I’ve been feeling like the girl who just found out that she was elected Happy Club President and she was never interested in joining the Happy Club, much less leading the damn thing and maybe her t-shirt smells a little sour and perhaps she has dried blood on her sock for no apparent reason. Unpleasant eyeliner. Scowl facial fault lines that appear to be sinking deeper. Sudden intolerance to bread that came on less than an hour ago and is leading her to walk at half mast. Oh, it’s definitely a great night for open house at the middle school. Bonus: Open house for Harper is tonight. Open house for Meredith is tomorrow. Two open houses in two days!
The good news? I’ve been knitting every one of my emotions into this sweater (Like Water for Chocolate!), and I’m 1.75 sleeves away from finishing it. It smells like vinegar, and it might be my favorite handknit cardigan ever. (Knitters: It’s the Dark and Stormy.)
Also, I’m working on a Rainbow Warrior that will eventually be named Dorian Gray is a Sexy MF, because the yarn I’m using is Three Irish Girls “Dorian Gray” and “Sexy MF” and you know what they say about fixing things that aren’t broken. Don’t!
My freelance project was supposed to begin on August 1 and I’m still (mostly patiently) waiting for it. This is good because: KNITTING! This is bad because: Happy Club President refreshes her e-mail 3,291 times each day to see if there is work to be done!
What else is new? I’ve decided to maybe think about giving myself a manicure. I’m enjoying Heroes of the Frontier but reading it way too slowly. A friend and I are going to take a yoga class and it starts next week and I purchased a tie-dyed tank top to celebrate my Yoga in Public burst of courage. Didn’t Matt Damon say something or other about finding twenty seconds of courage? Maybe in the movie about buying a zoo? Anyway, yes. Twenty seconds of courage, give or take 75 minutes every Tuesday for the next eight weeks. I haven’t had any sort of alcoholic beverage in 2.5 years, and my headaches really aren’t that much better so a post-mayurasana martini might be the best idea I’ve had since last Thursday.
If I was the type of person who invited people over, I would invite each and every one of you to my house right now and if you are interested, I will put together some sort of chocolate drink with a Ding Dong hanging off the side and maybe we will have five different kinds of burritos and we will sit and throw our heads back with laughter and I will diffuse something citrusy into the air and This Will Be Our Year will play on repeat.
Things are moving along and Jeff is patient, Jeff is kind, Jeff does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud. Jeff always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (Paul could have hung a poster of Jeff in the Corinthian church with a Post-It that said, “Be like this guy.”)
The past week was full of Good. It included Meredith’s final shift as a summer reading volunteer and a clandestine parking lot meeting during which I was handed a box of doughnuts. Jeff and the girls went to a Twenty One Pilots show. I helped one of my very favorite people cut vinyl for her classroom wall. Harper attended a transition day at school to practice walking her schedule and opening her locker. We ate burritos with friends. I joined Tempe and my mom for our annual trip to Stitches Midwest in Chicago.
Let’s stay there for a moment, shall we?
This was our eighth trip to Stitches Midwest, and it continues to be one of my very favorite traditions. Picture a convention center filled with yarn and fiber and sweater and sock samples and a flock of mostly happy knitters.
(It looks a little something like this, with my mom playing the role of the mostly happy knitter.)
I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning smelling yarn and rubbing it against my neck and saying things like “Oooh!” and encouraging strangers to purchase scarf kits and encouraging Tempe and my mom to purchase shawl kits and it’s just all so dreamy and perfect.
The very first thing I touched was the very first thing I purchased. It called to me from across the aisle and when I saw its name, I knew it was meant to be.
It’s called Irish Coffee and it will eventually be this color and will be worn with faded jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt while I drink something hot. And maybe it’s snowing. And life is back to normal. And perhaps I’m reading The Mirror Thief. And my hair continues to grow.
(It will be Christmas gift from my mom who is always up for early Christmas shopping. I continue to be the luckiest.)
