Wednesday, June 22, 2005

This One's fer Kinnie

This has been bothering me for a long, long time. Years, actually. But I don't often remember it unless I'm in the car listening to the radio, and obviously I can't write down my thoughts when I'm in there. So it just floats out of my head and never gets addressed.

There's a way-old song by Kenny Rogers. I keep hearing his name in my head being announced--didn't he have a summer show or even a prime-time variety show long time ago? Yes, I am heading toward being a member of the Geritol set (but not there YET!). Anyway, I hear that voice sayin,' "Kinnie Rodjerrrz!"

I have long made fun of Kinnie and his lyrics, a'cuz some of 'em jest don't make any sinse tuh me. Or the grammer is just plane rong, as I once wrote in an article about dumb lyrics. Anyway, I haven't slept well recently on account of a lot of life-crap going on, and the other night I was lying dead awake flopping around and cursing in my mind the sound of the air-conditioning fan and how the a/c switch isn't working right and it's always too cold or not running and it NEVER runs according to the program it's set to. And the small tyke kicks his wall in his sleep, and the big one stays awake till all hours bumping around and making just the kind of small noises that keep an annoyed insomniac's title intact. And I thought of that dumb "You Decorated My Life" song and laughed in my head so as not to wake up my snoring mate.

Then I went on to another song that has had me all flummoxed because it uses so many negative constructions I get lost and can't understand what Kinnie really means when he's sangin' to his honey:

I can't remember when you weren't there
When I didn't care for anyone but you . . .

Now, the first line I can understand. Only two negatives, "can't" and "weren't." Okay, so he can't remember when she wasn't there; in other words, he only remembers her always being there.

It's the second line that like to give me the fantods. I can't remember when I DIDN'T care for ANYONE BUT you. Say what now?

I'm having a good day today, and I believe I can use my superior brain power to untangle this mess of litotes finally. Is it a compliment to Kinnie's honey? I think not! 'Fact I b'lieve if I were she, I'd find it right aggra-VAT-in'. Because if you take it apart, it appears he thinks about NOT caring for anyone BUT her. That would be okay, because it would mean that he hadn't ever not cared for her, 'cuz he didn't care for anyone BUT her. Now I reckon that there would be a compliment. Only it ain't, when you tack on all them other fancy two-dollar negative words.

See, he can't remember when he DIDN'T care for anyone but his honey. In other words, all he remembers is caring for gals other than she.

Well, Kinnie, bless yer little white-haired heart. You son of a gun. You're all the time sangin' about what seems to be yer own llittle honey, while what'cher really sayin' is you been runnin' round with everbody else.

Well THAT ain't right! Repent, you old, rich sinner.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Instant Car-ma

Let's hear it for all of us who deserve a good swift kick in the pants from Fate now and then. I got one Saturday. And how my butt still smarts.

The tyke had a baseball game, and boy, were we anticipating the outcome; couldn't wait to see whether his team would ferociously defend its title of League Most Defeated. Ultimately, they won--therefore losing their perfect losing streak--but I digress. Going to a baseball game means schlepping stuff. Blanket, folding chairs, diverting work, numerous huge water bottles. The diverting work I took was my knitting, which was tucked in a plastic tote bag along with a couple of other speculative UFOs, three balls of priceless pure organic black wool that I had bought from a North Carolina spinner, measuring tapes, a Yarnmarket receipt, a new crochet hook, a small learning project my kid had just finished, and three-and-a-half pairs of needles.

Throughout the game, in 90+ degree humid weather with thunder clapping overhead, I knitted away at yet another scarf (I'm a beginner, and am not leaping on to the next challenge until I have made some things with no errors). I had at least a foot of this ribbed scarf for G finished, and it was flawless. For the first time! Id' figured out how to avoid mistakes, and finally the learning I'd tried to do was beginning to percolate from brain to fingers! It was a very loud, cheap, multicolored acrylic yarn (good ol' Red Heart "Mexicana," which I remember from my own childhood) that worked up with a fantastically bright, kitchy plaid-like pattern. It's a matter of taste, and my taste is baaaaad, so this was a pleasurable project. No yarn snobs here. Excellent for a theatre-arts kid like G. G pronounced it "Awesome!" and I was feeling pretty good with the lack of mistakes and the kid approval rating and all.

After the game we were taking two cars home, since the family had met at the park after separate two-by-two activities. I picked up everything but the tyke's water bottle, which I made him carry himself. When we got to the car, I couldn't get to my keys because I was holding too much stuff. I had to set some things down. I put the knitting bag on the car roof and fumbled around for the keys, let the tyke in, and tossed the remaining items in the front seat. Then I went around to the driver's side, got in, and we turned left out of the parking lot toward home.

