Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Multidimensional nostalgia

When I was a sophomore in high school, our geometry teacher required us to read and report on the book Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott. Of course, we all put it off to the last minute and many people (okay, everyone I ever talked to) hated the book. As in, they still, twenty years later, talk about how much they hate the book. It was written sometime in the mid- to late-1800's, the language is all stilted, and some of the views are a little dated, but it's basically a book about geometry so it stands up pretty well.

I guess I'm a weirdo. I liked it. Yes, I realize that I have just admitted to liking a book about geometry. But it's theoretical! Novelesque! I know, this does not make it better. But, guys, if you just give it a chance it's really good. (I know. I can hear you snoring from here. But believe me!)

Awhile back I bought a copy. It was cheap (You probably think that this is because it's a book about geometry. But no! It's probably public domain by now! It's small -- it uses almost no paper! There are other reasons! Really!). And I just reread it for the first time since 1986. And, I must say, I liked it even more than I remembered. It's interesting! It's thought provoking! It's even poignant! You should read it! No, really!

Go look at it! No, really!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Artist as a young girl

In preparing to move, I have been sorting through just about everything I own in an effort to pare down, streamline, generally get rid of crap. During this process, I came across the Box Of Stuff From School That Mom Saved. In it I located one of my prized posessions -- the crowning glory of all my artistic endeavors. I peaked early, you see. The most impressive bit of creativity of my entire life, and it happened at age 3.

I started Jack & Jill Nursery School that fall. Under the direction of our wonderful teacher, Mrs. Riggs, we were instructed to produce drawings depicting the seasons. First that school year, of course, was autumn. I remember thinking (yes, I actually remember thinking about it) that this would be so easy. Fall was my favorite season (it still is)! It doesn't take a mature mind to quickly assess the merits of autumn -- the leaves change and fall and Halloween occurs. Great fun for kids, those things, and dear to my heart at that tender age. I selected my supplies carefully and created my masterpiece:

Dracula Raking Leaves
Yes, Dracula Raking Leaves. I had no earthly idea why the grown-ups seemed to be making such a fuss over my drawing and its content. My mother, who never did such things, went out of her way to tell all relatives and bridge club ladies what I had done. They all seemed so suprised that I had thought to draw such a thing. Really, it seemed like a complete no-brainer at the time (had that phrase existed then, which it didn't). Little did I know that I would never achieve such artistic accolades again.

That spring, we were directed to draw again, for the current season. For some reason, spring meant, in my (now)four-year-old mind, graduations. So I was determined to render a portrait of a graduate so realistic that the grown-ups would think it a photograph. Yes, I really thought that. I really aspired to such things. I was completely crushed and remember crying when I realized that the closest thing to flesh color in a box of 8 fat crayons (and not only were they fat, they were flat on one side. Does anyone else remember these???) was yellow. This was completely unacceptable and everyone would know it wasn't a photograph if my graduate had yellow skin. I was devastated. This development apparently caused me to lose some of my determination because the final product did not live up to my obvious artistic potential:


Now, don't get me wrong -- I knew it was good, I just knew that no one would ever think it was a photograph. I was so preoccupied with yellow skin that I apparently thought no one would notice the purple walleyed gaze. My hopes were dashed, I tell you. Dashed.

Wonder if I could crochet Dracula raking leaves??

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Who has time to crochet statements??

Don't mind me. I was just a' blogstalkin', then following links, as you do on this here world wide web, and boppin' around the blogosphere (yes, the blogosphere. It's a thing. I prefer blogosome, myself. I think I'll get an additional PhD in blogomics.) and came upon something that made me go "hmmm".

It's called Knitta, but all their tags say "Knitta, please!", which I knew would make Gator laugh out loud (and possibly start saying it nonstop. Hellanonstop. It's so emo and all). Yes, they knit cozies for random things. Like car antennae. And doorknobs. And the Great Wall of China. Seriously. They're adding works of art to the inner city, they say. I'm strangely intrigued and repulsed at the same time. I really like random, inexplicable things that are harmless and it would be cool to do it too -- kind of like a little knitting gnome. Or poltergeist. But I can't help but think, "I have so many WIPs as it is! How could someone do this when there are afgans to finish and sweaters to endlessly contemplate yet never actually start???" They're not even the only people doing such things. Another site gives a pattern for cozy-ing up your own tree.

