Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Skin You're In

As you know, much of my Palette-yarn-knitting (and, indeed, much of my knitting altogether) involves the wonderful patterns of Anna Hrachovec, especially, her tiny knits.  I do love to make the small creations.  It isn't a huge time investment to play around with different colors.  Personalizing the little people by skin color and tone makes my world so much brighter.  

Last year (I think?  Time, I tell ya, eh?) I was knitting multiple, tiny Elizabeth Warrens.  I was sometimes knitting outside on the front porch with some of the kids from the neighborhood.    Once when it was just one young lady and me, she asked for a knitted Christmas present.  Well, that could have been a bit dicey, seeing as how at the time there were around eight kids dropping by our front porch, plus a couple more they all interacted with down the street whose parents did not allow to leave their yards, and of course, visiting cousins.  You don't want to hurt feelings, and you can't make something for everyone, so I was a bit nervous.  Anyway, she was asking about all the Elizabeth Warrens I had been knitting and wondered if I could make other people.  You see, she wanted a mini-her.  She was old enough to keep quiet, so I agreed.  I asked her a few questions about clothing and hairstyle and got to work.  When it came time to knit the face, I brought out my bin of Palette flesh-toned yarns and let her choose.  Of course, her younger sister was along, so, yeah, I was making one more mini person.  They were satisfied with the color choices I had, made a couple more hairstyle request changes, and soon, I was able to give them their own mini-selves, and more importantly, they liked them!  

Well, over the years I've bought a skein here and there to expand my color selection for knitting tiny people, and what I've ordered has been hit-and-miss.  The Palette Mountain and Desert sampler box was a good purchase.  Sure, some call this the boring box, but it is exciting to me.  Now my flesh-tone bin has an expanded range, and I can see for myself what each of these colors look like in-person.  I love this collection!    


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Stocking Up

That advice to have two weeks worth of food and supplies during the pandemic is, generally speaking, pretty sound, wouldn't you say?  We've never had so much food in the house.  I find it by turns comforting and anxiety-provoking.  It is good to know that we are prepared, but the very real reasons to be prepared this way is not so good, and that's just part of what I think about and feel when I look in my kitchen.  

For a moment, let's move to a different part of the house.  Now, pre-pandemic, it had been quite a while since I had bought yarn, and when I did, it was not much at a time.  I already had an abundant supply.  For the people who guessed that being home all the time would increase knitting output, they guessed incorrectly.  The stress of *gestures broadly* has left me knitting significantly less.  I've noticed that with a lot of other knitters, too.  So, yeah, what I'm saying is, over the course of these months, I have acquired more yarn.  While it makes me a bit uncomfortable (for a number of reasons) to show these purchases and gifts, I'm going to do so anyway.  Perhaps the yarn has been waiting on its blog debut before it could make its way to my needles.  Yeah, I don't believe that either, but we'll just go with that for now.  

At any rate, it's a good excuse to blog a bit more, and now that I've taken pictures, I can add a photo, blather on, and hit publish.  

First up, is a Palette sampler.  I am a fan of Knit Picks' Palette yarn.  There are so many colors, it is reasonably priced, and versatile.  It is what I use to knit my many tiny things.  This is the Sunrise and Sunset collection.  There are so many beautiful colors.  I love these reds, pinks, purples, oranges, and blues.  Now I just need to stop gazing at the nicely boxed up set and get to knitting. 


Wednesday, September 09, 2020

May the Bluebird of Crappiness Fly Up Your Nose

Sometimes, I'm just so angry.*  Angry at those who could have prevented so much death and loss and suffering.  Angry at those who could have enabled people to make safer choices by providing for us.  Angry at their lies.  Angry at the way they endanger others with their words and their actions.  Angry at the hate.  Angry at the breathtaking greed.   

Like many other people, early in life, I received some harmful messages about anger, and, well, there has been a lot of reinforcement of those messages over the years. So, yeah, it is still sometimes a difficult emotion for me.  It used to be much worse, I mean, it nearly killed me, but I have learned to do better with it, to allow myself to feel it, and to not stay stuck there when I do.  Sometimes I sit with it for a bit before I shift towards an action to help, or sometimes I need a little bit of silliness to shake it off, and that, combined with a little bit of stabbing, is something I've been doing lately.  

