On getting rid of things (likely a series, so part I – print dictionaries)…

Will I need to be able to spell during the apocalypse?

Will I need a little-used sly synonym to endear myself to others before I shank them for some shoe leather?

dictionary-thesaurus

I’ve been carting around these two beasts since my high school graduation (I think that’s when I got them?) but haven’t cracked them open in at least 15 years since grad school, though it doesn’t look like I used them much then either…

I love old dictionaries – especially with tiny illustrations – but not my old dictionary, though it does have a few pictures.

dictionary-slowworm

But it doesn’t have some everyday words like internet.

(which is weird since it existed then, just among a more select few…)

I don’t care that I’m missing jeggings or glamping (hah! wordpress ain’t got ‘em either…) or terms like “hot mess,” but will I miss the actual book?

Will I miss being able to pull it off the shelf on a rainy day, opening it at random…

dictionary-alembic

…and saying, hey, I thought that thing was just called a still?

But then almost immediately forget what I just learned?

Will I lose out on a princely sum not being able to prove a Scrabble play during a power outage?

Will I miss out-dated or somewhat offensive descriptions like:

Runt – 1. an undersized animal, especially the smallest animal of the litter. 2. A person of small stature?

(Definition #2 is listed as derogatory at least in some online dictionaries now…)

dictionary-runcible

Will I miss turning to the runcible spoon and thinking about how it’s like the ancestor of the spork and remembering when we had those crappy sporks in high school that always snapped before the tastiest bit made it to your gob, and all of us cool kids called them sfoons?

Will all of my oversize documents and rugs begin to curl with abandon with nothing left to weight them down?

Will I need a boost to see over the steering wheel when my elderly bones shrink and curve into themselves?

dictionary-tongs

Maybe I just need a pair of lazy tongs to grab things to put in the charity bin to prevent me from opening/touching/examining/experiencing them again…

How about you (especially you writerly few) have you kept your dictionaries?

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Late winter burn out…

I’m just a little bit tired of winter.

Rather, I’m really just tired of the lingering dirty snow and ice and its hazards, and now, a cold snap.

Normally this time of year would have me tearing at my breast and howling with rage at the season, but I’m semi-coping – I think I hate December much more anyway…

The tired snow is showing the well-trod path of our neighborhood deer through the side yard.

deer stomp

And their antics at night in the backyard.

deer frolic

And they’re getting hungry and bold and starting to lurk about during the day as well.

deer brush pile

(We just got more snow, and then some more snow, so it’s back to looking fresh and solidly winter again.)

I’m getting antsy to be finished with organizing my crap, but it is slow going… our basement looks like a well-stocked thrift store with 95% cool stuff.

I finally found the missing box of stash yarn.

stash box found

And it had all possible variations of yarn and notions, so I had to partially undo and redo my massive organizing job of last month.  (And I may have done a little cramming, which is how the messes start in the first place).  But I found some slipper bottoms I forgot I had too, so those will be put to good use… soon?

I finally finished a pair of gift socks I’d had on the needles for months but only worked on sporadically – I can usually crank socks out at a decent pace, but these took a little longer than I expected – especially at the dash to the finish which usually goes quite speedily, but this time was more slow and steady…

giftsocks

(The color isn’t right, they should be less pink – it’s an older ball of my favorite ONline Supersocke 6-fach yarn, and a reminder that I prefer fraternal twins for socks).

And I made five Botanics (some with fold-over brims, some without) in the last couple of months – really burned out on the pattern, but it’s still an easy and good one.

botanic-the last

I sewed a few more curtains, yet five more still need to be hemmed, and four need to be replaced with something more interesting… burned out on those as well.

 And our water line froze (but we didn’t know that was the problem at the time) just before the weekend started, so we just had several days without water and went ahead with some sloppy smelly house projects – think I might need to actually burn the clothes we’ve been wearing…

 (Don’t worry carolsinspring, I mailed those socks to you when I could still bathe and after I gave them a good soak!)

