Knit Picky

"properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit...
 and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."
~elizabeth zimmerman

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
1-2-3-4 Tell Me That You Love Me More...



Weeks out of work


It's been 1 helluva year

posted by Stephanie at 6:28 PM

Friday, April 11, 2008
Here Bloggie, Bloggie, Bloggie

The last couple of weeks have been very strange. A weird combination of really bad and kinda good and a lot of thinking and making decisions and getting well and truly tired of stupid people. Vague enough, for you?

Well, here's two bad and one good to give you some insight as to where my head is (oh, and you'll probably read this and think "My GOD, when will she stop with the whining?!" For that, I apologize.)

Thing the FIRST--I've titrated off of my anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds and it's turning out to be very hard. I'm finding out that I'm not nearly as nice (or at least well-balanced) as I was on them. I did really well for the first month or so, so I didn't worry about it. Then I started having truly depths-of-the-blues kinds of days. I felt like everyone was against me--for instance, my boss sent me what seemed to be an unnecessarily critical email and she copied a bunch of people that didn't need to be involved in what should have been between us. I took it extremely personally.

The Boy tried to talk me down by telling me I was overreacting. Do you know how well someone who is overreacting takes the criticism that they are overreacting? Think about it.

I've also found myself filled with massive, mindless rage. I'm a pretty even-tempered person most of the time, and yet I was becoming an absolutely dangerous crazy person in the car. Honking, screaming at the top of my lungs (till my throat was raw and my voice affected), throwing things around the car. I was unspeakably angry all the time, and couldn't place it. I thought it was some ridiculously bad PMS (which I don't really get much, so that in itself would make it weird), but I've realized that this is all connected. Partly because with the rage comes crushing, massive sadness. I cried when the new TV didn't seem to work; when the woman on the freeway cut me off; when my co-worker said something that seemed unjust (though I did this in private, obviously).

Needless to say, this has not been easy. Sigh.

Thing the SECOND--Maybe connected to thing the first, maybe not, I'm finding myself really, really offended by my co-worker and he thinks he is just soooo funny. I think I've mentioned before that in my office we have a couple of women who have no discernible boundaries--flatulence, belching, talking about their sex lives; nothing is off-limits. Well, the biggest offender of all of them (a woman) is leaving. And I am SO relieved. Maybe my office will become a bit more respectable and professional. Evidently, the fact that I have these kinds of thoughts (that the office is not the place for some of this behavior) make me some kind of freak, and my (male) co-worker has decided to point this out to me. Every single day for two weeks.

He's making a video for the going-away and was coming up with little sketches for each of the people in the office that are supposed to epitomize their character or their persona in the office. He told me that he couldn't come up with one for me because I'm so dull. He said this like I should laugh with him. When I asked him what he meant, he said, "You know, you're not really a character. You're serious and don't laugh at their fart-jokes." I suppose I am dull if that's the definition!

My friend/co-worker and I were discussing this because she was accused of the same thing but she can just shake it off, whereas I can't seem to do so. We were both wondering what was wrong with being 'nice' or 'responsible' or you know, 'not gross.' I wish I could drop it, but I can't. Mostly because he won't. Each day he tells me how dull I am and why. I know it sounds stupid, but it's really hurting my feelings. Maybe I'm overreacting--see thing the first. But I just don't see how it's funny to denigrate someone who you're supposedly friends with (he and his wife and The Boy and I have gone out together, he always wants to talk all the time about the things we have in common--cats, interest in tech, Firefly/Serenity, etc.).

To top this all off, I found out that he asked someone from outside our office to participate in the video to do something pretty risque that the woman leaving is known for and she told him that she wasn't sure because she didn't want me to tell on her. WHAT???

Honey, if I'd wanted to bust any of you for inappropriate behavior, sexual innuendo or anything else, I would have done it long ago. OMG. !!

This, of course, makes me wonder what, exactly, my co-workers say about me outside the office. I'd say that--with the exception of them knowing my feelings on the fart machine and my discomfort with some of their topics that they feel the need to discuss at full volume during business hours while I'm on a business call--everyone gets along (or pretends to) really well. How disillusioning to find out that they really don't like me and in fact say nasty things about me behind my back.