Fast forward through cheesecake and salads and a bit of a migraine and strawberry oatmeal and raunchy jokes with Tempe and my mom and lots of laughs and huge yarn love moments and suddenly we were back on the road and I had only one regret, and that was NOT purchasing the yarn to make this cowl.
We drove home yesterday afternoon because I was the liturgist at church this morning. When I read at church, I’m always feeling a figurative hiccup because I often have to say things like “I am a virgin.” or “I am naked.” This morning my only hiccup was the pronunciation of the name Eliezar. After doing a bit of research online, Jeff told me that it’s almost like someone named Ella is a member of Weezer. Ella-EE-zer. AND, done. The sermon this morning was about mental health issues and at times I thought it was written just for me. My favorite moment was hearing everyone reading the following words together: “Create in us a tenderness to the needs of all, an openness to everyone’s gifts, and a commitment to the struggle for justice.” Every time I go to church I’m reminded of why I go to THIS church.
After the service, we bolted to the mall for Tax Free Weekend. As we stood at the Hot Topic register so Meredith could purchase a shirt with a tombstone and a bad apostrophe, a woman introduced herself to me and told me that she reads Fluid Pudding and what an amazing surprise that was! I’ve been smiling about it all day. All day.
A few people have contacted me to see if everything is okay with our family, and it made me realize that some of us have been friends for at least 15 years and perhaps it’s not appropriate for me to toss unsettling hints at you.
I apologize for that.
The truth is this. Jeff’s position at work was eliminated. His last day was yesterday. He has worked there for twenty years and he loves what the company does and he appreciates and respects everyone he worked with while he was there. He left on good terms. There are no hard feelings.
And, yes. It’s scary. BUT, we know that it could be so much worse.
Jeff is smart and creative and dependable and he doesn’t punch people and he’s an amazing writer and he gets along well with others and he’s a great public speaker and he doesn’t complain when I say things like, “Let’s go get burritos!” when he’s really not in the mood for burritos.
He will find another company who needs him, and he will develop the same passion for them that he had for the other company.
This unexpected hiccup will find me clipping coupons again and using the Crock pot more often and controlling my eagerness to try new skincare products. (Have I told you about my newfound love for Andalou? The Willow Bark Pure Pore Serum is like new boyfriend magic.) All of these shifts are positive.
2016 has been a rough year for many people (PRINCE died!), and I guess it would be easy for all of us to fall into a deep vat of chattering Woe is Me/I’m So Angry plastic teeth.
Instead, I’ve decided to be contagiously positive. (I’m fairly good at it, and the world needs it.)
(During an appointment last week, I rode an elevator with an older woman who complimented my clothes. When I smiled at her, she said, “It’s good that you can laugh at yourself.” I have no idea what she was trying to say, but I loved her for saying it. (I was wearing a black tunic with black leggings and a diffuser necklace, which is sort of my uniform these days.))
My new freelance project will be starting up this week. School starts the week after that. (My migraine preventative doubles as an anti-anxiety agent!) We will find a new flow.
Thank you so much for your kindness and your support and your friendship.
I finished one more skein for Tour de Fleece. It’s four ounces of Cormo, and the fiber was full of vegetation and a bit nubby and it felt greasy and I had no idea how it would turn out, but it’s possibly my favorite skein ever.
In other words: This Cormo taught me all about not judging books by their covers and everything has beauty and diamonds and pearls and when they go low, we go high.
Yes. We have a lot going on behind the scenes in our house (more on that maybe next week?) and our overall balance has been thrown off more than bit. (Once again: Oceans of obscurantism! Don’t you hate it?) Anyway, I spent the past four evenings watching the Democratic National Convention, and I know quite a few of you are supporting Donald Trump, but you know what? I’m not. (You and I can still be friends.) I’m not going to go all Third Party on everyone because I learned a hard lesson when I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. Although I’m behind Bernie Sanders, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.
