No one expects the Vortex of Chaos. It's ice on the sidewalk three days before Christmas, the driver who knocks the door off your SUV, the surgery that dims your voice, the cancer treatments that leave your brain muddled for months. But like the accretion ring surrounding a black hole, the Vortex of Chaos is also the neon sign that says you're still in business, that you haven't given up, that you're not willing to take it lying down.
Chaos is Life.
There are a lot of good things about having a fake tree.
You don't have to spend hours in freezing weather picking out a tree; it's in the basement.
You don't have to put lights on it; they're already on.
Very few needles are left on the floor at the end of the season.
The tree can go up right after Thanksgiving and stay up until Twelfth Night without turning into a fire hazard.
There are two really bad things about having a fake tree.
It doesn't smell like Christmas.
You have to fluff the blasted thing.
I didn't get much fluffing done today. Instead I went to Laurel's to babysit. I knitted during the Pokemon episodes and the couple of hours between the last kid's bedtime and when the guys got back from James Bond.
These cute little shoe forms came in my new Camper brand shoes
Our daughter is in India this week--only we didn't know where! She went to attend a friend's wedding, and the friend comes from a small town that Cherry knew we wouldn't have heard of so she didn't mention the actual destination.
This didn't matter until we started hearing about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai (aka Bombay). I checked all her old emails, and tried calling her housemate with no luck. Finally at about 10:00 p.m. our time we got an email from her. She is fine, and the town she's in is nowhere near Mumbai or any prominent tourist attractions. Of course we are very sad for the suffering of those who were involved in the attack. But we are thankful that Cherry is OK.
Some random knitting stuff--
I wound this yarn as a reward for putting away a big pile of music in the Christmas Tree room . . . yes, I typed that by accident. It is normally The Piano Room. We could call it a living room, but for some reason no one does.
It is Cherry Tree Hill's Orenburg Lace in the Moody Blues colorway. I believe it may be the most gorgeous blue yarn in the history of the world. I am on a blue kick, Margene! Where did that come from?
I was worried about the yarn at first. It is a thick and thin yarn--I believe handspun--and sometimes I am knitting with what seem to be just three threads of silk. I was afraid I would knit this complicated project and then have one of those 3-thread stitches break and have it fall apart.
So I peeled some of the other end of the ball and pulled on it as hard as I could. Even when it's just a few strands, I can't break it. So I think it's safe to use.
I turned the heel on one Baudelaire sock yesterday only to discover I should have measured first. Oops! Much frogging early Thanksgiving morning.
Handmaiden Sea Wool in Bronze. Some day I will surprise myself and the rest of the world by knitting Baudelaire in a yarn that actually lets the delicate patterning show up
I did not get my Christmas tree up yesterday after all. Paul says he will help me this morning.
I hope you're having a lovely day with your family. Our Thanksgiving is working out to be a little odd--I had planned to go to my parents' with Ruth Ann and her family, but a combination of a cold and Paul wanting not to be left home alone kept me here.
Laurel's plans were foiled by kids with The Throwing Ups at their destination, so we will see them today. Then in the later afternoon, Paul and I will have our Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital as we did last year, since he is on call again.
But I've been thinking about what I'm thankful for all week. I keep thinking of more things, so I know this is only a partial list.
My husband is the best person in the world. My kids are super and so are their kids. My mom is nuts, but I still have her. My sister may not have cancer after all! Her doctor called on Wednesday and said he wants a second biopsy. Even if it is cancer, it was detected early and is treatable
We have a really low-crime neighborhood. Our neighbors are nice. One of the neighbors even has his own weather station. Utah is really beautiful all the time. There are lots of super knitters and knitting stores in our area. Teaching piano makes me nuts, but the piano kids are a lot of fun.
We have a stable government that we can change gradually as needed. We can do whatever we want within sensible and legal limits. We have religious freedom and (mostly) tolerance.
