Laundry Day

Today I attempt to do all the laundry. All the laundry. I’m literally in pajamas. Nothing else clean is left.

It’s kind of hilarious. But also maybe sad.

I hung out with the Butcher, his wife, and my nephew yesterday. Aside from accidentally seeing a man taking dick pics in a public bathroom, which was hilarious, it was nice and uneventful. The baby was cranky. But he slept a while.

I’m just savoring nice times. And, frankly, I guess spending all day in your pajamas is a type of nice time.

Another Reason I Would Not Care to Sell Crocheted Items

I’m making a couple of mermaid tails–one for a little girl who asked for one and one that actually fits my niece. And they’re not that fun. I’ve already made mermaid tails before.

I’ll do it, because I know the kids and I know they’ll like them, but in general, I wouldn’t want to have to do stuff I’m not excited about anymore just because that’s what’s selling.

I was talking to my therapist about my weeks-long panic attack and she talked to me at length about how to life your life while you’re having an ongoing panic attack. One of the important things is to do things that make you happy, at least one thing a day. Not for anyone else. Just for yourself. A good thing that doesn’t have a web of expectations or implications or justifications. Just “I’d like this.”

I was thinking about how my resolution for 2017 was to just like things, without feeling self-conscious about it or like it was necessary to couch it in sarcasm or irony or apologize for it or say things like “I know this may be stupid but…” and to share that like.

My goal for 2018 is to do more things I like just because I like them. I feel like I’ve been conditioned to believe that happiness is suspect, that orienting your life toward it is frivolous at best and dangerously hedonistic at worst. You can be happy, but only as a side-effect of doing shit for others.

I’ve had charity and obligation weaponized against me.

“Put others first” is a lovely sentiment and an important personal philosophy that I support if one has chosen that discipline. But it’s also damn convenient for some of those others, who aren’t doing the same.

So, I’m going to try to figure out what things make me happy to do. And I’m going to do more of them.

Merry Christmas, Garage

I live in a 1950s ranch, which, in Tennessee means a sturdily built house conceived under the assumption that electricity would be nearly free forever, so who gives a fuck about insulation or keeping appliances someplace that stays above freezing without having to leave the door between the kitchen and the garage open.

Anyway, in the time I’ve been here, I’ve had to replace a water heater and a washer due to them freezing in the garage. We tried to then keep the garage above freezing with this teeny-tiny space heater, like you’d put under your desk at work. It worked, but it eventually died.

This week I went out and bought a space heater specifically designed to heat a drafty poorly insulated place like a garage.

The Butcher had to get it out of the trunk for me and then he helped me figure out where I should put it in the garage. And y’all! It has a timer. Last night I told it to keep my garage at 50 degrees for eight hours and it did!

And when I came back from walking the dog this morning, my garage was still… well, not toasty warm, unless you’re eating very, very disappointing toast… but warm. Much, much warmer than freezing.

Also, the Butcher brought the whole family and I swear the orange cat was hitting on the Butcher’s wife. He came and sat right by her and asked her for a million head scratches and when she tried to talk to the Butcher he meowed at her until she turned her attention back to him.

I laughed.

Also, speaking of the orange cat, the dog and I have this ritual where, before I put my shoes on to go for our walk, he gets some loving. He especially loves to have his face rubbed. The orange cat has been coming over and standing by the dog when he does this, and I thought it was because the orange cat also wanted head scratches, but he didn’t really seem interested in them.

And then, for a while, he was kind of batting at the dog’s face, which the dog did not like and I didn’t understand.

But, y’all, today! Today I understood. He is petting the dog! As usual, he seems chagrined, like “I don’t understand why we do this, but if we do this, fuck it, I’ll do it,” but he was also more gentle and the dog tolerated it.

I swear this cat literally thinks he has to learn how to do everything in this house because, if someone falters, he’s going to have to step up. By god, he will hate it, but he will do it.


I’m going to have to rejoin the human race at some point, probably tomorrow, but I’ve spent the past two days just doing some shopping that needed to be done, looking into an ax murder that is pretty interesting, and crocheting while listening to podcasts and audio books.