I've suspected it all along. I mean, they've made no secret of the fact that they consider me hopelessly weird because I knit, talk about my hobby, love my husband, don't say all kinds of vulgar things about men--and women--I don't know, etc. But this hit me hard. Again, don't know why it should, but I think I'm a pretty good sport, go along with a lot of things and have put up with ALOT of crap for three years. Only to find out that I am a DULL NARC.

Sucks sucks sucks.

Thing the THIRD--I am more thankful than ever for my knitting group. (See the banner for OC Knitting Meetup Group at right ---->). It is seriously my therapy right now. When I am extremely down, feeling beaten by the world, don't think I can manage one more person, I go to my group and get rejuvenated. We are all so diverse, and yet some of us have a surprising (alarming?) number of things in common besides knitting. I don't know what I'd do without them.

I was reading Stephanie's new book and she talks about Stitch 'n Bitch or Knit Night groups and how we come together over knitting and form such a strong bond. Naturally this made me cry, thinking of my own group, but it's so true! I have been able to tell some of the women in the group both things one and two above, and gotten such nice responses and much-needed perspective (such as pointing out that I do indeed have a sense of humor; it's just not the same as those of the people in my office). I can come to them with my health concerns, my anger, my pain, my feelings of self-righteousness, and they help straighten me out.

Fresh eyes and caring friends. Thank God for them! They're keeping me sane right now.

posted by Stephanie at 1:50 PM

Friday, March 14, 2008
The Return of Freaky Friday! (a.k.a. Coming Up For Air)

Well, the work nightmares have mostly come to an end, but then I got sick. Stupid cold. Who gets a cold at the beginning of spring? I don't even know anyone else who's sick! Ugh. has come to my attention (probably ridiculously belatedly) that Freaky Fridays don't necessarily need to involve me injuring myself; they can just involve ways in which I've embarassed myself, or been embarassed. These instances, my friends, are countless.

So, bring on the shame!

Several years ago, when I was a young'un (in middle school, I believe), we were invited to have Christmas Eve dinner with mom's then-boyfriend's family (sister? cousin?). [Yeah, I'm nothing if not timely with the holiday tales] I dubbed then-boyfriend Slimey because a) it rhymed with his actual name, and b) it oh-so-aptly described him. So mom dragged my sister and I to Slimey's Family Christmas. [World's worst/best ever book title?]

As we were heading out the door from home mom instructed me to grab a present for each of us (my sister and I) from under the tree so that we too would have something to open while Slimey's family exchanged all their gifts. [Do you have any idea how a surly pre-teen felt knowing that the whole family would be exchanging gifts and we'd each have one measly one? Not good, that's how.] Mom pointed to a couple of gifts, "Grab those! Let's go!"

Many hours later, gift giving finally commenced. Because I think I was in college before mom stopped giving my sister and I matching gifts [come to think of it, has that practice stopped??], we were always directed to open our gifts at the same time. And because we were the guests at the Slimey Family Christmas, all eyes were on us as we opened our matching purses. With a slightly puzzled look on her face, mom said, "I'm pretty sure I wrapped another gift inside each of those purses. Open them!"

We waited for the news to spread throughout the room, and again, everyone stopped what they were doing and focused on us. It was with some excitement that we ripped into those purses because usually a gift within a gift meant something really cool--a charm bracelet? earrings? Just as my hand closed around something cloth-like, mom gasped. And I pulled out of the purse, for all to see, UNDERWEAR. Oh, yes. Several pairs of girly, cotton underwear.

The crowd tittered; mom [to her credit] looked really, really sorry for pushing us to open the gift for the throngs of not-our-own-family; I probably turned bright red.

And then my sullen, surly, pre-teen angst re-asserted itself and I was really, really pissed. Dude, there were cute teenage boys, older, cute teenage boys not related to me, at that party. And they'd just seen my pink, flowery panties! And not in a way that was going to make any of them think about asking me out [my sole goal in life as a surly pre-teen].


