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.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stress Management

I went to bed super early last night. Like 11 pm early. I realize that's not super early for some people, but for me it is. I was so exhausted because I'm just not sleeping very well these days. So last night at around 11 pm, when I felt like no force on earth could keep me awake, I announced to T that I was going to bed.

Which prompted him to feel my forehead for a fever, no lie. Of course, I can't really blame him for that. Last year I got sick just after the holidays (actually, it was this year, January 2) and was sick for a long time.

But seriously, my stress level these days is like 2007 Brittney Spears.

But I am working on a plan to alleviate some of this stress. Unlike Brittney, my plan does not involve shaving my head. My plan involves a lot of lists.

Lists are the way I make sure I don't forget things. And they keep you on task. Seeing it written out keeps you from ignoring it. And making a list also provides the "reward" of crossing something off the list. I need that. I need to see the progress. Do you do that, too?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas And Happy Recovery Day

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and that things have settled down for you. I had a pretty good Christmas. The family got together on Christmas Eve night and played games. I made beef, chicken, and bean fillings and we had a taco bar with red/green/white Jello parfaits for dessert. I haven't had Jello as actual Jello in such a long time. I usually use it as an ingredient in other things (like cake). But it was nice and light after spicy tacos.

Christmas Eve dinner was kind of a departure from our tradition this year. As you know, we usually eat out. But this year we decided to downsize the celebration, as there are some things we are trying to save for.

And I have to say, it was a very nice holiday. The important thing, of course, is that we were all together. I was able to complete all my knitted Christmas gifts except for T's scarf, but I will finish that up right away. And everyone really liked their gifts.

I was given some very nice yarn for Christmas, too. (Nicer than I buy for myself!) Like this fingering weight Merino from R and Bre. They picked this up on one of their travels together. I love this color combo. And I'm especially touched that they thought of me when they were on a trip. They would have had to research where to find a LYS in that area, go out of their way to get there, and then look for a yarn I would like. That's pretty awesome. (And I love this yarn. I have a couple of lacy shawl patterns I would like to try with this yarn.)

And this lovely yarn (including that nice fat skein of Malabrigo) was a gift from M.

M told me she had gone to the big LYS on the north side of town (It's a really big, beautiful shop. Probably the nicest one I've ever seen. I used to go there whenever I had to be on that side of town for a meeting. The owners have clearly put a lot of love--and money--into this store.) to get this yarn.

The salesperson was, of course, trying to be helpful. She was happy to learn that M was buying yarn for her mom, and began suggesting some nice sock yarn. M told her that I didn't knit socks. She thought I'd much rather have something worsted weight. That prompted the salesperson to suggest some nice how-to-knit-socks books.

M explained that, it wasn't that I didn't know how to knit socks, or that I had never knitted socks. It was that I didn't enjoy knitting socks, and choose not to do it. (To me, I would think this would be enough explanation for anyone. There are all kinds of knitters. We don't all have to do the same thing, right?) But that seemed to confuse all the salespeople.

Not knit socks? And your mom has been knitting for over 30 years? Surely M was mistaken. But when she insisted that her mom definitely did not knit socks, they shook their heads--convinced that M didn't know what she was talking about and they left her alone. Luckily, M has been with me on multiple yarn-buying missions, so she knows what I look for in a yarn and knows to match dye lots, etc.

I think that's kind of a funny story, and kind of annoying too. I'm sure the yarn store gets plenty of gift-buying people who have no idea what to get or what type of project the recipient is likely to use the yarn for. (We get that kind of customer in our store, too. They are confused by the whole Chaos Space Marines are not the same as Space Marines thing. Or they don't know if the recipient's deck is a standard format, modern, legacy, or Commander. It's not a bad thing to not know. And that's why the salespeople ask questions--to help.) So I'm sure they were trying to help her get a really good yarn present for her mom.