Oh, and I mopped. I just wanted my house to smell like Murphy’s Oil Soap. And I’m trying to be mindful of the fact that it’s okay to do things half-assed. If I feel like mopping just the areas I can get to without having to move furniture, well, good, those are the areas that see a lot of traffic. They need mopping.

I’m trying to declutter my head. I have this feeling like I’ve been on the drugs long enough that my brain is figuring out now how to work this way, as opposed to the old, anxious way. And I feel like I just have to let these new connections be made.

When it gets above 20, I’m going to walk the dog.

Baby Mobile Victory


He loves it. It made me cry to watch him watching it. He could see everything. The big shapes were the right way to go. And his siblings liked the explanation that Cthulhu showed up because of all the weird, uneven shapes.

Being his aunt makes me so happy.

Day One

I think it went okay. I got them most of the day so they could do their Christmas shopping for each other and have dinner while the Butcher’s family was doing other things. I tried to put into practice everything that I’ve learned at therapy. And I’m trying to be aware of when I’m frustrated and when I’m concerned and when and whether those are separate things.

My parents kept asking me about weird things the orange cat was doing–like when he just stands there like he’s waiting for what he should be doing next to come to him or, like now, when he’s sitting on the couch and he appears to be asleep, but he’s in a position you know he can’t possibly be asleep in and I was just repeatedly like “He’s old. He’s just doing old, weird shit.”

He’s still the animal in this house most likely to come when you call him and most aware of what’s going on in all rooms of the house at any given time. So, I guess I’m not that concerned. I mean, I am concerned in that, yes, he’s 18, which, for a cat is ridiculous, but he doesn’t seem to be in pain, so if he kind of fritzes out every once in a while, well, maybe that’s to be expected.

And This One’s Done, Too

The flat braid join is a lot of work, but it’s nicely sturdy and it looks great. I will definitely keep it in my baby blanket repertoire, even though I probably won’t use it on adult sized blankets.

My parents are here, but they’re staying with the Butcher. I’m curious to see how that goes. I’m also super relieved.

The Flat Braid Continuous Join

I really wanted to get started on joining these squares together last night, because I’m learning a new join and I wanted to see how it went. So, I finished up a few squares before work and I messed one up. I put three stitches in the corner instead of five and then I tucked my damn ends. In a regular join, there are ways to work around that, but since I haven’t done this join before, I didn’t want to knowingly have a mistake to deal with.

So, I fixed it. It didn’t bum me out. I just waited until I had all the other squares done to make sure I had enough yarn to fix it and then I picked apart the end-tucking and added some yarn and thus upped my corner to five.

I’m sure part of it is the drugs. I don’t get washed over with feelings of “oh shit, I fucked this up beyond repair!!!” over minor things anymore. (Knock on wood.) But I think part of it is just that I’ve been doing this long enough now that I have enough experience to know how to fix things and to know if I should bother to.

Maybe that’s part of what mastery and experience gives you–not the ability to do things right but to know how to recover from the inevitable mess-ups.

Anyway, look how cool this is.


Random Things

–The dog ran off this morning and was gone for a half an hour. I thought I was going to throw up. When he finally came strolling back in, he did.

–I’m fascinated by these crochet sculptures by Yulia Ustinova. Have you guys seen these? I read recently a thing on Twitter, which I’m not going to get right, but something like “capitalism is saying that all the wealth should be concentrated into the hands of a few. Neoliberalism is saying half of those few should be women.” And you know how much stock I put in the change vs. exchange problem.

So, yes, I know it’s not really a victory to just switch up what society considers attractive in women, that it doesn’t get at the real problem, not really. BUT, but, but. There’s still something really amazing about looking at sculptures–at things that by definition encourage you to look at them and appreciate them–and finding them beautiful and they look like you.

–I see folks going after Meryl Streep for not knowing about Weinstein and it just… ugh. I mean, yes, folks. It’s always easier to go after the women than to continue to hold men’s feet to the fire. That’s the same old bullshit there’s always been. If we’re going after women, go after the women who knowingly served up other women to these jerks. But let’s focus on the jerks first and for a long time.

