I am Like a Dog

I realized yesterday, as I was blathering at C and M that I’m like Sonnyboy. I like people so much that I’m just like “Here I am in your lap! Barking. Showing you all my tricks.” when, if I would just calm the fuck down, people would have a chance to enjoy me.

I also turned over two of my afghans to their intended recipients yesterday and, whew, holy shit is that satisfying. Like, yeah, I put that smile on their faces.

When you’re little, you think that “it’s better to give than to receive” is some bullshit moral platitude that’s supposed to make you less greedy. But now I realize it’s true. Giving a gift that is genuinely appreciated is one of the best feelings in the world.

Advertisements

Nice Day

Somehow I’m supposed to just live my life with this booger clear in Arizona.

Delights for the Eyes

I finished the blanket for my pending niece! Let me count the ways I love it. I love how beautiful the dahlias are and how much they remind me of waterlilies. I love that the green isn’t overwhelming, even though there’s a lot of it. Somehow I got the border to balance it out. I love the tulips so much. I was nervous about using the orange, but it was absolutely the right call. And the daisies on the outer edge make me so happy. And there’s just going to be so much for the baby to touch and yank on. I’m really proud of this one.

I’m also learning how to use acid dyes and here are my fuck-ups from last night. I was trying to replicate in acid dye a thing I do pretty well in food coloring–three primary colors to get a rainbow of awesomeness. From left to right, we have “grabbed the black instead of the red,” “too much red!,” and “fuck it, orange.”

But let me tell you something. I love each of these. I think they’re so beautiful. I can’t get over it. I’m wishing they were dry right now so I could spin them. How awesome is it to have such beautiful fuck-ups?

I need beauty like this in my eyes, because my heart is a mess. Stuart Wexler sent me looking for how my bad guys might tie into the Atlanta Child Murders. I found this Spin article.

I have to figure out how to write about this, because I need to put it in my book, but it’s hard. It’s not just that JB Stoner was a person in the world. It’s that so many people decided over and over again to just let him keep on keeping on.

The ironic thing about the decision to downplay the involvement of the Klan/NSRP in some of those murders in order to prevent a race war is that there is a race war in this country, ongoing. With casualties piling up. And we’re busy gaslighting the families of the dead rather than admit it.

Whoa!

Okay, so, on the one hand, I love my drum carder, because it blends everything together so nicely. On the other hand, it blends everything together so nicely. What if I want really dramatic color changes in my yarn?

And then I found the above video. And I tried it on my drum carder. And holy shit!

Obviously, I don’t yet know how I’ll like it plied up, but this! This is what I’ve been wanting. Blended colors, but not to the point of heathering.

And it’s so much fun. You get a burrito of fiber and stretch it and stretch it and stretch it. And I feel like, once I really get the hang of spinning it, it’s going to be more consistent, too.

Bah Bah Black Sheep

I spun the fiber I failed to completely dye black. The two on the left are the “black” merino mixed first with colors to make it like a darker storm cloud and then in the middle a certain kind of brown I had in my head. It may have turned out a little redder than I expected, but that almost may just be the light.

But, and then, there’s that “black” like a bruise at the right. Holy shit.

The first black I tried to dye it broke into blue and purple. Which means, if you look closely, you can see blue and purple under the black there.

It’s so beautiful.

Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer True

Look at these adorable daisies, which, yes, are not done and are not lying flat yet, but still, I love them so much! And they make me laugh, just because every name they’ve thrown out for the baby is here: Dahlia, Tulip, and Daisy.

Also, I’m just going to admit that the afghan I’m making for Busy Mom is fucking hard and that’s why it’s languishing. And it makes me mad that it’s so hard for me because that, up there, looks complicated and I’m rocking it. Why is this other one such a fucking nightmare?

Writing

I think my relationship to writing is changing pretty dramatically. I haven’t written fiction in ages. My nonfiction output has slowed to a trickle. It’s even hard for me to decide if it’s worth anyone’s time for me to write here some days.

I catch myself thinking “Once you’ve written this book, you can be done writing.”

Which, ha ha ha. But also, is that what I want? I don’t think so. But I think you have to listen to the things your brain spits up, at least consider them.

I keep having this nightmare where I go home to visit my parents and suddenly they’ve gotten me a job, which I go to, even though I know I have this other life–usually in North Carolina, where I went to grad school. And I keep trying to get back to the other life, but I live with them now and I have this job. And I just feel robbed.

And I always wake up disoriented, because I’m neither in Illinois or North Carolina. But here, in this life.

And yet it feels so real that I’m starting to worry that some version of me out in the multi-verse is so unhappy and near enough to me that her sadness leaks into my world.

