Ripping Back

Sometimes, in knitting, you realize, somewhere in the middle of a pattern or row or something, that you've gone off.  The whole thing has gone cockeyed and you have to rip back your stitches until you reach the point where you went wrong and pick up from there.  It takes time and sometimes it's tempting to just try to correct from where you are - ignore the screwiness.  Sometimes you can do that.  If you haven't gone too far off.  A few stitches or a row near the bottom won't be that noticeable. But most of the time, by the time you've noticed the irregularity, it's because it is noticeable.

In life, as well, we also have to rip back sometimes - for the same reasons.  Something is out of whack.  So I have ripped back - to being single - well, not exactly legally single, but on my way.  In truth, I should have seen the problem long before now.  Okay, in real truth, I did see the problem long before now.  I just didn't have the resolve.  I've known for a long time that things weren't working out between Matt and me.  I just didn't want to deal with the reality of it.  Between school and work, I was too tired, too concerned with other things.

However, there comes a point when there's no ignoring it anymore.  The point when the discomfort outweighs the convenience.  So I started unraveling and found that the problem stitch was foundational.  The cast-on was bad.  The only solution to that is to tear the whole thing out and start over.  Only, I'm not starting over with the same project.  I've decided to go in a different direction with my life. 

I don't think I'm good at being married.  Or possibly, I'm just not good at being married to Matt.  Either way, the time has come to be finished.  And I'm really relieved.  There was so much pressure and I was so stressed for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to feel normal.

I'm not sure what my new project will be.  I know it will become more apparent when I finish school at the end of the year.  I'm not in a hurry to pick the next thing.  At the moment, I'm just rewinding the yarn and getting everything back in order so that when I do decide, I'll be ready to jump in.


I won't miss you, 2014

can honestly say that 2014 was one of the shittiest years - in day to day life - ever. Nothing catastrophic happened, but it was definitely the most stressful year I can remember. Being old, going back to school full time with a full time job is an ass-kicker.  I'm tired.

Also not helping the cause, Matt also decided to go back to school. And he quit his job. So there's a lot of pressure on me as the sole source of income.  Plus some resentment that he gets to go to school without the pressure of working. So that also put pressure on our relationship. We fought a lot. And then the fact that he's always home these days made for irritation. I miss having real solitude. 

I also had sinus surgery - which, although it has improved the quality of my life in the long run made for a miserable couple of weeks and a crappy way to spend spring break. 

My parents moved farther away and I miss being an hour's plane ride from them. I used to be able to go see them for the weekend. Now that's less feasible, since they're three time zones and 2500 miles away. 

See?  Nothing major. But generally shitty. So that's it. I'm not sorry it's over. I won't remember it fondly. I'd actually like the opportunity to punch 2014 in the face. 
Still, I'm hoping that 2015 is a great year for everyone, but kind of especially for me. Happy New Year, friends! 


I've always said it would never happen

It ranked up there in liklihood with hell freezing over and me actually becoming Wonder Woman - which is to say:  not bloody likely. Highly improbable.  Overwhelming odds against. If you'd made a bet against this you'd have been more right than wrong.

I'm going back to school. There I said it. It's public.  I am doing something that, for a decade, I swore I would never do. I was done with my education and that was that. I had clapped the dust from my hands and walked away from even the remotest consideration of ever going back. And yet, here I am. A few short months from my first class in ten years. 

It makes me queasy to consider. 


Betcha didn't know...

- I fucking hate raspberries. Like, so much that I can't think of a single other food that I wouldn't rather put in my mouth. And I can think of a lot of foods. 

- Butterflies seriously freak me out.  Once, I went to one of those butterfly gardens where you go into a giant room full of butterflies, and while everyone else was oohing and aahing over the butterflies landing on them, I spent the entire 22 seconds I was in there blowing them away from me. 

- I don't own a single pair of jeans. 

- I was on my high school golf team. And I haven't played a stroke since - apart from the mini and Wii varieties. 

- My piano teacher died in the middle of one of my lessons. Not right in front of me. He excused himself and went in the bedroom and died of a massive heart attack.  That pretty much ruined piano playing for me. 

- I'm really allergic to tea tree oil. It instantly leaves angry red welts in its wake and then I get a rash that looks like I've been severely mosquito-bitten.  I found this out after buying a facial cleanser with a tea tree base. I can only thank the sweet baby Jesus that I was, at least, out of adolescence when it happened. 

- I sleep pillowless. 

- Sometimes, when I get bored, I get out my old logic textbooks and do logic problems. 

- If I come to a point in a book where I feel certain it's going to end in tragedy, I immediately read the end so that I can be emotionally prepared.

- I once worked at a sex shop.  It was much more mundane than you might think. 


Skipper Sucks

I recently found an old diary. I got it for my birthday in 1982 and wrote exactly one entry in it before finding a better one that had both a lock and a unicorn on the cover. I actually have no recollection of this diary except that the entry in it was apparently written on the morning after my awesome slumber party. It is copied here, in all of its embarrassing entirety for your reading enjoyment. I have made comments in italics within the post. 