–I keep having dreams in which I have massive panic attacks. And I know this should maybe concern me, but I find it comforting, like my brain is trying to adjust to not having them in real life.

–As soon as I get all these squares done, I’m going to try a continuous flat braid join. If you’ve done that before and have any pointers, feel free to give them to me.



I just keep thinking about how so very many of us are broken and how some of us use that brokenness as a conduit for empathy and some of us use it as an excuse to lash out.

Maybe I’ll Be Fast As You

Sometimes I worry that maybe all I do is sit around crocheting. After all, I just finished a mobile and I now have all the flowers done for the baby afghan I’ve been working on. But I also went to two parties this weekend and saw my nephew and walked the dog and went shopping.

I think I’m finding the time because I don’t watch TV anymore and I haven’t been reading much for pleasure lately. I keep wondering if I should cancel cable or at least scale back to the Law & Order only package (oh, would that there were such a package). But I also think that my interest in it might come back. I’ve been a TV watcher my whole life and I didn’t quit for reasons. I just lost interest.

Anyway, this flowery baby blanket. I had a pattern picked out and then as I started to work it up, I realized it was shit.

Here’s the thing about crochet flowers–at least 3-D ones. Each layer of the flower is actually two rounds. There’s a round that creates a lattice and then a round where you build your petal on that lattice. Over and over. But how you join the lattice means the world about how your flowers look in real life.

If you build your next round of lattice on the petal beneath it, your next petal is going to have a very noticeable gap between it and the petal below. (This isn’t always bad. Some designs utilize this tendency to beautiful effect.) It will also have a tendency to spread in weird ways. But, for a photo, you can fake it. You can scrunch everything up so that it looks like it’s sitting upright and together and beautiful. And you can’t always tell from just looking at the pattern if the designer has accounted for this tendency and so all is well or didn’t account for it and so is squishing everything together to make it look okay.

So, obviously, that was the problem with this first pattern.

But once I knew what I wanted, I went to my big book of problematic granny squares and flipped through for something similar, but okay. Of course, being my big book of problematic granny squares, the pattern had obvious problems–like the pattern was for a twelve-round square, but the picture with it clearly showed an eight round square. Or one of the lattice rounds repeatedly said to make a half-double crochet and then two chains, but then said I should have 8 chain-3 spaces when I was done, which I simply could not have, because I had been making those spaces with two chains, as directed. And I had to ignore pretty much all of the slip stitches it called for, because they were stupid.

But I’m now used to the ways the patterns in that book are fucked, so I was able to anticipate.

And anyway, here’s what I’ve got:


So, I wanted to say some things about my trip to the therapist, but I’m also not sure what I want to say. Sometimes I feel like the point is to just say some stuff, absorb some stuff, and let it work on me.

I told her about my unstoppable panic attack and she checked to make sure that I was still doing the things I needed to be doing in life and she gave me a hand-out to use to guide me through this stuff when it happens.

And then we talked a lot about the importance of happiness. How important it is to cultivate a habit of doing things that make me happy. Like, those aren’t just indulgences or spoiling myself, but making an effort, a habit, out of doing things I enjoy is crucial for my mental health.

Also, a thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is how we talked about how it’s okay for me to be bad at stuff and to not like stuff and to not have mastery of it. She said it can be very hard for people who have accomplished a lot (and lord, did I cringe when she said that, but also I’m working on accepting positive things people say about me) to have things they’re not good at, because the feeling is that if I set my mind to it, I should be able to do it and, if I can’t do it, then I’m a failure. Across the board. When really, we all have strengths and weaknesses and things we do well and things we don’t do well and it’s just normal.

Having weaknesses isn’t failing. It’s just being a person.

I’m trying to wrap my head around what it would mean to make a deliberate habit of doing things that make me happy. Not just stumble across them by accident or save it up for special occasions, but add it to the list of things in a day that have to happen, like lunch or pooping.

And I also wonder what it would be like to find something I enjoy that I’m not very good at and what it would be like to detangle mastery of it from enjoyment.

