Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This blog has been really pookie and negative this month. It happens sometimes, I know, life is like that. So while I am very sad about my grandmother tonight, there was also good stuff that happened and I wanted to share some GOOD news for a change. I posted all about FUCK cancer earlier this month because it seemed to be all around. Today I found out that my friend who went in for the big test to see if she had ovarian cancer is fine, she had to have surgery but it turned out NOT to be the big Bad Thing that we were all afraid of. She's gonna be okay. This will not take her away from her children or her family before her time.

I am very grateful for that and it's GOOD news so I thought I'd share it here.

Also, some very nice folks at my clinic thought my Baud sock was fab this morning and told me that I was a good knitter, in fact, "better than very good. Amazing." I did not pshaw and assure them it was simple. I just said thank you.

By the way, if you live in Southern CA, are uninsured, if you need basic health care or a flu shot, vaccinations, GYN exams, if you need STD testing or other blood draw services and you are not able to pay a lot? You should really be aware of AIM in Sherman Oaks. They primarily serve the adult film industry to keep folks in that industry safe and tested, but they also have services for the general public and they make them available to the whole family at their nonprofit rates. They don't bill, you have to pay for it up front, but seriously, it is very low cost, quick and friendly. The people there are fab. It's nice to go to a clinic for girl care or an HIV test or whatever and get treated with professionalism, a lack of judgement and with respect. You can ask questions and get answers. Every time I go there, I am just, "Thank you sex industry!" because there is NO judgement and NO worry that you could possibly freak out your doctor. They've seen it all. And in these days of crap insurance and skyrocketing health care costs, anything that makes it easier, more affordable and less scary for singles, families, whoever - that is a good thing. It is a very human-positive place.

So no cancer. Great healthcare available to you, the public, at low costs. There was something good about January after all

Rest in peace, Oakland Grandma

January is fired. Have I mentioned that? I mean, security has been called and will be escorting it from the building at any time now. If I don't wake up tomorrow and discover February, there will be hell to pay.

Because to cap the month in which my husband of 10 years moved out of our home, my car died to the tune of $2700 (it went back into the shop today, as a matter of fact for being yet again ded), and numerous other sorrows and annoyances too small to record here?

My grandmother died last night.

She was my first friend, She was my very best friend ever. There aren't words to describe how much she meant to me or how much I will miss her.

She died in the nursing home while eating a bowl of ice cream with her friends and the resident cat. She was 97 and was loved and cherished by everyone who knew her, her whole life. She had a great marriage to the love of her life, one that saw 65 years, she sent two sons to war and both came back alive, she had a daughter who made her proud and happy, she had 8 grandkids, 6 great grandkids and numerous pets and good friends over the years. She was a gracious lady till the end and had a sharp sense of humor, even when the details got fuzzy.

If you think about it, basically, G-d gave her 97 great years AND an ice cream sundae.

She was the source of unconditional love in my life no matter what. I'm really glad she got some ice cream on the way out. It was kind and merciful and a fitting coda to a life well lived.

grandma

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm noticing that I feel a lot better right now if I can see small, quantifiable successes. Large, long term goals are not happening for me. I'm a little too ADD and distracted right now. That's okay. I can adapt. Tonight I cast on that beanie in Noro Silk Garden that everyone is knitting. It's cold in HumCo and my dad's birthday is coming up. Got it sorted on #6 dpns and I finished the 1" of ribbing on the edge while the youngest and I watched Love Actually. Last night I turned the heel on the 2nd Baud sock while we watched Margaret Cho. Small goals. Small successes. I can see them. Measure them. Beginning, middle, end. They make me feel a little more in control of things. That helps. I might be able to finish Baud and/or the beannie by the weekend. Probably not both. But I can finish one. It's going to feel great to FINISH something.