I just think it's a little annoying to assume that, if you are a veteran knitter, you are going to be knitting socks. As if sock knitting were the goal that everyone aspires to, and everything else is what you do when you can't knit socks. To me, that's like saying Italian cuisine is better than Chinese cuisine. Or that Country music is better than R&B. Or that red is better than yellow. It's all a matter of personal preference, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

The thing that really makes the Christmas season special is all the shitty driving. There isn't even snow on the ground (the signal for everyone around here to drive like it doesn't snow every year) and people are forgetting how to operate a motor vehicle.

Last night, on T's way home from work, an oncoming car made a U-turn in front of him. Like, it cut across two northbound lanes, the center turn lane and two southbound lanes to end up directly in front of him. This was not a timing issue... It wasn't like there was a lot of traffic and this was their only opportunity. There were no cars behind T going southbound. So this person could have waited 5 seconds and avoided nearly causing an accident.

Later, as we ran to Wal-Mart for one last thing... We were driving north on a regular street and a southbound car made a left turn in front of us. Like right in front of us. We locked up the brakes (There is no place to swerve on this road because the homeowner on the east side of the street dug a huge runoff trench next to the road when they paved it last summer and consequently raised the road higher than his yard. The idiot dug right up to the pavement, so the water flow has been eroding the road on that side and the pavement is crumbling away. But that is a story for another day.) and laid on the horn. But the road was wet, as it had been raining all day. So it was not likely we would avoid crashing.

At the last minute, the driver decided that hey, maybe that was not such a good idea after all, so they swerved back into their lane. Of course, the driver that had been behind them had already taken the opportunity to speed up, so they were in the lane. They locked up their brakes and laid on the horn. (They could not swerve because there is a creek on that side of the road, and a pretty steep drop off.) So finally, all three of us are stopped and nobody was hit.

And the dumbass who started this whole thing just goes ahead and makes the turn as if nothing had happened.

And then, this morning on the way to work, it was still raining. But the commute was punctuated by cars running red lights and another car pulling out in front of us, with no time to do that (unless we braked hard).

Still, I guess there were no actual accidents, so no actual harm done. I am just frustrated at the jackassery of some people.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas UFO Will Remain UFO

Sadly, I am at the end of the line. Since I work tomorrow, today is the last day I will have to complete the Winter Is Coming Scarf for T. I knitted all yesterday, but I'm afraid it's just not going fast enough. There is no way I can have this finished tonight, plus prepare the house for Christmas, wrap the gifts, bathe the dog, and prep for Christmas Eve dinner. Unfortunately, as well, it falls upon me to do all of this, since T is working open to close.

None of that can be skipped, either. Especially the dog bath, believe me.

I will knit as much as I can today. This may go into a box with the needles attached.

Monday, December 22, 2014


The snake dream is back. Remember the one where I look out the back door into the yard and see a snake? There is a tree, bare of leaves. And in the tree is the most enormous black snake. A terrifying, huge, black snake. And I know he is waiting there for me.

There are variations--which house I'm at, how close the tree is to the house, how long it takes the snake to come down out of the tree and come after me--but it's always pretty much the same. I see the snake. It sees me. I'm frozen in fear. It drops out of the tree (And I don't mean it slithers down the trunk or it flops onto the ground. This snake is so huge it lowers itself to the ground, with fully half of it on the ground before I can see the end of it on the branch. A. Huge. Snake.)

So, in my dream last night, the snake starts coming toward me, but I run back into the house. I try to shut the door before it can get there, but it's too fast and just comes in. The door bangs back and forth as the snake moves through the doorway. (It is almost as big as the doorway itself.) I am so panicked that I can only think to run. I run up the steps on all fours, crying and calling for my mom, who has been gone for 27 years now.

I don't know what this dream means, but I seem to have it when I am very stressed.