The Baby Mobile Industrial Complex Has Nothing to Worry About

I finished it and, whoo boy, I am never doing that again. But I think it turned out kind of okay. I’m a little worried that it looks more tacky than homemade, but I am really proud of how it turned out from the baby’s perspective. Somehow that worked right.

You can’t see in that picture, but Cthulhu is sitting on top of the squishy pyramid.

The thing I dislike about shapes is that you stuff and stuff and stuff them until you think you can’t fit any more stuffing in and you hurt your fingers sewing them shut and you get the whole thing closed up and you realize it could fit more stuffing.

I’m glad to be returning to blankets.

Got No Diamonds, Got No Pearls, Still I Think I’m a Lucky Girl

I’m feeling somewhat better about this mobile nonsense. Last night I finished a sun and moon:


And I was like, fuck it. I am giving this mobile a tiny Cthulhu. But I still need arms and wings before I can put it all together:


His little face tentacles are killing me! They’re so cute. I’m not sure how to do the wings yet, but I have some ideas.

I have my therapy appointment today, which means I get to go in and talk about my week-long panic attack. So, that’s a tiny bit disheartening. I think it’s okay, though. I mean, it just feels like a thing that happened more than a set-back, if that makes sense.

Anyway, maybe I’ll finish up this tiny Cthulhu before I go.

Shapes are Hard

Y’all, crocheting shapes is hard. My pyramid looks more like an ottoman (which may tell us something about world history, though I’m not sure what). My cube is saggy and my ball is lopsided. In like four different ways. I can’t decide if my mobile is going to be “charmingly rustic” or fucking terrifying. Euclidian geometry is over-rated, right?

See the elephant in this picture? That’s me about this stupid project.


The next time I say I’m taking on the Anything-Industrial Complex, remind me of how defeated I’m feeling by this stupid mobile.

Fox Ran Out on a Chilly Night

tiny fox

At my sister-in-law’s request, I have made a tiny fox for the mobile. Now I’m kind of thinking I may just do these two animals and have them playing hide-and-seek around the shapes. Anyway, at the least, I need to get some of these shapes done.

I like the arm placement on the fox better than on the elephant, but god damn heads are hard to sew on. Both the fox and the elephant have their heads on crooked, but by the time I realized it, they were already pretty firmly damn attached.

I am relieved about Alabama, but I also can’t stop thinking of the women who defended Moore by telling about how their parents had let them date thirty year old men. I believe it. And I think it’s a continuation of one of the main cultural problems of the South–the culture preaches that children must obey and revere their parents who are worthy of glorification, while at the same time, the parents are doing really shitty things like selling their children’s playmates or half-siblings or giving grown-ass men access to them, or just in general valuing power and security over the well-being of the people in your household.

It’s not exactly internalized misogyny, more like internalized patriarchy–if my parents did it, it must be right; my own unease or the unease of others doesn’t matter.

And it’s insidious, because people rightly love their parents, often, even when their parents are shitty and dismantling this train of thought comes very close to telling people that their love for their parents is wrong.

But, damn, “well, my parents let me date a 30 year old when I was 14” is some fucked up shit. And not seeing that it’s fucked up is even more so.

Come at Me, Baby Mobile Industrial Complex

baby elephant

I’ve been working on my shapes. In that pile there are the makings of a cube and the start of a pyramid. They’re green, because that’s the Butcher’s favorite color. But instead of finishing those two things up, I made a little elephant for the mobile. I think it turned out very cute.

I kind of wish his arms were up a little higher, but he’s going to hang from something or drape over something and it won’t be noticeable.

I have five hangy-down parts on the mobile. I’m kind of planning to do five shapes and five elephants and pose the elephants playing on the shapes. But I’m cutting it very close on time. I should just get the shapes done, but people, look how cute that elephant is!

The 4 Way

Yesterday, I drove to Memphis to have lunch with a very old friend and his brother and then turn around and come home.

We met at The 4 Way, which is right behind Greenwood Cemetery. I got there first and they asked me if I was dining in. I said yes and that there would be two more people joining me unless they already had two white guys, in which case, I’d be joining them. Everyone laughed.