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Renewal

I would like to publicly thank my shop vac.

trustyvac

(Or perhaps I should thank my parents who “loaned” it to me nearly a decade ago…)

It has faithfully sucked up all matters of crumbling house shit – even some of the actual stuff I’m sure – through two whole home renovations.

And each time, it has played in integral part in renewing old floors.

Living in a house with a new lease on life makes me want to revive other aging but still solid things.

renew-longscarf

Like this ridiculously long sock yarn scarf I made for N back in our early days.

(And yes, that is the same spot where the vac was, only with a newly built bookcase made by N to house his cookbook collection – I’m standing in the kitchen – and the color isn’t quite right, the walls are a yellowy cream.)

But back to the scarf.

I’m really loosing the concept of time these days and my brain can no longer keep track of events and markers in which to categorize life and the passing years.  But I do know if I see one of my own garter-stitch scarves, then a helluva long time has passed.  I thought I was past those by the time I deemed N knitworthy, but perhaps I just wanted to work it up as quickly as possible.

renew-scarf detail

He picked out the yarn – I remember that part.  And he said he wanted it to be long, so I delivered.

Only it grew and grew and grew…

So I’m finally going to rip it out and turn it into a baktus sort of neck thing – preserving the original intent with garter stitch, but making it much more wearable.

 Or maybe socks?

And I’m not in the clear with woodworking projects yet…

renew-heywake

We decided to immediately tackle the massive refinishing job of our new Heywood Wakefield furniture, and started with N’s desk as it was in the worst shape…

And I have to pat myself on the back again because it turned out great.

renew-heywood wakefield desk

We used the wheat stain and toned varnish from here followed with some clear poly at the end.  I was a little skeptical about using water-based stuff, but I’m now sold (at least for this furniture).  There was just a pinch of opacity in both products giving it that wood soaked in skim milk (yuck) effect, but it was nearly spot-on with the original.  And though I’m also a whiz as renewing old linoleum, I doubted I would have been able to come up with my own oil-based formula to use on these pieces.  I also used some wood bleach for the first time on the desk, and was amazed how well it worked – it took out 99% of a nasty black ring left by a plant or can of paint or something of that size.

Now we just have four more pieces to go…

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I am [no longer] a statistic…

work-discouraged worker-small

I’ve just been rejected for yet another job opening – at least I’ve been making it to the final round of interviews lately though…

At first I thought I may have been discriminated against for being in my perceived peak baby-making years, but now I’ve made it to the legal category for age discrimination…

Now I hear of vocal fry as a potential reason for not being hired.

My voice doesn’t have that horrid affected one, but due to drippy sinuses and out of control GERD, I definitely sound a bit like I gargle with gravel.

(No one is pointing out that it is also possibly overcompensating for the horrid habit of up-talking in women – I’d rather hear the fry than the question that isn’t.)

I have to blame my failure to be hired on something because being a run of the mill loser is just too depressing.

I’m now in the uncounted/uncountable “discouraged worker” category of job seekers.  Though I’m (at the moment) working  nearly the limit of part-time hours, my telecommuting job is tenuous, ill-defined, and I receive absolutely no benefits.  I have been looking for a better job (in terms of stability and full-time hours for a few years now, but I love what I do now probably more than anything out there).  Now I’m only applying to those things directly in my field rather than the tangential reaches (and wastes of everyone’s time) I formerly applied to to satisfy my quota for partial unemployment (that ran out nearly two years ago anyway).

A weird thing happened during the length of my career wherein it became hip to be a geek, and thus my field was, and is, flooded with brainiacs real and imagined.

Overly large eyeglasses do not make you smart.  The only thing smart about them is that your eyes are protected from the spray of the organic handpicked heirloom ancient sprouted lemon wedge you just squirted into your craft organic heirloom ancient sprouted cocktail.