It is about a two-to-three minute ride home--very close. The instant I pulled into the garage, I knew something was missing. Taking inventory, I realized the knitting bag wasn't there. And let me tell you I actually felt my heart stop. The very blood drained from my head, and I felt a little dizzy. KNITTRAGEDY 911!!! Immediately, I unlocked the house door for the tyke and yelled for him to get out of the car. I high-tailed it down the street and [felt like] I was speeding. (I doubt I was. Under normal circumstances I drive like a nerve-impaired snail, so under extreme circumstances I might have barely approached the speed limit). My eyes covered every single inch of ground between home and the park parking lot. I got out and looked around, scouring every blade of grass, shaking like Jell-o in a hurricane. No one had hung it on a sign or set it on a bench or leaned it up against a tree. Not a shred of evidence remained after barely five minutes of abandonment. Not a dropped measuring tape, not a lone needle, not a snipped off yarn tail. Certainly not a frigging $15 book that HAS BECOME MY BIBLE and had my entire curriculum plan in it!

No choice but to go home in defeat. So that I did. And slammed all the doors. And came in. and stomped upstairs looking as green as Linda Blair in Exorcist. I was feeling a surge of POWER. People got out of my way PRONTO. Being inside felt useless, so I went back out to the all-cement basement-level garage, shut all the doors, and re-enacted an old college tradition.

[A vintage Aside] When I was living in undergrad housing at UCLA, my room was next to a stairwell. That was good--it meant I had a fire wall. But during finals week, I learned about a strange ritual. The public stairwell was lined with cinderblock and echoed nicely. When students were at the ends of their ropes, frustrated and exhausted and certain they would fail finals, they went in there and did what I did in the garage: screamed my bloody heart out, as loudly as possible and as long as I had breath.

I wandered aimlessly around the garage, and couldn't stand the pointlessness, so started a new load of laundry and pretended to "keep busy." The only cure for a hopeless moment is action.

Back inside, I sat on the guest bedroom floor next to the plastic chest where I keep yarn, and tried to calm down enough to think of exactly what had been in the bag that was now missing. Item #1: figure out what needles from the complete inventory are gone. Look at the list . . . no, the frigging list is in the Stitch N' Bitch book, which is GONE!!! Settle. Quiet mind. Visualize. Now pull out all the remaining needles that are safely put away, and write down what is there. That was as much as I could do for then.

Throughout the evening it all came back to me (well, not literally, more's the pity). To great relief I discovered that for some reason I had removed three sets of needles from the bag and set them on the dining room table before the baseball game, so it was better than I'd thought. Next, I found that the ugly but cute and fairly mistake-free purple mohair scarf with eyelash ends, which I'd just finished, had also been retrieved from the bag and was hanging safely on a dining room chair. (See preceding post.) Whew! So, all told, the damage came down to the book; 7, 8 and 9 gauge needles which I'd had since I was seven years old (sorry, Mrs. Ryan! my childhood neighbor and first knitting teacher); a huge stitch-relearning project made of the beautiful irreplaceable black NC wool and which took innumerable hours for me to figure out when I was getting my knit back on; and a 24" long, 10 st wide woolen thing that was the tyke's first FO. He called it his "cool tie." Yep, let me shout it loud and clear: I lost my little kid's new pride and joy, his first finished object! So sue me. No, don't bother. I'll just sue myself into oblivion, thankyouverymuch.

And I lost the remaining half-ball of little flowers eyelash which I was saving to make Tuesday a knitted amulet bag. Oh, and the one last oddball thing! I lost ONE brand-new Takumi bamboo #10. Why one? Because it was attached to another beautiful, organic, hand-spun, non-died NC sheep remnant that I was noodling with for gauge and appearance. It wasn't going to ever be anything because the remnant was too small, but Lord the way that yarn felt was sinful. Maybe that's why it was taken away . . .

It is precisely this sort of experience which makes me finally understand medieval self-flagellation.

I'm lone-lee-ee, oh so lone-lee-ee!

Last but not least, you'd think I'd know not to EVER put something on top of the car, since I've had many such warnings before.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Wilde, Wilde scarf

Here's my take on the basket-weave: I call it the Oscar Wilde scarf, because Oscar believed in livin' large, and this scarf is nothing if not that--14 inches wide by 9.5 feet long. It wears more like a pashmina. If I wear it over my head I am the spitting image of an 1890's refugee. After I started it I sort of went into a weird trance and could not stop, and the longer it got the more I wanted to keep going. Madness, I tell you. That was a long time ago. And I would still be working on it today, except that it became clear that the yarn was going to run out, and I couldn't afford more.

I am so, so glad to see that many other people like Crazy Aunt Purl and her horde of blogstalkers (see her June 6th post) have fallen prey to this, too. I am not the only nut case, and those other nut cases seem to be pretty nice folks!

