Monthly Archives: August 2007

Pollyanna Gets a Phon-otomy

Lyda here.

Today I’m spending my afternoon on hold. I won’t go into why; let’s just not open the can of worms. Wow, you get a lot of weird things when you search for “can of worms.” Some ecological, some graphic:

 realistic-can-o-worms.jpg

Why would you put pictures of the worms on the can? What if some young worm youngling sees that? Nightmares for life, ya’ll! Do worms sleep? “And in that sleep of worms, what dreams may come, must give us pause…”

And some crafty:

crafty-can-of-worms.jpg

Note: The worms have fuzzy hats. They must be Worm Knittas representin’. ‘Cause that’s how worm knittas roll… I mean, crawl…

I can’t watch TV because the phone cord is too short. My knitting is even farther away than the TV. And it’s too hot to knit anyway. If I’d know it was going to take this long, I would have grabbed Harry Potter 4.  And War and Peace.

This is making my brain leak out of my ears. Two hours on hold is like a lobotomy via telephone. A phon-otomy, see?

Be nice. Two hours on hold, ya’ll. Zombie-hood looks enticing right now.

No, I would not like to leave a voice message and have my call returned. The last time I did that, no one called me back.

Every 15 or 20 minutes, their system disconnects me and I have to call back again. So I go back to the end of the line. If there really is a line.

I am picturing an office empty except for the cleaning crew. Every once in a while, someone picks up a phone to clean it, and disconnects me when they put it back down. And then they all laugh.

Or, there is a hell of a Labor Day party going on. Margueritas, conga lines, an impromptu hula class from the guy in Marketing who just got back from the conference in Hawaii. They are all laughing at the blinking lights on the phone system, and randomly punching the disconnect button.

Or, the building has fallen off into the Atlantic Ocean and the workers are waiting for rescue, secretly grateful that they do not have to answer my call. As the sharks circle, they laugh with glee, “No more phone calls!”

This place is open today until 11 pm Eastern Time. It is 10:30 there now. Tick tick.

Or, the East Coast has been invaded by aliens and they are really bad at customer service. They are laughing manically at my pathetic human concerns as they crush buildings beneath their spaceships. Hey, I saw the invasion on the Simpsons, it must be true…

Or, everyone took the day before the long weekend off except for the temp, and she has been overwhelmed by the volume of calls, and is now eating her hair in the corner. And laughing manically.

I’ll try to be gentle with her…

8 minutes left…

It’s starting to cool off. Or is that just a side effect of my encroaching zombieness? 

Okay, fine, I’ll leave a message, just so you know that I did call before the deadline.

Left a message and then called again. I am nothing if not stubborn. As my mom used to tell my teachers…

My second grade teacher tried to get me to write my first name correctly. But my dad had taught me to write in caps. First, she took off 5 points. Then more. My mom stepped in when she found a crumpled paper in my pocket with no other mistakes but with 90 points taken off for writing LYDA.

Oh god, I’ve gone into the Mom Stories Zone. There is no hope for me now… 

The phone gods are laughing their asses off at me right now…

Have you noticed that in every scenario, someone is laughing at me? But only the phone gods get to laugh their asses off, because they are gods, ya’ll.

Do gods have asses?

Or just donkeys?

Song: “Phon-otomy, you will always be… phon-otomy to me, good ol’ phon-0tomy, telephone lobotomy…”

Time’s up… 

Pass that marguerita, will ya

Zombie Conga Line, here I come!

Pollyanna and the Meandering of Thursday

Lyda here. I feel a compulsion to write a post, even though I don’t really have anything to say. But then, as Anna-Liza will tell you, I’ve never let that stop me…

“To blog, or not to blog, that is the question…”

The Twisted Tree was still standing when I got home last night. I’m starting to hope that maybe it won’t be cut down after all. But I’m afraid to believe, because then it will hurt all the more if they do cut it down.