I'm glad Paul got me my early music instrument collection even though I like to complain when I have to haul two harps, three recorders, and a krummhorn up the stairs into the music building for rehearsals. I'm grateful that Paul's job is stable. We need to work at getting out of debt, but we at least have hope of it. And we have a really low-interest home loan. I love my organ teacher. I have a wonderful yarn stash and I like knowing how to knit it. I'm grateful that Joanne and I both got into the Wollmeise yarn club. I am losing weight thanks to Overeaters Anonymous and my dietitian's advice. I'm thankful that I believe in God and have the strength of prayer in my life.
Yes. You. You really make my day brighter with your comments and your own blogs. What are you thankful for?
Yes. I am one of those people. I am hauling the tree upstairs as you read this.
I'm pretty sure there is enough yarn for all three to get socks from this yarn.
The pattern is Moorish Tiles by local artist Anne Carroll Gilmour.
My black is actually a very dark navy which coordinates with all three of the yarns, so I was safe whatever the girls picked.
There are other gifts I would like to knit, but I bet I don't get more finished than these socks and Mystery Project.
Note: I got the Araucania and Moorish Tiles pattern at Black Sheep Wool in Salt Lake City. Mystery Project's yarn came from Blazing Needles, also in Salt Lake.
Guess which one I bought two of!
In other news:
Do you ever wonder what what the weather in your neighborhood really is? You know, when The Weather Channel says the wind speed is only 10 mph, but you just got blown off your feet by a hurricane-force gust? Now there's a weather info choice that will give you a lot more specific local information. It's at The Weather Underground.
You can enter your zip code for a weather report just like you get on The Weather Channel, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you can find individual weather stations in your neighborhood. Our backdoor neighbor has a station, so we can get very local info. Turns out our wind wasn't quite Hurricane Force. It only made it to 49 mph. Has to be 74 mph to be Force 12, Hurricane. Our wind gusts were only Force 9, a Strong Gale.
Some people just don't give a hoot about the weather.
The shorter days really get to me. I have caught myself not only buying chocolate, but eating it. There has to be a better way to self-medicate in the dark days as we wind down towards the longest night of the year.
These will not replace my gift knitting or The Purse Project. They are just for those times when I need chocolate. They are a chocolate substitute.
I haven't actually started knitting; I will need to take time to get the projects started so I can just knit a row here or there as needed.
My mystery project will go on a road trip, which I hope will help it substantially towards its 48" goal. I am riding up to my parents' for Thanksgiving with Ruth Ann and her family. Ruth Ann's surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, December 2nd. With that coming up and with our mom losing ground mentally, she wanted to get her kids up there while mom still knows who they are and Ruth Ann feels like travelling. We are not having our Thanksgiving dinner until Sunday, and Paul is on call for three days over the holiday, so I am not missing anything.
Waldmaus from Ravelry insists that a straight cable needle held in the hand like an extra finger is better than cabling without a needle. There is a lot of cabling in the mystery project. I'm going to try it. In a project where there are maybe four cable twists every eight rows or so, I really like needle-free cabling. But this is, like, 40 millions cable twists every four short rows. I need help.
I'm taking my mom the gloves I knitted for her. They did not get blogged previously because they just went so fast.
This is the cover pattern from the latest Piecework magazine. It is a super pattern. When it says, "knit 7 repeats of the finger pattern," the finger miraculously fits. I saw the designer, Nancy Bush, at a book signing a week ago and commented at how clever that was. She said she surprised at how well it had worked.
I've decided I spend too much time staring at the computer screen. I do it all day long. I stare at Ravelry. I stare at email. I stare at blogs. Any time I don't feel like working, I stare at Internet stuff.
So I am declaring a day off. Here's what I'll be doing today instead of staring blankly at the computer.
1. Teach piano from 6:45 to 8:30 a.m.
2. Fill these with magazines to take downstairs.
3. Fill these with magazines I still want to read.
4. Work on my mystery knitting project:
My friend Connie says I can't finish this by Christmas. She may be right. This represents 2 hours of knitting, and it's only about 4" long.
