-wording care.' It was hilarious to hear her.") I think she would have thought most of my posts were pretty silly. But I think she would've liked to read them.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Shopping Trip: Nothing To Show For It

M and I popped down to Goodwill today. She is always on the lookout for designer purses (Seriously, if you want a really awesome purse for $3, go to Goodwill with M. She has some kind of radar that helps her navigate directly to the designer bag, no matter how well it is hidden.) and I am always on the lookout for 100% wool sweaters to felt or to unravel and dye.

Yes, I will unravel and dye the sweaters I've bought. Eventually.

I also thought I might look at the 99ยข rack for some interesting colored t-shirts that I could turn into tarn for future knitting. But, alas, that was a no.

I did see a couple dozen balls of crochet thread and some half-empty skeins of very old yarn. But I didn't get any of that. It was kind of depressing. I haven't bought anything from Goodwill in several weeks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday UFO: Another Afghan Update

The afghan is starting to look a little more like an afghan now and less like a really thick scarf. Ha!

I have made it through the first set of motifs and have started on the second tree motif. I'm thinking this may go a little quicker than the first one, since I've already done it once. (And then, of course, there's another one after that. And the edging. Sigh.)

Still, I'm happy with the progress, even if it isn't as fast as I would like. I am a little worried, however, that I won't have enough time to do three afghans, at this rate. I'm going to have to find some way to make or save some time.

I'm thinking I will just stop doing housework.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Scarf For Lenore

The one thing that really cracks me up about knitters is that we're always thinking "How can I knit that?" Seriously. We knit things that really don't need to be knitted. I know you've seen some really hilarious stuff out there. I know I have.

Even I have knitted things that should never have been knitted. Like cat hats. Believe me, there is not a cat on earth that wants to wear a hat. That's definitely more dog-like behavior. Dogs love wearing clothing of all kinds. They are convinced it makes them human.

But, as I sit here at the computer, I can't help but think poor ol' Lenore needs a scarf, doesn't he?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Kitchen Rug FO

Here is the kitchen rug I was knitting in honor of Earth Day. Turned out pretty nicely, I think. I knit a moss stitch pattern over blue, grey, and white stripes on big needles.

The fabric is tarn (t-shirt yarn) made from old t-shirts that I did not want T to ever wear in public again. It took a while to knit, but it shouldn't have. My roadblocks were:

1) My hands have gotten a little puny from not knitting very much. I am just working back up to my peak again. Also, this tarn tends to be heavier than regular wool or acrylic yarn and large needles tend to tire your hands quickly.

2) I ran out of shirts and had to raid T's closet for more. (Which led to a "Please ask me before you cut my shirts up" and "If I ask you, you'll say no." conversation.) But we came to a compromise where he picked out the shirts I should use--which were the shirts I was going to cut anyway. I have also cut some of mine, in case you were wondering, but they are not used in this project.

3) I have a million other things on the needles now, so I just haven't been knitting this very much.

If all things were jake with this project, I would say it could be done in a night or two.

The cotton tarn and the moss stitch pattern gives this rug a nice, springy feel that I'm thinking will cushion my feet nicely. But I haven't tested it out for any long period of time. I need to wait until I am in the house alone.

That way, there will be no misunderstandings. (Hey Patwoman! Are you washing dishes?)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards. You Know I Love 'Em

So much of my time these days is spent doing Charlie Work. (If you watch It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you know Charlie work is whatever no one else wants to do.)

Actually, that may be a little misleading. Everyone at our store does Charlie Work. In our case, it's repetitive work, like sorting cards. I have been spending a lot of time sorting Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Especially now that there's a new set out. I'm not as quick as some people are about sorting, mainly because I keep stopping and reading the cards.

But, really. Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are hilarious. Like this Doom Donut. Or, as I like to call it, Diet Donut. Think about it... We all know that eating as many donuts as I do too many donuts will have an adverse affect on us. And yet we eat them like we're mad at them eat them anyway.

I think that's probably because you get the pleasure right away (eating a donut), but you don't get the pain (OMG! Look how big my butt is!) until much later. A Doom Donut, however, would bite you as soon as you tried to bite it. Or get too close to it. Or, apparently, attack it with a face-up card.

The perfect diet food.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

A Reader Explains The Gnomes

First, let me clarify that I love these gnomes. I love the way they look (even if they don't have any faces yet). I love the pattern. I love the way they taste.

No. Just kidding. I don't eat yarn. (Any more.)

