I think my favorite thing about these motifs is how the outer part looks like dirt and stones.


As predicted, I don’t miss the bullion stitches.

I really like this pattern. It’s just very well constructed and tries hard to mitigate the drawbacks of flowers, which are that they are heavy and tend to pull away from the rest of your motif and can sag. But like here. the flower is firmly anchored to the leaves, which are anchored both where the brown round is and up in the black. It’s just very thoughtful about ways flowers go wrong and I appreciate it.



I think that, in order to move forward on anything else, I have to see this bombing shit through. The article is nice, but it’s been sitting in limbo for months while the Scene sees if it gets to still be a paper.

I know Third Man would take a book.

Last night, I contacted the National Archives to see about how to get to see the FBI files they hold. Thursday, I’m going to talk with a guy who knows a lot about Catholicism here in the 50s.

I just have to do this. It’s important and no one else is doing it.

Weekend Stuff

I went to see my nephew this weekend. He’s finally getting hair all over his head and I’m a tiny bit disappointed that the cinnamon roll swirl is gone. But he is delightful. I just like that whole family a bunch.

I’ve been working some on the latest afghan. I’m just enjoying the shit out of it, at least until this latest flower, which calls for bullion stitches:


Bullion stitches are hard to do with yarn. They don’t look uniform. And I don’t like doing them. But I really really love that pop of yellow, so I think I’m going to pick these out and do an easier stitch.

All these flowers, though, man. I love them.


Oh, shit, and there’s this guy:


This is probably my favorite so far, though we’ll see how I feel when I get the bullion situation straight.

Heels, Toes



I’m just enjoying the shit out of the variety of different motifs in this afghan. But I started in the middle of the pattern and after doing one of the next ones, I realize that the pattern writer had helpfully designed the motifs to teach you some skills and then become more complex, so I am going back to the beginning with the mostly black hexagons.

I have noticed an interesting thing I don’t know how to explain. A while ago I saw this video where a dude demonstrated how medieval white people walked before the wide-spread adoption of hard-soled shoes.  So, rather than putting your heel down first and then rolling forward onto your toes, they put the ball of their foot down first and then the heel. It’s kind of how you walk when you’re stumbling through the house in the dark, trying not to step on a Lego. Feel with your toe, find no Lego, put your whole foot down.

It’s a weird gate, but sometimes I try it out. And here’s a thing that blows my mind and I can’t explain it and I wish I understood it: If I’m walking the dog through mud and I walk normally, I sink into the mud. If I walk ball first, I don’t.

But it makes no sense! I weigh the same. It’s the same feet on the same body. All week, except for the day it was just too muddy to walk and we did the driveway, I’ve been testing it, because it makes no goddamn sense. And every time, same thing. Heel first, sink down. Toe first, no sinking. How is this possible?!

Witchcraft, I assume. Or physics, but really, aren’t they the same thing?

Goth Afghan

I’m trying to make a spooky, but beautiful afghan for one of my Goth friends. I would call her style kind of rockabilly goth? Anyway, so I decided that flowers would be fun. I’m following the Frida’s Flowers pattern, but with more Halloweeny colors.

Here’s what I have so far:


The reds make me so happy. Anyway, I think the original colors are pretty close to goth, anyway. My goal is to get rid of the pink–much too happy–and way, way, way tone down the white. So far so good.


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.

You Can Take the Kids out of the Church, but…

I went to a poetry reading over lunch at Third Man. The boss also attended. Rule one in Nashville is “be cool,” so I tried to be cool.

But I was struck by how much his demeanor was like a minister who’s excited that the youth group meeting is going so well, but also knows they need that room for a board meeting right after.

So, when it was done, I felt this urge to help move chairs. I saw that one of the poets was also folding and moving chairs.

That was 15 seconds before we both learned that our dads were Methodist ministers.

And she also knew that hymn 88 is Amazing Grace, though that was two hymnals ago.

The Dog Had an Adventure. I Did Not.


This is the field out behind my house. I’ve never been in it before, because there’s a wire fence all the way around it and scrub in the fence. But the dog has not been walked in two days because of the rain and he saw six deer come out of this field, so fuck me.

Off he went, into the field, leash dragging behind him.

Which meant I had to get through the scrub and over a wire fence (which is partially on the ground, I think thanks to the deer) and through so much mud. So very much mud. And I went and stood on the highest point in the field and yelled for the dog.

I yelled so loud and so long the neighbor’s dog chimed in. And who should finally come strolling up after a million years? This jerk.

And then I’m faced with how to get home with this doofus misbehaving dog, over a wire fence. Basically, I held it as low as I could get it and then tapped him on the butt until he got the idea he should jump.

He’s now exhausted and just happy as a clam, because he was made to be a farm dog who traipses off across fields after deer and leaps over fences and has adventures.

