Brief Butcher

The thing I miss the most about the Butcher being around is having someone who just intrinsically understands me.

I was talking about how I now, apparently, have this reputation for being an extrovert and he was like “But don’t they know that’s just training?” And I don’t know if I’ve ever articulated it that way to myself.

I’ve been trained to be this way. Deeply trained. Effectively trained. It’s muscle memory–here you are in the world; do the things you’re supposed to do. Look like you’re enjoying it. Put everyone at ease. Entertain them.

But, except for the satisfaction I often get from doing that shit effectively, I don’t enjoy it.

I do it because I’ve been trained to do it and I have no idea what I’d do in social situations otherwise.

The Shining Afghan

I took some time off this one to make the other one and now I’m back to this. It’s pretty fun to see it coming together, but it’s not quite as fast going as I’d like.

Live Through This

I’m starting to feel like the only way to deal with my life is to just listen to Hole very loudly and pretend I can’t hear anyone else.

I used to feel “go on, take everything, take everything, I dare you to” in my bones. Maybe I still do, in some ways. But I’m not strong enough to live through that. I wish I was. But you get older, you have to be more honest with yourself.

I’m Past the Point Where Folks Come Looking for Me

I have to find a way out of this hole, like immediately. I need to return emails and phone calls and direct messages. I have to be a person again in the world and I am not sure where the energy for that is supposed to come from.

Of course I had to endure a phone call from my parents explaining and excusing the change in Thanksgiving plans. Of course I had to endure yet another phone call from my brother doing the same.

I’m not the king of this family. I’m not the moral compass that decides if everything is okay. I can’t grant anyone absolution for being a doofus.

I’m just a tired, sad middle-aged woman whose dad, who she has very mixed feelings about, and a deep love for, is dying.

I made an afghan. It didn’t help me feel any better. Which is a shame because it’s very handsome.

Why Must I Leave Me Here All Alone?

I just, Jesus, where to even start?

My brother tried to cancel Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving he instigated up at my parents’ house that we’re all going to. Where we were all supposed to force my parents to talk about how they should be moving closer to one of us and where we’d talk frankly about whether they could afford to.

I’m upset that he’s backing out of going. TO THE THING HE ARRANGED. But I’m livid and pained by the fact that he tried to make it seem like the rest of us shouldn’t bother to go.

He’s not going because they might gossip about him at work. First, they’re plumbers. Is that a hotbed of gossip? Second, how is “Dude went to his parents for Thanksgiving” any kind of bad gossip?

Also my dad is dying. How many more Thanksgivings are we going to get all together?

And my plan had been to go to Arizona and have Thanksgiving with the Butcher, but we all rearranged out lives to be in Illinois.

And in spite of all this, I’m sure I’ll be subjected to 900 rounds of “Your brother is so great.”

I’m just tired.

The Butcher is coming next weekend. I need to get the house in some vague shape.

I also want to enjoy my time with him without spending all of it complaining about our other brother.

Whew, Lost the Thread There

Sometimes I wonder why I’m still blogging. My relationship to writing has changed, a lot. I don’t feel like writing shit down helps sort it out.

But also, I have a book coming out next year (?!) and I need a platform and… I don’t know.

I guess I’m just sorry I haven’t been around here much.

I’m listening to The Twisted Ones, which is a horror story with a dog hero, and working on two afghans.

I’m super busy at work. And I feel a little overwhelmed.

But things are good. I think. So, that’s what I know.

Nine

I’m up to my usual yearly woo and it’s been rough this year. I don’t know if I just am not in the right headspace or if the Universe isn’t in the right headspace or what.

But, weirdly, I have had a lot of non-woo conversations and such that have been deeply meaningful and insightful so maybe it’s not so much that I’m out of whack or the Universe is, but that where the interaction happens is different this year.

A Funk

I’ve been in a funk. Obviously. I just haven’t admitted it to myself. I’ve done the things one does to escape a funk–be funny, be delightful, be delighted in things, work on my hobbies, see my friends, etc.

But I’m just down. The world requires stuff of me that I don’t know how to give. Or it doesn’t want anything from me and my feelings are hurt about it.

The Shining Afghan

I’m at the point where I’m like “my god, will this never end?” I feel like I’ve been crocheting with this brown yarn forever. But I’m over half done with the brown part, which means I’m over half done with the afghan, which feels pretty good, considering I’ve been also running around and gallivanting.