I’ve spent a lot of my time being afraid. Afraid to believe. Afraid to trust. Afraid to try. Afraid of what others will think.

Yeah, that old enemy.

Anna-Liza bought me a book years ago, “Getting in Touch with Your Inner Bitch” by Elizabeth Hilts. You need to read this book if you answer “yes” to one of these questions: “1) Have you ever wanted to give someone a piece of your mind and eaten a piece of cake instead? 2) How about the whole cake?”

I have read it so many times that it’s falling apart. I pull it out when I’ve been being too nice. ‘Cause too much nice and soon a lady finds herself in her nightgown in the middle of the street, screaming at the top of her lungs. At which point they may take away my pointy sticks.

Marge Simpson knows what I’m talking about here.

“How do I blog thee, let me count the posts…”

Afraid to believe… in anything, sometimes. Douglas Adams called it “The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.”

There have been times when I didn’t believe that the sun would come up again. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about here. And yet, somehow, it always did.

Now I find it comforting to know that even when I can’t see the sun, it’s still there, blazing away in space.

“You don’t have to see something to know it exists.” (Movie title, Marin? Starred Tim Allen…)

One of my school books said that the sky is always there. Sometimes it’s covered with clouds, but the blue sky is always there.

“I blog, therefore I am.”

Afraid to trust… oh, trust is a scary one. Trust a man and he could hurt me. Trust is something that I’ve often given too soon and later paid the price.

In school, I learned about “discernment.” Not rejecting anyone out of hand, but discerning whom I prefer to spend time with and what I choose to share with them. I can now look inside and say, “Am I interested in getting to know him better?”

Believe me, this is a A Giant Leap for Lydakind. I lived for a long time in Just a Girl Who “Cain’t Say No” Land. Ya’ll maybe know what I’m talking about here.

Suddenly this year, I saw that trust can be built over time. Hey, I hear that relationships can be built over time too. I’m interested in trying this out, instead of demanding that they spring full-blown from Zeus’ forehead, or wherever the hell I thought they came from.

“I’ll blog it my way…”

 Afraid to try… So we come to this one. Am I brave enough to try again? Can I truly sing: “I’m ready to take a chance again…”?

“That’s pretty brave talk for a one-eyed fat man.” Hey, in that movie, the guy who said that got his hat handed to him by none other than John Wayne.

If John can do it, so can I.

Line forms to the right. Those bearing gifts go to the front of the line.

But this time, you must pass the Gauntlet of the Knittas before you get a key to the castle.

Be warned! There be Pointy Sticks here, matey! Argh!

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine Keeps on Humpin’

Lyda here. Humpin’ as in Wednesday. Hump Day. Really, ya’ll. I mean, thanks for the faith in my ability to lure men into my lair, but really, it’s just ’cause it’s Wednesday.

Dribs and drabs today. She’s drib, I’m drab, together we are Drib and Drab!

Last weekend we cleaned the Resident Sith Master’s room. The room is shiny clean – and now there are 4 huge paper grocery bags of books sitting in the garage looking for a new home.

Inexplicably, at 16 he seems to feel he’s done with the picture books. But I kept one bag of special books for young visitors but mostly for sentimental reasons. And yes, just in case, some day a long long time from now, RSM might possibly maybe might gift me with grandkids. Or my newest grand-nephew wanders by with his parents.. But no pressure. And anyway, I can keep some of RSM’s baby stuff if I wanna, so there! But I digress…]

Yes, we had 5 huge bags of picture books. That’s AFTER many years of sending books to Anna-Liza’s boys. What? I used to be a preschool teacher, plus I review children’s books for Awareness Magazine (you can read my writing on line! Oh, you’re already doing that…) And I write children’s books. (Know any publishers?) And I love children’s books. And there was a hole in my tennis racket…

We still need to go through his closet (which is huge and stuffed with toys, yes, he has outgrown most of them too, hey, no use rushing into these things…), but that is a battle for another weekend.