My little experiment with the plastic bin was a smashing HUGE success, though I now have to prevent myself from driving to Target and buying organizational doodads for EVERY! ROOM! IN! MY! HOUSE! as it is a known fact that this way lies madness and also bounced checks. I want to organize or get rid of EVERYTHING, it seems. I've filled my car and been to Goodwill three times. I've filled our dumpster once and half again. I am a purging fiend. But the things that are left? I can find them. I know where they are. Chaos has been contained and I can sleep at night. I am so OCD in this regard that it is rather pathetic sometimes, really. Life crisis? Husband moves out? Youngest child sick and home from school for 3 days? Teenage daughter met a totally unsuitable boy and gets caught lying about where she's at after school resulting in her grounding and your being trapped in the house with a sulky, pissed off 15 y/o? Dog yakked on the new bedspread? No problem. Buy a plastic bin and spend two days organizing your paperclips. Don't eat, or you know, shower, but sort the sock yarn by color, in ziplock bags. It works! Cheaper than therapy. Unless you're a dork and hit Target or god forbid, The Container Store. Then it's expensive therapy and not applicable to deductible or yearly out of pocket for healthcare.

Right. Beannie or Baud, done by Sunday. I think I can do it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Things are plugging away here Chez Single Mother er, Yarnpirate. They're actually going fine, all things considered. Mr. YP completed his move out, there was minimal (no) drama and everyone is friendly. Less than two hours to remove everything from the house that was going to go. It seems like it should have been harder than that, to me. I haven't really had time to process or think about things because I've been working and life has been throwing shit at me as fast as I can catch it, but I imagine it'll sink in eventually. Maybe it is, a little. Bit by bit. Things look really different around here.

2007 is kinda fired. Today, on top of everything else, I got nailed with an overdue dentist bill for $800 and our dentist informed me that the youngest needs orthodontia. Like, now. Or her jaw will stop growing and it'll be 3x as expensive. But they'll take payments. Head, meet desk. Oh, and when I came out of the dentist's office? Hello! Hi! Yes! I had a parking ticket. Swell! FIRED. Not even laid off. I don't think 2007 gets to collect unemployment, at least not based on current performance. I am going to need to see significant improvement, and fast.

I think I've done half a repeat on my painter's scarf and two rows trying to turn the heel on my Baud sock since Thursday? Wednesday? I just haven't had time. Too busy trying to reclaim what's left of my life and figure out where we all go from here.

I am crediting Lime and Violet with my sanity during this process. I can sit and laugh while I do whatever thing I'm doing all by myself at the time, and I feel like I'm hanging out with my friends. Believe me, some nights, when the kids are in bed and the house is quiet? I need to feel like I'm hanging out with someone. Since I can't listen to L&V all the time, I should also give mad props to Target for my sanity. Running out to Target and wandering the aisles and looking at shiny things is also helpful. I can buy a 3 pack of wooden spoons for < $2 and it is therapeutic. They have a ginormous selection of nifty plastic containers for organizing things and I pretend that if I could afford to buy them, everything would work better and also make sense.

I know, I know. This is supposed to be about knitting. I promise, more sticks and string when things chill out. I will not be Whiny McNegativityson forever, I promise.

I am going to go organize something. I ponied up for a plastic container today and I'm gonna see if my theory really does work.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Holy cow. Did y'all know there is another Yarnpirate?

How did I miss this?

There is nifty yarn at that there Yarnpirate's blog, yarn that she herself makes! I think she should prepare to be boarded. For her yarrrrrrrrn. And oh look! You can buy it on Etsy in her shop.

I am on a yarn diet. I am on a yarn diet. I am on a yarn diet....

but I can always bookmark and support a fellow pirate when the yarn diet is over....
I have to 'fess up. I broke my yarn diet. *sigh* I just spent $32 on yarn - two skeins of Sock! from Lisa Souza. But before anyone says, "Rainy, that's awful." let me qualify it with I got some Violet's Pink Ribbon because it felt needful to drop something into the kitty over there. The fact that it was also sock yarn and Lisa Souza sock yarn to boot had nothing to do with it. Much.