And, you know, I was pissed. But seeing him so happy and so in his element and, in fact, happy to see that I had shown up in the field to explore with him, I couldn’t stay mad.

But also, I’m glad I’m the type of reader I am because I knew, before taking off into a field I’ve never been in before, that I was going to need to be able to find the spot where the fence was down again. And I can’t tell you how nice it was to see this view once I’d found the stupid dog. Bet Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund wish they’d left a bright orange coat at the back of the wardrobe.


Folk Wisdom

The line between “what you do” and magic is super thin. That line, I would argue, in the South is just what people at church wouldn’t give a second glance to.


If you look right at that boy’s neck, you’ll see he’s wearing an amber teething necklace. Not to chew on. It serves no practical purpose. I tried not to make too big a deal about learning of it, because I want magic in life and I didn’t want to make anyone feel weird. But I was delighted.

Here’s him and the Butcher being cute.



It turns out that, if you have a rash and a persistent cold, they get you in to see a doctor right away. And it also turns out that I have a couple of spider bites, not a rash, and that the cold is actually a bacterial thing that’s probably the same thing that caused my sinus infection earlier this winter.

So, now I’m on antibiotics. And I got in to see the doctor right away and my trip to the pharmacy took literally ten minutes, if that and so I went and got my hair cut, which took no time, and so I went and got my dog’s prescriptions filled.

Which means all the chores I had for myself this morning are done and I can instead go see the Butcher and his family.

Everything worked so smoothly I kind of felt like it was a thank you from old Leander.

Also, you guys, my dad is delightful on pain killers. Funny and quick and smart and thoughtful. I’m a little bummed that I’m not going to get up there for his second surgery. I… wait for it… enjoy talking to him now.

A thing I’m glad about, though, is that it makes me feel less nuts. Why would I continue to let this dude into my life? Oh, right, because this is a facet of him and this used to be much more of who he was.

And I wonder if this is something that we can keep, without insulting him?

I don’t know. It’s just nice to talk to him now. Even if it can’t last.

The Tail End of the Cold

I felt better after dinner last night. Not great, but better. And this morning I got up and walked the dog for the first time in three days. That felt tremendous.

I’m still a little stuffy, but damn, I’m glad that’s over with. Now I have to go into work and deal with ridiculous stuff.

But, hey, I wrote a short story about a surprise new species of crawdads and it turns out the world made a surprise new species of crawdads.

How Do Single Parents Do It?!

I’m definitely sick. I went to bed at 8:30 and only got up at 7 because the cat was complaining about his lack of breakfast. And you know he’s not opposed to peeing on things if he’s unhappy.

And just getting up and doing that wiped me out. Being sick when you’re a single parent must be hell.

Anyway, yesterday I went to get my stuck earring taken out and I ended up just replacing them all with new, higher quality earrings.


The piercer and I were talking about how she got started and such and she was telling me about the first time she saw a woman covered in tattoos (as the piercer is) and how, when she saw that woman, her very first thought was “I bet nobody messes with her.”

And I keep thinking about the wonder of a woman who doesn’t get messed with.

It was also weird because the dude who ran the counter recognized my name, knew me from the Scene. I still don’t know how to handle that shit gracefully.

I also put a border on my Bauhaus blanket! And now I just have many ends to tuck.

But look how awesome it is!


It’s exactly what I hoped and better. I love the red border.

But I’m not buying any more yarn until those mermaid tails are done.

Yep, a Cold

This definitely is a cold. But I have too much to do to be sick. So, that’s a bummer.

I’ve started the border on my current afghan. So, here’s the thing. Normally, when you’re making a row with single crochets, at the end of the row, you just do one chain to turn. And the moss stitch is just a single crochet and a chain. But at the end of my rows, I did three chains so that, when I did the next panel, I’d have an easy place to attach the panel with a chain-slip-stitch-chain join. Easy peasy. Each row joined as I went.

But I also then put those three chain turns on the outside, where I knew there wasn’t going to be a panel, not for any good reason, but just because it seemed easiest.

But it has made putting a border on this thing super easy. And often when you do a border down the edge of your blanket, it looks a little wonky because you’re just kind of guessing where stitches should go. But here there’s a deliberate place for stitches to go!

I feel like I’ve stumbled on a miracle.



I’m a little afraid I’m coming down with a cold, and considering how together I need my shit to be for the next couple of weeks, well, let me just say I’m thrilled.

Our mayor had an affair with her bodyguard. I don’t care about the personal moral aspect. If one tall, balding accomplished guy is good, I can see why you’d think two would be better.

But I do care about the civic moral aspect of it. All the stuff. Did he feel free to say no? Did others in his department get denied opportunities they would have otherwise gotten because of his relationship to the mayor? People don’t normally retire with two weeks’ notice. How much of a jam did that put his department in?

