Another Weird Thing about Mobiles

I have been studying my enemy–the Baby Mobile-Industrial Complex–for clues as to how to shape a less expensive mobile for my nephew and another weird thing I noticed aside from how hella expensive they are is that, though the baby is underneath the mobile, most mobiles are cute from the angle their parents will see it at.

So, the arm I bought has five fingers from which to hang dangly things. My thought is to do five large simple shapes–like baseball size so that, if they fall off, he’s not in any danger of choking on them–that are easy for him to see and will look interesting from any angle.

But I also found some adorable patterns for smallish–like smaller than baseball sized but still bigger than his mouth–elephants and I’m tempted to try one and see how long they take. I know I can work up five simple shapes in an afternoon. But if the elephants are easy, I’m kind of tempted to work up five elephants as well and figure out how to attach them to the underside of the shapes. Like, it wouldn’t be that hard to take the sphere and work it into a hot air balloon and stick the elephant in the basket looking over the side down at the nephew.

I’m kind of waiting on the yarn to decide, but that’s what I’m leaning toward.

Every Round Goes Higher, Higher

The bad thing my nephew is going through drags on. The person in charge of deciding wants to see how some things unrelated to my nephew shake out today and then he’ll make a decision tomorrow.

I think part of the thing is that he’s sixteen. There are legal things to consider, but also, he’s almost an adult. What he wants needs to weigh heavily. But I don’t see how the legal things and his desires line up unless the adults in his life are able to act with a kind of generosity I would find miraculous.

I know this goes without saying, but a kid deserves the same foresight and consideration you’d give a dog. You need to be able to feed and shelter a kid, give him room to play, and affection and guidance. And if you’re not prepared to take care of that kid and put his needs first, don’t get a goddamn kid. And, yeah, if you have a kid, you often need to set aside what you want for what he needs. For at least the length of your legal responsibility for him.

I hope he realizes he’s getting massively dicked over here and isn’t thinking that he deserves this or brought it on himself.

I’m Climbing Because I Can’t Fly

Today my middle nephew has to go through something awful and I’m a bundle of nerves for him. The whole thing is awful, but it’s compounded by the adults around him making a long series of decisions that stretch back years that didn’t put him and his well-being first. And now, he’s really being fucked over in ways that will impact him long-term.

And that sucks. And I truly hope he can hold out until he’s 18 and then he picks a good direction and heads that way and never looks back. I’d miss him, but, if it meant that he was safe, I’d wish him well.

Anyway, I’m back to the afghan that looks more like a series of UFOs than I anticipated. It has six of these big dohickies and each one takes just a hair longer to complete than I wish it did. But I love those long front-post stitches.


Also, please note the cat licking his crotch in the background.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our earlier discussion, about opting out. I don’t have good thoughts about it yet, but I’m thinking a lot about it.

A thing I’m concerned about is the same thing I’m always concerned about–that old Maya Angelou adage that most people don’t want change, they want exchange. They just want to be the people on top for a while.

And this is my concern in the current moment. It can’t be enough to elect more women or hire more women if the women are just going to do what the men do, but slightly different.

I was talking to the Man from GM the other day who told me about a weird date he had with an ad exec and she spent the whole evening telling him about cars and how they work and what makes a good one. Like, not opinion things, which people have when they find out he designs and engineers car stuff, but actual “let me tell you about cars, sir” stuff. I laughed and told him he’d been mansplained.

But after I got off the phone, it nagged at me. I mean, it’s still mostly funny, but the world isn’t better if everyone’s arrogantly assuming that their opinions on things have as much or more value than the hard-earned knowledge of the expert.

That’s not change. That’s just exchange.

I can’t remember if I ever told you how the Man from GM got his job at GM. He was a freshman in college and GM had engineering students come tour the facilities and he was on one of those tours. The guy giving the tour asked if they wanted to see the new Corvette (this was back in the 1990s, when GM was working on a complete redesign of the Corvette). Of course they did.

So, off they go and there they are, standing before the prototype and the dude is telling them some stuff and pointing some stuff out, but basically, everyone is standing there ooo-ing and ahhh-ing politely. The Man from GM though is on his back, under the car, shouting out questions about what he sees.

He is the first student, ever, in all the tours where they’re shown the Corvette prototype, to get under the car. The dude running the tour tells him he has a job on his team when he graduates, if he wants it.