I'm knitting Bluebirds of Crappiness.  Buy this pattern, and the proceeds go to Chicago-area foodbanks.  So, yeah, there's a little bit of helping others, and that is always good.  Also, if you're missing knitting with others, knit along with Anna in a YouTube video she made.   

When I was a kid, sometimes my grandpa would sing "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" at random times.  Actually, he just sang that one line, and then whistled on in a way that explains the (lack of) musical genius that spreads through so much of the family tree.  Anyway, these are not Birds of Paradise, but Bluebirds of Crappiness, and the idea of them flying up some particular noses both connects with my anger while also helping me release it.  As a bonus, when I embellish them with needle-felting I get to stab over and over and over again, without harming others.

*So, yeah, I wrote this post a few months ago (I think?  Time is all messed up).  At that time, it was mostly about the coronavirus pandemic.  It's so much more now.            

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Time to Line Up Some Ducks

So, I'm not doing too well with one of my New Year's Resolutions.  Specifically, the one in which I resolved to do better with keeping in touch.  In fact, I received multiple messages from folks who hadn't heard from me, doing a bit of a check-in to see how we're doing over here.  As it turns out, my thinking about you all often and talking to you in my head doesn't translate into anything other than me living too much in my head.  Yeah, that's not a recipe for what we need.  Oh, and bee-tee-dubs, I didn't really think you could pick up on what's in my head, I just got stuck in the thinking, and didn't move on to the doing.  It's a blessing to have people reaching out and checking in on one another, and I am grateful for it.  Well, it's time for me to get some of my ducks in a row, so here we go with much more of an update than anyone is probably seeking.    

We're, still here, still home, and still well.  Well, as well as what goes for well around here, but you know what I mean.  We look to be home for a long time--like a year or more kind of a long time.  We're trying to balance being realistic and prepared without dwelling on it.  Sometimes it feels less-than-awesome to think about it.  On the other hand, we are incredibly grateful that we can stay home except for going out for curbside pickup of groceries and supplies.  We know that not everyone gets to choose that.  

Now, we spent a lot of time at home before this, and in a lot of ways, our life has not changed too much.  Then again, it has changed a lot.  We miss being with friends and family in person.  We miss the convenience of restaurants.  We miss going inside the grocery, picking out our own produce, seeing new things, and making our own substitutions on the fly.  We miss just popping over there to grab two or three things we need or just want, instead of waiting for the two-week re-supply, making a $35 (or whatever the threshold is) minimum order, and scheduling a pick-up time.  We miss fast food.  We miss drive-thrus.  We miss having more frequent fresh produce.  We miss going inside any store.  We miss going somewhere in the car and not calculating if the adventure will be short enough not to require a restroom.       

We're getting tired of some things, too.  We're tired of the planning and thinking and preparing for possible/probable/likely shortages.  We're tired of what feels like the constant cooking-eating-washing dishes cycle.  We're tired of news that is is not new.  We're tired of planning meals.  We're tired of the smell of disinfectant.  We're tired of mystery shopping, pressing that "order" button, and still not being quite sure of what we will get.  We're tired of so many plastic bags.  We're tired of thinking about this, of planning for it.  We're tired of worrying.     

We've been sad and angry, too, about things big and small.  There has been so much loss, and there is so much more to come.  Who all have we seen and hugged for the last time?  What other lasts have passed?  We can't celebrate birthdays, holidays, achievements, or milestones together.  We cannot comfort and support in person, people going through trying times.  If it cannot be delivered or picked up curbside, we cannot get it.  We have a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government (I highly recommend this podcast).  We're missing out on seeing the young ones growing and changing, and the older among us are aging much more rapidly.  We're all getting a lot weirder, and it might be permanent.  People are dying.  People are losing so much.  The most vulnerable and marginalized are suffering much more, the structural inequalities show even more, it is easier for those in power to continue them, and harder for those who fight against them to do so.             

