Learning

I very rarely crochet with wool yarn, because when you give someone a wool afghan, you’re giving them an ongoing commitment to some kind of ridiculousness. At the least, to having a big flag place to dry the fucker.

Acrylic is like “eh, whatever. Throw me in the wash. Throw me in the dryer.”

But sometimes I want to try new things. So, I’m learning about the difference between hanks and skeins and why you shouldn’t store wool in balls. (Basically, you want to give the wool room to move, so it doesn’t get misshapen.)

Also, look how beautiful it looks in hanks!

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And the broken purple is drying:

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I will twist that into a hank soon enough. And then I can marvel at its beauty, too.

In the back of my mind, even though it’s months away, I’m trying to decide what pattern I want to use for this yarn. I want something simple enough to really show off the color variations, but also not just a square, because I’ve done that before.

I think I’m just about at the end of my day lilies for the season, so I plucked the penultimate bunch last night and threw them in a jar with water. I’ll add whatever shrivels up tonight. Once I get some yarn through the mordant bath, I’ll throw a small amount in there and see what happens.

The city mowed down my Queen Anne’s Lace yesterday so I’m going to have to go up to Lloyd and get what I can. I hope they don’t mow up there before that.

And I’ve got my eye on the poke berries at the back of my driveway. I’m waiting for them to turn black and then I’m going to snag them.

I feel like a witch. It’s so much fun. And it’s letting me rest my wrist, which is not happy about last week’s failed push to finish the afghan.

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Dye Thoughts

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So, of course, the two Kool-aid dyed ones look great (the two on the left) and I really like that soft yellow there next to the orange. That’s a keeper. But everything else? Not really feeling it. Some other dyepot awaits them.

That orange, though! Let’s look at it closely:

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Look at the variations! That yellowish highlight isn’t a trick of the camera. that is something in the yarn. It’s amazing.

But I was so disappointed in most of the other fruit teas (I really thought I’d get at least a variety of browns, not just pink-brown and yellow-brown) that I wanted to have a success so I did a quick breaking of this purple Kool-aid on a whole skein of yarn.

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I don’t yet have a good picture of it out of the pot, but you can see that parts of it are straight-up blue and parts of it are purple.

That may be all I can do without mordant. So, next, I need to mordant up some wool. And then I think I’m going to try the day lilies in my yard this weekend.

I’m having such a good time.

And I am slowly finishing the wedding afghan, too. It’s just less fun to take pictures of.

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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Never Have I Been So Happy about Poop

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I have half of my horizontal joins done! It tickles me–in a prickly way–to know I’m going to finish this afghan next week. It makes me feel like, if only I had timed it better, I could have finished it by Saturday. But I did not. And I will not. I will just be frustratingly close.

I’ve revised my feelings about the gray. I now like that it’s dark because it lets that middle part look like it’s glowing.

My favorite thing about this afghan, though, is that the motifs end up all being a little crooked. If you look carefully, you can see that many of them twist to the right. But even just the act of joining them is starting to pull them square. Washing and drying it should straighten everything out nicely. But I like watching the movement, subtle though it is, now.

I’m also accumulating things to start on my dye project. When I walk the dog, I’ve been planning what I want to try to dye and in what order. With Kool-aid dyeing, you can do enough yarn for an afghan in a day. But I’ve now done enough research to know that this will be much different. That I’ll probably get a skein a weekend done.

So, some things–like tea and turmeric–can wait. But other things that are only available now must be done now. I must be ready. So, things I think I can start with include day lilies, dock (if I’ve properly identified the thing in my yard), and Queen Anne’s Lace.

I’ve got my eye on the poke berries and I’m just waiting for them to ripen. And I’m watching the privet for the same. But I think, if necessary, I can harvest berries and freeze them. Flowers and leaves, I think, need the shortest time between harvesting and putting in the dye pot. So, I need to do those first.

I’m excited, though.

As for the dog, Christ, you do not want to have to take a two-hour emergency trip to the vet with him if you don’t have to. Not that he was bad. But it was just worse, or as bad, as I’d been letting myself think it was.