I feel very lucky and it still feels very fragile, even though it’s been my whole adult life.

Flower Garden Afghan

Look at how cute those tulips are on the border! I’m super happy with this. I’m going to put daisies as the outside edge and then it’s done.

I spent an hour or so yesterday talking to a woman who’s master’s thesis is on hot chicken and appropriation. It was such a good conversation and I’m still thinking about what my own personal definition of appropriation is and whether it can be completely avoided.

To me, I think, it comes down to the difference between borrowing and stealing. When you borrow something, the person you’re borrowing from knows they are participating in the exchange. When someone asks you where you got your coat, you say, “Oh, I needed something cool, so I borrowed it from Jane” or “Jane lent it to me.”

But when you steal something, you don’t say where it came from. Maybe you try to pass it off as something you made yourself. Or you misrepresent the exchange–and probably this is where it gets tricky. You insist you borrowed it. The person whose coat it was says you stole it. But you have the cultural capital to make your version the truth, even if it’s factually not.

But sometimes someone lends you something that wasn’t only theirs. Like, if one sibling in a family lends you the family silver and you deliberately only asked that sibling because you knew the others would say no, you have permission, but don’t the other family members have a legitimate gripe?

I think so.

Anyway. Tulips. I like them.

Small Things

  1. If you get the Smore at Bang Candy, they toast your marshmallow. Also, it’s fabulous.
  2. All efforts to eat it with your smallest nephew will result in both of you being very sticky.
  3. The Butcher was in town for the weekend and we had lunch with my sister-in-law’s sister and her husband and son. This son, who is four, was trying to understand how the Butcher and I are related and it came out that he thought the Butcher was Elmo’s brother. Elmo from Sesame Street. Could there be a higher compliment?
  4. My main goal for today is to finish up this baby blanket for the pending niece. It’s about to go slightly off the rails, color-wise, but I think it’s going to be cool.
  1. I bought some acid dyes on Friday and yesterday I tried to dye the fiber I’d previously tried to dye black black-for-real. I kind of failed at it. I don’t think I had enough dye in the pot. But the fiber turned out so beautiful that I’m trying to dry it as quickly as I can so I can spin it.
  2. Ha ha ha. This list function kind of sucks.
  3. My new boss starts tomorrow. I’m pretty nervous.
  4. The dog is on an anti-inflammatory and I don’t know how I’ll judge if it’s working. He’s just so amiable that it’s hard to tell when he’s in distress. The vet and I had a long talk about it, how his utter good nature makes diagnosing him tough. He’s like “Sure, my eyeball is on your foot, but, hey, at least we’re together” or “Yeah, I might have been limping but look how awesome jumping is and I’m not going to limp again where you can see it, because why be sad?”
  5. I’m going to be reading at the Third Man 10th anniversary doodad, which is hilarious and awesome.
  6. I bought a boa to wear to the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I am also definitely wearing it to the anniversary thingy.

Hobbes

Hobbes (2000-2019)

The orange cat is no more. Nineteen years. It’s hard to be sad about that, but I still am. And I think I just decided that the reason that it’s weird is that it’s pure sadness. I don’t long for him to have lived longer. I don’t feel like he was cheated out of anything. He had a big, long life, full of glorious adventures and then, on the Ides of March, he came to the end of it.

He was grouchy and ridiculous. He was brilliant and judgemental.

I’m going to miss him. Assuming he doesn’t pompously believe he’s entitled to defy the laws of physics to show back up here.

Row Four

The copper row is attached! I’m not in love with the green border. I feel like it stands out too much, but I’m also not going to fret over it until the whole thing is done–and by then it will be too late!

It does remind me a little bit of seaweed, though. I’m going to be really curious to see how this fucker blocks up, because everything is a slightly different size. But I also love how it has a “just cuddle with me, you know you want to” vibe.

My next row is a peacock row. I’m super excited about it!

Aging

A thing I resent, beside Daylight Saving Time, which I am resenting the hell out of today, is that you never know what things are costing you until after you’ve paid it.

I took the dog to a dogwashing place on Saturday and the people there were so genuinely nice and lovely and good to the dog in a way that made me really happy. And I’m sure that part of it is that they’re working in a place where they get to hang out with dogs all the time.

I really like my job. I get to work with really smart people who have been working really hard on a thing and I get to see them at the moment their thing becomes real in the world. That’s awesome.

But I made a lot of compromises I didn’t really understand I was making until I’m now in a position to not make those compromises anymore. And now I can’t help but wonder how those compromises have shaped me.