A career is not hip in itself.

A career is not trendy.

Please step aside if you just really wanted to be an investment banker but were too ashamed to admit it.  It’s okay, you can cover up your tats with your power suit and your asymmetrical hairdo will grow in.

(And I must finally and shamefully fess up that I did not get into a MFA program after working my ass off on a portfolio in the year before we moved.  Looking back, I understand – several of the pieces were weak, and should have been weeded out had I been working on the subject longer and thought things out more, but going back to school is about thinking things out more, isn’t it?)

And did I use up all of my luck when I got in (and received healthy scholarships) to all of my previous applied-to programs?

What about when I turned down that awesome and utterly stable job at that internationally recognized place eight or so years ago – did that damn me forever to failure?  (Especially since the only reason I didn’t take it was because what would have been my office didn’t have a window…)

But I think it may have been the bigger-than-life-sized stuffed koala bear I won in a drawing when I was nine – that sucked up 74% of my lifetime’s good fortune right there…

So I hang my fried greying loser head in shame, and plod on wondering if I need to go through that whole reinventing myself bullshit…

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Filed under art school, unemployment

Went for a spin…

Last Saturday morning I woke up to this.*

cashmere-winter

I still have loads of unpacking and organizing to do, but I heard the siren song scream of some no longer patiently waiting cashmere.

cashmere-fluff

It came from a lovely spot in New Mexico.

Rather, it came from a goat who lives there.

cashmere-guard hair

Some of it still had some guard hairs and bits of veg to be removed.

cashmere-spin

And I’m spinning it up rustic – who says cashmere needs to be fine and dainty?

cashmere-mess

But my view wasn’t so pleasant.

So it was only the briefest of spinning sessions, and then I got back to work on what I was supposed to be doing…

(I finally have a clear path through the room.)

*But we were mostly spared the brunt of the latest storm (and a word to the media – don’t call a storm “historic” that hasn’t even happened yet – shame on you)…

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Stash flash – the commercial yarn edition

I’m not a huge fan of stash flashing.

Sometimes it just seems like crass showing off, sometimes I think of the world’s starving people, sometimes I think it’s a little funny when a middle age woman poses naked with it in a bathtub*, sometimes it gives me anxiety of having too much, sometimes it gives me anxiety about having too much of one thing but not the needed thing, and sometimes I’ll admit I’m a little jealous.

But we reached a milestone on the house – the floors and walls are done in all of the main rooms – so I’m finally moving into my teeny tiny studio and figuring out how to cram everything in.

stash-mound

And part of that involves taking stock of my yarn stash.

It was in relatively decent storage – a few big plastic tubs – but sock yarn was mixed in with sweater quantities was mixed in with random cones of mystery fiber…

stash-cone

And of course there was yarn shoved into other yarn…

Everything needed to be aired out – there was the odd unfortunate odor of our old apartment’s carpeting trapped inside some of the tubs, and a few lavender sachets lost their pleasant one.  But all was well – no evidence of wool-munching crawling or flying f*ckers.

stash-sock&fingering

The sock and fingering weight yarns are now separated out into their own bin and I know I don’t need to shop for the stuff possibly ever again.  I’d been wanting to make some jolly-colored tights for years now, but I haven’t even considered casting on for them, so maybe it’s okay to just make one pair of socks from one of three skeins, or consider making a blanket.  I’d really like to make some pants, but though I’d like wacky tights, I’d rather have more dull pants (trousers to my friends across the pond) though I do adore my wool pants (underwear).

stash-cones

Need I remind you that I got everything really cheap?  Yeah, the internet is good for that, as are Italian markets and those newer craft/construction materials thrift shops.  I’ve been picking up the odd cone of stuff for a few years – I thought I’d be weaving by now and dying more too…  And I do intend to use some of it in spinning…

stash-lambspride

My old favorite Lamb’s Pride is all in one place now too – this is one of the few yarns I have sweater quantities of – large coat or king-sized afghan quantities…  I fell into a brief obsessive love with mosaic knitting several years ago and planned to make a cozy big long coat.  I got a billion yards of two shades of green on the cheap online, but the colors weren’t contrasty enough and besides, I never got around to finding or making up a pattern, so it sits and waits…