The conclusion is that we think he ate something Sunday or Monday that made him sick to his stomach. He then got diarrhea, which made him more nauseous, which gave him more diarrhea, in a terrible feed-back loop.

So, he’s taking a pill to control his nausea, a pill to repair and soothe the lining of his GI track (tract? I’ve never thought about that before. I don’t know which it is.), and a pill to help his poop coagulate. And he has to eat this special bland food, wet and dry. They want me to give him seven scoops of dry food and a can of wet food a day.

He has never, in his whole life with me, eaten seven scoops of dry food a day. He is barely interested most days in eating three. And with an upset gut?

But he’ll eat the wet food.

And, y’all, the cat loves the wet food. The bland as fuck food for the dog. She bullied him out of his bowl yesterday. This morning, I had to give her a tiny bit on a spoon to lure her away from doing it again. She prefers it over her own wet food, which is the dog’s favorite thing.

This tiny eight pound cat bullying a sick 110 lb dog out of his bland as fuck food.

Will wonders never cease?

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.

Trying to Work Some Miracles

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It’s not going to be done in time. Trying to cram an 8 week project into four was ambitious and, maybe, if I’d done nothing but work and crochet, I could have finished it, but what’s life without friends and dog walks and goofing around? It’s just going to take me another week to get it joined and bordered. I’m making my peace with it now.

I was worried it was going to be overly pink, because I used a ton of pink yarn because I had it left over from the peacock afghan. But I feel like it doesn’t at all look overwhelming here. I do wish I’d used a lighter gray for the background, but lesson learned. This is still nice.

Sonnyboy is having a terrible bout of diarrhea, which, ugh. I came home last night to a bunch, but he seemed okay otherwise. His appetite was fine so I fed him like normal.

But then, every hour or so, he wanted to go out.

Then I had to go to bed.

And I woke up at 4 in the morning to a noise that sounds funny when you’re a kid, but strikes terror when you’re an adult. I threw the dog back outside. I cleaned up a little. I went back to bed.

When we walked, he was definitely feeling like he had to poop, but everything had already cleared his system, so nothing but noises came of it.

When we got home, I grabbed my purse and went to Kroger. I came back with a shit-ton of paper towels, canned pumpkin, Pepto, and hot dogs. The dog has now had two big scoops of pumpkin and a mega dose of Pepto. He’s now sleeping more soundly than he has in a day.

Meanwhile, my boss’s bosses are coming to the office to spend the morning, so… so… I hope this works to clog the dog up, because I can’t be home with him.

I’m also pissed because the first bout came complete with corn–a lot of corn–and I have’t had anything with corn in it. And aside from the faint odor of poop, my house also smells kind of spicy, which, again, is not something I have eaten at home lately.

And yet, I can’t for the life of me figure out where he’d have picked up something spicy and corn-filled. It sounds yummy, but still! Please don’t feed my dog, neighbors.

Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed for my household today.

For Your Consideration

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I took this photo because it’s hilarious. Stop bothering dead people, door-to-door salesmen.

But I just want to point out the weird smudge standing next to the sign. I thought it was a water spot on my phone screen, but it’s clearly in the picture. It may be something on my windshield, though, so I don’t want to leap to “it’s a ghost!” conclusions, but I kind of don’t want to not leap.

My Boy

At least the dog is still happy. He still barrels out into the grass and throws himself down into a massive wiggle. He still wants to tear open every bag along the road to see if it might contain something he wants to eat.

I have to travel with him, soon, and I’m anxious about it. It’s so hot. And everything I read online is so dire. You can’t leave pets in the car for even a second or they will die, but I’m going to have to pee.

When I was little, we took our dog to California in the summer, through the desert, and he did fine. And I know we went and ate inside McDonalds while he waited in the car.

But now, if you can’t travel with another person who can wait in the running car with the air conditioning on with your pet, you must not travel or you hate animals.

I have to bring this dog with me, though, and I love him. So where’s the good advice for people like me?

My plan right now is to bring towels to hang in the windows while I’m inside somewhere, so that there’s something to block the sun. To leave early to try to be there before the heat of the day. To have plenty for him to drink. And to wet him down when we stop.

But, hey, if you have July car travel with dog advice that is different than “never go anywhere alone or you hate your dog,” I’d like to hear what’s worked for you.