I am also having water dreams. My other stress symbol. The other night, I dreamed of being in an old city (Like a European city. One that had been around for several hundred years. Not a relatively new city like here in America.) when several earthquakes hit, all in a row. The cobblestones heaved underneath me, and some were even dislodged quite a bit. Then a man came running toward me, just hauling ass and terrified. I shouted "Why are you running?" And he shouted something back in another language that I didn't understand and kept running past me.

I shouted again, "Questo?" (Which, by the way, I took Italian in college and I know that means "this," but in my dream I thought it meant "why." I know that "why" is "perche," so I don't know what my dream self was thinking.) The man kept running, but he turned back to me and made a hand gesture that was like he was pushing something. I turned toward the direction he came from, just in time to see a 30 foot wave of water funneling through the street. The buildings were creating a trough-like effect and the wave was growing as it moved.

Again, all I could do was run.

The other night, I dreamed that I was in the shower and noticed mold growing all over the bathroom. In the corners, on the walls, everywhere. It grew so fast, I could see it growing. Until it covered the floor of the bathroom like seaweed. And I knew that to get out, I would have to walk naked and barefoot through all of that. I wanted to go get bleach and come back and just nuke the entire room with bleach, but I couldn't even fight it until I walked through it barefoot and naked.

Yeah. So I'm kind of stressed out these days. And not sleeping very much.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

FO: Raleigh Cowl

Here's another cowl I finished off. This one was also knitted quickly and then set off to the side to await finishing. Which I have now done.

This is the Raleigh Cowl. It's knit with Loops & Threads Charisma in Northern Lights. It's a pretty quick knit. Especially with the bulky yarn. This pattern goes into my "Do Again" file. It's pretty. It's quick. And it's definitely warm.

I think you could make several of these for Christmas gifts in various colorways and make a great gift for pretty much every woman on your list.

(This cowl is not uneven, btw. I don't know why I can't take a good photo. That's going to be something I have to work on, I think. My photos. I don't think they do the knitting justice. This cowl was steam blocked and is, in fact, perfectly shaped.)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

FO: Kittyhawk Cowl

I have only T's Winter Is Coming Scarf to finish for Christmas. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to make it. I have only tonight, Monday, and Tuesday to knit and I just don't think it's going to be finished. Sunday and Wednesday are out because T and I will be together all day both days. (And I will have to wrap gifts and go to the grocery store somewhere in that time frame, too.)

I decided that, since I can't finish his scarf in front of him, I would just finish a couple of things that are sitting here on the side table waiting to be finished.

Here is the Kittyhawk Cowl that I started back in September. I actually knit this pretty quickly, but left it languishing unfinished because of the grafting. Seriously, I hate Provisional Past On and I had such a bad time with this one that I just put it to the side and didn't come back to it until today.

I used Kitchener Stitch to graft the two halves together. Frankly, I've always had a love/hate relationship with Kitchener Stitch. It's a fantastic way of grafting two pieces together to look seamless. But I always seem to mess it up at least once before I get it right. And I'm not sure why. It's simple enough. But somehow I always end up with an extra stitch at the end.

Not this time, though. This time it was a success. Still, I think if I knit this pattern again, I would probably just cast on normally and then seam it with mattress stitch. Much easier. Probably much less swearing involved.

I would also knit this longer before seaming. Of course, I didn't have that choice with this cowl, since I used a mystery yarn that I got at Michael's a while back. It's really pretty and really soft, but I have no idea what it is. It's worsted weight, so I just needed to step down two needle sizes from the pattern to a size 8 to get guage.

(This is not uneven, btw. I just seem to not be able to take a decent photo lately. T says I must be tilting the phone when I take a picture, but I don't know. Anyway, it's perfectly straight in real life.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Long, Flat, Purple Cat Scarf

Here's the Long, Flat, Purple Cat Scarf I made for my niece. I ended up creating my own pattern for it and I'm very happy with it.

