Weird

So, get this. Our work day starts at 8:30. Not 9. But my old boss had us working from 9 to 5.

It’s weird. It’s not important. We’re not in trouble or anything for it. We just have to start coming in at the correct time.

But I’m fascinated by the psychology behind it. Were we supposed to be less concerned about other people not coming in until 10 or just coming in in the afternoon because we, too, were all flouting the rules? But don’t you have to know you’re flouting the rules for that to work?

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Take the Hint

Y’all, I went to bed at 11 and I woke up at 10. In the morning. An hour before when I normally eat lunch. I think I have just had so much stuff buzzing around in the back of my head that I couldn’t completely turn it off and sleep well.

Gladys told me about a murder. I tried to find out if the murder was real before I decided what to do about it, but the details were so vague that I began to think that either she was bullshitting me or she’d gotten the details wrong.

And then I found the murder in the paper. And I was like, well, what the fuck do I do now? All I have is second-hand rumors from a terrorist.

But last night, I went to WPLN’s Podcast Party and Emily Siner’s guest was a retired cold case detective. I am not even shitting you. I learn a thing. I become troubled by the not knowing what to do about it of it. The Universe puts me in the path of a person I can tell.

So, I told him. And I told him that I wasn’t sure how much of what Gladys had told me was true and how much was just her trying to settle some old scores. And he got what I was saying.

So, that’s a relief.

And I went and got the Wilton’s copper food coloring.

Look at how close I was just with my own color mixing! (It’s the second from the left.)

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Copper Continued, Continued

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I overdyed three of the yarns from the day before yesterday to see if moving from the microwave to a pot was going to work. I think it is, but I also think I’m going to have to go by Joann’s and get some gel food coloring. Scaling up with the drop kind is just giving me a little more mottled look than I want.

And, after five hours on two evenings, I figured out how I was fucking up the poppy! It’s now in place. Good thing that was the only one! Oh shit…

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I can’t believe how beautiful this afghan is. I’m truly just blown away by it. Even the join is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. And it looks fantastic. I think I get caught up in the idea that everything has to be so fucking hard to be worth it and I’m glad to be reminded that simple, fun stuff can result in great beauty and happiness.

The shit did hit the fan at work yesterday. Hard. I’ll have a better sense after I see how next week goes, but I think that may have been the worst of it.

Also, I already broke my yarn swift! I think I can fix it, if I can find the piece that came off.

I’m going to see my baby nephew today. He’s trying to walk, but he doesn’t yet have the whole “standing without holding onto things” part down yet. He remains the greatest.

Copper Continued

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I spent some more time last night farting around with copper colors. I love that green on the left. I really love the copper that’s second on the right. In general, I wish I were getting slightly better coverage. The pattern I want to make calls for twenty skeins of yarn and I’d like to feel confident in my ability to dye a whole skein the colors I want.

I also tried to put my first poppy in, but I fucked it up somehow. I’m going to try again when I’m feeling more awake.

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Still, fuck up and all, it looks really good! I really love how beautiful this afghan is.

I think the work shit is finally hitting the fan. I mean, I have felt like we’ve been through the fan and covered in shit for some time, but I think now some things are going to start coming to ends and I’m afraid it will be some good things as well as some bad.

I’m just so stressed out and tired of being stressed. I think I’m sick in part because I’ve just been in a heightened state of what-the-fuck-is-going-on-and-what-can-I-do-to-mitigate-it? for a year.

Also, I broke my yarn swift. I think it can be fixed, if I can find the part that went flying, but damn.

And Aretha Franklin died. I am incandescent with rage about it. Not that she’s dead. Death comes for us all. But that she was such a genius and such a great talent and she was that while being fucked with, deeply fucked with, her whole damn life.

And yet, even in death, it comes down to how she looked. Like, here she is, one of the best artists the 20th century produced, and the Washington Post gives that much space to the fact that she got fat. But it can’t even talk squarely about the abuse she endured and survived.

I “love” how much work is being done by the part where she had two children by the time she was 17. Yes, and by that time, one of those children was five years old. Someone was doing real bad shit to Aretha.