Words and Me

I haven’t written a word of fiction all year. I have read, maybe, three novels. I am mildly curious if the desire will come back, but I also do think that a lot of my fiction writing was fueled by anxiety and I don’t know how to do it or if I care to do it with my anxiety more under control.

I feel a little like we’re not supposed to admit that–that getting better means losing things that used to be important–because it might dissuade others from getting help.

But I still think it was worth it.

And I think, someday, I’ll learn to work this new wiring for fiction. Or I won’t. I guess. Either is okay, I think.

A Big Project

All right, fuck it. I decided yesterday I need something big to work on that isn’t depressing or full of racists or both. I’m going to plant dye an afghan. I’m going to slowly make my dyes from things I have in everyday life or from around the neighborhood and I’m going to see what happens.

I have a friend who spends a lot of time dealing with ridiculous fabrics, so I asked her if she’d be willing to take whatever I eventually came up with, and she said yes.

I’m already ethically opposed to giving someone a wool afghan if they’re not prepared to have another pet–since the kind of washing they need is an enormous task. Here, I love you. Have some work.

So, I wasn’t going to spring “Here’s a lot of work and do it carefully or these colors will fade. Hell, these colors will probably fade anyway.” on someone who didn’t have experience with finicky things.

Anyway, so now I’m paying close attention to what things in my neighborhood I might be able to experiment with. Y’all, what if privet makes some beautiful dye? What if I find a use for that garbage plant?

Set to Drain

Y’all, I just… I’m just putting one foot in front of the other. Emails remain unread. Read emails remain unanswered. Things that need to be written remain unwritten.

I have been watching a lot of dying videos and working on this afghan.

I’m pretending like that’s something.

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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.

 

Unspoken

Things are just very, very stressful at work right now. And I can’t really talk about it. But I want to, because ugh. But also, I don’t want to think about it any more than I have to, because ugh.

I guess what I will say is that there’s a story in the Bible where some dude is an asshole king and he does something to piss of God and a hand appears and writes some words on the wall in front of him and everyone can see the writing, but no one can decipher it.

And finally, the king’s wife is like “Go get Daniel and he’ll read it.” And Daniel comes in and is all “you have been weighed and found wanting.” And dude’s kingdom falls.

I vaguely remember there’s some kind of pun or wordplay involved…

Ah, yes, cool. Wikipedia explains how Daniel reads the words first as nouns and then as verbs.

Anyway, let’s imagine another feast where a hand appears and writes on the wall in plain words “Your days are numbered. Your kingdom will fall.”

And then let’s imagine that panic sets in because everyone can read the words clearly and they’re afraid.

But then, let’s imagine, that the king and his top advisors set out in search for someone who can tell them what the writing really means, who insist that this also is some wordplay or trick and that they just need to find someone like Daniel who can properly interpret it as good news.

Now imagine sitting in that room, seeing the bad news clear on the wall, hearing the Medes and the Persians marching closer, and still sitting through day after day of “this is just a bureaucratic exercise. Let’s carry on as normal.”

It’s hard.

I don’t need advice. I’ve got some stuff I absolutely can’t talk about going on.

But it’s like the rest of the country. Watching people who need to massively shift their understanding of what’s happening in order to react in any meaningful way failing to is hard and terrifying.

Green Afghan

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You guys! Look how the middle of this is going to look! Ugh. My whole heart. It’s just amazing. Can I finish it in three weeks? I have my grave doubts. But it will be close.

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.

Green!

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Look at me, tucking my tails as I go, so I don’t end up with five thousand tails at the end. I feel like some kind of god. A minor god, but a god with the power to not annoy herself.

Also, I love the colors in this, because you get to see various tones of the same color sitting together, which is one of my favorite things.

I’m kind of feeling panicked and anxious about how much I have to do today, but it’s just four things–groceries, laundry, dishes, and write a Pith post.

I’m not sure what my deal is.

Motivation

I have a million things to do today. I just want to sit at home and work on the afghan for my cousin who’s getting married.

They told me “green.” My cousin and his fiancee.