It's about 4 feet long. My scarf rule is As Long As The Recipient Is Tall. But, I don't have any 5 year olds around here, so I'm not 100% on how tall a 5 year old is. I just made it about 4 feet long. This is made from one skein of Red Heart Soft in Lavender on #6 needles.

I hope she likes it. It's so cute it makes me smile. But, you know this Gary-Busey-possessed-pillow makes me smile, too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

@#%&!* It!

Let's recap:

1. Knitting a double knitted scarf for T for Christmas. (Which, it looks like, I will definitely not have finished.)
2. Not knitting the words on the scarf because the words will be backward on one side. (In other words, one side will say Winter Is Coming and the other side will say gnimoC sI retniW.) I don't want that.
3. The plan was to duplicate stitch the words on one side only.

The only problem is, I suck at duplicate stitch. Look at my horrible attempts:

Duplicate stitch using one strand of yarn left so much silver exposed it looked awful.

Duplicate stitch using two strands of yarn made a big, bunchy, knotty mess.

So I've ripped it all out. The duplicate stitch. So far. I'm getting very frustrated with my lack of skill. And lack of patience. And lack of time. And lack of holiday cheer, for that matter.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


The Tardis Scarf is finished! Yay!

This is a gift for Bre, who specifically requested a loooong scarf. The pattern, TARDIS Scarf by Daun Daemon, doesn't really specify how long this should be. But I had two skeins of Loops & Threads Impeccable in Royal, so I basically just knit until I was almost out of yarn. It's about 7 feet long.

Not many other mods on this (I know you find that hard to believe). I did my usual step-down-two-needle-sizes-for-guage modification. And I made my black stripe on the tail end in stockinette bordered by seed stich, so that it matched the POLICE BOX stripe on the TARDIS end. I think that's a reasonable design mod. Daun's scarf uses garter stitch to match the body of the scarf, which looks good, but I opted to match the black stripe on the other end instead. You say tomato; I say pajamas.

I also just now noticed, in comparing my scarf to Daun's, that the pattern has two black stripes and I only made one. Oh well. I'm just going to pretend that was a planned design modification, too. (Of course I didn't take a picture of that. Why would I, right? Not like I mention it on my blog or anything.)

The knitty gritty: I used most of two skeins of Loops & Threads Impeccable in Royal, a small bit (20 yards? Less?) of Vanna's Choice in White, and maybe 50 yards of I Love This Yarn in Black. It's hard to say, since I didn't really weigh them beforehand. (Although, as a side note, I do have a scale now, so I can start doing that. If I remember.)

I steam blocked this lightly. The seed stitch is supposed to keep the ends from curling, but you know.

Achilles inspects my workmanship.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Knitting Not Going So Well

I've whittled my Christmas Knitting list down to next to nothing. And you know what? I'm not going to finish. I might be able to finish the other things, but poor T will not get his Christmas scarf.

That makes me feel extremely bad.

Bad because that's pretty much the only thing I was going to be able to give him this year. It's been a very stressful season for us and we have decided not to spend big on Christmas like we normally do. Not related to the spending (but definintely related to the stress), I just haven't felt very Christmasy at all.

I made the decision not to put the outdoor decorations out this year. Too much time and effort to dig them out, set them up, find that timer-thing and program it. And T is working just as many hours as me. No reason he should have to spend his very limited time off climbing around on a ladder outside, right? And they'll just have to come down in a few weeks, anyway.

I may decided not to put up the tree, even. It will be the first time in my entire life without a Christmas tree, but it takes so long to put up and decorate. And nobody really likes to do it, except me. They might all be relieved that I don't force them to do this year. Probably the only one who will be disappointed is Achilles.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Craft Fail - Ornament Tree

I saw this Ornament Tree on Pinterest and I thought, "Wow. That looks pretty. And pretty easy. I think I'll try it." I mean, it's basically just a styrofoam cone with some cheap ornaments hot glued on. I think I can handle that.

So I gathered my stuff. I ended up buying another set of ornament because I realized I didn't have enough to do the tree. It's a little deceptive, how many ornaments you can get on one of these cones.

