1992: Barcelona

Many unusual events took place in 1992. It was an election year in the United States, but it featured three high-profile candidates: George H. W. “thousand points of light” Bush, Bill “I feel your pain” Clinton, and extremely earnest billionaire H. Ross Perot.

1992 debate

As you might imagine, this debate was an easy mark for parody. We’ll probably never see a presidential candidate with flip charts again. It was mesmerizing.

1992 debate parody

Dana Carvey, left, and the late Phil Hartman.

At my new workplace, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (as it existed with its various names) by publishing a special edition of the journal. I was also hard at work compiling and formatting a comprehensive index of all the feature articles and technical papers that had appeared in the journal during that time; it proved to be so comprehensive that it actually ended up going all the way to 1994. (I can lend you my copy if you need to look something up.)

ASNT logo

But 1992 was also an Olympic year, and at this time both the Winter and Summer Olympics were still held in the same year. The Winter Games took place in Albertville, France, and the Summer Games were held in Barcelona, Spain.

Bonnie Blair won a gold medal in speed skating; Dan Jansen still fell short of that prize, and our hearts broke with him as he struggled towards a goal that meant so very much. I enjoyed the excellence of sport as much as I appreciated the personal stories and the hard work that the athletes put in — no matter what country they represented. It’s quite possible that I began watching televised Olympic coverage in 1976, and I grew more enthusiastic every four years.

Just a few months later it was time for the Summer Games, and the hype was amazing. NBC was promoting a special coverage bundle called the Triplecast — you can read here about the details as well as all the reasons it was never offered again. I couldn’t afford the Triplecast, I definitely couldn’t afford to spend two weeks vacationing in Spain, and I couldn’t even afford to just take two weeks off and watch whatever was on TV.

NBA players were permitted to play Olympic basketball in the 1992 games, forming a “Dream Team” of some of the best basketball players in history. The team went 8-0 during the games, beating their opponents by an average of just over 43 points. I don’t pay much attention to professional basketball at all, but even I knew who most of these fellows were at the time, and still recognize a handful.

Barcelona-92-Dream Team

I watched whatever event I could during the evenings, but the moment that will always stay with me is the lighting of the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony. Over the last several years it has become a ritual to watch the Opening and Closing Ceremonies with my children, for as late as they can stay up. We have seen some elaborate and spectacular lightings. Yet nothing will surpass the pomp, suspense, and triumph of the Barcelona version. After a recent Olympics (Vancouver?) I queued up a clip similar to this one, and was gratified to hear my kids say, “WOW.”

Thank you, Antonio Rebollo!

Another high-profile mention of Barcelona came many years later, and I can’t resist sharing it with you. But it’s not referring to the city of Barcelona.

 


Knitwise, I met a friend last week and we talked sock knitting. I’ve even knitted a few rounds on a sock I started quite some time ago. The pattern is basic, and the yarn is nice enough, but the cool bit is the set of Karbonz double-points, constructed from carbon fiber. Tomorrow night is knit night and I’ll take the sock project with me as well as Nakia’s Scarf, but I’ll probably need to take a pillowcase or something that size to put over my lap before I work on Nakia — the Noro sheds terribly.

I recently took a week’s vacation, which entailed time away from Facebook. As of this evening I still haven’t gotten back in the habit of logging in to see what all my friends are sharing. I was surprised to realize that I don’t really miss it. I still have Messenger on my phone, so feel free to contact me that way if you feel like it. Otherwise, you could always leave a comment here on the blog and we could turn it into a conversation.

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The Sounds of Silence

…and it ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. Just when I had finished my Sochi shawl — including the weaving-in, the rinsing, and the blocking, mind you — the provider of my telephone, cable, and Internet access decided, for mysterious and inscrutable reasons, not to put my accounts into my name as I had requested (and had indeed signed legal documents for that very purpose), but instead to cancel all my services.

Before blocking.

Before blocking.

After blocking!

After blocking!