But she got fat, so you know. Priorities.

Home

I’m home. The dog is home. The cat stayed home, so she probably isn’t relieved to be here. Or any moreso, anyway.

I know I’ve been walking on the razor’s edge of anxiety, but I had no idea how bad it’s gotten until I saw this picture of me that my niece took:

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And my first thought was “Look how cute I look there! It’s too bad I’m so gross and ugly.”

Which, lord. You know you’re a mess when those two sentences make sense to you back to back.

It was wonderful to see everyone and I had a really nice time. But I’m also glad to be back home.

I got my P.O. Box, so now I just need to write some letters.

And I dyed some yarn yesterday! I wanted to set it in the sun and let that move the dye around the jars, but a friend got me worried that it could bleach out the dye. So, I moved everything into the oven and set the oven to 350 and let the jars sit in the oven at 350 for an hour. Then I turned the oven off and they sit there still, until I have some time to wash and hang them up.

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Joining

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The join I’m using is just a simple single crochet, but through both loops, so that, unless you know what to look for, it’s hard to tell where the squares start and stop. It’ll be more obvious on the middle squares, but I think it’ll still be nice.

I’m just waiting for it to get closer to the time the vet opens so I can run the dog up there.

And I heard again from the FBI about the Looby bombing. They destroyed a bunch of relevant files in 1977, which… is not what they told me in the first letter, where they destroyed a bunch of files in 1996, but lo and behold, some files made their way to the National Archives, where I can request them. Mysteriously.

Well, maybe not that mysteriously.

In unrelated news, no, seriously, completely unrelated. cough cough. wink wink. Jim Cooper has my vote for as long as he wants it.

The World is a Vampire

Tough couple of days.

I’ve decided to start memorizing the names of Trump supporters, so when I’m rounded up and forced into an interment camp, and they ask me to name my collaborators, I can start naming those Trump supporters.

I guess I’m feeling like there’s no way to stop what’s coming, but we can do our part to make it painful for those who want to hurt us.

Just from anxiety, I may finish this afghan before the wedding.

 

Doodads Revisited

I threw the pink peacock blanket in the wash this weekend and then in the dryer. The doodads!!! The doodads puffed up a little and now aren’t so stiff and they’re just magic.

Everything else in the world can be going to shit, but the pleasure of doodads remains.

I’m kind of struggling with the Chattanooga part of my book. I’m really at a loss as to how to do the research or if I even can do it. I’m kind of thinking that maybe I won’t. That maybe I’ll leave it as a thread for other folks to follow.

Wonderland

We’ve reached the part of my weird crisis where I feel like I’m in Wonderland. Everything is strange. I don’t know the rules. The things I expect people to do and say are not the things they do and say.

I’m both dreading and curious about going in today.

I went to Third Man to hear some poets and it was great, as always. I got to hang out in the green room and tell an audiophile how to get into the Grand Lodge downtown.

I only have a pinch of purple left. I need three purple doodads to finish up and I may have enough yarn. But I’m going to be cutting it very, very close.

Sunday Funday

Went and had lunch with the Butcher’s family. My nephew can clap now. He’s not great at it, but he will be. He can also stand. He doesn’t know that yet, but as long as your hands are touching him, he can balance himself on his feet just fine.

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I’m slowly putting this afghan together, too.

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And the cat has a bump on her nose and she wants to be near me but she won’t let me get a good look at it. It looks like she may have scratched herself, but of course I’m worried it’s cancer or leprosy. But it does raise the question: can a cat give herself cat-scratch fever?

Doing the Strange, Hard Things

There’s so much going on that I wish I could write about, hell, wish I could even talk about, but it’s very draining and I need to be able to talk about it in depth a couple of times today. I’m just so mad and scared, though. And I need to be able to make wise decisions in ways that I have heretofore never done before. A thing needs to be done. I don’t know what I’m doing. But I must do the thing anyway.

JESUS, CRAWDAD, DEATH is still happening. It was delayed, but it seems to be back on track. I saw some potential covers and one is just so brilliant. They’re all great, but one is stunningly beautiful and hilarious. I hope that’s what we end up with.