After that, I’ll donate it all somewhere.

Or have a garage sale.

Or a drink. Or three.

This weekend, I will be working on my room. For one thing, it hasn’t been dusted in a dog’s age.

Pointless Sidebar: I was fixin’ to say “coon’s age” like my grandma, but some people might get all bent outta shape. How long is a coon’s age? Racoons live from 2 to 7 years in the wild, up to 17 in captivity. We are definitely talkin’ “a wild raccoon’s age” here. Actually, it’s probably only been a few months since I dusted, but “in a coon’s age” sounds all Southern. But I don’t want to offend anyone. So I changed it. And then I put all this in anyway. Please don’t be offended. Wait, come back!

Quick – distract the audience with a joke…

Look, here are some things every Southerner knows. Like what general direction cattywumpus is. Anna-Liza at least will laugh. 

Methinks the lady doth digress too much…

As part of the August of Cleaing Madness, I have some ideas to fix up my bedroom, but I’m not sure yet which will actually happen over the next three days. Gotta get supplies. Gotta consult with Anna-Liza. Ya’ll will be the first to hear about the progress. Except for Anna-Liza of course, she will have to hear all my ponderings… Pity her. Send her fiber and stiff drinks.

Meanwhile, in another part of the castle: 

The Garden Destruction AKA “Wall Building” is proceeding apace… at a slow pace actually. They start at 7 am, and then stop around noon. This allows them to make the maximum amount of noise and mess while actually accomplishing much. It also prevents the RSM from sleeping in, which as we all know is one of the Basic Teenager Summer Rights. The right to pizza, video games, and sleeping past noon…

So I’m guessing the construction guys are in for some lightsaber wounds any day now. Or at least force choking.

They haven’t cut down the tree… yet. Or pulled out my other plants over there.

So I’m watering it over the fence early in the mornings before they get there. 

That’s right. I’ve been reduced to Stealth Gardening.

“Someday, when the construction is done…” (sing it, Snow!)

 in a giant tortoise’s age (177 years or so)…

“in the year 2525, if man is still alive”… [Yes, welcome to another episode of “Name that TV Theme Song!” Thank you for playing…]

Oh jebus, will the digressions never end?

Eventually, when the fields are white with daisies… (heh! are you still here, Gorgeous and Available Engineer bro?)

Apparently no end to the digressions. It doesn’t seem to take much to amuse me…

Eventually, I plan to train some vines or something up their new wall. Hopefully they will soften the concrete brickness of it all. Plus, I will grow them higher than the wall. Because you can see into my garden from the second story of the new house on the other side of the wall.

I am not giving up sitting out there in my robe. Not for them, not for anyone.

Besides, I might want to practice some of my wild pagan rites out there, and I don’t want anyone watching.

They might turn into zombies. And turning one’s neighbors into zombies is not neighborly, ya’ll.

Unless you are from the South, and they criticized your fried chicken * or your jambalaya.**

Then they brought it on theyselves, ya’ll.

* Crazy Aunt Purl’s Fried Chicken recipe is in that link up there and that one right here. You have to scroll down a bit…

** Some random jambalaya recipe, I can’t vouch for it but it sounded pretty good…

They make fair jambalaya at New Orleans Square in Disneyland…

Run! Run for your lives! I hear another digression coming on! Save yourselves!!!

Pollyanna and the Weirdness of Cats

Lyda here. Usually Tuesday is Weirdness of Humans day, but I thought it would be interesting to explore the Weirdness of Cats this week.

1) Cat’s ability to see in the dark makes it #6 on this Top Ten List of things animals can do that we can’t. Cat’s annoyance at humans for this lack, which causes us to trip over cats in the dark, is not mentioned on this list.

2) Cats can only remember for 10 minutes so how come Tommy gives me the cold tail for an hour when I trip over him?

3) Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Flying cat! At least, it has wings. Can cat zombies be far behind?

4) “Riots in the streets, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!” A cat giving birth to a dog? “Is that true?” “Yes, your honor, this man has no dick.”

5) Whither “Puffball”? The 10 most common cat names are, well, common. Okay, I cheated, this one is Weirdness of Humans. ‘Cause you know that the cats are not choosing to be called Max. They would prefer something like “Fangor, Bringer of Sudden Rodent Death”…

6) Think you have a lot of cats? Do you have 130 of them? Okay, this is really the Weirdness of Humans, or maybe the kindness of humans… but how could I resist?

7) Cats like to wander a bit, but this one traveled 1,000 miles. No, Tommy, you have to stay IN the house.

8.) You put WHAT in my coffee? Read the article; you won’t believe it. “A cup of the special civet cat or luwak coffee sells for as much as 50 Australian dollars in trendy cafes Downunder while hip New Yorkers pay around 75 U.S. dollars for a quarter pound.” I’ll stick to soda, thanks.

9) One of my cats once ate an entire peanut butter sandwich. Piece by piece. Peanut butter, whole wheat bread. He. Ate. The. Whole. Thing. I think that is the weirdest one of all. [He was fine, ya’ll. Really.]

10) But of course, I have to include Oscar the death-predicting cat. What list of the Weirdness of Cats would be complete without him?

Mass hysteria!

* No cats were harmed in the making of this post.

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine Sticks to Her Knitting

Hey, Anna-Liza here.

Okay, so I went to the KnitWear event in Fort Collins. It was small, but fun and pretty well organized from the attendees’ point of view. There was even free (good) coffee and pastries. Well, those sweet fruit/nut bread thingies, anyway. The Hazelnut Chocolate Chip bread was my favorite. The coffee and pastries baked goods were donated by Coal Creek Coffee Company, and their representative, Emily, was super-nice and interesting to talk to. They have a new location in south Fort Collins. I plan to go check it out next time in the area. The Costa Rican coffee she was serving was very tasty, and I’ve already mentioned the bread. They make their own baked goods, in store, fresh, every day. Okay, now I’m making myself hungry. On with the knitting content!

So, in knitting news, (drum roll please) I learned how to cable without a cable needle! Yeah, yeah, I’m late to the party and everyone already knows how, but DUDES! I really do so much better when I can actually see the thing done, and the lady who taught us didn’t do anything fancy, just a straightforward “take the cable stitches off the needle and then put them back on in the cable order” thing. I won’t be getting rid of my cable needles just yet–I sure won’t be trying this on slippery yarns anytime soon–but this technique is going to save my sanity.

See, I’ve been wanting to knit a sweater for Darlin’ K for some time now, and I’ve been looking at patterns and showing him pictures and yarns for months and months. A couple of weeks ago, he requested a cardigan–something he could wear in an office when the air-conditioning gets to be too much, not too “out there”, but it doesn’t have to be all stockinette, either.

So I’m doing the Cabled Rib Cardigan out of Men in Knits by Tara Jon Manning. If you look at the itty-bitty chart, you will see that the pattern is basically a four-stitch cabled-to-the-right rib with a three-stitch P-K-P on each side. Easy-peasy. Unless, of course, you can’t cable without a cable needle and you have to cable every 4th row, with a 7 stitch repeat, all over a cardigan for a 6’1″ man! I’ve almost got the swatch done, and I get what I’m sure is a really stupid big grin on my face every time I get to a cable row. Which is, as I said, every fourth row. So I’m stupid-grinning a whole lot. (“Stay away from that one, Alice, she’s obviously mental and she’s got pointy sticks!”)

So yeah, now I think I can do this thing without ripping heads off of unsuspecting passersby or taking three or four years to finish. Pollyanna gots skillz, baybay!!