Yes, I was unplugged. Again. And without my home wifi signal, the smartphone I was fortunate enough to own was barely able to catch enough stray electrons to send out a text message. (“Watson, come here; I need you!”) Even more sadly, I was unable to watch the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics by any means — though I did finally find time to watch the opening ones. Sigh. See you all in Brazil!

This doesn’t classify as true hardship, as The Teen™ and I still had access to a great many hours of programming on the DVR (we finally watched the mini-movie about the making of “Doctor Who” that had been awaiting us since November 2013, and a Speed Channel special on Dan Gurney that had been waiting patiently since November 2012), and we augmented my Guitar Hero accessories with the purchase of a drum set. (Unfortunately, we can’t try it out yet because I don’t currently have any drum-compatible Guitar Hero games in the house. The day before I bought the drum set, I did. It’s all in the timing.)

So we’ve gone slightly retro here. The Teen™ is working on Lego Star Wars for the Nintendo GameCube. I’m slowly playing my way through a medium-level career on Guitar Hero II. I’ve made chicken soup for a sick friend. And with the shawl finished, I cast on for the second sock of a pair.

20140225_094836

See? I DO knit socks.

My Internet access is still down as I write this post, which I’m composing on an offline (gasp!) Macintosh with Microsoft Word (gasp! gasp!). I could put a brand new ribbon in the manual Smith-Corona, but I’m not feeling quite THAT retro at the moment.

I rather enjoy the relative silence we’ve had, although it has forced us to confront the paw-scrambling and wood-gnawing reality that we have been sharing our home at the end of a long winter with some equally cabin-fevered mice. We spent part of the weekend waging a violent turf war in which one rodentine casualty (so far) has been inflicted by intellectually superior human forces. I suspect that we may also have bats in the walls, but my main line of defense on that front is called “trying not to think about it.” And everyone knows that you dare not fight a war on two fronts, especially in the wintertime.

remy_ratatouille

Rattus rattus.

update

I almost had phone service again on Tuesday evening…but not quite. It took one more visit from another contracted tech guy to get that all fixed up. Funny: Mr. Wednesday took one look at the new phone modem that Mr. Tuesday had installed, and bemoaned my ancient technology [from, literally, yesterday]. He went out to his truck and brought in a single modem unit that he spliced everything into. It’s amazing to think that all this old stuff worked perfectly well on Friday night, then became obsolete as soon as my ISP flipped all my switches to “OFF” on Saturday morning.

Published in: on February 27, 2014 at 7:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Back in the U.S.S.R.

Once upon a time, a Canadian knitter known as the Yarn Harlot created the Knitting Olympics. It was a forum for knitters from anywhere to set themselves a lofty knitting-related challenge, and a place to celebrate when they met it during the span of the Winter Games. And it was good.

knitting-olympic-gold.jpg?w=490

Years later, Ravelry came along, and Rav-folk created the Ravelympics to coincide with the Summer Games. There were serious teams and silly teams, and themed Ravatars, and virtual medals, and events. And it was still good, even when the Yarn Harlot let go of the Knitting Olympics to let Rav-folk do their thing for the Winter Games as well.

Ravelympics 2008

Rose’s Wrist Warmers

2010knittingolympics2

(Then the United States Olympic Committee came along in 2012 with a cease-and-desist order for Ravelry, and thus the Ravellenic Games were born. Or renamed. Or whatever. And it was still good, though yarnies were resentful at the outside interference.)

Ravellenic2012

This year things are a little bit different. This year, the Winter Games are in Sochi, which is swirling more with politics than with snowflakes. The Rav-folk tried to create a Ravellenic Games that didn’t include free speech about the various political situations. I was absent from Ravelry at the time, and only heard about TEH DRAMAZ secondhand, but let’s just say…that didn’t quite work. A couple sets of moderators later, though, and a version of the Ravellenic Games is ready to light that torch.


Brush up on your Catalan….


How the fangirls wish it could have gone in 2012….