Look. I started by removing the tops of the ornaments and then poking the "stem" into the foam. I wanted to test it out before I started gluing.

Achilles helped. It took about 9 of these ornaments to go around the base. That made me wonder if 2 sets of ornaments would even be enough, or if I needed even more? So I stacked a few on top of that first row, just to give myself an idea of how it would look.

But all that did was show me how big the gaps between balls would be. I have some tinsel to fill in the gaps, but that looked really gappy. And then as I was trying to "mock up" how it would look without actually gluing it down, all the balls started popping out of the styrofoam.

Achilles was happy to catch it before I fell off the table. Thanks, Achilles.

In the end, I just got frustrated. Maybe I should do one of these candy trees instead?

Achilles likes the ornament ball idea better.

Sigh. I don't know what I was thinking, starting a new project anyway. I'm so overwhelmed by this holiday and my lack of time and money. I don't seem to be able to do anything. I'm going to put this craft away. Maybe I will attempt it again next year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dark Shadows

I have been watching old episodes of Dark Shadows on Youtube while I do mindless tasks like fold laundry. In case you don't know, Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera in the 60's and 70's. It was a gothic story about a young governess and an old family. It was secrets and drama and... well, basically it was secrets and drama.

It had nothing at all to do with that terrible movie starring Johnny Depp.

Anyway, it's a fun show. For a lot of reasons. For one thing, the story is just fantastic--in the literal sense of that word: full of fantasy. It's got lies, murder, blackmail, revenge, coverups, and ghosts. And that's all before Barnabus the vampire joins the show.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Barnabus episodes. But I'm really loving the ones without him. I am seeing a lot of small town behavior in the people of Collinsport, so I think the writers got that part spot-on. In fact, it's kind of annoying and reminds me of the reasons why I had to get the hell out of the small town I grew up in as soon as I could.

Like Maggie. Everytime Maggie opens her mouth, I want to tell her to mind her own damned business. Seriously, Maggie. Do you think I could just sit and have a cup of coffee in peace without you sitting down next to me and grilling me over the town gossip. Don't you think that the Collinses would have told you if they wanted you to know? Just because you want to know doesn't give you the right to know. That is so small town.

And the way everyone watches everyone else. The hotel clerk said Burke Devlin was going in to Bangor and would be there all day. And then I saw Carolyn Stoddard on the road to Bangor. She must be going to meet Burke Devlin in Bangor for some elicit rendesvous! Really? So how did this happen? You were hanging out on the corner and saw Carolyn drive by on the road out of town. And then what? You jumped up and ran over to the hotel to see if Burke was still there? I just don't see how you can make that leap of intuition unless you already thought they were going to go off somewhere together and you were just trying to collect enough proof to make your gossip really salacious.

The only thing the writers really didn't get right was the way the town reacts to Victoria Winters. So look. It's a small town where everybody knows, thinks they know, wants to know, or thinks they deserve to know everyone else's business. Now, in comes a new girl. And she's pretty. And young. And single. (Although that probably wouldn't matter much.) Why isn't every man in town stuck to her like white on rice? I'm not kidding. She would only have to be not hideous and not old. All the young single guys would be asking her out. A lot of the guys who were dating long-time girlfriends would be telling her "What? Oh her? We're not really serious." And a lot of married guys would be hitting on her, too. (But they'd be doing it in such a way that they could claim they were only joking.) She wouldn't be able to go into town without at least one townie guy glommed onto her. She might as well just ring the dinner bell as she walks down the sidewalk... Fresh meat! Fresh meat!

I think my favorite character so far has been Bill Malloy, the Collins' fleet manager. People ask him "What's going on up there in that house?" or "Say, is it true...?" or "Why does...?" and he tells them, "Why do you need to know? That's not your business."

