Knitting · sheep show

*Happy Sigh* or, Rhinebeck part 1

Today officially and completely made up for last year’s disappointment that was Rhinebeck. I really had a miserable time last year, due in part to the large, rude surge of humanity that was enormously unfriendly to children in general and strollers in particular. I spent a lot of time over the last year, trying to think what I could have done to make the trip better.

This morning I headed up to Rhinebeck with one kid (the other has been sick) and my TAS. It was just the three of us and we weren’t in any particular hurry to meet anyone there so we were able to enjoy a wonderful and leisurely drive with a stop at *bucks and the bank machine. And, since I’d decided not to bring it, there was no stroller to unload and pack we arrived. We all just hopped out of the car and made for the gates.

We hit the sheep barns first, did a little shopping, and had a light lunch. Then the thought occurred to me that the Yarn Harlot might be there, signing books. She was.

Stephanie is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Seriously. She remembered my name from a book signing she did two years ago. Who does that? Here’s what I wish I’d said this time: Hey, Stephanie! It’s so nice to see you again. Wow, I really love your scarf and sweater! They’re gorgeous. Would you mind holding my sock for a picture? Thank you so much. Are you going to be sitting here for a long time? I was just going to get a cup of coffee, would you like me to bring you one? Did I say that? No, I did the fangirl thing: “Duh, I really enjoy your work. Der.” Lame. And then my turn was over and the line moved me on. Oh well. Next time I’ll practice beforehand. Also, I wish I didn’t look so psychotic in this picture.

Then we got coffee and a hot chocolate (the best ever!), moseyed up to punkin’ chunkin’ and then back through the crowds for more shopping. I talked to the Merlin Tree guy (who, I must say, was looking very dapper in his aran sweater and kilt). E2 wanted to do the haunted hall. Then he changed his mind. Then he wanted to do it. Then he changed his mind again.

On the way out, I came dangerously close to buying a fleece but I remembered that I’d already splurged on something else (positively amazing) and decided to wait and get a fleece next year. Also, I don’t spin (well, not officially anyway). I will have to remedy that.

Traffic was extremely shitty on the way home. We found solace in a bag of kettle corn and a box of fudge, managing to make it through somehow.

I had a completely different mindset this time around. I was far less stressed and therefore had a much, much more enjoyable time. Now I can’t wait until next year.

Tomorrow, Rhinebeck part 2: the haul.


And so…

This concludes the holiday portion of our knitting program.

Tomorrow we shall return to our regularly scheduled knitting projects.

3 am Epiphany · nanowrimo


Here’s the second post in this series. This exercise was all about being able to summarize a story that takes place over several years. I have to say, at first I wasn’t inspired, but once I found the character’s voice the words flowed easily and I ended up really enjoying it. What a wonderful surprise. Don’t forget to check out the others who signed up to participate too:


I press the record button on the tape recorder as she takes a long draw from the cigarette she holds between the first and second fingers of her right hand. The cherry flares hot and red, crackling as the smoke irritates my nose. “Well,” she says, blowing out the smoke and trying to keep it away from my face, “I found the lump in my tit about seven years ago.” Chuckling, a low throaty laugh, she flicks the filter of the cigarette with her thumb so the ash flies away into the grass. “I guess you could say my husband found it.” Bright spots of color bloom on her cheeks. “Course I thought fer sure it’d be the tit cancer that got me.” Her chuckle turns briefly into a rough, junky cough and she takes another puff of her cigarette. The breeze pulls her hair, dirty blonde, into her eyes and she tucks it behind her ear with her other hand.

“Then they started me on the chemo, ya know, and my hair all fell out. Eventually they decided to cut ‘em off, both of ‘em.” She points to the center of her chest with the thumb of the hand holding the cigarette. “I was ok with it, though. I was done tit feedin’ my babies and I wasn’t havin’ any more, ya know.” She drags on the cigarette again and looks away, blowing the smoke through pursed lips, trying to blow it downwind. “But after that Mike didn’t want nuthin’ to do with me and he starts foolin’ around with Lisa down the block.” Tossing her head, she pauses and stuffs her free hand in a pocket before putting the cigarette to her lips again and taking another hard draw.

“They over at her place now. Him and the kids. Which is fine. I got shit to do anyway.”

Yeah, like write a will, I think wryly.

She’s looking at her feet, nudging the dirt beneath the brown grass with her toe. “I guess that’s life, though,” she goes on. “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” She laughs. “That’s what me and my girlfriends all used to say when we was in high school. Didn’t know how true it was until now, though.”

She takes a last draw on the cigarette and flicks it over into the weeds and then she rubs her hands on her thighs. “I wasn’t the same after Mike left, though. I had a hard time finding work since the paper mill shut down. Guess the whole town was shit out of luck after that, huh? I could’ve got a job back down at the strip club ‘cept I couldn’t afford me a pair of tits and Mike wouldn’t buy me none. Bastard. I did finally find me a job tendin’ bar. Shithole of a place, but I could pay rent most of th’ time at least. No health insurance, though. So when I started gettin’ bad sick I couldn’t go see a doctor. Hah,” she says, mirthlessly. “I never thought it’d be lung cancer that get me. I thought fer sure it’d be th’ tit cancer.” She sighs. “Not much t’ be done about that now, is there?”

I nod, trying to put an empathetic expression on my face. I doubt I’m successful.