Usually, I look forward to each Olympic Games. And playing along with the knitting home version was a lot of fun. It’s easy to putter along and make the things you’ve always made, with the yarn you’ve always used, and following the pattern you know so well you don’t look at it any more. It’s different for someone to say, By God, I’m going to make a cardigan in two weeks. And it’s amazing to do it. But with this year’s Games being so highly politicized, I wasn’t sure what to do. Supporting the Games and its sponsors, and even just knitting along at home, while so many athletes were made vulnerable to the whims of the State, seemed wrong. Executing a personal boycott of the Games punished myself and disrespected the athletes who were representing their countries. I kept waiting for Russia to have a sudden awakening — as if one morning they would just apologize, say a hundred Hail Marys, and sprinkle forgiveness around like fairy dust. It wasn’t happening. So I didn’t really prepare anything.

SochiScarf

In the last couple of weeks, though, my plan came together. (“Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?”) I looked through my stash and found a single skein of Peace Fleece. I searched Ravelry and my pattern library to find the right project for it. And then I took the skein from whence I’d purchased it a couple of years ago, pressed some friends to help me color-coordinate it with a few more skeins of Peace Fleece, and all of a sudden I had everything ready in a project bag.

Then just last week, Cephalopod Yarns, a yarn company I had heard of but never purchased from, made their own statement with a Sochi Pride colorway. I had to have it. It was beautiful yarn, and statement-making. (They also made a colorway named Gallifrey, and a skein of that fell in my shopping cart as well. Oops.) Both colorways are now out of stock, but they do have two skeins left of something named Sontar, and six skeins left of Pompeii. (I love these people. They are hopeless geeks, and unashamed. Read their FAQ.)

SochiPride

So. The deal is that I get to cast on for my project during the Opening Ceremonies, and must finish it before the end of the Closing Ceremonies. What could possibly go wrong?

While you all speculate on that, enjoy this article on defunct Olympic sporting events.

Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mellow Yellow

Recently I welcomed home a dozen or so knitting projects that had taken kind of an extended vacation at a friend’s house. You know that feeling you get when you pick up a half-read book and must scan through it to see what you’ve read, to guess how far you got before the bookmark fell out? Try looking at something you started making, and realizing that not only do you not know when you started it, but also have no idea what it was going to be, where the pattern is, or what convinced you to venture down this path in the first place.

Some projects, of course, I recognized right away. I didn’t even have to open my Apple-store string pack to know that there was a Season 18 Doctor Who scarf in progress inside, on now-out-of-production Lion Brand Chenille Thick & Quick of Purple, Wine, and Terracotta. (I’m still looking for three more skeins of Terracotta or I can’t ever finish this scarf. Does anyone have some?)

Other projects never got past their yarn (and sometimes pattern) being stuffed into a project bag. Those got quickly sorted out and the yarn returned to stash.

A few projects, barely started, had lost their fire. I gave each one a moment of silence, pulled out and stored their needles, then frogged the project (pulled out all the stitches and rewound the yarn ball) and returned its components to stash.

Most of the projects that were well underway seemed to be worth finishing at some point, so they went back into a mesh pop-up laundry basket I had purchased specifically for WIP (work-in-progress) storage. Yes, TARDIS cowl-redesigned-into-lace-scarf, I will finish you someday.

But Brandy, between chuckles at me, was knitting on something and I wanted to knit something too. None of my current projects seemed to fit the bill — Drunken Octopus Sweater and Cozy Slippers were both at the seaming stage and I wanted to knit and talk, not seam new things in poor light in the evening. So I looked over my prodigal projects and found Citron.

A little slice o' lemon.

A little slice o’ lemon.

Citron is a semicircular shawl pattern that came out in the winter of 2009. It’s a distinctive pattern and actually quite simple to make, but it is done with laceweight yarn. Working on it is pretty much like knitting with slightly thick sewing thread. And there are hundreds of stitches on your needle, so you need a long circular needle, preferably with very pointy metal tips so you don’t split your yarn. I have bought some quantities of laceweight over the years, but Citron is the only project I’ve ever used any with.