November 6, 1982 Saturday - I looked it up

Dear Fred, no idea why

My birthday party was yesterday. It was a slumber party. It was pretty fun. My cake was ALL chocolate!  Mom rented us movies and we stayed up all night watching them. Joanna fell asleep first. She's such a boring baby.  She still sucks her thumb!  I hate her. I wish I didn't have to invite her. remember Joanna. I never liked her. She was always the kid who was telling on somebody about something, she was really bossy and aggressive and she cried any time she didn't get her way.  She really wasn't likeable, but I had to invite everyone in my class at school to my birthday party.  And she gave me a Skipper!  Skipper is stupid. I don't even have any clothes for a Skipper and she can't even wear Barby (sic) clothes because she's short and has no boobs. She sucks. This was a big use of this word as my mother did not tolerate the use of the word suck. She can't even wear high heels. She looks like a boy and her hair is ugly. I hate her bangs. Mom says I can take her back and get something else. THANK GOD.  Because otherwise, life as we know it would have ended.

Stephanie gave me this diary. It's okay. There's no lock though.  I was obsessed with locking diaries for a while, even though I had nothing secret enough to require locked protection. She also gave me a cool bracelet that looks like fruit and is all different pastel colors and also she got me matching earrings!  I remember this jewelry. I think I wore it every day for a really long time. As a matter of fact, the only thing that stopped me wearing the bracelet was that the elastic that the fruit was attached to finally stretched out so much that it wouldn't stay on my wrist, and once the bracelet was too big, there was no sense in wearing the earrings anymore, right?

Michelle got me the new Malibu Barby and some clothes for her.  She's really fun! So fun it warranted an exclamation point! I already put her new outfit on her and braided her hair.  Wow.  Can you believe how fun that sounds?  Put clothes on a doll and give her a new hair style!  When I think about it now, though, I think almost the only things I ever did with my non-Skippers was play fashion show. Though, really, what else was there to do?  Play house? If I wanted to play house, I played in person, not through a Barbie proxy. 

Annette got me the Barby I literally had almost a hundred Barbies, but I couldn't spell it? styling head and we did her hair in little braids. She looks like Bo Derek.  It was 1982. "10" was on cable at least once a day. 

Kelly got me a bunch of tapes and art stuff so I can make my own tapes. I had gotten a stereo with a double tape deck and a record player for my birthday from my parents - on my actual birthday.  Kelly lived across the street and we had already started making tapes of our favorite songs. As I recall, early mixes included tracks from The Muppets, Pat Benetar, Crystal Gayle, The Chipmunks, The Rescuers, Blondie, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas soundtrack. Obviously, I missed my calling as a radio programmer.  And she also gave me the Talking Heads tape! I'm so glad she's my best  friend. She really was a great best friend for me at that time of my life.  

Everybody else got me normal stuff. I got a Neil Diamond record, some more jewelry, a sweater, lots of head bands and lots of lip gloss and nail polish.  I loved headbands and lip gloss, but it was pretty standard gift fare at the time. I know I gave a lot of both of those things. 

My party favors were Bonnie Bell glitter lip gloss sets and everybody was really happy.  I neglected to record that they were also fruit flavored. I remember how excited I was to give those little sets. 

We had pancakes, waffles and crapes (sic) for breakfast and then everybody went home.  I can't wait to go to Toys R (and I wrote it backwards like in the logo) Us and get rid of Skipper. I will probably get either a Barby or crayons. I actually loved crayons more than Barbies - and about a thousand times more than Skipper!



Sometimes we get groceries delivered from a farm in Utah. They come early in the morning and I bring them in when I get up. Only for the last while, we've not put in an order. So you can imagine my surprise at opening the door on Wednesday night to get the mail and finding a bag of utterly putrid groceries on my doorstep.  Oh, did I mention?  Delivery day is Monday. So, when I say utterly putrid, I'm actually understating facts because also: July in Vegas.  

Anyway, I shrieked and Matt said that he would take care of it tomorrow, which is to say, today. So I left it out there and figured he'd just throw the whole thing away - take the loss on the cooler bag and the deposit bottles and be done. 

Then I got this text:

M:  How do u feel today?
Watched side effects. Pretty good. 
Milk blew. All over on tile by front door. Thinking of using a sponge. Unless u have a better suggestion. 

At which point I'm mostly confused. I don't get why he needs a consult on how to clean up milk. Even gross chunky milk. 

D:  Gross. That sucks. Sponge or paper towel. Either one. Just throw the sponge away if that's what you use. 

M:  Paper towel didn't really get it. Will use and toss sponge. 

So then I was busy and didn't text him back for a while. 

D:  How did the cleanup go?  Did you gag?

M:  Discovered it hit the wall and ceiling. Disgusting. And I'm having trouble getting it off the walls. I need a chisel or something. 

It was at this point that I realized we weren't just talking about average putrid milk. I also realized that Matt is entirely without the skill set or the patience to actually clean this up. 

D:  Just leave it the way it is. I'll do it when I get home. The exploded bottle and contaminated bag are out of the house, right?

M:  I'll leave it. My knees hurt anyway. And I will get rid of bottle and bag. What a ridiculous thing!