Maybe I should someday make it my goal to make a green afghan I like, but I just find green a very hard color to work with as the primary color. I don’t know why, exactly, but I think it’s because sometimes green pings for me so hard as John Deere green that it’s hard for me to see it as anything else. Like, here’s my beautiful afghan with tractor branding.

But my plan for this afghan is to give each square a green center (I have three shades of green yarn) and then make the big motif in the middle out of blues and yellows (green deconstructed). So, green, but not only green. And my accents are reds.

I think it’s going to be fantastic.

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Animal Planet

My big work event came off well. I’m really pleased with it. Everyone had food and drinks and the author was perfect.

Then, when I got home, the white cat was in the yard. Did I tell you I think he’s deaf? I know that’s pretty common in white cats and I’ve noticed his ears don’t move like you’d expect them to. He let me get pretty close to him, but then the dog ruined it by running up. Oh, which is the other reason I think he’s deaf. The dog barking and barking and barking didn’t freak him out in the least, but the dog running up ran him off.

Still, I’m glad new kitty has a friend. They like to sit out in the yard staring at each other. Whatever works.

And then this morning, Sonnyboy and I met another dog on our walk and Sonnyboy was a complete doofus. He barked. He lunged. He tangled me and him all up in the leash. It was a disaster.

But we ran into the dog and his woman on our way back and Sonnyboy was totally cool and fine and wonderful and I was so proud of him. We also walked clear down to the school and climbed the big hill, so he didn’t have as much energy for nonsense, but still.

Big Day

I’m going in to work late because I’m working late.

I finished my afghan!

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I’m still futzing with the pattern a little bit. I like how this one lays better than my other one, but I suspect I could improve how I do the part that, in this afghan, is pink and maybe get the yellow to gap much less. But I realize these are very minor things only I notice.

I really like the doodads and am glad I added them.

Now I have to try to crank out an afghan for my cousin’s wedding in a month. I kind of don’t think I’ll be done, but at least I’ll have something to show them.

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It’s already looking a little sci-fi to me. This is a pattern from that same book as the first doodad afghan, which I would share the title of, but it’s clear across the room. But now that I’m starting to get a feel for how she puts things together, I think her patterns are quite brilliant. And the weird way she does stitches really gives the work a weird, neat look.

Disconnect

Now that we, as a nation, are kidnapping children and putting babies in detention camps, I have been reading some of the responses. And, I have to tell you, the ones that worry me the most are the ones where the person says something like “Rachel Maddow going for an Emmy in dramatic acting” or anything else that suggests that the author of the comment does not recognize the real emotions of the person they’re observing.

Like, they just can’t fathom that this would be a genuine reaction to what is happening, and so it must be fake.

Those people scare me. It’s one thing to react to horror by agreeing with it (a sick thing but a thing). At least we’re all on a same page with that–this is happening. I think it’s horrendous. You think it’s fine.

But the “it’s not real” “your feelings about it aren’t real” folks? Holy fuck. It reads like psychopathy.

But if it is, then psychopathy is much, much more common than I realized.

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?

This is Us

This country was founded on white people deciding that getting along with each other was more important than addressing the suffering of non-white people.

We don’t get to say, “This is not America.” It absolutely is.

But we are also a country founded on the premise that we can fix shit later. That’s the whole point of being able to amend the Constitution, of being able to pass new laws and repeal old ones, of having judges look over shit to see if it’s right.

Maybe I’m corny, but I believe we can become a more perfect union.

But we sure as fuck cannot get there by doing the same old “oh, let’s just be nice to the jerks so we don’t alienate them” bullshit we’ve been doing since 1776. We white Americans have to stop prioritizing getting along with white people we disagree with over ending the suffering of non-white people.

Tired

A thing I find most stressful about the current situation is that it requires thoughtful responses almost all the time and yet, I’m so stressed and scared that I’m worried I’m not thinking of something.

I guess how I would describe things is some folks think we’re in The Tempest, and I knew we weren’t, but I thought we were in King Lear, but really, all this time, it’s been Macbeth.

Thought I also kind of feel like I’ve been through the stages of being a woman in each of those plays? Anyway, if I get through this in one sane piece, I might get myself a cauldron, just as a joke.