The Man from GM is obnoxious. Don’t get me wrong. The kid on his back shouting up questions from beneath a car while you’re trying to give a quick tour is obnoxious. But I still think a lot about how his enthusiastic, excited curiosity served him well. And as I get older, I think about how wise that tour-guide engineer was to recognize what an asset that enthusiastic, excited curiosity could be.

I don’t really have a way to tie this all up into a nice, thematic bow, so I guess I won’t try.

The Baby Mobile-Industrial Complex

My nephew is at the point where he would really enjoy a mobile. He likes to look up. He likes to look at things. He likes it when things are moving. And he likes noise.

So, I get online to see what a mobile for him would cost and they’re all like $40-$50! This wouldn’t have been so insulting, but my search also brought up a result for just the arm with the spinning and the music–less than $15. In essence, I’m paying $35 for five stuffed Christmas ornaments.

I can crochet five stuffed shapes.

So, I bought the arm and some cotton yarn and some stuffing and when it all gets here, I’m fucking making that kid a mobile for less than $25. Take that, Baby Mobile-Industrial Complex.


I mean, look! He is ready for some mobile-watching action.

Baby Blanket Two Done

I finished this baby blanket. The outer border was weird but I like it. I just didn’t expect, with how much work the pattern does to keep the blanket laying relatively flat, that it would end with this purposefully frilly stuff. But it’s an easy pattern I got from Red Heart and I just ignored their color suggestions and did each round its own color.

I had one slight fuck-up, but a thing I’m glad about is that I’ve been crocheting long enough that I kind of know how to recover from fuck ups without having to undo everything.

I keep trying to reach the bottom of my burn-out, and I think, maybe, I finally have. At least, I listened to a book while I was working on this and I was able to pay attention to the whole thing.

I just feel like narrative has let me down, has fallen short of being enough to express this moment. All my stories feel like lies. All stories I hear feel like lies. I don’t watch TV any more. It feels like lies.

Crocheting is the truth. You either make a stitch or you don’t. You either recover sufficiently from a fuck-up so you can go on or you can’t. You’ve either made the thing or you haven’t. I’m very grateful to have something that honest in my life that I can do.


I have a theory that, as we age, we distill down to our essence. So, if you’re a miserable person who just fakes being okay, as you get older, you’ll be less willing or able to fake being okay and your misery will come out.

One of the main reasons I’ve been trying so hard to get my shit together is that I want to be happy at my core. I want, when life has knocked all the extraneous shit off me, for me to be someone I can live with. Want to live with.

The Kids are All Right

Last week, K and I went to this fundraiser for a local arts group that helps kids develop their poetry skills. One of the things that delights me about Nashville is that it has a somewhat vibrant poetry scene.

The kids were fantastic. Their poems were so beautiful and thoughtful. And they had them memorized! And here was the coolest part: when someone got nervous and forgot a bit or stumbled, everyone would snap for them, to fill the silence with supportive noise.

Is this the thing that beatniks were doing when they snapped? The thing that became a joke? Because it was beautiful. I loved it. And I felt sorry and mad that I had only encountered it as a joke that made fun of poetry audiences.

I don’t subscribe to the notion that everyone is good. But I do believe that most people’s badness is small and surmountable until life breaks them. And once you’re broken, it’s hard to know how people will put themselves back together. (I’m slowly making my way through the Dollop episodes on Trump and Jesus Christ…)

I want so much for these kids to get a chance to fulfill this potential and to not be crushed and broken.

I think another hard thing for me about all this stuff coming out now is that you see how the whole system–every system, our whole society–functions through crushing and breaking and discarding people. You are not supposed to be okay. This doesn’t work if you’re okay.

It’s disgusting. And yet, I don’t see how to disengage from it. You can pull back. A lot of people certainly have. But it’s a comforting fiction to believe you can get out of it. That you can be safe from it. That you’re not replicating it.


Another Fancy Baby Blanket

This one isn’t done, but it’s coming along.


This yarn just makes everything look super fantastic. I feel a little awkward about it because it makes everything look super complicated and like I’m super talented, but if you look closely, you can see that the most complicated thing in here so far is the front post work. Everything else is really straightforward stitch work and the most complicated part is just keeping the count right.

I also got my first look at the layout for the chapbook. It’s very exciting.

I think I’m boring, but I mean that in a good way. I spent my weekend doing exactly what I wanted and I feel happy and rested and ready for my week. I feel very lucky.

I still think either the pattern is wrong about how to do those slip-stitch rounds or the picture on the pattern is wrong, but I did the first one how it said to, so I did the second one how it said to.