Drifting Adrift

My parents don’t want to live with or near my brother. I think that’s obvious. And I can’t blame them. He’s short-tempered and wants to be treated better than how he treats people.

I don’t know if they have the money to move, anyway.

I miss the Butcher. I miss having another set of eyes on this situation. I miss his perspective. I miss the feeling of having a person who will support me and who will help with my parents, no matter what.

Which, I hope, doesn’t come across as a knock on my friends. I have really good friends. If I need help, I can count the fuck on them.

But there’s a constant weighing in my mind of how much I can do for myself vs. how embarrassed I would be for my dad to act how he does to people I care about.

Bad Things Next

My parents are driving down here–8 hours in the car–today so that I can drive them 4.5 hours to my brother’s house so that they can be there for my niece’s birthday.

They have been “cleared by the doctor.”

No one in our family under the age of 45 thinks this is wise, but fuck us, I guess.

A thing I really, deeply appreciate about my brothers is that when I talked to each of them last night and I admitted I didn’t know what to do or what the best thing was and I was just scared and sad, they both said that they also didn’t know what the fuck to do and that we probably were going to fuck this up, but we were doing the best we could.

Maybe they’ve talked about this between themselves?

But it made me feel better. It’s just hard to accept that I don’t really know what’s happening and I don’t know what to do about it and that it’s unresolveable by me, so I just have to live here in the not-knowing.

Today, Anyway

I had a long talk with my other brother and he kind of wants to be in charge of deciding what to do about Mom and Dad.

On the one hand, it’s going to be tough to let that happen because my aunts and uncles think he’s an incapable fuck-up.

Little do they know that, in this one regard, it is I who am the incapable fuck-up.

On the other hand, I absolutely do not want to have to manage this. I don’t think my other brother is a fuck-up. At least, he’s always had my back when I needed it. And, if he wants to do this for them, considering all they’ve done for him, shouldn’t he have the chance?

Here is the terrible thing, though. Even if he is an incapable fuck-up–which he’s not–I don’t care. He’s willing to move back to Illinois. He doesn’t see it as Hell. He wants to do this shit for them.

And I don’t.

So, even if I conceded that I would be “more capable,” whatever the fuck that means, why should that be the metric? Shouldn’t the person who wants to do it be the person who does it?

Be Strong

I used to have this idea that you’d get to a certain age and you’d just wrestle adulthood away from your parents. Somehow you’d make them see that they were incapable of making decisions for themselves and, though it would be hard and would suck, you would now make decisions for them.

This isn’t always how it goes, though. Of course. My parents don’t feel incapable of making decisions for themselves.

My dad heard the doctor say that he should try to get back to his regular life and he’s driving again. He and my mom called me from the van last night on the way home from my grandma’s.

I feel sometimes like I’m talking to two people in a slow-motion suicide pact. But, honestly, if I knew they knew they were Thelma-and-Louise-ing it, it would be easier for me to accept. I’d hate it, but I could respect it.

It’s the not knowing if they know they’re deliberately trying to die that’s so grueling. It feels like, if they don’t know that’s what they’re doing, someone–me–should step in and stop them.

I don’t know how to do that.

I have this recurring dream that I have woken up back in Illinois and my life is just following my parents around taking care of them and I have this sense in the dream that I have left something good behind or lost it, but I can’t remember for the life of me what it is.

Which isn’t deeply cryptic.

I grew up expecting to be trapped in Illinois. I have, for my whole adult life, felt like I had slipped out of some unfortunate fate. And now I have this sense that fate is coming for me, that I’m going to end up back where I was destined to be. And it makes me so fucking miserable.

There aren’t any stories about destiny that I know of where it’s not a good thing–you are destined for greatness, after all. There’s no hero’s journey where you’re destined to be the small, lonely caretaker of people who have a hard time imagining anything better for you.

I mean, I know “destiny” is the same level of bullshit as “deserves.” But knowing and not getting caught up in it are two different things.

Stuff

I was at the Southern Festival of Books or napping all weekend. I realized walking the dog this morning that I don’t have anything spooky lined up for October this year. Frankly, the thing that scares me is the idea of my dad dying up there in Illinois and us being helpless to stop it.

The amount of people who call me and tell me my dad needs to be at Vanderbilt is… I mean, it feels like it’s every fucking body who knows him. And I’m like, yes, I know. But he’s not senile. He’s not incapable of making his own decisions.

This, how things are right now, is what he wants. Except he wants to be able to return to driving all over the damn country.