5. Practice the organ.
6. Walk Trusty.
7. Teach more piano students between 3:00 and 7:00 pm.
8. Pick up Paul from the airport.
9. If I get my cleaning project finished, I will work on this project, a gift for a friend, in the evening:
Cookie A's Baudelaire socks in Fleece Artist Sea Sock, colorway bronze.
I'm planning on checking email and Ravelry messages when I first get up, just in case of emergencies. After that, if I'm tired of cleaning and want to sit, I am going to do it with knitting needles in hand.
These are the Wollmeise yarns I was able to order from Claudia's Halloween update. All very arcane, if you ask me.
From left they are: Thriller, Baba Jaga, Frosch, Poison Nr. 5, and another Thriller (Joanne's--I will give it to her tonight when we go to the yarn tasting at Blazing Needles).
Successfully navigating a Wollmeise update is like winning the lottery. Claudia lets you know the day, but not the time, of the update to protect the website from a mass attack of thousands of shoppers all at once.
The amount of excitement, suspense, and resultant adrenaline involved left me shaky for hours afterwards on Halloween. I happened to be looking at the computer when little shopping carts appeared by the items on my wishlist. I just dumped the whole wishlist into the checkout line and after much refreshing, backpaging, and redoing, I was able to make it to the PayPal screen: the sign that you actually have made it through checkout with something left in your cart.
Like many online shopping sites, the Wollmeise site does not "protect" your shopping cart. If a product is oversold and someone checks out ahead of you, the embattled item will disappear from your cart. This protects you against paying for a product that doesn't exist, but it's very nerve-wracking. For about five minutes I was staring at the computer, pushing buttons, saying to myself, "Do I have anything? Do I have anything?"
It wasn't until I got a shipping notice from Claudia that I was sure my order was real, although the fact that I made it as far as PayPal and then got a confirmation email were very heartening. Errors don't happen often, but at least one person got a complete refund due to overselling, so there's always the dark chance.
I think it's a good thing I'm not a gambler. I would have a heart attack waiting for the roulette wheel to stop every time.
The intelligent reader may ask: Why? Is it a lemming-like behavior left in the back of some people's brains after millions of years of evolution?
Is it a hoarding behavior caused by too much dieting and repressed emotion in an effort to fit into modern society?
ROBERT HUSKISSON (c.1820-1861) Biography Worked: c.1820-1861 Fairy School, Titania's Elves Stealing the Squirrel's Hoard of Hazlenuts - Midsummer Night's Dream (United Kingdom, 1854)
Is it the excitement of the chase, caused by a dog-like "if it runs I will chase it" response deep in the limbic system?
You know how you go to your doctor and she asks you if you have any history of breast cancer in the family. And you say, "No." You feel safe. You might get your mammogram or not, depending on how much you feel like being run over by a truck. You don't do your self-exam because it makes you feel kind of dumb. You just sort of forget to make the appointment with your gynecologist for your annual checkup. Why bother? You don't have breast cancer in your family tree.
OK, here's the truth. Only 3% of breast cancers are hereditary. You can get any one of the other 97%.
So here's my advice. Do the monthly self-exam. Get your mammogram every year. Have your annual exam with your gynecologist. Because what if the person in your family who has it is you?
We do have a history of breast cancer in my family. My cousin. My aunt.
The knitting things I finished were Paul's Trekking socks (the ones that took two years because they were lost for months)
and the Bellatrix socks I started with a skein of Wollmeise Poison #5 while we were in Austria.
Bellatrix pattern by Monkey Toes (I think her real name was Gigi Silva); I think it's only available on Ravelry right now
Actually only the feet were knitted in Austria, due to large quantities of frogging that took place when we got back. I couldn't try them on while jammed between Paul and some other person on the plane, and got the legs too big.
I knitted them toe up, and did an I-cord cast-off with loops every so often.
I-cord isn't very stretchy, so the top edge just sits there in a straight line. But they fit, at least.
I am almost finished with a pair of gloves, too, but I will foto those tomorrow.