Opt Out

A thing I have long known is that the abuse of women is ubiquitous (the attempted abuse of everyone is ubiquitous, but that’s a matter for another post). But seeing it on social media day in and day out is wearing me down.

I keep thinking of how “you have no other choice” is used against women and how so many women have opted out of things because of that. You have to tolerate some level of violence from your 19th century husband, so some women just didn’t marry, settled into being spinster aunts. You have to expect you’re going to have to sleep with people to get roles, so some women just went home from Hollywood. And on and on.

Generations of women who tried to withdraw from the bullshit as much as they could.

Maybe I’ve done that, too. I don’t know.

And I think about all that talent, all that potential. It’s like we live in a world split in two between realized dreams and dashed dreams. And the realized dreams aren’t better. They’re just the dreams that didn’t get sacrificed.

I think a lot about how we still have human sacrifice, we’ve just made it more invisible. Instead of killing a person wholly and outright for our benefit, we just kill little parts of them and convince ourselves they deserve it.

People are right to be mad. I am mad. But I’m also feeling overwhelmed and sometimes like I’m drowning in it.

Lost Hook

My plan was to spend a nice evening working on my squares for this afghan and I finished one up and started to work on the next and then, for some reason I don’t remember, I had to get up from the couch. So, I set the square on the arm of the couch and the hook slid out and down and…

I swear, I thought I heard it hit the floor. But I pulled the couch halfway across the living room and I moved the side table and it was not there. I went through the cushions of the couch on the off chance… I don’t know… that it had slid the other way and somehow made that noise?

But it’s just utterly vanished. I even went through the garbage can.

I then left out a small glass of triple sec in case the hook went missing due to shenanigans, but it wasn’t returned, so I guess it wasn’t anything cool and supernatural that caused it to disappear. I’m super bummed. I’m only five squares away from being done with this afghan and I can’t move forward until I get a new hook.

But I did go to the doctor yesterday and everything is fine. She tried to lay the groundwork for me accepting that I may need to be on the sertraline from here on out, but I’m not worried about it. I mean, it’s helped. A lot. If my brain just needs it, fine. Need away, brain. I don’t feel like there’s something wrong with helping what can be helped.

And I have weird thoughts, you know? Like part of me is convinced that I lost my hook–and thus couldn’t do the relaxing thing I like to do in the evenings–because I told my parents I’m not coming up there for Thanksgiving. Like I’m being punished for disappointing them. That’s not a sane thought.

Anyway, I’m going to check and see if I have another hook that size in my secret stash of crochet stuff.

Too Many Projects

I’ve been making this baby blanket:


And when my skeins get too low to make a whole round, I’ve been working on this other baby blanket for my other coworker:


It’s a free pattern I got off Red Heart, but it’s using that fancy Dutch yarn. The pattern calls for a round of slip stitches at one point, but worked only in the front loop of the stitch. I thought this was weird, because, if you look at the image of the afghan included with the pattern, those slip stitches lay flat, which has to mean that they’re worked in both loops.

I did what the pattern called for, rather than what I knew made sense and, I have to say, it’s weird, but I like it. It frames that inner part nicely.

Anyway, I ran completely out of yarn, so I couldn’t work on either afghan until my new order came in. So, I started work on my next grown-up afghan, which looks like a space ship. Or maybe like the top of a carousel.


From looking at other examples online, I think the colored bands are supposed to have a slightly woven effect, which I feel like is also happening here. I don’t know if that will be true once it’s washed or not, though.

And I even got a little fiction written. Which made me feel better about the state of the world, even if I’m kind of looking like some kind of yarn hoarder at the moment.

Deer are Big Up Close

This morning, when we got back from our walk, there was a deer in the back yard. Sonnyboy took off after it. It tried to just go to the other side of the yard and stand real still, but the dog was having none of it and chased the deer through three back yards and then–surprise–came back when I called him!

All that time we spent chasing bunnies and then coming back paid off!

But that deer came right by me! And it was so big. I mean, obviously, they’re big. But there’s a difference between seeing one across the field from you or even in front of your car and having one bound by you, not ten feet away.

I briefly fretted over whether it was cruel to let the dog chase the deer, but then I decided a. he’s never going to catch it; b. it’s not good to have the deer so close to the house because coyotes will follow. So, it’s probably good to give it the opportunity to rethink whether coming into the near backyard is a good idea.

The dog was all smiles afterward. And it made me happy to see him so happy.