The Butcher and his family came by last night. It always delights me to see the nephew and both times he’s been to my house he seems so delighted and surprised to see me.

He called the dog “Bah” which is what he calls the cat at home. The orange cat’s name, if you didn’t know, is “Hobbes,” which has me convinced that the littlest nephew has made the connection that that sounds means that thing, which is awesome and smart, but also I think he’s extrapolated that “Bah” refers to a furry thing, so there’s another furry thing, it must be “Bah.”

That, to me, feels like a big cognitive jump. Categorizing.

It’s funny and weird to think that he may have the ability to compare and sort things, to understand his world to that extent, before he can speak.

Being a baby must be so frustrating and weird.

And Anthony Bourdain… man. I don’t have anything intelligent to say. Just that once I read an article about David Foster Wallace and about how terrified he was that not only wasn’t he going to get better, but that he was going to ruin the lives of the people around him, slowly dragging them down with him. The implication being that, in Depression’s twisted way, he thought he was doing the loving thing by making it quick and getting it over with. Harm reduction.

And that really clarified things for me. How people who are so loved and, in some cases (though not DFW’s, at least not completely) so very deeply loving, could still take this course of action.

Sacrifice yourself so your loved ones can be safe (from you).

I think, sometimes, it’s unhelpful to completely get rid of one model of understanding mental health for another. I don’t have a better answer. Both together won’t work.

But as much as I know mental illness is an illness, and one that medical science is figuring out how to treat, as much as I myself have benefited from advances in medical science and would not have benefited from an exorcism–stay with me here–I wonder if the useful thing about the demonic model of mental illness was that it gave a clear metaphor for why you would do things you wouldn’t normally do, believe things that everyone else can see aren’t true, and why you’d resist getting help when it’s so clear you need it.

Because there is a way in which mental illness feels like a competing foreign entity with its own goals and agenda.

And I wonder if it’s easier to get help if you think something that is not you has come for you.

Instead of feeling, however accurately or not, that this is something you’re doing to yourself and therefore, further proof that you’re fucked up and you suck.

Victory is Mine!

The dog and I walked to the school and back and he’s so worn out he has let the Roomba hit him twice.

I’m just about ready to start the green round on these motifs and I just can’t wait.

And I have a couple of good people to talk to about Chattanooga, so I’m feeling less overwhelmed.

That Afternoon

I have an official offer on the bombing book! And I got surprise art in the mail!

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And the yarn I need for my cousin’s afghan and to make Venus of Willendorf came in.

And yet, even after all that, I’m not sure fucking up my meds and getting stepped on by the dog was something I’d be willing to do again in order to have another afternoon like that.

Anyway, the book deal is still kind of a secret, but I think my readership here has dwindled down to people I’d tell a secret to anyway, so there you go.

Rest

I’ve been trying to let the bombing story rest for a bit. I sent it off to the editor. I’m contemplating the safest way to contact some of the people I feel like I need to try to contact. But I’m also trying to leave it be for a little bit, so I can come back and see with fresh eyes what it needs.

I am also almost done with a couple of massive, massive things at work.

And I finished the afghan.

I’ve started the peacock afghan. 112 motifs. Hopefully they’ll go fairly quickly. Though I’m still debating whether I should run the motifs on the diagonal instead of up and down. And, also, how to handle the doodads, which would work for up and down, but I’m not sure how they’d work on the diagonal.

Butt Stuff

I have diagnosed the dog with a condition I think of as “tender butt.” It’s like when someone goes to brush your hair or put your hair in pig tails and it’s just excruciating, but only located on his back half.

Which means he will let you brush the shit out of the front of his body, happily. But please don’t brush his back end. Or touch it or look at it too interestedly.

And which means that, during his spring blow-out, he looks particularly silly.

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This morning, he did let me gently rub his butt, which did result in a lot of fur coming off, but I think I could have gotten three times as much with a brush.

Also, all week, I’ve been waking up at 5:20. I’ve been able to get back to sleep, but it was freaking me out a little bit. Why that time? This morning I noticed that the last time my email had been checked on my phone was 5:19. So, I think my phone must ding, which wakes me up.