But first, what row was I on when I stopped?

Check your pattern notes.

The pattern isn’t in the project bag.

Well… check your pattern binders, the shawl volume.

The pattern isn’t in there.

Well… check your Ravelry library.

I got out a laptop and checked. Well, it’s technically in my Ravelry library, but since it’s a pattern from an online source, it’s not a separate PDF.

Well… check the knitting pattern folder on your laptop.

Lots of shawl patterns there, but not Citron.

Well… print it out again from the Knitty site.

I tried, but the laptop was so old and slow it never managed to load Knitty.

Fine then, use the big computer and print it out from that one.

So I did. Now I had the pattern in hand (and soon in a sheet protector). From my Ravelry project file I saw that I’d made it to (or through) Row Six of Section Three. (“You kept notes?” said Brandy. “Good girl!”)

And as quick as that, I was back knitting on a five-year-old pattern that my notes said I hadn’t touched since the fall of 2011. I’m now at the end of Section Three. There are two more sections knit in the same way, then a ruffled edging that is not really my thing but is most definitely the pattern’s thing, and I shall knit it as specified. The joke is that I’m halfway done now, and if you measure by project segments (done with three, three more to go) you could come to that conclusion. But since the middle of each section adds 23 more stitches (twice), the row I’m on has me at 177 stitches and increasing to 348, and the ruffled edging produces 540 stitches that I then must knit in stockinette for 11 more rows before binding off… there’s a lot of knitting left and I’m nowhere near halfway done in terms of time or stitches.

But I’m knitting on it again and I shall finish it. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t have bought fresh Peace Fleece yarn for a project to knit during the Winter Olympics at Sochi.

What will it be? Not socks.

What will it be? Not socks.

Week Thirty-Nine: It was the middle one

I found my Doctor!

Marvel Premiere #57, December 1980

Marvel Premiere #57, December 1980

While writing last week’s post and looking for images with which to illustrate it, I came across a set of comic books for sale on eBay. I set up a brand new eBay account (knowing full well that this will create the entrance to a very dangerous rabbit hole, so you don’t have to remind me) and put in a bid. These were the comic books that introduced Americans to The Doctor.

The comic books arrived today, and after the kids were asleep I read through the first one. Nope… nothing familiar.

Marvel Premiere #58, February 1981

Marvel Premiere #58, February 1981

But the second one…. I skimmed it, and flashed on the transformation of the villain Magog from human to demon form. Yes. I remember this. There was also a mini-adventure featuring K-9, and I chuckled as I read through it, knowing this was something I had read before. This was it. THIS WAS IT.

Marvel Premiere #60, June 1981

Marvel Premiere #60, June 1981

Third one? Nope. Never read it before. And interestingly enough, way in the back is an article about the various actors who’ve played the Doctor. It also introduces 29-year-old Peter Davison, best known then as Tristan on the BBC adaptation of James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small,” as the brand-new Fifth Doctor-to-be. This long article was printed in blurred 3-point type, so I’m sure I wouldn’t have read it back then, even if I had had this comic book. But I wonder how reading it might have changed my view of the Doctor; I had watched Davison in that show! There I was, on the cusp of a new Doctor, and he’s one for whom I have yet to watch a single episode. For the want of a comic book….

Oh, and for anyone wondering why the third cover looks so different… the artist of the first two covers found himself in a time crunch when the third issue was at deadline, and the publisher had to call on the artist who regularly drew covers for one of their other titles, “Conan the Barbarian.” But he got the scarf colors right, so I can’t complain.

Knitwise…. do you really want to know?