Confession: I haven’t been terribly proud to be an American for quite some time, and I know that sounds HORRIBLE, but it’s also very true. (I could probably tell you a lot of horrible things that are true. Please refer to the second sentence of the previous paragraph! Argh! I KNOW!) After seeing what I saw and hearing what I heard at the DNC, I felt fired up. Fired up is good.
My dad gave me a box full of tomatoes and zucchini from his garden. As I type these words to you, I’m eating zucchini fritters and tomatoes and I’m fired up and I’m a little scared and sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed/ruffled/charged the best thing to do is hang out in the closet dressed like a disguised 011 from Stranger Things.
And then I smell the jasmine on our back porch.
And then I refer to 1985.
(I wasn’t kidding about the tomatoes and fritters.)
The Tour de Fleece is winding down, and it has been a fairly successful one.
Black Rainbow is a 50-50 Black Alpaca/Silk blend chain plied into a light worsted weight.
Bayberry is a 60-20-20 Merino/Baby Camel/Silk blend that is now a 2-ply chunky skein with cowl potential.
Jumbleberry is a 50-50 Merino/Tencel blend fractal spun into something that might just be sock weight.
My next freelance gig starts in a week, which means I have about seven days to finish The Clasp and get started on Heroes of the Frontier. I’ll finish the Cormo wool that’s currently on my wheel. I’ll head to Chicago to smell yarn for a few days. I’ll make sure the girls have everything ready to start school on August 9.
I’ve mentioned several times that I share only 17%of my worldwith you. I believe the 17/83 formula has worked fairly well for the past 15 years. Oh, but please know that Shit is going DOWN in the 83, and I would totally appreciate it if you would raise your right hand toward St. Louis right now for a supportive high five. (I never say things like “Shit is going DOWN.” We’re still friends, right?)
Biggers. Betters. Raging against the dying of the light. More vague annoying references that have nothing to do with your day.
Last week the girls did some of this and I learned the difference between cranes and egrets.
(Cranes have shorter straight necks and egrets tend to hold their necks in an S shape. (I graduated from Physical Therapy on Tuesday, so I’m now more of a crane than an egret. And that’s good, because life is FULL of egrets!))
The air is turned down a bit lower than it should be, the bean soup is boiling on the stove, and I’m drinking the hottest of coffee. I vacuumed the floor, I folded some laundry, and I balled up (another) watermelon. I’ve had a migraine on and off for the past several days and I’m trying to not think about the migraine that lasted nearly half of last year’s summer, although something very good came out of that migraine and that something was this pair of shoes:
(I haven’t worn them since September, and I believe I will change that status before the month is over.)
Noteworthy: This particular migraine is making my fingertips especially sensitive to textures like towels, bed sheets, Henry the dog, and paper. If you were in the same room with me right now, you would probably be thinking, “Hrm. I wish I wasn’t in the same room with her right now.” Permission to leave? Granted! I hold no prisoners here, but I do feel the need to remind you that we’re going to be having bean soup. You might want to stick around.
I saw this in the parking lot at the gas station, and it’s been bothering me for days because I know exactly how someone out there feels right now:
Sometimes it’s raining and Henry the dog won’t stop barking and I pull up my Photo Booth app to capture my feelings photographically and I don’t really mind the filter that the most recent person was using, yet all of a sudden I look like I’m bleeding out of the corner of my eye, but it doesn’t bother me because I think bloody eyes (and the absence of eyebrows) don’t matter when skin is bright and green. (My hair is so long! It will be cut on Wednesday and then it will look even longer because I know a lady named Erin who is a wizard! Have I told you that it (meaning my hair) actually blows in the wind now? It blows in the wind along with The Answer, my friend! How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died, Bob Dylan?!)
My FB feed has been filled with racist sentiments from some surprising (but mostly not so surprising) people over the past week and I might could partially blame my migraine on my own inability to understand why people say and do what they say and do. (“Might could” is a phrase I learned while living in Nashville. I hate it, but I mostly love it.) This morning one of my imaginary friends posted something particularly insensitive and disgusting. Their post was followed by a post from a woman in my Tour de Fleece group:
The yarn is lovely, and the final sentence of her status update was perfect in so many ways.