And apparently someone has audio of Jason Statham calling a dude a fucking faggot, though he apologized and said he didn’t remember saying it and… I don’t know. Can’t we just have one nice thing in this world?

Sunday

I’m up to the point where I should be fleshing out my Robert Gentry portion, but yesterday I just couldn’t spend that much time with him. Instead, I spent the morning doing chores, then I went to a birthday party, and then I kind of worked on my doodads.

They’re so fussy. But I still really, really like them and think they’re going to be great on the afghan.

Bah, okay, I should make the most of this time. Off to Robert Gentry.

Social

I think social media is bad for me. Especially Twitter. I don’t think that means I’m going to quit it. I mean, I might make that decision in the future, but for right now, I’m just acknowledging that being this stressed about work and this stressed about my civic life and this stressed about whatever nonsense is going on is addicting but bad for me.

I’ve been listening to the new Janelle Monae and I think one of the points she’s raising throughout the album is that happiness is revolutionary, delight is resistance. Pleasure changes things.

I don’t know how to take that to heart, but I want to take that to heart.

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All my squares are done. I’m now on to triangles. I really like it. I hope it’s not too busy.

I saw a bunch of folks this weekend and did a bunch of stuff. It was good. Now I have to hope I can carry those good feelings throughout the week.

Off Day

I worked on the bombing book. Then I took the dog to the Paradise Ridge Park, which I hadn’t been to since it opened. I did a leisurely 3/4 of a mile. I can’t even begin to approximate how far the dog walked, since he had to run back and forth to each side of the trail, sniffing and peeing everywhere. I have no idea how much distance his exuberant zig-zagging added, but a lot. He also made a friend, which is another nice thing about rural parks. The people who go there tend to have big dogs and are happy to meet another.

We went to McDonalds for lunch.

I yakked on the phone with the other Betsy about a really cool project she’s working on.

And then I spent the rest of the day crocheting.

I’m very torn about the doodads. They’re very fussy to make and a lot of work and I might not even have enough yarn to do them. But my trial one looks so neat I can’t quite bring myself to give them up.

So my new idea is to do the whole afghan and just see if I have enough yarn to do them and, if I run out of yarn before finishing the afghan, then I’ll totally feel justified in buying enough to finish my doodads.

I woke up today in a panic because I thought it was Sunday and I didn’t want to have to go back to work yet. Which I think means I desperately needed a day off.

Delights

This morning when I woke up at 5:45 in the morning, very early in the morning, morning, morning, I learned of the existence of a roll playing game called “Jason Statham’s Big Vacation.”

And I would like some credit for not immediately, before six a.m., calling C. and screaming into the phone “You must take today off work, teach me how to play role playing games, find six other people who would find this as hilarious and awesome as me, and then we must play this game. Today. I’ll buy lunch. Woo!!!!”

Y’all, Wesley Snipes tries to ruin Jason Statham’s holiday. It’s wonderful.

Second, yesterday morning, I went to a women’s breakfast and talked to all these very prominent community members about Fort Negley. I was halfway through my talk when I realized I had been going on and on excitedly about body parts while these women were trying to eat. I was mortified.

They didn’t seem to mind, though.

And the questions and answer session was really fun. I think they had a good time and I had a great time.

Third, though not really delightful, many years ago, a dude gave me this old poster he had found in a barn that was just a bunch of anti-Semitic nonsense. I think he thought it was mysterious, so he framed it and gave it to me. I turned the poster over and used the frame for something else.

Recently, he made noises like he might want the poster back so he could “study it and figure it out.” (Or so he could have an excuse to reinsert himself back into my life, I suspect.)

So, I took it out last night to look at it for the first time in years, and thanks to all this bombing nonsense, it’s utterly clear what it is–a map of the cosmology of Christian Identity, which I don’t think is still called that, but is a weird, racist theology that posits that Cain was a result of Eve fucking the serpent.

And I laughed because it made me feel like I’ve been on the path to writing this book for a long time.