As Promised

It would be an understatement to say that my first attempt at this sock did not end well. So I decided that, rather than take another stab at the Sky Sockitecture from New Pathways for Sock Knitters, I would go with a more traditional heel flap sock.

I’ve been mucking around in toe-up-short-row-heel socks for so long, that I’d forgotten how that magical moment when your tube-with-a-flap becomes a sock can literally take your breath away with its simple elegance.


Comment contests are made of awesome.

Over the course of this contest I received roughly 70 comments, taking my comment total to 1,123. And let me tell you, comments really do make the effort of blogging worth it. I mean, I know I’ve got some readers out there thanks to Word Press’ stats trackers, but comments keep blogging from feeling like I’m standing in a vast and empty warehouse talking to myself. So, say hello to your favorite bloggers every now and then. You’ll make their day. Thanks again to everyone who reads my blog, and thanks for the comments. I loves them. They are my precious.

And now, without any further ado, I present your contest winner, Rima! Congratulations! Rima is a very funny lady who’s been reading and commenting on my blog for a while. As far as I can tell, she’s one of the first bloggers to add my blog to her blogroll, which was (and continutes to be) an enormous compliment. Back in the beginning of September, she posted one of the funniest blog posts I’ve ever read. Rima, you have one week to contact me via email (or Ravelry PM would be fine, too) so I can get your address and send you your prize.

Tomorrow: Knitting content. (Yes, I really still do knit.)

off topic

Yup, I’m a communist.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last couple of weeks. I’ve listened to a lot (and I mean a lot) of NPR and have been reading a lot of wiki pages, et al., and I have come to what I believe is a reasonable conclusion. Seriously people, what the fuck is up with basing the entire world economy on debt? Debt and hedging? Debt, hedging, and speculation? Debt, hedging, speculation, and something called credit default swaps? Who the fuck decided it would be a good idea to run the global economy like it was some sort of sleazy casino? And quite frankly, I am morally offended that a scant handful of arrant idiots are able to affect how much money the rest of us have.

</end rant>

3 am Epiphany · nanowrimo


Here is the first in the series of NaNoWriMo training posts I agreed to do with my TAS during the month of October. Tea Leaves, and Dale-Harriet signed up too, so go check them out!


It was very nearly dawn by the time Soren arrived back at his lab, the eastern sky a pale pinkish yellow capped by an inky starry blue. He stood for a moment at the top of his hill, looking out over the darkened city. The twinkling lights of the street lamps and the office buildings were gone, as was the usual traffic noise. The hum of a busy city getting ready for work now silenced forever. All was still. Peaceful. Orderly. A stiff breeze tugged at his thick dark hair, whipping it wildly about his head, and he inhaled deeply, savoring the early fall scent of leaves and grass carried upon it. Not even a winging bird disturbed the perfect tranquility of this moment. His moment. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jacket to guard against the chill and, feeling the object nestled inside, smiled, smugly satisfied. He had known it would work, his calculations precise, his craftsmanship superb. Still, having successfully tested it on this scale was its own vindication.

He took the keys from his pocket and turned to the door of his lab. Now his real work could begin. As he slid the key into the lock, a familiar shiver of pleasure ran over him. Time seemed to stretch out and he felt as though he were one with the mechanism. He was the key, moving each tumbler into its proper place. And then, quivering, he felt the click as the key yielded to the gentle pressure and twist of his hand. Sighing softly, he pushed open the door.

In one motion, he switched on the lights and stuffed the keys back into his pocket before turning to close and lock the door behind him. He leaned against the door, gathering his thoughts, before turning to face what he knew the chaos that still awaited him here.

Naturally the lab smelled nothing like it usually did—of ozone and cleanliness and order, of sterile scientific instruments, precisely and systematically arranged, every object in its place, waiting patiently for his return. No. Of course this morning the smell of human sweat hung heavy in the air. Sweat and blood. His breath caught. He had nearly forgotten about the blood. Given what had happened here last night, he was surprised the stench of blood wasn’t heavier. It was then that the full force of what had happened struck him.

Mostly, the lab was a tumbled mess of shattered glass and stainless steel instruments, but there were a few objects untouched by the frenzied chaos endured only hours ago. Here, a lab chair upturned on a melted lump of plastic and metal that probably had been his computer. There, a jar of formaldehyde that contained a preserved fetal cat, untouched by the apparent violence surrounding it. One might think he’d placed the jar there just now had it not been for the destruction that blocked the way.

The blood, mixing with other spilled liquids, ran down toward the industrial drain in the center of the room and had become a morbid dark and thickened rivulet. Unwilling, Soren’s eyes followed the stream to its source.

Their struggle had been epic in a way, evidenced by the massive damage done to the lab. But in the end, it was his own super-strength that Soren was able to use against him. Soren had only to step aside as the man, desperate to save the city, unwittingly threw himself onto the rebar that had popped from the concrete wall during the fray. The force of the fool’s momentum backed by his super-strength had driven it completely through the left eye socket and out the back of his head, pinning him to the wall like a mounted trophy, killing him instantly.

Soren picked his way over to the lifeless body of the fallen hero, standing for a moment so closely his nose nearly touched the man’s cheek. He fought the bile rising in his throat. “No hard feelings, man,” Soren said to him, a low growl. “I just had to show them I was right.” Then, he took the keys out of his pocket and dropped them to the floor at his feet. This lab was no longer large enough for his needs. He stuffed his hands into his pockets, running his thumb over the object within. Then he made is way back to the door and quietly left.