And I think a problem the mayor has is that she’s now asking the city to believe that all the trips with him were on the up and up, that she would have taken those trips regardless of whether he was her security detail or if someone else was, and that she used her best judgement in taking those trips. Except that clearly her best judgement can be deeply flawed.

I really like Megan and it sucks to see someone you like and admire fuck up this bad. But it’s not any less fascinating. You have goals and ambitions. You know that you’re going to need extraordinary luck and good-will to accomplish them. Why would you risk that?

I guess that’s mostly rhetorical. We know why people risk that. And yet it’s still baffling every time. To me, at least.

I’ve Liked You for a Thousand Years

The Scene is up for sale. I don’t really have any grave opinions on that. If the current owners aren’t interested in running alternative papers, then by all means, they should get out of it.

But also, of course, the Scene is very dear to me and I want it to be okay. So, I’m hoping that someone who understands the importance of irreverent, smart writing steps up to buy it.

And I hope the people I care about are okay.

Showing off


I just like this so much.

This morning, the dog lied to me. He made like there was a squirrel he needed to chase, so I dropped his leash so he wouldn’t yank my arm off. But really he just wanted to run through everyone’s back yards while I got mad.

One of my neighbors was working on his car, down on the ground, under the car, and the dog plopped himself down on top of my neighbor. I repeat. This asshole saw someone on the ground and put himself physically on top of that dude. 120 lbs of surprise dog on a dude.

I had to take a break from writing this post after that paragraph because I’m so fucking mortified even just remembering it.

The guy thought it was hilarious. Thank god.

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.


That sucks.

Charlotte Pike Unsubstantiated Theory

There are two main explanations for how Charlotte Pike got its name: 1. It ran by Charlotte Robertson’s house; 2. It ran to Charlotte, TN (which was named after Charlotte Robertson).

Both these explanations have the same problem: they’re not true. Charlotte Pike did, yes, kind of run near her old house, but not even close enough to be seen from the house. It didn’t run to her house.

And while it’s easy now to look at a map and assume Charlotte Pike ran vaguely out along what is now 70 and then up 47, the Old Charlotte Pike rambles around in the hills east of Pegram and then hooks up with McCoury Lane. Also, if you look at the names of other pikes spoking out from Nashville and where their namesake villages are, you can see that the villages were fairly far away from Nashville on the east side, the side settlers came from–Gallatin Pike and Lebanon Pike and Murfreesboro Pike, for example–but look how close in Goodlettsville and Whites Creek and Nolensville, Franklin, Ashland City, and Leiper’s Fork (the old Hillsboro) are.

I think you can see a ring of towns around Nashville about a day’s cart ride from town. That’d be like Brentwood, Belle Meade, Antioch, Whites Creek.

And then another ring of towns the next day out. That Franklin, Pasquo, Leiper’s Fork ring. The distance Pegram is from town. So, if you were going to name that pike for where it went, Pegram Pike would seem to  be the most natural name.

But the old Charlotte Pike didn’t go to Pegram. The Old Charlotte Pike, when you’re two easy days or one long day from Nashville, is in the middle of nowhere. Up in the hills east of Pegram.

The Robertsons owned furnaces. One of their earliest ones was the Charlotte Furnace, named for the matriarch of the family. And I think if you followed the Old Charlotte Pike a hard day’s journey from Nashville, and knew how to look, you’d find that old Charlotte Furnace.

They Tried to Kick Him out of Rehab

Well, my dad is getting kicked out of rehab, because it turns out that under the new Medicare regulations, unless you have some complicating factor, you’re not supposed to be “entered” into the hospital after knee surgery, but just kept there for a few days for observation and then sent home for outpatient rehab care. You aren’t eligible for residential rehab unless you’ve been “entered” into the hospital.

This, apparently, is new.

So, my dad is improperly in in-patient rehab and is getting kicked out today.

It’s hard for me to put into words how scared and angry this makes me. I mean, he’s doing pretty good for a guy who just got a new knee, but he just had his first shower in a week yesterday. A person had to be there with him.

How is he supposed to safely get in his house? How is my mom supposed to handle things if he falls? Like how is “send the unsteady, fragile 73 year old home where his only caretaker is his frail 72 year old wife” a good plan?!

They have to move down here. They just have to be somewhere where there are younger people who can help them.

I feel so helpless being so far away and I’m so mad.

The Best Joke

The dog wears a chest harness when we’re out walking, but a choke collar otherwise. I forget why we switched to this configuration, but it works for us.

Anyway, this morning when I went to put the collar on him, he put his head up and then at the last minute, tucked his chin. Then he put his head back up, wide grin, tail wagging and when I moved in again, chin tuck.