We are enjoying things, too, some old, some new.  We enjoy each other.  If I have to stay home for the foreseeable future, spending that time with my husband, who is my best friend, is pretty much the best.  We still put out food for the birds and squirrels and continue to enjoy watching them.  We're trying some new recipes, making little changes, and adding them to our repertoire.  While we didn't choose particularly well for "these extraordinary times" when we (not knowing all this was coming) bought a few packets of seeds this winter, some of what we planted has survived so far, and the time to do something with those seedlings has arrived, so that's some more new on the way.  Baking more is always good.  We're having desserts we normally only have on special occasions, and peach cobbler is still good, even with canned peaches.  We have so many television/movie choices to stream, and we have watched so much.  An evening of playing cards is a nice way to pass time, too.  We're helping others in whatever ways we can.  And, hey, guess what?  I even knit a bit, too, and that's pretty good. 

So, yeah, that's how we're doing.  We're doing better than some, not as well as others, but that's life, innit?  I know some of our choices differ from those of others, and there are many reasons for that.  We're doing our best to take care of ourselves and be considerate of others.  We hope you are finding that best balance for you and yours, too.                                  

Monday, March 16, 2020

Just A Little Horse

Hilarious, aren't I?  I'm sure staying at home for a couple of weeks will only improve my wit and wisdom.  Yeah, we're doing what seems like the best choice for us.  It also seems like that is the right thing for us to do for others, and it's always nice when those things are in agreement.  Still, there is so much we do not know and things are still changing, and, yeah, I don't have answers to that.  

I am finding it helpful to reach back into past experiences and use what I learned then.  For most of last year, we had a hospital bag packed and ready to go at a moment's notice, and then we spent the summer going in and out of the hospital.  I remember how I felt during those first several months--waiting for something to happen, worrying that something would happen, not fully sleeping so I could spring into action whenever whatever was going to happen would eventually happen.  The hospitalization phase was a bit different, though poor sleep (hospital sleep is not quality sleep) remained.  Find a problem, fix a problem, find more problems to be managed.  They're all very urgent and will kill, you learn.  Also, everything's a balancing act, and we'll have to wait and see.  More tests, more juggling of medicines, more realization that there is a lot of unknown we're dealing with.  It was similar to the CHF diagnosis time.  Anyway, we go back to the basics and do what we can with our abilities and resources.  We remember the lessons we learned then and apply that knowledge today.  

That's what we're doing here.  We're as prepared as we can be.  We try not to focus on what we cannot do or control.  We're texting, calling, and emailing each other.  We wave at the neighbors.  We watch a lot of television.  We're thinking about you all. I knit some (if the little horse isn't your favorite, maybe you'll like something else better).  I'm thinking about the new Animal Crossing game.  We play cards.  We pray.  Some things don't change much.   

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

And Another Year Opens

Happy New Year!  It's so nice to see people looking forward with hope, promise, and optimism.  I don't know what all 2020 holds for me, but I know some of what I plan to do. 
  • I'm going to work for what's important to me and to build up others.
    • Some of this will be a continuation of things I've been doing.  Some of it will be new to me.  I'm continuing to learn, so I suppose some of these will be things that I don't have any real ideas about right now.  It's going to be an adventure.
    • Sometimes working for what's important means fighting for what's important.  The quote, "Get in trouble:  good trouble, necessary trouble," from Rep. John Lewis comes to mind.
  • We're going to visit Texas.  
    • There's a bit to unpack on this one, and still some things to process.  That being said, it's an exciting adventure. 
  • I'm going to take better care of myself.
    • I didn't make that as much of a priority last year, and it showed.  
  • I'm going to reach out more.
    • I don't know just what this looks like, but it is important.  I may try some different things and see what is a good fit for me and my relationships.  I accept that I could be awkward with it, some of it might work and some might not, and that I can only choose for me, not for others.          
What are your plans?  Is there anything visible on the horizon for you that you find exciting?  
One last little thought on my mind.
Every day I Promise 
I Will Change Tomorrow 
New Year's Came 
And Everybody Took the Same Vow 
We'll Get it Better Starting Now
The Next Day, Glen Phillips