I need to put my arm around a sea lion sometime in the next 10-15 years.
I would like to see Macklemore in concert, but I can’t really explain why. Also, Beyoncé.
I’m reading The BFG because I promised Harper I would before we see the movie next week.
Jeff took Meredith and I to see Love & Friendship yesterday, and Meredith and I fell asleep shortly after the movie began. I have requested the Jane Austen novella from the library to alleviate some of the shittiness I feel about falling asleep. Stay tuned. (There is no reason to stay tuned.)
I opened the refrigerator this morning to find that the lightbulb was out. Sure, I could have used this as an excuse to go straight back to bed, but I didn’t! I persevered, and I will continue to persevere because of my journey. (I haven’t really thought about my journey.) At 9:00 I participated in a conference call that mapped out my freelance schedule from August through mid-September (and potentially beyond). I ate watermelon balls. I am now getting ready to cut felt circles and shop for gooey butter cake and Meredith will be going to a friend’s house and I’m still Tour de Fleece-ing! Here is evidence!
We dropped Harper off at her camp on Sunday and as of right now, it’s halfway over. Good. One of the things I’ve learned this summer is that I don’t really like it when my kids are at camp. (I’ve also learned that my forever style will probably consist of dresses with compression pants. I look fairly decent, and I can take off running at high speeds if necessary, because my muscles are pre-warmed and my moisture is wicked, where wicked has nothing to do with being odious and everything to do with absorption.)
Meredith: I wish I could go back to camp.
Meredith: Those were simpler times.
(She also wishes I would set up our kitchen like the camp cafeteria, with ice cream at every meal and more main dish choices.)
I woke up at 3:36 in the morning because Chip the cat had knocked my book off of the nightstand and was running across the bedroom floor with my glasses in his mouth.
I keep coming over here to update you on what’s happening, but it seems that every time I start typing it’s either “You guys. I’ve been working more than ever lately.” or “Less than 72 hours until Meredith is in our car again.” or “Harper leaves for her camp on Sunday.” or “My aching shoulder!” and unless you are living under this roof, none of it really means anything. (Because I lack Balance, the house goes to hell when I have deadlines, but you don’t care about that. We’re still able to eat. No one is suffering. Yes, that pan has been in the sink for over a week, but it hasn’t really affected my spirit.)
I used part of my Barnes and Noble settlement money to order the new Dave Eggers book that’s coming out on July 26th. Do you care about that? No? (I care about it. I need it to be better than The Circle.)
The Tour de Fleece begins on July 2. Although I’m not an “official” participant, I’m using the event as an excuse to get back on the wheel. Yesterday I cleaned her up and restrung her.
I then went to the closet and retrieved my alpaca/silk rainbow gradient.
And even though it was June 29 which is not quite July 2, I spun because it was a tricky day and spinning muffles my monkey mind. I’ll keep you updated. (On the spinning. Not my mind. Actually, I’ll probably keep you updated on that, too.) If you’re interested in the specifics, the yarn will be a chain ply in the DK weight range. I haven’t devoted much time to spinning in the past year, so it will be thick and thin, but not intentionally.
Oh! Wait! This past Saturday I was able to meet someone I knew only from the internet as she and her husband crossed the country on their motorcycle. We brunched and I love her and I know the internet can be sort of a crap town, but it’s also daisies and waffles.
I just received an e-mail invitation to participate in a summer toe ring event and does no one understand me anymore? I’ve been in a bit of a funk over the past few weeks and I’m sure some of it has to do with Meredith being 185 miles away for eight more nights. (13 down. 8 to go. She is loving every minute of camp, yet the house feels a bit unbalanced without her here.) She texts every night at 10:00, and I’m always laughing by 10:03.
I had forgotten about the existence of cottage cheese until yesterday morning.