But there's not just art for art's sake out there. Oh, no. There are serious statements to be made. is doing something deep. They are soliciting a tiny, hand crocheted or knitted red sweater for every American soldier killed in the war on terror, linking them together in a large garland-thingy, and hanging them in a tree. Kinda cool, yes. A bold statement on that particular corner, you bet. But is it really helping anything? No effing way. The energy would be better spent knitting or crocheting things and sending them to living soldiers in the war on terror. Or to any of over a dozen worthy causes. Initially I thought RedSweaters was cool. Now I think it's a waste of time. Knit for the living, knitta.

So, I'm not going to make any statements. I'm going to make baby afgans and potholders and stocking caps and such. But I think I may have to keep and eagle eye on my car antenna. Or maybe Gator should.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Argh! I mean, Yay!

Argh. Well, the George/Eleni-gan has become the George/Eleni-gan of my discontent. I've completed most of the blocks and have pieced together three strips. There are supposed to be five strips, total. Here I have laid the three completed strips out on the seat of my completely normal-sized couch:

With only two more strips to go, and only about an inch-wide edging all around, this afgan is not going to be big enough. We're planning on a healthy, full-term baby here, people. This, of course, means that I am nowhere close to done with the thing. I'm thinking two blocks added to each strip, then two additional strips. Grumble. Technically, I have until January to finish, but I was really hoping to knock it out before I had to start packing.

So, in fabulous Sus style, I have decided to ignore the problem. What? A problem, you say? P'shaw. I have been hoarding (whoreding?) some wonderful navy and chartreuse cotton (Sinfonia is awesome cotton, folks!) that has been simply dying to become potholders for the new digs-that-I-haven't-seen-yet. I started during Ishtar and finished last night. Tadaa! My first Grandma's Potholder that's for me, me, me!

I'm making a mate in the opposite colorway -- it's just so cute I can hardly stand it.

Speaking of cute! And of me mentioning yesterday that I bought a shower curtain! Yes! I can sense your excitement from here! Oh, but I didn't only buy a shower curtain for the bathroom-I-haven't-seen-yet. No! I also bought a bathmat! And little hookie things to hang the curtain! My God! The largess!

Yes! The hookie things are duckies! Yay!

Baby afgan? What baby afgan??

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


It's eleven years today that Mama died. Totally weird. I remember when it was all-consuming, when the grief was this huge, terrible thing that I had absolutely no idea what to do with. When it apparently caused me to do all sorts of things I don't remember now. When I thought nothing would ever be good again. But now it's just... normal. There have been years in there when I didn't even notice this date until it had passed, and later I would feel wretched for being so oblivious, like didn't I even care that my Mom was dead? But on days, like today, when I do remember -- all day long -- I think that I don't like this way either. I don't want to be the person who can't let go and it's not like it's her birthday or Christmas or some day that can be a celebration of the good memories. No, it's just the day I remember sitting beside her bed and telling her, before I left to open the store that day, that I loved her and if that was the last time I saw her, so be it (she had been completely non-responsive for days). The day I remember being on the phone with a vendor when my aunt interrupted the call because my mom had just died. The day that quarterly reports were due to the IRS so I had to stop crying long enough to do the figures and send them. The day I had to figure out how to tell my father, who was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's, that his wife had died and exactly who she was again. Luckily, when we did finally get him to understand, he only cried for a minute before he was distracted by a big John Deere dealership and totally forgot. I completely envied him.

There was a time, not all that long ago really, that just typing all of that would have reduced me to a useless ball of tears and snot. I'm not like that anymore. Those memories will always be with me (depending on which of Dad's genes I got, I guess) and they'll always suck, no matter what day of the year they emerge. But their edge is dulled. The first year after she died I couldn't even be in the same town, so Melissa and I road-tripped to Kirksville and rented a paddle boat for the day and drank. Tonight, Melissa and I went out for Chinese food (which Mama hated) and bought a shower curtain and some shoes. This was much better. I'd like this to be the last year I ever acknowledge the date. This isn't a date to commemorate.