And yet, I’m going to be honest, I’m fucking terrified of them coming down here and what that means for my life. And that makes me feel bad. Like a shitty daughter.

But, like I told S. yesterday, if they wanted someone who could take care of them in their old age, they should have gotten me help when it was first obvious I was depressed and anxious, gotten me on meds and in therapy. You know, back when I was 14. But here I am thirty years later, just getting my shit together and I’m only this good and capable.

And I can’t have them living with me. I can’t even have them needing to see me all the time. So, this whole thing is spooking me.

The Shining Afghan

I’m making a friend an afghan that looks like the carpet from The Shining. I went with Red Heart because I want it to be sturdy as shit.

But whew, the difference between crocheting with Red Heart and crocheting with yarn you made yourself is wild! Like switching between sandpaper and silk.

Sadness

My dad made it through his procedure. He says he’s feeling better. He’s letting my mom drive around town, which is so frustrating.

But it’s also informative. Watching how they make bad decisions, decisions they know are bad, and then when nothing goes wrong immediately, they decide that their decisions are okay, which then leaves them in positions to make worse decisions.

I don’t know how to have nuanced discussions about aging without falling into ageism. And, obviously, I think it’s bullshit when people who are 50 or 60 can’t find jobs because employers think they’re “too old.”

But something happens to folks after 70. And it’s not like it happens to everyone or that it happens all at once. But the difference between my parents at 60 and 65 was, like, oh, they had a few more health problems. And between 65 and 70, same. But who they were at 70 and who they are now pushing 75 is… I mean, it’s just a lot different. And I don’t think they 100% see it.

And when I see people pushing for the retirement age to rise to 70 or 72, I’m just like, Jesus. That’s going to be a fucking sad mess.

Cloak!

It’s so beautiful. I’m almost done, which is both a delight and a bummer. But I needed something easy after the circle afghan.

My dad made it through his heart crap.

I went and scared myself shitless at the Masonic lodge.

Yesterday I slept a lot.

And wrote a draft of my thing for the Scene.

Heart

My uncle had two stints put in his heart last week or the week before. My other uncle died of a heart thing. My grandpa on my mom’s side also died–twice–from a heart attack. The second one they couldn’t bring him back from.

My dad is going in today to have electricity shot through his heart in an effort to scar it in such a way that it deadens the electrical impulses that are causing one of his valves to misfire.

He is dying. His heart will kill him. I’m trying to wrap my head around that. I haven’t even begun to process that this is how I’m going to go. I always thought it would be pneumonia.

So much of life is deeply stupid. And hard. And in the end, we all die. And yet, we seem to do what we can to make it worse and harder, to make sure that other people suffer. And for what? It doesn’t get us out of death.

There’s no sacrifice you can make that lets you stay here. And, when this is the human condition, I’m not sure why you’d want to.

But I hate watching him miserable. I’m sad.

And I’m pissed that it’s come to this and they’re still so far away from everyone.

My Gradient is Getting Gradient-er

It’s working! I also think I’m as wide as I need to be, so after this, I think I’m not going to do any more increases.

I just love all the variations and all the little pops of weirdness. It’s very soft, but if I’m being honest, it’s also a little scratchy. I’m hoping that will work itself out when I condition it.

Also, I’m writing something for the Scene. Yes, I know. But it’s for Halloween!

The Cloak Begins

I had to frog the hood three times, but I finally made it work. Now I’m working on the cape part and debating whether I want hand holes or not.

You might get a better sense of the gradient here:

I can’t remember if I told you, but I’m using those clusters to hide the shaping of the cloak. Those are where the increases happen when they need to happen.

I also ordered a cloak pin from Etsy.

The yarn is so soft. An so beautiful. I know I made it, but I’m still in awe of it.

I am curious about how you block a non-flat object, though. It’s going to benefit from some shaping, but I’m not sure how to do it.

Small Updates

I was on the “I Don’t Speak German” podcast. So was Sonnyboy, but hopefully that’s not very noticeable. It was hard work, but I managed to say “like” nearly one million times. (Ugh.)

I finished the circle afghan!

That was very hard. So much counting. But I love it. It’s very sturdy, but I also love how fragile it looks, like it might pop apart at any moment.

And I’ve started the cloak. I love the yarn so much it makes me want to cry.

This is the hood, so the plan is for it to be a little more plain than the cape part.

But up close on the yarn!

Look at how weird and beautiful that is. Look at how relatively uniform in size it is. Look at all the little bits of color. The silk threads! God damn it. I’m so proud of this. The stitches look so great.