And the bulky green in the bottom right was, for a short time and twice, an Owls sweater, but I never got the sizing right, so I frogged it and gave up.

stash-greenlambspride

I’m in love with that old gold greenish shade “golden mushroom” in the upper left, so it’s high time I cracked it open… I love nearly every shade of green though, so I’ve got some thinking to do…

On the day that I organized this stuff I had one of those disturbing time warps wherein I missed lunch.  I never miss lunch. And the day was pretty much shot – I feel a bit guilty overall for “wasting” the time and that I have so much, yet I can’t part with it either.  I got some of it up on ravelry, so I may sell some things if asked.  But I also don’t really need any more clothes or blankets, so my knitting mojo for anything other than gifts, sales, or a few smaller accessories is pretty flat at the moment.

I’d like to replace a few commercial sweaters with me-knitted ones, but the ones I wear most often are grey.  Do you see any grey yarn up there?  Nope.

And since I work from home, I need nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I don’t get the people who work from home or stay at home and are crazy prolific garment sewers and knitters… where and when do they wear the many, many things that they make?

(And I still have loads of yarn from unraveled sweaters, a nice bunch of that lovely Italian wool, and a smallish (relatively speaking) amount of handspun.)

And though I accomplished a needed organizing job that day, I ultimately failed when I realized that there’s still another box/bag/tub of the stuff somewhere…

*I’ve seen a few of these on ravelry, but sadly can’t find one at the moment for you – and no, I won’t do that.

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In praise of old wool socks

Since we finally got some furniture for our clothes, I’ve been unpacking and evaluating stuff I’ve had in “deep storage” and haven’t seen for years.  Some things are easily tossed – underwear with shot waists; some things are joyously recovered – an oversized thrift cashmere sweater perfect for wintertime pjs, though covered in holes, so it looks like a night terror was a reality, and I really should fix it, but don’t really feel like it; and some things have a stubborn endurance that gives me pause and I take them out to wear again, but they’re the first things to be crammed back in a bag if I’m short on storage space.

Like a few pairs of my old wool socks.

old wool socks

I can’t kill these things…  And they’re actually from the 1980s, so on that aspect alone they should be banished…

Wool socks used to be a rough, no-frills, utilitarian item of clothing.  They weren’t even dyed, and were made of mostly wool with a teeny bit of nylon for strength.  The soles weren’t cushioned or contoured, and silk liners were essential when wearing them for hiking.

 Some of them lost their shape and got dumb baggy ankles and some are lightly felted and all the cozier for it.

old wool socks-baggy ankles

These things tromped around Midwestern forests and fields, endured a month without washing high in the Rockies 25 years ago, and slid around on old wooden floors in old creaky old urban houses.

I don’t like wearing them to hike now – I’ve gotten too soft these days and prefer the squishier kind, and I have enough hand knit socks to wear when out in public, so these are pretty much the sock equivalent of sweatpants.

old wool socks-heels

All of them have balding heels and toes, yet there still hasn’t been a full break…  Some of them look nearly as delicate as hosiery, but despite my recent frequent wearing and washing, they’ve held on tight.

(And they also made it through my horrendous slaughter by moth ordeal 10 or 15 years ago…)

old wool socks-thin heels

I’m really trying to get rid of things – to throw away things that truly no longer serve a purpose to anyone and to donate those which do – but these fall in neither category.

I’m actually considering (when they finally do have peep-heels) unraveling the cuffs and combining a few old pairs to make new ones…

But I don’t think I’d survive the bomb/apocalypse/undead uprising that would be required to finally destroy these things.

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