In my local knitting group, two of us are doing a knitalong of a cardigan that went from Cute Little Project to Annoying Slogalong on the second day. If you knit, take a minute to digest this…. 207 stitches on the needles, worked in stockinette for 7 inches before you do anything else. Yep, 7,452 stitches of stockinette, just in that section. That’s not sleep-inducing at all. I have tried knitting this section by myself in a completely silent room, but I do find I make more progress if I knit on it with other people around to talk with and listen to. By “more progress” I mean “can knit about five rows before my brain starts to melt and I forget, mid-row, how to purl.” But it won’t knit itself… it won’t knit itself… it won’t knit itself…. When I finish it (and I will), it will be the first sweater I have ever made for myself.

The sweater-to-be.

The sweater-to-be.

For the Sheep and Wool Challenge, I have started a project but am temporarily stalled at Row 4. It’s a tricky pattern that needs to be worked in good light, with the benefit of a clear head. For the past week I have not been able to meet those conditions simultaneously. But I am working on it.

Published in: on September 26, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  

Week Thirty-Eight: How I Met the Doctor

Recently, Facebook was trying to enhance the quality of its content by finding out every movie, TV show, and book I have enjoyed over the past <<cough cough>> years of my life. The exercise in cyber-feedback progressed from ‘mildly invasive’ to ‘there IS such a thing as a stupid question’ when I came across this screen (click on the image to make it come up, bigger, on its own page):

SeenThis

Have I watched this? Have I WATCHED this? Seriously, how does Mark Zuckerberg not personally know whether or not I have watched this?

I can tell you exactly when and why I started watched New Who. My ex husband said, “Oh look, they’re starting up ‘Doctor Who’ again. Didn’t you used to watch that? Christopher Eccleston is going to be playing The Doctor. You know, the guy who was in ‘Shallow Grave’ with Ewan McGregor.” We watched the series reboot on BBC America and LOVED Eccleston’s Doctor. His leftover rage, his manic energy… perfect! Then, at the end of the season, he regenerated into David Tennant. I was so upset I stopped watching for a year. (If you know me through Ravelry, you’ll know I eventually got over this.)

These days I’m not only all caught up, but I’m re-watching all of New Who with my teenage son. We are almost done with Tennant’s first season (yes, I will have a carton of tissues ready for “Doomsday”) but will swing right into Martha’s year and beyond.

What I can’t tell you is how I met the Doctor in the first place. Ironically, that meeting has been lost to time.

I do know that I’d met him — Tom Baker’s Doctor, the only one most Americans knew back then — by the fall of 1985 when I went off to college. My winter coat was a long black wool coat which I usually wore unbuttoned, accompanied by some sort of ridiculously long scarf. (No, I didn’t have a hat.) And with me I took my beloved 1940s Underwood manual typewriter AND an electronic Smith-Corona typewriter that I probably received after my high school graduation. It was a grey slab of a thing, all angles and no warmth. (I have no idea where it is now, or what might have happened to it over the years. It probably ran away from home after I got my first Macintosh in 1988.)

I named it K9.

How did I know?

Editing with K9 in 1987.

Editing with K9 in 1987.

I did have a little black and white television in my bedroom. There must have been an awesome sale at Sun TV, because all my friends had identical black and white TVs that year. I was allowed to watch it as long as my grades didn’t suffer. (ha!) I watched “Cosmos” on it, and British shows aired by PBS. I remember watching someone’s performance of “The Importance of Being Ernest.” I remember watching “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” But I don’t remember seeing The Doctor there, and they probably would have shown Doctor Who on midnight Saturday night anyway. I never stayed up that late (I think I watched a grand total of TWO episodes of “Saturday Night Live” during my high school years, and making it to the ball-drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve was a big deal).

I suspect that I met the Doctor via…comic books. I personally remember buying only copies of Daredevil, the Amazing Spider-Man, and Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man (otherwise known as PPTSS). But my BROTHER, now there’s a guy who knew how to accumulate comic books, and I read everything he had as soon as he was done with it. I suspect that somehow, somewhere, the Doctor and K9 snuck into the house in comic book form amidst copies of The Unknown Soldier, Marvel What-If, Sgt. Rock, The X-Men, G.I. Combat (“featuring The Haunted Tank!”), and Warlord.