I have one good friend waiting on the results of her CA-125 test because they want to find out if the nasty mass they found on her ovaries is just complex but benign or if it is the Big Bad Scary Thing We Don't Want To Say. The mother of So-chan's boyfriend died two days ago from metastasized cancer that went from her lungs to her brain and maybe other places, leaving behind her teenage son, other adult kids, grandkids and her husband. It's tragic and sad and horrible and the family is devastated. She had, maybe 6 weeks between diagnosis and her death. If she'd had medical insurance or money for treatment, maybe she'd have gone to a doctor sooner and she'd still be here. Maybe not. We'll never know.

Another group of friends have set up The Lime Project to help yet another woman dealing with cancer and no resources to pay for treatment. They're raising money to help Heather and her story is over at the Lime Project Website. They've raised about 50% of the money they need to help her out. Their project consists of artfully taken nudes (very tasteful and pretty pictures) from all volunteer models, with the theme of "lime" running through each picture. Who doesn't like a little cheesecake now and then?

Fuck Cancer.

Hell yes, I broke my yarn diet. And I bought a tasteful cheesecake calender, too.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

One thing about working retail when the weather dips into the frigid arctic hell portion of the thermometer is that you get to admire a LOT of knit stuff walking in and out of the store. I've met more knitters in the last 2 days, it is absolutely nutty how many of us are out there. Hi knitters! Thank you for coming into my shop and making my retail day so much brighter with your yarn! I'm also getting a reputation with my co-workers for being a trifle, er, yarn obsessed. And I'm somewhat surprised at my newfound ability to recognize fibers, yarn brands and colorways just by staring at the finished objects. Maybe my dream of one day opening a yarn store is not such a dumb idea after all. The nice thing about owning a yarn store would be, knitters would still come visit me at work. Only, more of them and identification would be easier. One day, I shall make my exodus from the world of olive oil and move full time into fiber. What a glorious day that will be.

It's stupidly cold here in Los Angeles and along with the absolutely dumb temps comes absolutely dumb corporate policy! Because we are not allowed to SHUT THE DOORS to our store when the weather gets cold. Seriously. It is against company policy. So when I left tonight, it was 56 degrees INSIDE the store, even though the heater was running at full blast. We have a dress code, and so we cannot put on coats or gloves while we are working. Sweaters, yes, and thank god for cashmere (I will never doubt the worth of my cashmere sweater again) but still... that's ridiculous. I know that 56 degrees is nothing by East Coast standards, but remember, INSIDE. Standing in that for 8 hours with no protective garments beyond a cashmere sweater over your servant chic ensemble of white cotton blouse, black skirt, nylons and nice (read, cold) shoes is really torture and I think the asshats at corporate should really have to come down and work a shift in those conditions. I cheated and wore fingerless gloves all shift, and my fingers were still blue with cold by the end.

Fuckwittery abounds.

What is even more ridiculous y'all is that when they built my apartment, some asinine person got the bright idea to install radiant heat ceilings instead of heat and air like normal people get. Normally this isn't an issue here in SoCal. However, when it is 27 degrees outside and turning on my heat means my electric bill triples, I begin to think about things like heating methods.**

Dear arkytecky person wot designed my apartment. Newsflash. Heat rises. Kthx, no love, bye.

I live on the ground floor. And the heat, it is in my ceiling. This means my upstairs neighbors probably benefit every time we turn it on while us? Not so much with the warm thing. "Wear a sweater." I tell my shivering offspring. "Embrace the sweater." Right now, I am embracing flannel pants, handknit socks, a long sleeve shirt, a wool sweater, a heating pad and a chenille throw.

Global climate changes? What global climate changes?

**I also begin to think about the fact that there's something like 700,000+ homeless people - men, women and children in the US and it is bitterly cold out there right now. So while I bitch about my cold apartment, I am also grateful to have one. Now would be a good time to poke your elected representatives about funding more housing and shelters for the homeless. So that maybe next winter, when it freezes again, there will be more beds for them to sleep in and fewer of them on the streets to need those beds.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The nice thing about a little dog is that they can be very blood pressure lowering. Tiki is particularly good at this and likes to be nestled right up against whatever person she is sitting with. Sometimes she'll lay her head on your shoulder and just SIGH contentedly. She really is heartbreakingly cute. Medicinal, even.

tikisquash2

Mr. YP has set his moving date and it is not far off at all.