But I did express much confusion over what the heck a gnome has to do with Christmas. And Lintulai helped me clear up the confusion by having me do a little research.

There. You see? I have always told my kids that it was very important to know what you're talking about before you start talking, very important to do your own independent research. And now you see why. If I had just asked my friend, Professor Google, about the importance of gnomes in Finnish Christmas lore... But no. I just started talking before I knew what I was talking about.

Hear me, kids. Do as I say. Not as I do.

Anyway, I found tons of info on the role of the gnome in Christmas. (Go Google it yourself, but basically, gnomes take care of the household and people all year and then they bring Christmas presents to your children!) I love the story of the gnomes!

Of course, that took me on a wonderful Google safari, in which I learned a great many things about Christmas traditions, Finland, and ancient Nordic lore. So it was a pretty good day for me. I will put some of my new-found knowledge to good use.

For example, I love the Finnish tradition of putting out food for the birds on Christmas. I think I will adopt that idea for our own holiday tradition. I also like The Declaration of Peace.

I also love--and I know some people will disagree with me, that's okay--when traditions combine with other cultures' traditions. The blending of the Nordic lore and Christian lore makes something very cool to me.

I want to do some more research now on all different kinds of traditional lore--how about ghost stories or monster stories? Anyone know any good Finnish ghost or monster stories?

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Shopping Trip - This Time, With A Purpose!

Gentle Reader, you know your friend Patwoman is connected, I'm sure. A veritable A-Lister, herself, don'tcha know. So when my good friend, the designer, has a pattern published, I'm all over that.

Of course, you already know I'm talking about my friend the designer, Katie Carmack's Heliades. When my friend the designer told me she had created this pattern, I said, (affecting a fake British accent--which is really the only way I can do a British accent) "Why Katie, Dearest. I must knit that! I simply must!"

Or something like that.

And, of course, she was all like "Really, Patwoman? You would knit one of my designs?" (She was awestruck by my celebrity, even though she is a famous designer in her own right. I can't help that. I have that effect sometimes.)

And then, I was like, "Of course, Darling. It's stunning. Simply breathtaking! I love the poplar leaves design. I love the short rows. I love that you are a famous knit designer. Love, love, love it. I must go straightaway to the local yarn store and purchase the yarn for this masterpiece."

And I did. I popped right over to Starstruck Cats and perused the yarn selection. Sadly, there was only one person there at the time, but she was also very thrilled to have a celebrity stop in. And when I told her that my friend, the famous designer, The Katie Carmack, had created the pattern for this lovely shawl, well let me just say... I'm sure that's a day she will remember.

Here is the yarn I chose, a beautiful hand-painted fingering superwash from A Good Yarn, a local yarn artist that is carried at Starstruck Cats.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Friday UFO.... Still

Here is the progress on the afghan. Only the first of three afghans in what was supposed to be will be known as The Year Of The Afghans. Very slow work, this afghan business.

As you can see, however. I have completed a few more inches. I am mere rows away from being finished with the flower motif. I like this motif a lot. It actually looks better in person than it does on camera. Maybe because its all scrunched up on the needle. Why can I not find looooong cable needles?

The flower motif actually goes pretty quickly. Unlike the tree motif, which takes for-freakin'-evah!

Ah, but look how sharp that looks!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

One More Gnome

Again, I don't know what gnomes have to do with Christmas. And, again, let me say I think these need faces. (Had all three on the coffee table and R did a double take while walking by. He looked at them suspiciously and then back to me. "Voodoo dolls?" I shook my head. Why does everyone in this house think I'm up to no good?)But they are damned addictive to make.

This is #3 of the gnomes. Made them all the same way--because I like them that way. I might go back and make some green ones. And add some pointy ears, maybe. That would make them Christmasy, I think. (Elves... Santa's sweatshop workshop... Get it?)

But I'm kind of tired of making gnomes right now. On to other things. Like... Oh yeah. It's the Year Of The Afghan. Gotta get to that.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Floating Island

How did I miss hearing about this? This guy built an island out of empty soda bottles. An island. C'mon!

Yeah, apparently he used the bottles to support the bamboo and plywood base. But check it out... He has trees on the island, a house, chickens, beaches. It's all kinds of awesome.

And he's self-sustaining. How cool is that?

This is not a new idea, however. Remember Waterworld? Yeah? How 'bout the Aztecs? Remember them? They had huge floating island gardens.

But, new or not, I think this is a really cool idea. I'd like to check in with this guy in a few years just to see what else he's doing.

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