I’m throwing a 50th anniversary party for my parents. So far, I’ve reserved a place and sent out a bunch of save the date cards. And I’ve heard back from some of their friends and it’s been so nice and so lovely. People really love my parents.

I mean, I really love my parents.

And I sincerely feel like it’s a great gift from the universe to hear all the ways people love my parents.

And yet, I still feel all my feelings about them.

I don’t feel like I’m selling myself out enjoying this part. And I don’t have any desire to “Well, let me tell you a thing or two about them” to people who love them.

I’m just trying to sit comfortably with all my feelings, to give them all room to be valid.

Because, to bring this post full circle, the damn thing is that I’m not going to understand what this shit means until I’m at an age and with a perspective where it’s too damn late anyway.

Ha ha ha. Sigh.

Sore

Yesterday my sister-in-law mentioned to me that my nephew had never been down a slide before. Well, oh boy, did that mean we were going down the slide at Hugh-Baby’s 100 times. First, he held onto my hands and I guided him down the slide, picked him up, and flung him back to the top while he squealed something that sounded almost like “again!”

Then he was so brave and went down on his own

And he got a hair cut! At a place where he got to sit in a fire truck while they cut his hair.

We were having lunch with the Butcher’s best friend’s family and they have a daughter who’s a little younger than my nephew. Like girls tend to do, she’s been a little ahead of where he was at her age, walking, getting a shit ton of teeth, but the developmental difference that must happen here where he’s 19 months and she’s, I think, 15 months is huge. She’s still a baby and he’s clearly a toddler.

They have always been pretty close to the same size, but now he seems like he’s twice her size. And she still does the baby stagger walk, where as he’s got massive walking skills.

The Move

So, we’re moving offices and I am, for the first time in 20 years, going to have a window. Every time I think about it, I get a little choked up. I got to look out my potential window this week and there were daffodils.

I’ve been cleaning out my office, both of old files we don’t need anymore and of my personal stuff, most of which I’m bringing home. I don’t need so many things to look at when I have a window.

Lots of change these days. It’s funny. I don’t feel like I’m having a mid-life crisis, but that my whole life is having a midlife crisis around me.

My grandma turned 98 yesterday. I think she has mixed feelings about it.

And I admit that there are times, myself, when I’m like, so, well, this is it.

I just wish we were kinder to each other, you know?

Row Two

The thing that makes me happiest about this is that I end up just staring at it, looking at the ways the colors play and how the yarns do their things. There’s no part of looking at this that isn’t satisfying to me. Which makes me feel like I am going to enjoy looking at it for a long time when it’s done.

I was a little worried that the rainbow yarn would look hokey, but it’s pretty badass. Which I’m glad about because I have such a fun time dying and spinning up rainbow gradients.

And the fact that the twist stays in the yarn just kills me. How fucking magic.

Y’all

Some hilarious shit is going down at work. Or, really, went down, but we’re just now finding out about it as we’re cleaning up to move offices.

And I can’t talk about it, obviously, but let’s just put it this way, if you have a folder called something along the lines of “Here are my lies,” you probably shouldn’t have been lying, because you are not good at it.

Just Showing Off a Little More

Here’s the row with its border. It kind of has a vibe I can’t quite put my finger on in person. It’s like the lumberjack of afghans. There’s something just a little bit unrefined about it, but sturdy.

A book I acquired back in my acquisitions editor days is being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame this May. I’m so thrilled, I can’t even tell you. And work is sending me to the induction!

It makes me teary eyed to think too much about it.

JFC

As a reward for making it through last weekend, making it through last week, and taking proper care of myself this weekend, I started the afghan for myself made from my own handspun yarn.

It’s hard for me to find the words for how much I love this. The two yellows make me smile. The blue/green yarn is just exactly my favorite thing where each square looks different but fits together because it’s the same fucking yarn. Just, whew, holy shit. I want to look at this for a million years.

My plan, such as it is, is to do a continuous join around each row with a third yarn. Each row is going to be eight squares across. I’ll have to see how wide eight squares ends up being with that last row on there, but I imagine it’ll be ten deep.

It just blows my mind. That yarn exists because I made it. The brighter yellow exists because I dyed it. And yet, even with as much control as I have over the process, I didn’t know how the fuck it would turn out until I started crocheting.

In related news, I finally gave Julie her afghan and, as much as I’ve enjoyed looking at it draped over my chair, I felt such pleasure at watching her looking at all the different colors and admiring the variegation and, again, just the supreme pleasure in knowing that those things exist because I did it. And she totally got my “take one color from the previous square and move it into the next square” thing!