And while I'm on the subject of knitting, I chased down exactly one (1) tiny ball of this adorable eyelash stuff at my LYS, and immediately snatched it and ran under the porch with it:

It has just a teeny bit of gold fiber woven into it that seems to say, "Party!" I worked it into a retarded scarf I'm making, uh, I mean ripping (I hid the million errors, yuk yuk):

I just love this combination so much that between the colors and the way it feels to my hands, I nearly want to eat it. See? Nut case!

Friday, June 03, 2005

What Was I Afraid Of?

What Was I Afraid Of?

Anyone familiar with the Dr. Seuss story (also on a ca. 1961 LP record) about a "kid" who encounters a pair of Pale Green Pants with nobody inside them? Well, he goes around for quite a while with the bejeezus scared out of him, until he and the pants encounter each other in a Snide field (picking Snide, of course!) and realize that they are more alike than different from each other, and there's really nothing to be afraid of. [My favorite part of this story is imagining how that pair of pants looks riding a bicycle.] Thereafter they greet each other warmly (see above).

What Am I Afraid Of? So many things that I could type continuously for a year and a half and never run out of ideas. Then I'd take a fifteen-minute break and go back to it for another year and a half, and so on.

For today, I'm going to limit the list to ten, not in any particular order, just stream-of-consciousness. The big guns probably won't even come out today; who knows? To start, the assumption is that I'll simply eliminate anything obvious, like bad things happening to kids and family, grand catastrophes, health horrors, people knocking at the door whom I don't know and them breaking in all angry because they know I'm home and not answering, or outright financial ruin and starvation.

  1. Clowns of all stripes, dots, circus, party, parti-color, Harlequino and Columbina, figurines of same, etc., just any damn scary clowns; go to hell, all you frigging Evil Clowns! And imagine making a mint on this kind of business; I wish so much I'd thought of it! Oh, with the possible exception of the girl clown on the PBS show "The Big Comfy Couch," Lunette. I think she's great. FYI: If the opportunity presents itself, do not watch the two-part movie of Stephen King's It. Or your clownliking gene will be permanently mutated and you will quickly buy a tee-shirt at
  2. Caves and any other underground space.
  3. Dreaming about not showing up to exams, or even worse, dreaming of finding out after a whole quarter or semester that I was supposed to have been in a course I didn't even know about, and I've done none of the work, and there's no time to catch up before finals. It doesn't matter that I've been out of grad school for about a thousand years.
  4. Not meeting ancestors after death. I know they're there, and I will feel so gypped if I can't find them. They have a lot of explaining to do.
  5. Santa Ana winds. Wind. Air blowing. Bushes and trees rubbing up against building walls and making scary noises. Wind whipping me through a car window. Which leads to my hatred of convertibles.
  6. Horses.
  7. Anime mouths and hair. They are just too scary, especially the way the mouths have no expression and no variation in tempo, just open wide and shut, open wide and shut, even when the character has stopped talking.
  8. My boys' bathroom. Health Department citation!
  9. Falling up. I never fall down stairs, I trip up them and slide back. Idiotic.
  10. Teeth falling out.
  11. Hog Pigs (definition to be provided in next episode).
  12. Mom's beet Jell-o.
See??? I promised ten, but went to twelve. Uh-oh, I fear I've started something huge, because I'm just getting warmed up. Never mind. I don't have time to keep going right now. But you should be afraid. VERY AFRAID. Because in the future I'll just keep adding to the list, and none of it will make sense to anyone but me.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

We're doomed

This is how kids today write. Full text of a note that my son presented to me the other morning, intended to inspire me to let him stay home from school:
My throught is sore and i don't want to ruin my voise. My shower didn't help I am wheazey and the headeach
Well, damn, I hate having a headeach, too! And it's so disappointing when a shower doesn't help my voise!

I let him stay home, but the day of rest did not improve his spelling. At this rate, he will never get as far as eighth grade.

But he might well grow up to be president.

Good ol' Dubbya. He held a press conference on 5/31 in which I heard him say something like

to disassemble--that means: not telling the truth.
Gobsmacking, knee-slapping, fart-knocking gifted! He is a walking dictionary! (You'd think he'd know what "assembly" is, since we as Americans have the unique right to assembly.)

No one even said anything. The whole thing went uncorrected, just like the time I swore he said "subliminable," and I started jumping up and down, but no one else noticed. In fact, it just may be that people are so accustomed to Dubbya's sticking his foot in his mouth that these gaffes strike the audience like water off a duck's back. Oh, my Lord. Quick! Somebody go get the man a Webster's!

The unassuming mailbox . . .

Just your normal, average, run-of-the-mill rural mailbox. Nothing fancy, nothing special. The sort of thing you see every day. No big deal. Hmm-mm. No sir-ee. Nothing noteworthy going on here.

. . . the horror within!

. . . nothing special about this mailbox, that is, except the teeming legions of ants and their gazillion menacing offspring! Why? Why do ants want to be in a mailbox? Note to ants: We don't store any food in there. And the glue on those envelopes tastes nasty.