I got a lot of that when my dad was sick. He had dementia, so he did some crazy stuff. It never failed. If I attended some family function like a wedding or a funeral, I would overhear someone whispering (Loud enough for me to hear, of course.) about "I heard he did this..." or "So-and-so says he did that..." And I just wanted to tell those people "Here. Take this quarter. Go down to the corner and buy yourself a nice tall glass of Mind Your Own Fucking Business."

I do find myself a bit jealous of Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard, though. So many people are so fiercely loyal to her that they would do whatever it takes to protect her (physically, emotionally, financially), do anything she asked, no matter how hard or distasteful (take the blame with the police for the brakes failing on the car), do anything you felt needed to be done to help or protect her (turn her brother in to the police... push a body out to sea...)

I'm not even sure I have any friends that would watch my purse while I tried on a pair of shoes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


This will be a present for Bre, if I can finish it in time for Christmas. It's a TARDIS Scarf. I've got the perfect blue yarn for it, too. It's Loops & Threads Impeccable and the color is Royal. Although, seriously, they should just call it TARDIS Blue.

This goes pretty quickly. It's basically seed stitch. Well, the border is seed stitch. And after you're done with the intarsia, it's stockingette. Still, I have two skeins of the TARDIS Blue, and I plan on using it all. This thing is going to be as long as I can make it.

The colorwork is a little bitchy. I fiddled around with the first white block, trying to decide the best way to do it. I tried catching the float yarn every stitch behind the white, so there would be no loose float on the back. But that made the front of the white stitches look weird. Like, zig-zaggy. So I ripped those out.

Then I tried to carry it along normally, catching the float yarn about every 3,4, or 5 stitches across the back of that block. But then, that looked shiteous. So I pulled it out. Finally, I decided to attach another skein of blue and work the white as intarsia. And that looked good. I was happy with that.

But then...

Those top two blocks have blue in them, don't they? There's no way around that. The yarn has to be carried behind. I'm not thrilled with how it looks, but oh well. It is the back side of the scarf, right?

At least this gift doesn't rely on fiberfil stuffing.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Almost FO: Cat Scarf

Well now, all the knitting is done for this cat scarf. I just need some fiberfil. Dammit! Why am I out of fiberfil? And who can I persuade to pick some up for me?

Let me tell you, since you really can't tell what's going on in this picture, I liked the idea of the 3D cat head on the scarf. So I dicked around until I got something I was happy with made up my own pattern for a 3D cat head. But the 3D part of this relies on stuffing.

So, you are just going to have to look at this pile of purple knitting and imagine a cat scarf.


Sunday, December 07, 2014

Cat Scarf

I have wanted to make the Longcat/Tacgnol Scarf for such a long time. I put in in my Ravelry queue, and actually started it. But the directions were a little hard to follow and I got frustrated and put it down. Then, when I came back to it, the pattern was gone from Ravelry. So, I deleted it from my queue.

Well then, the pattern was reposted and rewritten. Apparently, the designer had lost the original and so she recreated it from memory. I put it in my queue again, meaning to make it for my niece for Christmas. Well, now it's December and I'd better start making this damn scarf, right?


First of all, I don't have time to make this scarf. Too much has to happen to make this scarf happen. Like, the pattern is still not very clear. It says to cast on 80 stitches for a scarf that's 40 stitches wide. That seems like a pretty small guage to me. Or a pretty wide cat. Definitely too wide of a scarf for a 5-year-old. And I don't want to bust out the fingering weight yarn that would make that scale work. (I would still be knitting this thing in March.)

Secondly, I don't really want to do all the math it would take to change all of this to, say, a worsted weight guage. It's not just a matter of the nubmer of cast on stitches, you know. You also have to do the math for the proportions of the legs/arms, head, tail. And for the decreases.

Nope. Don't get me wrong. I like this Longcat/Tacgnol. But I'm not going to knit it. Because, if I'm going to do math, I'm just going to do all the math and just write the damn thing myself. I think I'm going to make a long cat scarf that is all my own.