“Are you teasing me?” I asked. He slipped his face through the collar.

Sometimes, you laugh with someone and you feel a familiar closeness. But when I laugh with the dog, I experience a kind of intimacy that comes across so much distance. We have so few ways of really understanding each other. We map our own experiences onto the other. I anthropomorphize him. I’m sure he canidopomorphizes me.

But sometimes the maps align. We aren’t compassionately almost understanding each other by ascribing the motivations we understand to each other.

We are sharing a thing. A joke.

It feels like a miracle. This utterly foreign being and I are sharing a joke.

How are we so lucky as to have dogs?

Who Among Us Yet Again Doesn’t Have Enough Yarn?

I got my third panel on this blanket done.


The third panel is supposed to be the halfway point on the blanket. Please note that it is barely half the size of a single bed. So, I need to go up to seven panels, not five. Which is fine, I just need to get some more yarn. I also think I have a fun border picked out.

Season 3 of Someone Knows Something remains brutally hard to get through. It’s only six episodes, but I often have to stop in the middle of one and take a break. The brother’s grief and rage is heartbreaking. But it ends up not being the Klan members that make me the most upset. They are what they are–evil, sadistic terrorists.

The most upsetting part to me is watching how the whole white society continually shifts around them to give them cover and room to work. How it continues to give them space to be free. The support network, intentional or not.


My Plan Worked!

I did walk the dog when it got a little warmer and then I suffered from unimaginable cramps and then I felt better! (Every month. I’m almost 44 and every month I’m like “What is this weird thing happening in my abdomen?”)

I feel like walking sets me right. Like it allows unsettled things–physically and mentally–to work themselves back into place. I know it’s “exercise,” but it doesn’t really feel like that for me. It’s more like sleep. It’s a thing I do so I don’t feel like shit.

ANYWAY, I think the Bauhaus blanket is turning out even better than I could have hoped. I think I’ve decided to stair-step the red down. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for a border. But there’s time to decide.


I started making my way, slowly, through Season Three of Someone Knows Something, but it’s so hard. I just feel so much stress and anger. And the kids who died were my dad’s age.

I don’t feel like Trump is some anomaly. I feel like I was lucky enough to mostly live in a slightly strange, better version of America that I was sheltered enough to not know didn’t really exist.

Bad Daughter

I might be obsessing a tiny bit over my parents’ fake daughter. I’m torn between feeling like it means that I have so failed them that they had to go outside and find someone who could do the things for them I can’t do and feeling relieved that it’s not me.

I brought the mermaid tails to work on when I was up there, but I was mostly too distracted to work on them. But I did finish the afghan.


I didn’t do anything too fancy for the border, just a single crochet row of that amazing dark blue and then a row of half double crochet in white. That’s Scheepjes Stonewashed XL yarn and it’s really, really lovely.

And my favorite part is that it is that baby blanket I did, but in a bigger yarn. Same amount of squares. I did add two more colors–that blue and a dark green, but pattern-wise, it’s the same.

Here’s the comparison.

And it’s so cozy! It’s got a nice weight to it and it looks beautiful. So, I just need to finish up my mermaid tails so I can start on the Bauhaus afghan.

This World is Not My Home

My dad has a new knee. He’s already up and walking on it and doing all his exercises. I always thought the biggest challenge was going to be getting him to take it easy and not overdo it.

I felt bad for leaving my mom up there and relieved to get home. Eight hours in the car with a big dog is a lot.

But he loved the Midwestern snow with no ice. He would go out in my parents’ back yard for twenty or thirty minutes at a time. He’d try to convince you to go out there with him. I did and it was glorious. I think we actually played. I kicked snow at him, he zoomed around, and then leaped at me pretending to bite my hand. He even got down in play posture before he would zoom off.

But he and I were both very stiff from that much time in the car. I’m jealous that he’s going to be able to spend all day sleeping while I’m at work.

The cats both looked surprised to see us when we got home, like they had just come to accept that they owned the house now, with the exception of random spot-checks from the Butcher.

My parents have a fake daughter. She calls them “mom” and “dad” and they introduce her as their daughter. They gave her an afghan I made and told her it was from me. I hadn’t met her before. I hadn’t really realized the extent of the weirdness.

I kept waiting to get a scammy vibe from it, but if she’s trying to con them, she’s going about it very, very slowly. Or all she wants is for someone to occasionally buy her lunch, so the con has worked? I don’t know.

I think she was a little jealous of me and I was of her. But I can’t have the kind of relationship they want to have with someone because it would crush me, so, I guess, as long as it’s just weird and not exploitative, whatever. Everyone’s happy.

I still don’t like it. But it’s not my business.

I wish they lived closer, though not next door.