My friend and his brother walked to the restaurant, which I thought was a not-wise decision, but my friend walks all over his city, going by the rule that he’s fairly safe because he’s tall and minds his own business.

The food was fantastic and there was so much of it. And it was the kind of place where they got all our backstory even before the guys got there, so they were happy to let us sit at a table and talk and talk even though they were growing very crowded as church let out.

And then, when we went to leave, one of the staff, a woman, learned the guys had walked there and she scolded him and told him, “I’m going to need you to take a Lyft or a cab when you come here.” And he later remarked that getting scolded by a woman in Memphis is the start of a great blues song. Which, hell yes, it is.

I woke up at 5 this morning and just laid in bed being happy. Which I know is weird, but when you spend time with someone you love and have loved for a long time, and you tell stories and opine on Robert Plant and get teased by everyone who works at a restaurant you’ve never been to before, it’s just good.

And it filled my heart and it’s making me cry just a little bit to write about it. When do we get our Star Trekkian transporters so we can visit people who live far away instantly?

It Starts to Come Together


I genuinely can’t fucking tell if this is beautiful or a mess. I’m a little worried that the people it’s for will take it and smile and the shove it way in the back of their closet. But the thing I love about it, which I think is starting to be obvious at this point, is how those popcorn stitches are. There’s something about the that reminds me of my Grandma Phillips’s house, which makes no sense.

Also, a fun thing with this pattern is that I got to learn how to make backwards popcorn stitches. On the popcorn stitches in the triangles there. I actually like how they look a little better than regular popcorn stitches.

I also think the illusion of wovenness is really starting to come together nicely.

I don’t know if I’ll finish this today, because I have to do a lot of shopping, but it’ll definitely get done this week. Then I need to whoop up a baby mobile real quick before Christmas and then my projects are a baby blanket of roses, a Bauhaus rug style baby blanket, two mermaid tails. And it feels like I’m forgetting a kid’s thing I have to do, and then a rug for myself.

I have the yarn for an outstanding afghan after that and I’m hoping there will be enough left over that I can get a second afghan out of it to send to LA, assuming LA hasn’t burned down by then.

Then I have an awesome goth afghan to make, and another peacock afghan, and an afghan of skulls (she wants skull granny squares, but I found this lace skull pattern I think I’m going to do instead), an a pizza afghan, and two afghans I haven’t given much thought to yet. And I may see if the pizza afghan is sincere about that or wants something else.

I think all that will take me through the first half of 2018.

It’s Okay to Have a Weeks Long Rolling Anxiety Attack, Right?

Somehow my ex-sister-in-law is out of jail, so she thought she’d go get my nephew and take him to Florida before returning to her home–to the extent she has one–with him. In violation of the custody changes my brother got made in the wake of her going to jail.

So that was fun. And by fun I mean, terrifying and stressful and aggravating.

She brought him back yesterday after my brother convinced her that the court order that says she can’t do that really does say she can’t do that. She told him that she felt like he had set her up to violate the court order by letting her take my nephew.

I guess he’s supposed to quit his job and stand guard at his house 24/7 and then fist fight her?

Like, how’s one dude supposed to stop a woman from showing up with no notice and picking up the almost adult kid she has brainwashed into believing that she’s being framed and that there are legal maneuvers her court-appointed attorney can use to get her off of those thirteen felony charges?

The problem with framing her or setting her up or whatever other paranoid choice of word she wants to use is that it, by definition, embroils you more in her madness. Unless you absolutely for sure knew that, by tangling yourself up in her life for this little bit, you could ensure she’d never bother you again, it’s not worth it. Just back away slowly and make sure to the best of your abilities that she doesn’t know where you are or how to contact you.

Also, for some reason, we’re keeping this from my parents. Which I both don’t understand and do understand. Like, on the one hand, this is stressful enough, why wouldn’t we get everyone on the same page and working together? On the other hand, it’s hard enough. Having to deal with my parents trying to analyze it and take over directing what should happen would be nightmarish.

So, my brother doesn’t want to tell them. I’m not telling them.