But the thing I love about it is that it’s like you have all these variables that you control and it seems, logistically, like that should somehow make the whole process less surprising. But instead it feels more like magic.

Because, like, I know my talent level and I know what I know and yet, and yet, there’s this.

Rehab

Y’all, I have just had the nicest weekend. Meeting up with friends, talking with interesting people, getting shit done. Sleeping like it’s all I have to do in the world.

The Book

I’m slowly working my way through the comments by my first beta reader, who did such a good job that I’m still kind of reeling from how much better my draft is in the parts where I’ve incorporated her comments.

I got asked by another group to come speak to them, but I can’t do it on the day they want, so we’ll have to see if that comes together in the fall.

It’s very satisfying, though, to see it slowly becoming better and better. Just this morning I was re-reading the first couple of parts and, shoot, it’s jammed full of things.

I really hope you all will like reading it. I have a shit-ton of footnotes, but I had to have some place for all the snark.

The Sister I Never Had

My parents have this friend. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned her before or not, but she’s in her mid to late 50s and she calls them “Mom” and “Dad” and they tell people she’s their daughter.

I’ve met her a couple of times and she doesn’t strike me as a con artist, so whatever.

I made them an afghan a million years ago, back when I was learning. They gave it to her. Which, I mean, I gave it to them. They’re free to do with it what they want. That part, on a scale of “I have a hair in my mouth, but I can’t seem to grab it” to “I stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night,” I’m putting down at the stray hair end.

Y’all. They told her that I wanted her to have the afghan.

She was deeply moved and grateful and touched. Like I had made this grand gesture to show I also thought of her as a part of the family–which I do not.

That part has me so fucking irritated with my parents. I feel utterly misrepresented to this woman who, now, through no fault of her own thinks I’m very fond of her.

And then my dad had the gall to try to read me the birthday card she gave him, because he claimed she wanted him to. I told him that didn’t sound right, that whatever she wrote to him was for him and didn’t have to do with me. He seemed irritated and brought it up a few more times, but god bless, I’m not going to… I don’t know what. Be any more embroiled in the bullshit of this than I have to be.

And then, AND THEN, he sat here in my chair, in my house, saying how he knew that everything nice I did for him–like, oh, specifically making afghans–I really intended for my mom, so that I wasn’t doing anything special for him, because I didn’t care about him.

I said, “Yep,” which ended the conversation, because a.) I think he may really think that. Which is bananas and go get on an anti-depressant, sir. 2.) So I’m supposed to sit around and… what? …beg him to believe that I love him? That the nice things I do for him I’m actually doing for him? I mean, my god, I can just do shit for my mom if I want my mom to have shit done for her. I don’t need to go to the trouble of all that subterfuge. And I sure as hell can’t prove I love him through doing nice shit for him or telling him if, indeed, he believes those gestures and words are lies. So, I guess I’m just supposed to sink back into a dynamic where I try and try to do the thing that will appease him, but it never works, because nothing will appease him, but he feels a little better because all my focus is on him?

And I don’t like him when he sits around bickering nonstop with my mom or running me down or complaining about the state of my house or trying to rope me into friendships with his friends or whatever.

So, yeah, if he was picking up on that, he wasn’t wrong.

But to sit here and try to make out like I don’t love him? Why in the hell would I put up with all of this bullshit if I didn’t love him?

It’s like, dude, either this is love or I’m a fucking idiot. And if you can’t recognize this as love, then all I can gather is that you think I’m a fucking idiot.

The Visit

My parents were here this weekend and I had a fleeting thought on Saturday that, if they wanted to move down, I could always kill myself before they came. And then I laughed, because, damn, that’s the kind of thought you have to call your shrink about.

I’m embarrassed to even write it out, but I want to remember that I had it.

But then I practiced my “what am I feeling?” exercises and decided that what I was feeling is unhappiness. They fight all the time, not even big blow-up fights, just constant sniping. They complain about their friends. They complain about their families. They talk constantly about people I don’t know, but never give enough context for me to know why I should care.

My house is never clean enough. I don’t have the right things they need for whatever. And they seem congenitally ill-equipped to understand that I have other things going on in my life. That I might have had plans this weekend. Or any weekend.

Which is all fine and manageable in small doses.

But the thought of that being my life, if they moved down here because they need someone to watch over them? I can’t do it. They’re going to have to go to my brothers. It was one thing when the Butcher and his family were also here.

But the idea of me, alone, trying to manage them while also maintaining my own ability to function and to have a life outside of them?

I love them and I feel like a really shitty child for not being able to do this for them. But, damn, I couldn’t do this for them.