General knitting update, which it looks like I may have skipped in all the sturm und drang lately:

I finished all the knitting and weaving in of ends on the Lace Wrap. Now it’s just got to be blocked … hopefully before it gets chilly enough that I’m going to want to wear it. It looks okay now, but it really needs the blocking to make the lace … er, lacy.

I taught my husband’s second cousin to knit a couple of weeks ago. She was here on a visit with her grandmother, and my MIL knits, so she asked to learn. My MIL hadn’t gotten a chance to sit down with her before the big family get-together, so I did. I also took her to Michael’s and helped her pick out a set of bamboo needles and some yarn for a scarf. She actually wants a scarf, y’all, I did not foist it on her as the only possible first project. We got as far as casting on (long-tail method) and the knit stitch. I told my MIL she was in charge of purling. Apparently our convert student is doing very well and was knitting away quite nicely when they left for home.

I finished both bucket hats. Mr. B’s fits nicely, Mr. R’s is still too big. If my Sugar ‘n’ Cream dishcloths shrink, why can’t I get the darn hat to? I’m going to try it again with HOT water and a HOT dryer and then, if it doesn’t work, give up and make him another one. I’m hoping not–I’m done with this pattern, at least for now.

Oh. I did buy something at KnitWear. Just a little something, not too expensive, just a little project to get me back in the groove of colorwork. I may be getting another for Knitting Sprite’s birthday, so I won’t be saying too much about it, but it can’t be a real surprise because I’ll have to show her the colors available so she can pick. Anyway, it’s from Blackwater Abbey, and I think it’s going to be very fun. You can probably guess, anyway.

One of the things I like best about this company is that they offer 1 oz. skeins as well as 4 oz. So if you’re doing Fair Isle, or you just want to sample something, or you just need a little of a particular color for an edging, you don’t have to buy a whole skein you won’t use half of. And you can get custom kits that way, too–pick a kit, then choose your colors. Is this not brilliant?

Okay, kids, I’ve got to go attend to something like food or more caffeine. We passed 7,000 views on this blog some time yesterday, so apparently my tangent into social justice didn’t alienate too many of you … but hey! Look! It’s a knitblog again!

Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine Salutes the Suffragists

Anna-Liza here.

Today is Women’s Equality Day, celebrating the passage of the 19th Amendment only 87 years ago. That means there are people alive now who can remember when women could not vote.

One of our local journalists, Diane Carman, had an article about it in the Denver Post this morning, and I can’t really say it better than she does. Yes, we’ve come a long way (babies) and there is still a long way to go. And by “we”, I mean all of humanity.

I’m an “out and proud” feminist. I am so very, very tired of all the women I see out there, living lives that would never have been possible without feminism, saying “Oh, no, I’m not a feminist!” By saying that, darlings, you are giving even more power to the enemy.

The enemy is not men. The enemy is any human, male or female, who denies that each human being is inherently of equal worth, no matter the gender, social class, level of education, national origin, sexual orientation, or level of perceived beauty. There are plenty of them, not all so easily identifiable. The only way to prove that feminists are NOT “feminazis” is to reclaim the word. Same way as “dyke”, and “queer”, and “liberal”. And “knitter”.

I am all for people living according to their beliefs. If a woman wants to go take homemaking courses at a Bible college and agree that her husband will make all the important decisions, well hey, that’s her life and her family, and if they are able to make it work well for them, that’s great.

Also, if she later discovers that her husband is misusing the Bible to justify abusing her, she does not deserve to be judged and condemned because of her choices. There are plenty of conservative Christian men (and conservative Islamic men) who do not view their religiously prescribed roles in their families as license for abuse, who love and respect their wives and treat them accordingly.

Myself, I’m very happy with my spiritual-not-religious husband who agrees with me that marriage, and the roles within marriage, are whatever the people involved agree to. Which is exactly how I view marriage. So, yes, that’s another strike against me. Not only do I support the legalization of gay marriage, I really, truly don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

And, being the product of a “mixed race” marriage that was illegal in many states not so very long ago, I can’t help but notice that the arguments being brought up against gay marriage are pretty much the same thing as those against “mixed race” marriage less than a generation ago. I’m talking to YOU, Hillary Clinton! “States’ rights” is the weasel’s way out.