I can't focus on any knitting whatsoever right now except the most stupid, mindless stuff. I wish I could say that this was the thing that spurred me into action and I decided to master Shetland lace or Orenberg lace or Fair Isle, but frankly, no. About the most I want to do right now is hang out in my ratty Dartmouth shirt, pajama bottoms and watch reruns of Battlestar Galactica. So here it is, therapy knitting in the extreme. The most boooooring knitting... in the WORLD. /Eddie Izzard> The Divorce Scarf. I have enough yarn to stretch this one out for quite a long time if I don't knit at it every second, and hell, if I do run out? I've got a LOT of Cascade in stash and will cast on Divorce The Sequel, Scarf From Hell if really there is a need. Atacama alpaca handpaint with some mystery wool Interlacements handpaint - both from stash. 2x2 rib in random stripes, on slightly larger than called for needles. And when it's done, I hope to have knitted through the very worst parts of all this and I will cast off and then the scarf will wrap (twice! three times! maybe?) around my neck comfortingly. It will be evidence that I did it. Every stitch in the scarf will be a moment that I survived this process.

the d word scarf

I guess I'll pick up stuff like the remaining Baud sock and the Painter's scarf and all the other undone projects as I find I have the mental energy. And do nice soothing 2x2 ribbing when I don't. There is no finish line, after all. No agenda. I can be the boss of my own knitting.

I do have the bestest pals ever and one of them came up with this charming little project bag to keep my knitting in when I'm on the go. It's just big enough for a scarf or a pair of socks or a sleeve and I find it immensely cheering.

skully project bag

Another girlfriend sent me this swanky handmade geisha fabric needle case.

rhonneedlecase1

It is sized specially to fit my dpns and circs, since I keep most of my longer straights in a vase on the shelf (knitter interior decorating) and she is going to sell them at craft bazaars in her hometown. Personally, I'm hoping she opens an ETSY store because the workmanship on this is first class and I bet she'd do very well selling them.

rhonneedlecase2

Truly I have the best friends ever, both near and far. I wish some of y'all were free (and local!) next Friday for post husband moving out red whine wine, yarn and devils food cupcakes. I anticipate that there will be a lot of bad jokes.

Monday, January 08, 2007

So the reason that I am knitting from my stash and also probably buying nothing that is nonessential starting in February and ending in May (I blame Crazy Aunt Purl for adding this one to the list of whackeh money management ideas) is that there are some very huge life changes going on Chez YP.

Most notably, Mr. YP is moving out in a couple of weeks and we are going to be separating for the forseeable future and not a couple anymore though certainly nobody is any hurry to file for divorce. It's quite amicable and nobody is the bad guy. It was a mutual decision to end 10 years of marriage and 11 years of partnership and try to learn how to be partners in a brand new, not married way. For all of that fabulous cooperation and mutual goodwill, it stinks. So that's the way it is. I'm doing my best. Bring me that horizon.

And really bad eggs.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fine. I'm gonna do the Knit From Your Stash thing. I just am. Because otherwise, I'm going to be visiting Kaleidescope Yarns (who sent me a sale email today) and then it leads to Webs and then maybe Stitch Diva and you know, that way lies no groceries.

Call me a joiner.

I think I'm gonna amend it a little bit though, and say that sock yarn *does* count, so probably I should add sock yarn to the whole proscribed yarn shopping thing. Or maybe do what another commenter suggested and save loose change, and let that be my 'sock yarn does not count' money (the temptation here is to skip doing laundry and add precious laundry quarters to the kitty so as to make it grow faster) and when I have accumulated enough for a skein, I may buy one. But really, it counts. And I've got enough. I know. I took a picture. There's proof. So it counts.

And please stop emailing me sale notices, you yarn companies. That's dirty pool.