Ah, Warlord. An Air Force pilot loses his way near the North Pole and flies to not Russia but the primitive inner-Earth land of Skartaris.... ahem.

Ah, Warlord. An Air Force pilot loses his way near the North Pole and flies to not Russia but the primitive inner-Earth land of Skartaris…. ahem.

But, I was talking about the Doctor. Somehow I found him, and somehow I just thought he was cool. And many many years later, when I was learning how to knit, the first item I made was a ridiculously long scarf that I called my “fake Doctor Who scarf.” I didn’t look to see if there was a specific scarf to copy, certain colors, or any type of pattern at all. To me it was Plato’s scarf. I knew it had to be very long, and have lots of colors and fringe, and that was all. Ta-daah!

Not the Doctor's.

Not the Doctor’s.

(Later, of course, I found out there was a pattern. There were very specific colors, and stitch counts, and row counts. So far I’ve made four and have a fifth one on the needles.)

That's better.

That’s better.

Judging from the comic books my eyes devoured, I liked adventure, history, and good winning over evil. The big coat, the crazy scarf, and the tin dog just made it even more fun.

Week Thirty: Slogalong

I’m still cranking away on the mystery giftknit project, which I’m starting to believe is really a black hole for yarn. Projects made with bulky yarn and big needles are supposed to go quickly… aren’t they? This one is sucking up time and yarn as if it doesn’t care what combination of dye lots it’s made from. It it’s not careful, it is going to have STRIPES.

This image was swiped from the Yarn Harlot's blog from a post made in June 2005. I hope Stephanie doesn't mind.

This image was swiped from the Yarn Harlot’s blog from a post made in June 2005. I hope Stephanie doesn’t mind.

I have done lots of knitting projects that turned into slogs. There’s the KAL — the knitalong — and then there’s the slogalong, a group event hosted for people to support each other as they struggle to finish Those Projects Which Do Not Want To Be Completed. They may come about over such decisions as choosing to knit a lace bedspread, or to make one dishcloth a day over the course of the year. Whatever circumstances fostered the poor judgment that brought you to this state, at some point you just have to get your needles out and finish the cussed things. (Or rip them out completely and just make something else. But with this much time already invested, do you really want to rip it all out? I didn’t think so. You’re not a quitter. You can do this. You can DO this!)

(Ahem.)

I’ve knitted, um, more than one Doctor Who scarf. I’ve knitted more than one blanket. And I have made some scarves that look simple on the outside, but actually took years to finish because of how long I had to set them aside between steps. Sometimes the pattern directions are misleading (I’m looking at YOU, “198 Yards of Heaven”). Sometimes the stitches are complicated, and require your full attention at a time when you can’t give anything your full attention. Sometimes you just don’t have good mojo, or flow, or karmic balance. Sometimes Mercury is in retrograde and gets blamed for everything. And sometimes all you can do is slip the darned thing off the needles and calmly say, “I guess the yarn didn’t want to be a sweater.” (Knitters really say these things. Back me up, O People of the Yarn.)

Scroll slowly for maximum effect. It’s 13 feet long.

Projects that aren’t inherently monumental can turn into slogs because you’re bored or something’s terribly, terribly wrong and you just haven’t seen it yet. If you’re bored, you might think, “Gee, I’ll just set this aside for a minute and work on something quick and easy to get back into the right frame of mind.” Sixteen more enjoyable projects later, whether you finished them or not, you still have to go back to that original project and decide what you’re going to do about it. They don’t knit themselves. You have to make a decision and take responsibility for it (and that’s probably what we’re trying to avoid).

On the other hand, if it’s taking forever and you’re not bored, something might indeed be terribly, terribly wrong. Find a trusted friend, get out the measuring tape, and uncork the wine. There might be tears tonight, and the sooner you cry them and start over, the better. A cardigan with two left sides really won’t block out. I’m sorry. So very, very sorry.

I will knit on, hoping this mystery project never feels like a slog to me. It’s being made for the best of reasons and with all good intentions. Every stitch is filled with love. All 600,000 of them.