While taking piano lessons, the C7 chord was always my favorite. Imagine my delight when I was told that I have a bit of an issue with the C7 nerve in my neck!
Physical Therapist: I think all of your issues are leading straight to the C7.
Me: But I LOVE the C7! The song Coconut by Harry Nilsson is nothing but a C7!
Physical Therapist: Okay! Also, your left shoulder is very depressed.
Me (whispering): I’ve noticed that she hasn’t been been enjoying the things she used to really love. I’ve encouraged her to journal.
Physical Therapist: I don’t mean like that.
I talk too much when I’m nervous and I tend to crack wise at inappropriate times. I laughed at my grandma’s funeral and I’m still feeling weird about it.
I could tell you a story about Graham Cracker the cat, but the story contains the words “I woke up to him vomiting next to the bed” and “it was filled with live worms” and “they looked like flailing spaghetti noodles.” Please know that he’s fine now, yet I’m still a bit scarred.
Meanwhile, we’re thinking Chocolate Chip needs to eat less and move more.
Wait. I really *do* have big news. Do you see the jacket I’m wearing in this CrazySexyCool public bathroom selfie?
I’ve worn this jacket nearly every day for the past two years (I’m not exaggerating. It was 100 degrees two days ago, and I wore the jacket.) and now it’s getting frayed and dingy and earlier this week I pulled on a thread and I heard something that sounded a lot like Defeat. This jacket has been with me at some pretty decent times and the thought of removing it and releasing it to the kidney people was really upsetting my already depressed shoulder.
All of this buildup to say: I found a (hoodless, but acceptable because I can’t have everything) replacement jacket, and I know I wear the hell out of my jackets so I purchased a grey one AND a black one. (I’m getting to know myself very well. Making good choices. Boiling and peeling eggs ahead of time so that I can have one when I’m ready. I smell like lemon, lime, orange, Peru balsam, and ylang ylang which means everyone around me feels delighted and inspired.) I will not be releasing the original jacket to the kidney people. Instead, I may Pinterest it into a memory box creation with David Sedaris ticket stubs and perhaps a book of quirky short stories cleverly (and lovingly) stitched into the pockets. (Cleverly. And lovingly.) I’ll sit the jacket next to a mason jar that has battery-operated Christmas lights in it, because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do.
It has been nearly three weeks since I’ve seen you and a complete rundown would take forever and wouldn’t be worth any of your time.
Highlights of the past several days include:
1. Graham the cat started a three month food trial. Sadly, Chip is the only cat who likes the new (super expensive) food. When someone in your house is going through a food trial, the overall stress level increases by 2.73%.
2. I had a dentist appointment. No cavities. I ate a bunch of broccoli afterwards.
3. Jeff had a colonoscopy. No cavities. Wait. Nevermind.
4. I was called The Great Internalizer by my doctor. As a result, she prescribed physical therapy and massage therapy for my left shoulder. I had a deep tissue massage yesterday and today I feel like Muhammad Ali—the 1971 version after the Joe Frasier fight. I’ve been walking around the house all afternoon wincing and punching things that aren’t really there and whispering clever rhymes and being what I want. (I’ve learned more about Muhammad Ali in the past week than I’ve ever known about him, and I’m so glad I’ve paid attention because he did so much more than butterfly floating.)
5. I continued to grow out my hair, and parts of it are now measuring in at four inches which is almost long enough for braids and exactly long enough for this—a style combination of Yoga Head and My Shoulder Hurts Too Much to Care Head:
We’re leaving soon to take Meredith to a three week camp, and it sort of tastes like packing her for college which is exactly what it IS because the camp takes place on a university campus. She’ll be taking a college level business course and hanging out with other kids who are taking college level courses and I wish I was going to camp. (Please be aware of the fact that Meredith has twenty three t-shirts that advertise her love for My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco, and Twenty One Pilots. Because of this, she will not have to do laundry at camp.)
Harvey Danger. Live. And it all begins with a French horn, which is pretty much how all good things begin.