I know it doesn't seem like it, but there has been much knitting going on. Socks, of course; a baby sweater to welcome a sweet little girl (and she'll be able to wear it next winter--my gauge may have been a wee bit off); squares for a blanket for the sweet little girl; seaming the whole blanket of motley squares for the sweet little girl and made by the knitting group (4"x6" means something entirely different to everyone, it turns out); the beginning (and end) of a sweater in which the yarn just would not make gauge; and finally, the beginning of a new sweater. There were probably some other things, but I can't recall them.

I also threw a baby shower for the first time (is it normal to put yourself into the poor house with your efforts?). So.Much.Fun. I've been doing some exciting events with the OC Knitting Meetup Group (I'm a co-organizer), including a yarn hop trip to San Diego. And probably other stuff that I can't think of because I need to get back to work and see the stack of "To Dos" looking at me accusingly.

Until next week, enjoy my mortification!

posted by Stephanie at 2:00 PM

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Look Into My Eyes. Deeeep Into My Eyes.


Hi. I'm Mei Mei.

The Giant Pink Hairless Cats(TM) took me in a few months ago when The Boy one found me wandering around their building crying.

Sucker! Like I hadn't seen the sweet life being led by the other two furballs in their apartment and planned my 'in'. These simple-minded creatures are so easy to manipulate.

Anyway, the girl GPHC(TM) suggested that I might be useful and type a quick note for you here to let you know that she's probably not going to be able to talk to you this week. I've heard her muttering words like "new fiscal year," "strategic planning," and "another damned quarter." That and the weeping and gnashing of teeth around here has nearly put me off my kibble.

Ha ha. Just kidding. Nothing makes me forego food.

You're probably wondering how a cool cat like me came to be typing you this note. Yeah, I've heard the old opposable thumb jokes. Let me tell you, I have paw-pettes (you call them something boring like 'fingers') and a tail. So, really, who is the challenged one??

Well, this is boring. I'm going to go look at Stuff On My Cat, eat some plastic mice and attack the white fluffy cat. I rule this place! Well, when that big, fat, scary girl cat isn't around anyway. She's mean!


posted by Stephanie at 2:46 PM

Friday, February 22, 2008
If it Ain't Scottish, it's Crrrrrap!

Last Saturday The Boy and I went to the Scottish Festival on the Queen Mary here in Long Beach, CA. I love the Queen Mary*. I am also a big ol' dorky Anglophile, as you may recall, so this was a must-attend event for me.

First we watched the pipe and drum band parade.

I love bagpipes. No, really. No, really.

This was followed by the clan parade, but my people were not in attendance. At least, not officially. The clan MacClure (sometimes referred to as a sept family of the clan MacLeod) was not representing. Very disappointing for me, since I've only just discovered this connection, and I was looking forward to forcing my attentions on...erm, I mean, getting to know my kinsmen.

After the pipe and drum bands performed, we saw a military demonstration but we didn't get any pictures of that. Probably because we were far too busy covering our ears and cowering in fear at the loud booms coming from the 19th century cannon and machine gun (I'm sure there are more technical terms, but I don’t know them).

We then hightailed it for the sheep herding demonstration--naturally.

First they let the sheep out to just roam. Which they did.


And far...

Then they let out the Border Collie to demonstrate how the natural predator/prey instincts work for bringing the sheep to heel.


After seeing how effective the Border Collie was, they brought out a Schnauzer puppy to show that, though the Border Collie gets all the glory for this job, any dog with the right instincts can actually pull it off.


It was then time for the Bearded Collie to show us his stuff.


And where there are sheep...

I knew that my other people must be nearby. My fiber-loving friends. And I found her. A woman whose name I believe was Niamh, which I've always thought was one of the most awesome names ever because one of the two syllables sounds nothing like how it looks (it is pronounced: nee-ev). I love that. But I digress. The-woman-I-shall-call-Niamh was spinning.


I walked up to watch her. Now, I should mention that I've avoided fiber "in the raw" so to speak (non-yarn fiber) and all things spinning-related because I know me and my capacity for resisting new hobbies. (Which is somewhat on par with George Bush's ability to pronounce "nuclear" correctly.) So when Niamh offered to let me give spinning a try, I politely demurred. Then The Boy insisted I should try it. He really ought to have known better.