Nephew Mind Blown

Last night, I ate a S’more and while I was holding my nephew. I got some marshmallow on my finger and then, like any good aunt, I stuck it in his mouth instead of licking it off myself.

I think I broke him. Not in a bad way. But I don’t think it had occurred to him before that that things could taste radically different. He just sat there, completely still, eyes wide.

How is this real life? I just don’t know.

Roy Moore

Roy Moore is and has been a disgusting terrible theocrat. I remain unsurprised by him.

I cannot imagine being the daughter or the sister or the wife of the men who are standing around Alabama today excusing him.

When you find out your father is okay with a thirty-something man “trying to date” a teenager, don’t you wonder if your friends were ever safe with your father? Don’t you wonder if you really were?

My heart aches for the people of Alabama today, not the folks arguing that, since Joseph did it to Mary, it’s fine for Roy to do it. But for the people who should be able to feel safe in their own home, able to trust the men in their lives to not harm them or excuse harm that befalls them, who have to know today that the people they love are not safe.

Ghost Dog, Revisited

I’m sad to report that I think the ghost dog in the back yard is a living cat. Which, since my first rule of “Is it haunted?” is “Have you completely ruled out a cat?”, shouldn’t surprise me, but I still was disappointed.

I didn’t get a good look at the cat today, since the dog was chasing it, but it appears to be orange.


Toxic Fandom

Yesterday, I was talking to a writer who had done something incredibly unpopular with the fans of his work and it got me thinking about the sense of ownership some fans have of the thing they are fans of and the right they think they have to dictate what happens to/in it.

And I was thinking about how, like, 80% of having fans is super awesome. You make a thing. Someone you don’t know feels this intense connection to the thing and they are deeply engaged with it. It’s really, really neat. And I don’t think anyone wants that part to go away.

But then there’s some small percentage of stuff that is just like “what the fuck is this nonsense?!” Like when people threaten to kill authors for not putting two characters together, or finding out where they live and coming by the house in the middle of the night or… I mean, we all know what it looks like.

But I realized, this is kind of what I mean when I talk about the fucked up relationship some people have to women. Toxic fandom happens because the audience member believes that the fact that the art has caught her attention means that the creator of the art owes her for that attention. That the artist now has an obligation to please the audience.

And isn’t this part of being a woman? The woman causes her “audience” to pay attention to her and thus she owes them.

I could see it as a thing before, but I couldn’t really make sense of it, because it didn’t seem to have any other cultural antecedents. But of course it does. Hmm.

Family Portrait


These are the six squares I have done so far for the baby blanket I’m working on. Only the upper right one has been even remotely blocked, which is why its inner part look so much better than the others. But they will all look that nice in the end. I’m really pleased with how this is going.

I might try a front-facing seam on this afghan just because I’m curious to try one and I think that, with this afghan, what’s one more decorative element?

I’m glad I have something beautiful I can make while the world goes to shit. Returns to shit.Whatever the fuck is happening here.

Well, It Happened

My ex-sister-in-law finally shat the bed hard enough that she may not be able to wiggle out of consequences for her terribleness.

I thought I’d feel more pleasure in it. I’ve been waiting a long time for her actions to catch up with her.

But the sheriff in the county has a Facebook page where he posts arrests and under his post about this were comments from other people who’ve been through the wringer with her. And it just made me so sick and sad. My first thought was “Why didn’t someone do something about her earlier so that there wouldn’t be this trail of people affected by her?”

But the amount of people who have tried to do something for her and about her is enormous. People have tried to intervene in her life from the moment it was obvious something was wrong when she was very young. They tried repeatedly. They keep trying.

Nothing worked.

And there’s no good outcome here. Regardless of how this turns out, she has kids who needed her to be better than this. And she wasn’t. And the repercussions of that are going to echo down for their whole lives.

That really sucks. And I’m really sorry she doesn’t get that and is, I think, incapable of getting that.


You guys, my nephew smiled at me. A real smile. Quite a few times. I got a little choked up over it.

I want to go hang out with him today and let him smile at me a million more times, but we both have shit to do.

And, also, while I held him, he babbled in my ear, just being a noisy little pumpkin.

How is this life? How is he a thing in the world?

I tried to get a picture of him smiling, but he was not cooperating. You can kind of see the start of one here.


Crochet Advice

So, I’ve never crocheted with cotton before, at least not that I can recall. This baby blanket is a cotton/acrylic mix.

On the one hand, if I block it, it will look nice when I give it to the parents.

On the other hand, will they have to block it every time they wash it to get it to look right?