With purple yarn.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Christmas Depression

I went to the doctor the other day to get my blood pressure medicine prescription renewed. It's a pain in the butt to do that. I mean, I guess I see why you would want to see the patient before writing any sort of RX. But this is a maintenance med and it's non-narcotic. There's no kind of high you could get from it, unless you really, really like to pee.


Whatever. I went so he would refill my RX. My fingers and toes were swollen like ten little fat sausages. A week off my meds waiting on an appointment didn't do me any favors.

So he does all the doctor stuff like listen to me breathe, and then he asks if I'm depressed. I shrugged and said, "No. I'm pretty zen these days." We talked a bit more about some stuff, and he asked me again if I was depressed. It seemed like a really weird question, at the time.

But I guess that's something you might see in old birds like me. Crazy hormonal things going on. Body falling the hell apart. Work all the time. Kids gone from the nest. No other social life except for the tv, husband, cats, and dog. Yeah. I can see that's a danger in some people.

Or maybe it's just natural that everyone gets depressed at the holidays? People have been kind of shitty these last few Christmases. (People in general. Not talking about family members or anyone.) Like, impatient on the road. Impatient in the stores. And rude. People are rude on the phone. Rude when they shop. (Like the woman who cut in line in front of me at Sam's Club. A line opened up and she practically ran me over trying to get to it first.) The cashiers are even rude in the checkout lane.

People shopping at our store get seriously angry when we don't carry an item. It's a game store. All non-electronic games. We don't carry camera batteries. We don't carry VHS tapes. We don't carry shoes. (Shoes?) Seriously. These are all things people have come in or called looking for and then gotten angry that we don't carry those items.

Maybe you'd like some Yu-Gi-Oh! cards instead?

And is it me, but does everything seem to break around Christmastime? Oh, I think I have enough extra cash this holiday that I'll be able to finally get that XYZ thing that So-and-so's always wanted. This is going to be a great Christmas! What's that? Oh the freezer's about to blow up? And the tail light has stopped working in your car? And the closet doorknob broke off? Fine.

I don't know. Maybe it's good that the doctor asked. If he's asking other people, I'm sure he's bound to find someone who is depressed. Me? It's just business as usual with me. This is just how it goes.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Almost FO: Zombie Ornament

Can you believe I have used all my fiberfill stuffing?


And this is almost finished, too. Not sure when I will get a chance to get out and get more stuffing, either. Work has been very demanding lately and I haven't had a lot of time for much of anything else. I'm so far behind on Christmas Knitting that I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I am not going to finish T's scarf or these ornaments.

I'm going to show you this, though, because I do like this pattern a whole lot. It can be used for so many different ornaments. This one is Jenny Stacey's modification of her Toy Soldier Ornament pattern. It's The Little Zombie

No mods here. I knit it pretty much like Jenny did. Once it's stufed and embroidered, I'll add a hanging loop on the back.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Winter Scarf Progress

I'm making progress on the Winter is Coming Scarf for T. Unfortunately, it's just not quick enough. I'm beginning to worry I won't finish it in time.

If only I had time to just sit and knit! But no. Life imposes. I get a little bit of time each week. I may end up having to put this in the box still on the needles. I would hate to do that, though. T, of all people, deserves Christmas knits.

Ah well. I keep plugging away.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

December Sky

The thing I hate about winter, outside of the cold, (Or maybe even more than the cold, really.) is the grey-ness of everything. The colored leaves of fall are gone. The grass is dead, or near dead. (Even the green grass is a faded, dull green now.) The ground is mud. The trees are sticks. And the sky...

The sky is so grey.

It's like the sky has just given up. Like it can't manage blue any more. Grey. Grey is all you get.

It makes everything look dull and lifeless. Makes the whole day bleak. Seriously, when I got up this morning the sky was this color. The same color it is now at 4 pm. Bleh.