I had so much fun! I spent the rest of the day playing with my little bit of yarn.

After all that work (ahem), we were starved. So we headed back to the main area and found ourselves some delicious foods. We each got a plate, ate half, and then switched while we sat on the deck of the QM and listened to the bagpiper's competition below.

pork pie_yum
Savory pork pie. So.Good. Mashed potatoes and two veg. Yum!

banger sandwich
Banger sandwich with onions on soft French bread. Mmmmmm.

Onboard the Queen Mary is a shake place (California Shakes) that has received accolades from all over for having the best ice cream shakes anywhere. We hit that place twice when we stayed on the QM last year, so we treated ourselves to a little shake action this time, too. No pics, though. We ate them too fast!

We then spent a good deal of time hunting down my family tartans and finding out that they were very expensive to buy when we had already spent a small fortune just to get in and park, so we didn't buy anything. And the shortbread place was out by the time we made it there—Scottish shortbread is so good; I think each piece uses a half-stick of butter! During our honeymoon through England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, most of the hotels we stayed in provided little packets of Walker's Shortbread next to the coffee and teapots in the rooms. I took all of them and have since become quite addicted.

After all that, we finally said Adieu to the old gal and headed for Los Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. to pick up some gift yarn for Laura (wow, she's a worse blogger than me!). She is now 3 days past her baby due date and extremely grumpy. I made her a Lamb's Pride bouquet of bulky yarn. Early in her pregnancy she professed that she was going to be able to knit as quickly after the baby as she did before**, so I thought bulky yarn would be a good way to maintain the illusion of accomplishing a lot in less time.

Lamb's Pride in variegated jewel shades

Finally, at the end of the day, we hit Buster’s next door to Los Al. Buster's has amazing luau pork. If you're ever in the area, get some! And start with the voodoo chicken skewers; you won't be sorry.

While we waited for our food, I played with my new yarn, spun by my own (and Niamh's) hands.
my yarn
Dudes! I made yarn!

All in all, a very good (long) day!

*She's located only about 45 miles from my house, but I hadn't been until I had to attend a postal seminar there last November. I fell in love with her for her history and old furnishings, and The Boy and I ended up spending a weekend onboard—she is a hotel, as well as a showpiece—and he fell for her too.
**You don't have to have a baby to know that probably ain't gonna happen!

posted by Stephanie at 12:27 PM

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Awwwwww, Shucks!

You guys are so sweet! I feel so lucky to have such kind and thoughtful virtual friends. And who knew there were so many of you! Like, 8 or something!

I'm so happy to be back. I really have missed you. I even have a long-ish post in the works, but I don't think it's going to make it today. That would be because I had a doctor's appointment this morning that should have taken about 1 hour from beginning to arrival at work and instead took 2-1/2 hours from beginning to end and arrival at work. Le sigh.

Advice to you, my dear friends: if your doctor's office tells you the day before your appointment that they can move your appointment from 4:30pm to 9:30am and to the office closer to your work, make sure they also tell the doctor this. Mine didn't.

I was there at 9:30. My doctor was there at 10:15.

And she was totally unprepared to meet with me. I had had an MRA (like an MRI but of the blood vessels instead of the brain tissues), and she didn't have the report, hadn't looked at the CD yet and couldn't tell me very much. So instead I sat there even longer while she viewed the CD in her office and the lab faxed over the report to tell her that I am, in fact, fine.

You know, I'd kind of figured that out. Because if I had an incipient aneurysm on the horizon? It would have blown while I was waiting this morning!!


posted by Stephanie at 3:13 PM

Friday, February 15, 2008
Tap, Tap...Is This Thing On?

Oh, uh, hi. ya doing?

So I sort of disappeared? Like, for a really long time? And I really miss you.

Do you think you might be willing to give it another try? I miss our talks. I miss sharing the important things with you. And the goofy things.

I don't want to make a bunch of excuses, but I've had some health stuff, and some depression stuff, and some work stuff, but I think I've gotten it all under control. And I'd like to see if we can bring back some of that old magic.

What do you say?

Will you take me back, innernets??

posted by Stephanie at 3:44 PM