The label says I can just toss it in the dryer, so I’m tempted to just… um… toss it in the dryer and see what comes of it.

Not that I’m anywhere near that far, but I’m also very much enjoying fretting about this project.


Crochet Stuff

It’s all I can do to not stay home from work and make this baby blanket. It’s just so satisfying. It’s hard but not so hard that it’s frustrating. Each round makes the motifs more beautiful and interesting to look at. And I’m genuinely excited to see how it turns out.


I have a bunch of kids’ stuff I need to do, but my next adult project is an afghan for the black dog’s family. I have been floundering around trying to find the perfect pattern for them. I want something cool and special and beautiful, but I’ve been dissatisfied. I chucked the yarn I had for the project and bought new yarn. I had a pattern picked out but I kept searching through patterns at lunch, so I knew I wasn’t happy, even if I’d talked myself into believing I was.

The size of the squares these motifs are, if you use worsted weight yarn, is 12 inches across. So I could make the same twenty block afghan I’m making as a baby blanket at adult size. I had settled on that and was feeling pretty good about it. After all, these are fun and my yarn is good, so why not?

But then I found it–the afghan I want to make them. And it’s fucking amazing.

So, I’m happy.

Ghost Dog

So, my yard is a normal width, but it’s very deep. In my mind, my back yard is divided into three-ish sections. The actual back yard, which goes to the back of the shed, the way back yard, which goes from the shed to the creek, and then the way, way back yard which goes from the creek to the pasture/field.

This morning, it was very dark when I walked the dog and as soon as he got out of range of the garage light, I lost sight of him. But I could hear him for a little bit at the neighbor’s. I stood there for a bit, waiting for him to decide there wasn’t anything good to eat in the yard, and then I called for him. He didn’t come. I got frustrated and started walking toward where I was sure the dog was. He then came running up from behind me, seemingly confused about where I was going.

So, we head together into the way back yard and he leaps over the tree, which is still there, yes, god, no no one has showed up to cut it up yet, but hopefully soon. And I follow him over and then he goes across the creek to sniff some smells and to poop.

Now, here’s the thing. It’s fall, so it’s very loud in my yard. Even if you can’t see someone, you can hear them because everything crunches. So, the dog is crunching around in the way back yard and I can hear him coming closer to me so I’m telling him what a good boy he is and asking him if he’s ready to go for a walk and I hear him come right up to the bridge, but as dark as it is, I can see the other side of the bridge and there’s no dog there. Not one I can see anyway.

And just as I’m standing there wondering if I can truly be seeing nothing or if maybe I, I don’t know, imagined hearing the rustling of the leaves and underbrush, Sonnyboy comes walking the exact same way, making the exact same noise, except, since I see him, it’s clear that I should have seen the first dog as soon as I heard him.

And, also, if there was another animal out there, it was close enough to Sonnyboy that he would have chased it.

I don’t think it’s Sadie, both because I feel very certain she is genuinely gone, for reasons that are mostly boring and woo to go into, and because she would have come across the bridge to see me. She loved me.

But I know there are at least two other dogs buried in the way back yard–Tip and Smokey. And I wonder if one of them heard me talking about a good boy and was like “Hey, I’m a good boy. That must be me!” but then was like “Oh, you’re not someone I know” when he got to the bridge?

I’m going to rationalize this into being something ordinary. I know me. I know how I work.

But I’m telling it to you as it happened to me. It wasn’t at all scary. It was just weird.

The Stairs

Yesterday the elevator was being serviced, so I used the stairs. I did not have a panic attack. I did not need anyone to hold my hand.

I can’t really describe to you how it makes me feel, to have lost the ability to do something and then, maybe (I’m going to take the stairs again today) regained it.

Also, because his collar is too big for him, the dog slipped off his tether last night. Moments later, I found him at the back door. And it made me so happy. Because I really want him to understand that, if something happens, he should come back here.

I ordered some new yarn for an upcoming afghan and the place I ordered it from had to send me part of the order from their UK warehouse. It arrived before the US part, so I went to talk to Angela at the Whites Creek Post Office about it and she had my yarn! The package had been damaged so she made me take pictures and then open it to see if anything was missing.

It contained three extra skeins of yarn. So… that was weird and nice. Oh, my package tore open and someone stuffed more yarn into it?

I’m loving this pattern I’m learning for the baby blanket so much, I have pretty much decided that I’m going to just use it for the big blanket, too. I mean, why go to the trouble of learning how to use two different hooks on the same square if you don’t do it at least twice?