Making fudge pie on her birthday is still a fine idea, though.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Okay, so it's not the worst...

Saturday night I did something that I really never thought I'd do. What could it be, you ask? Did I go skydiving? Did I eat live roaches? Perhaps I did something so depraved and debauched that I can't possibly divulge the details lest your eyes burst into flame right there in yer wee head! Well, close. I watched Ishtar. On purpose. My friend Melissa has sworn for years that Ishtar is not only not the worst movie of all time, it is in fact one of the best movies of all time (in a strictly 'so bad it's good' kind of way, but still). I've often been known to roll my eyes at such declarations because a) she has a thing for Dustin Hoffman movies and b) her favorite director is David Lynch -- she might watch just about anything. (Case in point: She loves Eraserhead. Have you seen Eraserhead????) (Hi Missa! Love you, honey!!)

So, Ishtar had been on, she had Tivoed (Tivoed?) it, I was over, and she finally wore me down. Sure, I said, let's just watch the damned thing. I have to admit, though, that the first twenty minutes are funny. It's kind of a sad, head-shaking funny, but it's definitely funny. They're songwriters, they're awful at it, and you laugh. But. Then they go to Africa. And it's horrible. Horrible, people. Granted, Charles Grodin does a fine job of playing Charles Grodin playing a CIA agent (oh, c'mon, you know what I mean) and there's a cute little bit part for Max Headroom (Yay! Love Max Headroom!) but, suprisingly, that's not enough.

I'd watch the first twenty minutes over again, though. Which is more than I can say for Jurassic Park.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I don't think I know how to do this.

This is my fear in starting this blog: I don't have anything to say. Oh, I could take daily pictures of the three additional afgan blocks I created today, that look exactly like the last thirty I made on the last twenty days, but that would be stupid. I could tell you about a really interesting biopsy we got in the lab today but a) we didn't get anything interesting, b) if we had you wouldn't care and c) if you did care I still couldn't tell you about it for privacy reasons. I could tell you about how my co-worker shampooed her dog with half a bottle of oily, foul-smelling anti-shedding medication that she later found out she was supposed to *feed* her dog, but that's her story, not mine. Don't I have a story?

I'm a mild blog-stalker and I'm often impressed with how people can go from relating something that happened to them that day to delving really deeply into their own psyches (or the collective psyche) and write something that is, if not deep, at least entertaining. And some can do it with such wit! People tell me I'm funny, but I've never really thought so myself. Can I do this blog thing the way I want to be able to do it? Can I make a single person on the planet (even Gator?) want to read anything I ever have to say? Does anyone ever really write a blog sincerely for their own enjoyment? I think I'd heartily roll my eyes if someone told me they did. Bloggers are exhibitionists; they're show-offs. I readily admit I'm a huge ham. I love performing -- singing, dancing, theater. But in those instances, someone always gives you the words (or the steps) beforehand. I don't have much experience in improvisation. What if I can't do it?

I tell myself that this will be different after I actually move. Once Gator is not in the next room on his own computer and I can just say, "Hey, Honey! Guess what?" and I actually have to plan to tell him things. Maybe then I'll hope no one else is reading.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My Kingdom for a...

...program that lets you easily do the things to photos that I want to do. Granted, my kingdom ain't much. But dagnabbit, I only want to make shapes and write text on photos, then be able to move said shapes and text around on the photo and change their size, color, and location at my whim. Without the use of ridiculous things like layers. I don't think I ask too much. Really, I don't.

So, you ask, why all the photo manipulation angst? Silly, I suppose. All I wanted to do was post a little picture that depicts my progress on the George/Eleni afgan (my niece is having a wee one and, depending on gender, will be named George or Eleni) and I wanted to have the caption on the picture, rather than under the picture.

See, that's all I wanted to do. And it took over an hour. And now that it's posted, I'd like to go back and make the type a little larger, but I just don't have that kind of time, people.

But, hey! Look! George/Eleni-gan about half done! Yay!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Gonna do the 'blog thang

Yes, well. I'll just say right up front that I'm going to suck at this. Oh, I'll do great for a few days, maybe a week, and then there'll be nothin'. I'll come back a couple of months later and the cycle will begin again. You'll see. I'll still love you, though.