But I tell you what, too. It made me wonder about the owners of that barn. You might have met some run of the mill racists back in the day out west who’d fallen into Christian Identity, but in the South, if you were into Christian Identity, it was a pretty sure indication that you were a violent racist, that you were trying to provoke a race war.

Like I said, made me wonder about the owners of that barn.

Getting Some Stuff Moving Along

I had a really productive weekend. I got some good writing done. I’m about a third of the way into Wexler & Hancock’s Killing King. I had a lovely dinner with friends and then a lovely brunch with some other friends.

And I got a bunch of this afghan moved from “almost done” into “done.”

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A thing I have been fretting about with this afghan is that it’s got a kind of decorative doodad on the top and bottom and I have been worried that I might not have enough of the same color yarns to do the doodads. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me until right now, but I can finish my squares and then do the doodads. Then I can use the rest of the yarn on the filler triangles.

Also, because of the doodads, the afghan doesn’t have a border. I’m a little nervous about that.

Log Jam

I have too many afghans with deadlines.

But look at how this is going!

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I also watched the trailer for Megalodon a bunch of times. Because I’m only human.

And, you know what? I like Randy Orton. Everything about him is true. It is stupid to wear a hoodie with no sleeves. His tattoos make him look like he has fake arms. He always looks pissed off that he has to be alive in the world.

And yet, I still like him as a wrestler and I always look forward to seeing his matches.

Friday Things

My cousin and her family are in town! Her kids are just so adorable. Her son is like some kind of Star Wars savant. And he gets so big-eyed and excited when he tells you everything he knows.

I spilled Sprite all over myself at dinner. That was pretty embarrassing. But my cousin’s daughter reassured me that she spills things all the time and it happens to everyone. And my step-niece said I could blame her, if I wanted.

And my nephew is in a new stage! Now, when he’s tired of you holding him, he just puts his arms and lets out and holds his body stiff. He goes from cuddle-bunny to dry starfish.

Which means he can prefer things and people! Like, he can want and unwant things. Well, like, he’s run into stuff he didn’t like before. But this seems like the first time I’ve noticed him being like “Okay, enough of this.”

I also went to lunch. In a way that is going to lead to another lunch. Which really necessitates me getting to the National Archives this summer. So, that’s exciting and a little terrifying.

Back to Work

I have been working a little on a draft of a book-length take on the bombing stuff. And I’m enjoying it. It’s actually fun to just sit down and try to spill out everything you know about something.

The dog and I got to go for our normal walk this morning, too, which was nice. Walking the driveway is a nice option for when otherwise it means no walking, but it’s boring.

Walking

I keep wondering how long we’ll do this. This meaning everything. Stand by while kids at school die. Choose meanness.

It’s hard when you believe in the power of words to say words upon words upon words and find that nothing changes.

Today it was too muddy to walk the dog, so we just went up and down the driveway ten times. I know, just based on how long it took, that had to be a shorter walk than our usual walk and it’s flat, whereas normally we walk up and down a big hill.

But the dog and I are both wiped.

Coming Along

The last of the yarn came yesterday and so I expect I’ll finish at least the body of it this week. Two more panels and then I’m going to use the rest of the yarn on the border.

It looks like I’m going back to the Post for a couple of posts, but no one has emailed me back, so I don’t know what I’m going to write about. So, that’s a little fun.

I also emailed the dude from Someone Knows Something because I just wanted to know if my FBI experiences are typical or if there’s something weird going on.

I’m sure a lot of you have already read this piece from The Week. It’s not a new feminist position. Just of the top of my head, I think Simone De Beauvoir was getting at something similar as was Charlotte Perkins Gilman back in “The Yellow Wallpaper”–it’s demanded of us to take unnatural positions and perform them as natural in order to be “good and normal” and our normal condition is considered madness. And those unnatural positions are painful. And our pain is so expected, so normalized, we can barely see the scope of how “well, being a woman is being uncomfortable” permeates our whole lives.

But I think Loofbourow’s article spells it out clearly in ways we’re not used to seeing. And spells out the implications of that clearly in ways I definitely think we’re not used to considering.

Anyway.

That sucks.