So this ended the exchange. I was left to wonder what I was going to walk into at home.   And here's what I found:  chunks of soured, essentially cooked, milk solids blown all over the wall and ceiling.  It looked like someone took a container of paste and flung it. Of course, it smelled awful.

I did actually have to use a putty knife to scrape it off the ceiling.  And now I'm burning scented oils and boiling lavender and rosemary on the stove so the house doesn't continue to smell like baby spit-up, because I just finished this horror of housekeeping about an hour ago. 

I didn't even know it was possible for milk to explode like that. I think I could have been okay without that information, too. 



I Remember: 1974-1980

- My mother, when her hair was still long, standing at the stove, smoking a cigarette. 

- The basement stairs in the house on Edgewood Drive, that creaked and squeaked and that I thought were alive and trying to eat me every time I walked down them. 

- My father, in quintessentially 70s plaid pants, carrying me home from a party at the house across the street. 

- Every detail of my grandparents' house, full of treasures.

- Crying while playing with my cousin's Hot Wheels at my grandmother's funeral. 

- The soda fountain in my grandfather's drug store. 

- The smell of wet wood steaming up from the deck at the lake house after a long day of swimming and fishing. 

- May, my sister, on the telephone in the kitchen - always. It was a black phone with a huge, heavy handset and a cord that was long enough to reach almost all the way down the hall that I also used as a jumprope. 

- The chalkboard with my name in stained glass across the top hung in the kitchen at my level so that I could draw and write to my heart's content. 

- A huge stained glass window and an enormous, rough-hewn wood table where I ate my first escargot. 

- Lynn, my other sister, braiding my hair before bed. 

- The Jumping Couch in the Boschertt Street family room. It was a hulking beast of a thing that was ratty and worn, and I was allowed to jump on it.

- Crawling on the countertop on a butter quest and burning my hand on a still hot burner.

- Spunky, the world's meanest Westie, who's bark was the background noise to all of our outdoor games. 

- 'Helping' my sister, Lynn, pack for college. I had a sabotage campaign worked out where I would take things out of her bag so that she could never leave. And then crying and crying as we drove away from campus after moving her into her dorm. 

- Spending weekends alone at college with my sisters in the dorms, sleeping in their loft beds and eating cereal in the cafeteria and feeling like the coolest kid in the world. 

- Being lost in the woods behind my house with my friend and neighbor, Amy, who had sworn she knew how to get home. 

- The day the woman next door got her leg pinned under a heavy vehicle and watching as everyone on the street came out to help get her free and then take care of her kids when she and her husband went to the hospital and I took her white Dr. Scholl's exercise sandals back to her front door. 

- Picking my first pair of earrings the day I got my ears pierced:  red, sparkly cherries. 

- Whitefeet, the family dog, sleeping next to my bed every night and then accompanying me on my nightly walk to my parents' room when I couldn't sleep. 

- My kindergarten bus driver who played the same Queen tape (The Game) on her portable tape player every day on the way to school. 

- The absolute shock and utter grief I felt when Whitefeet died. I never considered that dogs died, too. I thought she would be my dog forever. 

- Visiting my dad in the corporate apartment in Houston where he was living while my mom and I stayed in St. Louis to sell the house there. I had never been in an apartment complex before and it seemed like the best place on earth. There was a pool and cable and a soda machine and one night I snuck out to the living room and watched Alien on cable and scared myself to death. 

- Swimming lessons with the Kerr kids at the Y. Our swim teacher was a college girl named Ruth who wore glasses in the pool and had a blue and white striped swimsuit that reminded me of my grandparents' outdoor furniture. 

- Catching jars of lightening bugs and then setting them all free before going in to bed so they could go home to their families, too. 

- Playing Mother, May I? until my bladder almost burst because I didn't want to go in and pee because I was having so much fun. 

- Actually laughing until I wet my pants at The Carol Burnette Show.

- Eating honeysuckle on summer nights until I was sticky and stuffed.

- Trying to figure out how my grandmother's stand-by pacemaker could possibly work. I would press it against my chest and wait for it to do something. 

- Listening to The Rescuers picture record in the corner of the living room with headphones on and choreographing elaborate musical numbers. 

- My long-sleeved t-shirt with Woodstock on it. Woodstock of Peanuts fame, not the music event. I remember not liking the shirt much, but it was a gift from my grandparents and we were visiting them and I had it on to feed the squirrel who would eat out of my hand. The squirrel fascinated and frightened me. 

- My red rain boots. I wore them all the time - mostly in lieu of all other clothing - and especially to play with the hose. 

- The green shag carpet and the window unit air conditioner in my sister's bedroom. I didn't like to walk on the carpet because it reminded me of Oscar the Grouch and I didn't want to make it mad. 

- Staying up past my bed time watching TV in the living room with a pillow and a blanket while the grown-ups played bridge.

- The Chef at his extensive and expansive grill, red and white checked chef's had on his head, tongs in his hand, and a Boys Club t-shirt on, pouring beer on the slabs of ribs I loved almost as much as the man cooking them.

- The feeling that it would never be time for Sesame Street.