Oh, pardon me. I’m afraid I got a little carried away there.

I also want to point out that the deep, continuing, and insidious devaluation of the feminine side of humanity is a major contributor to all kinds of unhappiness–men who are ashamed of their nuturing instincts; women who think that to be successful, they have to abandon anything smacking of the traditionally feminine; transgender folk who are pretty much disrespected by everyone; men who are knitters who are greeted with suspicion in yarn shops; knitters being dismissed as somehow shallow, frivolous, and “not counted” in society.

Being a feminist means that the masculine and feminine, whether obvious or subtle, are both necessary to the functioning of a balanced, happy society and balanced, happy people; that condoning by commission or omission the unequal treatment of any individual or group based on gender or sexual prefence is inherently wrong and deeply harmful to all, even those who claim “traditional” gender roles and activities for themselves; and that people who knit, crochet, sew, or practice any other fiber art are not to be taken lightly.

Raise your pointy sticks, sisters and brothers, take a deep breath and repeat after me.

“I am a feminist!”

Pollyanna Recovers Her Sense of Humor

Hey, Anna-Liza here.

My apologies for indulging myself. If you got anything out of it, that’s great. Humanity’s almost infallible ability to shoot itself in its collective foot is, in fact, a sort of underlying preoccupation of mine, but usually my sense of humor keeps me from getting too depressed over the whole thing. I mean, how can you not laugh over the news these days?

Michael Vick is apparently guilty of nothing but getting into bad company and succumbing to peer pressure. George W. Bush is saying we should never have pulled out of Vietnam. (Of course, I kind of sort of agree–if we’d never gone in, we would not have had to pull out, you know. Just as he was implying, same thing as Iraq). As usual, everyone is shouting and no one is listening in the world of government/politics. A teenage boy in New Jersey “unlocked” the iPhone and put the instructions, for free, on his blog. Mattel is suing a porn site over using the name “China Barbie” and claims the average American girl owns 8 Barbies. Jeebus.

I played with Barbies. Mine were always jungle explorers or circus performers and I had to make clothes for them out of facial tissues, ’cause the average bought Barbie wardrobe didn’t cover those contingencies. The Knitting Sprite got something like 6 different Barbies for her 6th birthday (along with a pair of earrings from a smitten little boy–how come smitten boys don’t buy me jewelry?). She gave them all away by the time she was 8 or 9.

Speaking of making Barbie clothes out of facial tissue, I used to know someone who made dominatrix gear for the doll out of electrical tape. So there you go, this blog has not given up on craft-oriented material. Speaking of which, have you seen the free sock patterns here? I haven’t actually tried any yet–a friend just sent me the link to the site. But hey, share the wealth, right? Speaking of which, I should remind you of the upcoming knitting events, which I posted about earlier. Boulder Knit Out, September 8th; KnitWear Event at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, tomorrow (August 26th). See previous post for details.

Last night was Longmont’s Festival on Main, and it drew a pretty big crowd. We stood in line for everything, but it was all worth it. The kids had a great time, the only thing we paid for was cotton candy (although I have to say $2 just seems a lot for a lump of pink spun sugar). Darlin’ K’s fire show went really well and drew a pretty big audience. The bands I heard were Glass Ceiling (all-female three-piece band) and Mojomama, but I didn’t get to listen for very long, so no chance for a reasonable review. What I heard sounded pretty good. But, of course, the main thing for me was watching my sexy husband spin fire.

groundfirewindmill-3.jpg

 

That’s not from last night–this is an older picture from a colder season. However, perhaps you get a hint from it why I like watching him firespin so much! Yeah, baby!