There’s still time to cast your vote as to how you feel I should celebrate/commemorate my 400th blog post. Just go to last week’s post and click on something in the poll. If you have detailed suggestions as to what you think I should do (AHEM! You know what I meant. Keep it CLEAN, people) then feel free to leave a comment. Or tell me how you’ve celebrated a milestone of your own.

Published in: on July 25, 2013 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Week Twenty-Six: We Shall Never Speak of This Again

I started this blog somewhere around 2006. We were innocent knitbloggers then. We posted pictures of our kids and used their real names, talked about where we lived and when we were going on vacation, and basically shared all kinds of details about our lives. That changed for me the day I was checking my statistics page and noticed that people were using my firstborn son’s full name as the search term for finding my blog. All right, Search Engine Optimization is one thing, but there are very few people who are on a “need to know” basis for my firstborn’s middle name. At that point I removed a lot of kidly photos from my blog, and tried to share personal information more thoughtfully.

These days I spend quite a lot of time on Facebook, and I wince at the ways people leave themselves bare and vulnerable. They announce with great fanfare when they will be away from home for extended periods of time. They post pictures of their children for all the Public to see. They advertise their preferred bedroom activities in one post, then complain about their stalking ex in another. They complain about their jobs, then complain that they’ve been “let go.” They issue vague, passive-aggressive status reports so that cyberfriends will rush to their emotional rescue. It’s tough stuff to watch, and it makes me that much more aware of any details I post about my own life.

That being said, I marked a very personal milestone last week, and I thought it needed to be mentioned — once and only once. Last week I was divorced. Now, I have been married before, and counting from the date of my first wedding, I have spent 80 percent of the time from then to now in a married state. But I am single now and intend to stay that way.

It’s been a long time since I last called myself single. I’m finding that no matter how much time I think I need to have in order to understand myself, I’m underestimating. (Sheesh. I have a lot of me to understand. No wonder I’m hard to live with.) I also have children to co-parent for the rest of my life. Because they are important to me, and their mental and emotional health is important to me, my blog is not going to be a space where you will see me bash an ex, any ex. Life is tough enough to handle without making it hard on other people with open wounds, petty jealousy, and juvenile revenge fantasies. I may struggle sometimes, but I’m doing my best to be decent to everyone in this situation, including myself. I trust that if I hold myself to that standard, others may eventually reciprocate. (Sadly, I have some prior experience with this type of thing.) But even if they don’t… I won’t regret walking the high road.

Now it’s time to move on. Want to see an artsy shot of the geeked-up Tardisvan?

oooo-WEEEE-oooo.....

oooo-WEEEE-oooo…..

In the last week I’ve driven another thousand miles, attended a family reunion, finished a pair of socks, knitted one slipper for my grandmother, grilled hamburgers (and portabella caps), cleaned and reorganized my rental house’s laundry room (well, I’m almost done), and maybe done another thing or two here and there.

Redskin, I mean, Redhawk hockey socks!

Redskin, I mean, Redhawk hockey socks!

This weekend I have a big plan: to support my knitting friend Bonnie Stedman Dahnert. She’s the honorary chairperson for — oh, heck, read all about it here. Come back when you’re done, and I’ll put the rest in my own words.

I started our local knitting group, but Bonnie is our rock. She seems to know everyone in the county, know what to do on every occasion, and know how to teach any knitting technique you need to learn. She has taught some people to knit, and others how to crochet, and others how to spin. She has given advice, yarn, driving directions, restaurant reviews, prayers, and compassion to everyone who needed them. We half-joke that whenever we don’t know what to do, we call Bonnie. When my youngest son had a stitches-requiring accident last summer and my husband was away, I instinctively called Bonnie and she immediately said “bring the kids here.” She watched my other kids until after midnight, when Tommy finally had his stitches in.