Also, to the folks at Blue Moon Fiber Arts who make that awesome Socks That Rock, I'd appreciate it if you come up with no new colorways to order on the site until, say, September. Take a long vacation. You've earned one.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The HMS Toyota Corolla (hereafter known as Tess) has suffered a tragic series of setbacks and must be overhauled to the tune of $2575. Yeah, that's right, there's no decimal there. That's a period. Happy. New. Year. Or, Do You Want Lube With That?

This insures that I'll be absolutely broke for the near future. Well, really, all year. Maybe for several years. Unless I win lotto. Probably. So to convince myself that things are really okay and I am not suddenly going to RUN OUT OF YARN OMG!!!!1! I am taking this picture and will refer back to it when I start to panic about my stash. Really, it is not the Season Of Yarn Famine Hell. I will not be staring in the windows of yarn stores clutching my book of matches while snow falls outside. "Self," I tell myself. "It will be OOOOOKAY. Chill."

sock yarn 1

Probably I will not run out of sock yarn this year. And if I do, there are bins of roving and other yarns, like laceweight and worsted and DK, which could probably tide me over. I am somewhat abashed to say that I ordered 3 skeins of STR in a panic, before I decided to go through the bins and give myself a reality check.

I'm now halfway through the Handsome Painter's holiday scarf. It's now looking like it might be a Birthday Scarf. Because I suck and I'm slow and I lost it for DAYS over the winter break. I ask you, how do you lose knitting? What kind of knitter loses yarn???

mike's scarf detail
here's a detail. It really IS that lustrous and haloey and wonderful and it's so soft you just want to SQUEEEESH it. Lisa Souza's El Dorado (kid mohair and silk) in "Wild Things" which is doing amazing things with this particular fiber combo.

No more pictures, because pretty much everything is stalled out hopelessly, stuffed in the Bag Of Shame and I am too ashamed to show it until I get it all moving again.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A lot of New Years posts going up, a lot of resolutions, a lot of changes in the wind for people. This is the time when we all start thinking about what we'd like to change or do better. I don't usually make resolutions but I definitely have a laundry list of things I'd like to improve. It's going to be a year of big changes Chez Yarnpirate. I'm not sure how things are gonna pan out but I know they WILL pan out one way or another. I am trusting in my ability to make it work well.

I start a second job in a few weeks so will not have a lot of knitting time. But I do have knitting goals. The biggest of my goals is to FINISH the stuff on my sidebar. I want the sense of having finished something successfully. I didn't get a hell of a lot finished in 2006. My attention was elsewhere for a lot of the time. This year I'd like to be more consistent. I'd like to not have them hanging over my head.

I want to dive into spinning fiber and really understand what I'm doing with it and why it does the things it does instead of having happy accidents. I want a good foundation.

I want to knit more socks and use up a goodly chunk of my stash yarn. I'm not doing Knit Your Stash or Lime and Violet's Sock Marathon, but I want to make a dent in what I have all the same. It is nice yarn. It deserves to be used.

I want to be a better, more active, more involved friend. Flake less. Comment more. Show more interest and caring to the people around me, both IRL and online. I want to get involved more in my local SnB groups and cultivate ties with other knitters in my area.

I want to be a better mom.

I want to simplify my life so that what is left is sustaining and meaningful.

I want to do better. I will work harder.

Lotta changes and shifts in the Pirate-sphere, a lot going on that I just can't really write about publically, but as it unfolds I'll be able to express it a little more. I'm looking forward to that. Biting my tongue has been hard, but necessary and the responsible thing to do.

I really hope all y'all have a happy new year. I kicked mine off in a very mixed fashion. I celebrated my birthday with family in wonderful style. I got kidnapped off to Disneyland for the day by my painter and acquired some spiffy new striped mouse ears. I ate some great food and got some awesome new yarn and knitting books and, oh, yes, SPINNING WHEEL! Conversely, I also really pissed off someone who I love dearly by being thoughtless, made some impulsive financial choices as pertains to new yarn and you know, I was human. And it's only the 3rd day of the new year. At least I suppose I can say that I have started off by living as I mean to go on and quite fully at that.

It's a good start. A mixed bag, but a good start.