Frankly, I’m terrified for my brother and his family. I’m very worried about the level of brainwashed control she has over my nephew and I’m concerned that, for the rest of his life, he’s going to end up supporting her. I’m concerned that he might lash out at my sister-in-law or my niece as he deals with the reality that his mom is not being square with him about what’s going on. I’m deeply concerned that the reason she wants him back is that her Plan B is to blame some of her shit on him. I completely do believe she’d do that.

I’m also concerned that, as the reality of her situation sets in, she might feel pushed to act more desperately.

I thought all this nonsense would be enough to revoke her bond, too, but apparently not.

My brother made a police report, so he’d have it documented for court, but this all is still, supposedly, just a civil matter.

Anyway, I have all my triangles made. I’m just tucking tails now, which, oddly, is fine because I’m having trouble concentrating on anything else.



I got a lot of crocheting done. My goal was to observe and keep the dog out of their hair, which left me much time for crocheting.

The dog was so good! He barked at first and tried to make everyone give him a million scratches but then he settled down and just chilled.

One of the guys called him a friendly polar bear and I swear Sonnyboy took it as a compliment. I’m like “you don’t even know what a polar bear is!” but he was like “I am super awesome.”

Anyway, here’s where the afghan is at this point:


I genuinely can’t decide if it’s awesome or horrible. I also think putting it together is going to be a little bit of a bear, but we’ll see. I just have nine more triangles to go.

One thing I really like about the palette, though, is that it’s very busy, but it’s not too loud because the colors are pretty muted.

God’s Gonna Trouble the Water

I’m waiting to see if the HVAC guys will come in the rain. I hope so, as I cancelled a meeting to be here.

I’ve been listening to a podcast about the West Memphis Three murders and kind of thinking about it in the context of my bombing story just in terms of how much faith we place in the idea that there are these impartial agents of justice who want to know the truth out there working for society’s benefit. And that’s just not the case. There are all these deeply flawed humans doing jobs or slacking at jobs.

Anyway, I don’t really have an opinion on who did it–murdered those little boys. I’m kind of listening to try to understand how they came to the conclusion that it was those teenagers.

But as far along as the podcast is in the case right now, I would be looking for someone who was a recognized authority figure to the boys (or how else do you keep three kids in place when something bad starts happening?), who was familiar with the area and probably recognizable in the area (otherwise, how did he/they escape without being seen? I think the answer is that he/they were seen but their presence was so ordinary and so easily explainable with other reasons that it didn’t register to the witnesses), and who is a serious hunter or outdoorsman.

It’s just hard for me to believe that there’s not some lead-up behavior and experience to this. Like, I get that people would know to throw a body in the water to hide it or maybe even remove evidence, but once you start talking about jamming things into the creek bottom with sticks to keep them from floating back up?

That’s a bit of knowledge that person must already have. Must already have in use in some way.

I’d be curious if there’s some innocuous analogous behavior? Like, is this something you do when you’re hunting x, if you need to ensure that the bait stays in the creek bed and doesn’t float up?

That just continues to strike me as a bit of specialized knowledge that could have narrowed the suspect pool.

When Last We Talked…

Thursday, oh boy.


Friday I learned I needed a new HVAC unit immediately and I had my first full-blown panic attack in a year and a half.

Saturday, I got some shit done and saw friends.

Sunday, I got some other shit done and saw different friends.

In my quest to take down the baby mobile-industrial complex, I put together the plastic part of the mobile and made some decisions on shape sizes.

I also went over to Fort Negley for their ceremony honoring the workers on the fort. It was really nice and I got to meet Zada Law and totally fan-girled out on her. I’m also still working on this afghan.



It went poorly in many ways.

I don’t know what to say about the shit at the Scene. I’m hoping to not have to be sad and speechless worse in the future. Steve and Laura are both super talented and lovely and my heart hurts.

Things with my nephew are not great. But I think I’ve talked my brother into finding him some counseling.

My brother is avoiding calling my parents because the situation sucks so much. Last night I had to clue my dad into how bad the situation sucks. It broke his heart. Which broke mine.

I’m waiting on the HVAC guy and then I’m going to spend the day crocheting, because at least that’s something concrete and beautiful and real and not sad.