No wonder people wear those ugly Christmas sweaters. They're just trying to put some life into the day.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

FO: New City Hat

Another Christmas gift done. This one is for Ryan, M's bf. It's the New City Hat by Melissa LaBarre. It's done in I Love This Yarn in Black, because I love black hats. Plus, he and M do a lot of adventuring outdoors, so the hat needs to be able to stand up to some washing.

I like the subtle pattern on this. It's all knits and purls, so it goes quickly, too. The only modification I made was to go down to a size 5 needle, for guage.

I think Ryan will like this. M sent me a picture of the two of them a week or so ago and he was wearing last year's hat. So I know he'll wear it.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Christmas Nostalgia

Well, it is December now. And it's really not beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Very few people in my neighborhood have put up lights this year. (We haven't yet.) And there really aren't a lot of store decorations, either.

Oh, you'll still see the whole Christmas production at places like Von Maur. They actually hire a team to come in and decorate their stores. But, for the most part, if you do see holiday decor, they're like the ones we put up at our store--a tree, a wreath, a bit of garland. Nothing fantastic.

Not like when I was young. Back when I was growing up, in the 60's and 70's, Christmas decorations were everywhere in December. All the towns put up those lighted trees or snowmen or santas or bells on the lamp posts downtown. The courthouse would string lights from the tip of the building down to the eaves to make a giant "tree" that you could see from pretty far away. The shopping centers/strip malls would decorate the front of the building--usually with lighted garlands and wreaths. And all the light posts in the parking lot would have garlands wrapped around them and some kind of ornament hanging from them.

All the stores would decorate, too. Every store put a tree in their window, usually with whatever that store sold under said tree as "presents." It was a lot of fun as a kid to walk along, looking at all the trees, imagining that bike or that doll or that game under my tree. (Not that it was ever anything more than wishful thinking.) Many stores painted their windows, too. Usually, they just put snow in the corners. But some places, like the ABC Curb-A-Teria (one of those carhop places you could go and get milkshakes and hamburgers delivered to your car) would get the high school art class to come out and paint giant Christmas scenes on all their windows. Sure, it was tacky as hell. But it was the 60's. That kind of thing would be ridiculous now, but back then it worked.

The courthouse in my hometown, like most towns in that day, used to put up a nativity scene on the courthouse lawn. My brother tells me they don't do that anymore because of objections to putting one religion's decorations up, but not the others. I don't see a problem. I say, put them all up. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Omisoka, St. Lucia, Festivas, whatever. Why can't we all celebrate? It's a big courthouse lawn. There is plenty of room. Apparently, though, there was a vote taken and the county decided that they would rather not put up any decorations on the courthouse if they had to accommodate other religions.

It would be funny if it weren't so... not funny.

Santa used to be everywhere, too. We used to go into the bank on Saturday mornings in December (back then, people went inside the bank, even after they put in drive-thrus.) and there would be a Santa there, waiting to hear your Christmas list and give you some candy. Now, back then, there was always candy at the bank. But at Christmas, there would be Christmas candy. A big candy cane, at the very least. And sometimes it would be a little mesh bag with 5 or 6 small chocolates wrapped to look like Christmas ornaments. But usually it was something much better--a foil wrapped chocolate coin as big as the palm of your hand. Let me tell you, when you are a little kid, that big, shiny chocolate coin with Santa's face on it was enough to make you lose your mind about Christmas.

Plus, if you were lucky, your mom also took you to do the grocery shopping after the bank. And there would be another Santa there at that shopping center, with some more candy! And it didn't matter that you had just left Santa downtown 5 minutes ago. You didn't take any chances when you were a kid. You sat with this Santa, repeated your list, and got some more chocolate!

I don't see any Santas these days, except for the mall Santas, who clearly do not love the job. And who definitely don't give candy. And whom you have to either pay for a picture with, or wait in line forever to see.

It kind of sucks for kids these days.

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