In return we have shared her joys and tried our feeble best to help bear her own fears and sorrows. I don’t know if the newspaper article I linked to fully describes the anxiety our group felt when we realized the toll this second round of chemotherapy was taking on her, and how close we came to losing her. The CaringBridge site that her daughter Brigitta set up for her allowed us a glimpse into the minute-by-minute fight that she gave this second round of cancer. I do know that “she responded well to the treatment” is not the most accurate description of Bonnie’s fall and winter of 2012.

So, Saturday. I’ll be there for her as leads the lap of cancer survivors around the track, and as she speaks to the crowd. This morning at knitting-group she gave us pink-ribbon buttons that say, “No one fights alone!” And she’s right. We all have to fight for each other. It’s a bumpy ride, this short life, and we need to spend our time making it easier for each other.

Week Twenty-Five: Vworp

This week didn’t leave very much time for me to write, but I did do one thing that I wanted to share.

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I’ll be back next week with more than this, I promise.

Published in: on June 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Week Twenty-Two: Now Playing

Although I like watching movies, I have significant gaps in what I’ve actually seen. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t actually mention the title of a movie I haven’t seen, because it invariably leads to someone choking and shouting phrases such “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN PRETTY IN PINK?” (sigh) This sad state results from (a) my tendency to re-watch favorite movies over and over again and (b) the lack, at certain points in my life, of a proper movie-going buddy. I’ve also had the misfortune of wasting my time on some pretty lame movies. I have a pretty high tolerance for the mediocre, but if you asked me what movies I’d never want to see again, Against All Odds and Hot Dog are at the top of the list. (Now imagine seeing both of those movies when you’re awkward, seventeen, and in equally awkward mixed company.)

It was even tackier and more embarrassing than it looks.

My past efforts to catch up on my movie-watching have been somewhat unsuccessful. One year my husband and I decided to watch our whole VHS movie collection in alphabetical order, starting with Apollo 13. The next morning we turned on the television and were completely disoriented to see the remains of the Space Shuttle Columbia falling to earth over Texas. I don’t think we watched any of our movies for the rest of 2003, having convinced ourselves that we were the most fatal jinx ever. A couple of years later we decided to watch the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Movies, and may have set a Netflix record for Longest Time Between Receipt of DVD and Viewing of Film (a tie between Lawrence of Arabia, which was very long but very good, and Birth of a Nation, which was ugly and painful). After discovering the travel documentaries Long Way Round and Long Way Down, it was hard to go back to ordinary movies.

Those were still older movies on DVD, though, not current releases. For whatever reason, I just don’t get out too often to see the latest blockbuster. When the kids were little, we rarely had a babysitter, so watching films on DVD was more manageable. But even then, films often lost out to the opportunity to watch, say, the entire run of “Sports Night.” (Dan and Casey, Jeremy and Natalie, Dana and Isaac — I miss you!)

Now I have a bit more opportunity to get out and keep up. For a while, though, it looks like I will be spending a lot of time catching up on entire franchises. Last weekend I watched five movies in four days: Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and Iron Man 1-3. That was… a bit much. Many, many, many, many objects blew up in my face. New and powerful weapons were invented. Friends in conflict fought each other, reconciled, then fought a common enemy side by side. Rules were broken. And the credits rolled on for so long (and I do watch ALL of them) that after a while, particularly for Star Trek Into Darkness, I started looking for my own name. Everyone else in the world apparently worked on it; maybe I had, too, and just forgot. (I didn’t see it; maybe they spelled it wrong.)

But I am so many franchises behind. Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, anything with an X-Man in it or a lone Avenger in it….

All of this is completely ignoring the DVR buildup I’ve created over the last five months. Five more episodes of “Castle” to watch. BBC America specials on the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Doctors. About a dozen episodes of “Community” (and when I’m done with that one, there is NO MORE). And the box sets…. I have DVD box sets for five seasons of “Doctor Who” and seven seasons of “House.”

Perhaps I should start with the time travel movies, in case they contain the secret to having enough time to watch movies and have a life.

Published in: on May 30, 2013 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment