Giftmas 2017

Giftmas is on the way. We once again have almost no money, in spite of two of us working crazy hours for more money that we’ve ever seen before. So making gifts it is.

So far, I have a pair of Vog’on socks for Baby Goth (well, not so much a baby anymore – she’s driving soon), a pair of toe-up Marpleridge socks from Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks:Knit to Fit Your Feet for Dad Goth, and…that’s it so far. I did buy a cross-stitched ornament pattern that I want to make for a couple of my work friends, and a pattern for some tiny Mochis from Mochimochiland, but I haven’t even started those yet.

Right now, my work is in the middle of open enrollment for a lot of our clients. People seem to feel free to be their worst selves when speaking with customer service. It seems to be worse over the holidays. So much pressure to have the picture-perfect Xmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Newtonmas/insertyourfavoritewinterholidayhere (mine is the Winter Solstice/Yule), and it’s easy to take out one’s aggressions on an entity over the phone or online. Because we aren’t real.

End of whinge.

What that means is, I have been using crafting as a distraction from everything. Which has worked well in the past, but doesn’t seem to be working this year. I’m still in shock/mourning for my Dad, and I don’t feel like I can talk about it to anyone. My beloved Annabel Lee, our little ginger cat, died a little more than a month ago. That’s been pretty hard too.

So this is my apology in advance to anybody I owe something to. Giftmas present, card, cookies, whatever. I consider getting up and going to work every day an accomplishment these days, and I’ve got a limited number of accomplishments in me. I’m sorry.

Back soon.


The Crazies

One of my favorite movie directors is the late, lamented George Romero. His imagination set the tone for a lot of zombie stories that followed – from novels to comic books/graphic novels (and TV shows). He did make other movies besides zombie movies. One of the better ones IMNSHO is the 1973 movie The Crazies. There was a remake of this in 2010, but I like the older one better. It’s definitely a movie for the conspiracy theorist in all of us, but it’s scary in its own way. The premise, of an accidental release of a chemical weapon into a small town, is kind of timely.

There’s also a remake, done in 2010, but I like the first one more. It’s weird, creepy, a little campy – and the movie stays with you.

Hello Strangers

It’s been a while, almost a whole year since I’ve been here. It’s been a hell of a year, both good things and bad, and the only constant is that I’ve been spinning through all of it. Even the worst of it.

So far, I have:

– lost a job
– gained another job, same industry but much faster meat grinder than the first job
– watched my dad die
– watched my cat die
– watched helplessly as a senile, hate-filled man work tirelessly to destroy the country I love
– yeah, that was plenty for this year.

Anyway. For this past year I have either been incredibly busy or depressed and have let this blog go. I tried to write a couple of times; once when I had just lost my first job back in February, the other on a plane going home from my father’s funeral in July.

I’ve been doing a little knitting and crocheting, mostly toys and smaller things. The spinning that I’ve done has all been either giant yarn for a rug or very fine spinning for shawls and lace. That’s been pretty much everything I’ve been doing.

This latest job is taking up more and more of my time, and more and more of my energies. By the time I get home I’m numb and not interested in talking to anybody let alone write to at least one person who might possibly be reading this. Anyway.

It’s even my favorite time of year, which is why I wanted to start again. I got hooked on Stranger Things, which I haven’t enjoyed nearly as much as the rest of my family has. I guess I’m feeling too old to enjoy The Goonies as much as I did the first time – sorry. it was kind of nice to see Winona Ryder again, even if she’s a little too good at playing a Crazed Mom. We’ll probably watch it on Halloween weekend when it goes up on Netflix. I would like to, and probably will, dig out some of my favorite horror movies that never seem to make it to television. I meant to this weekend, but I am now a Band Mom and this weekend was insanely short.

So there’s my story. Not all of it. I can’t bear to do that all at once. I may take another stab at writing about my dad later on. But we’ll see.

I’m working my way through Socktober. Right now I’m working on a pair of <a href="”>"Vog'ons for Alena’s Giftmas present this year. I also want to work on a pair of socks for DadGoth and possibly something for myself before I get really going on my always unrealistic Giftmas list for this year.

My family is demanding dinner, so I suppose I have to oblige them. Happy Halloween 15th, guys.

Happy New Year, 2017

I almost said “do your worst”, but the new year might hear if I’m too loud.

I’ve promised myself to write at least one or two lines every week this year, on both of my blogs. This is the other one. I have 3.5 weeks to go in my new job, so I need to find something else in a hurry – and not leave the old one too early, which is becoming more and more of an issue. Anyway. Spinning has helped there. I haven’t killed anyone yet, or raised my voice on the phone, so that’s something. More later.

Black-ish Friday

If you celebrated American Thanksgiving yesterday, I hope it was a good day; with good food, tolerable family, and few arguments with Racist Uncle Bob. Which might not be so easy given our recent election (not linking, you’re all adults and can Google it yourselves if you don’t know), but anyway. (One thing we’re thankful for: relatives that are 1000+ miles away. Just saying)

Anyway. I am gainfully employed for (at most) the next 2+ months, so I had fully expected to be working today. Thanks to the magic of “severely overstaffed”, I was able to take today off. I have worked on “Black Friday” for several years when I worked in retail, so I remember the joy of going into work at 4:30 AM the day after Thanksgiving and staying until 10PM when the store finally closed for the day. Then doing that again the next day, and the next day for the entire weekend. I would rather claw my own eyes out than go shopping today.

This year, for both of the people who read this, I thought I’d make a gift/shopping guide and a pitch for Shop Small Saturday. These stores are ones where 1)I know the owners, either IRL or online, or 2)I have shopped there before and would recommend them highly. So here goes, in no particular order…

1. Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is a lovely comic shop in Charlotte, NC. They have grown over the past…almost 35 years into a larger storefront, an online presence, and a comic convention (HeroesCon). Heroes is where I first found, and fell in love with, Love and Rockets. If you’re anywhere near Charlotte, go for a visit. You’re welcome.

2. Evil Supply Company. Do you, or any of your giftees, like writing? Letters, journals, etc.? You’ll find everything you’ll need except for writing implements here. There are stationery sets, notecards, stickers, posters, patches, pins, journals, planners… Every month, Atticus Q. Redghost, Esq. puts out a subscription package with all sorts of things inside, around a different theme every month. You can sign up for one month, or for a year. The service is awesome. Now that I am mostly gainfully employed, I will be buying some things for myself once again.

3. Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins. Like the website says, everything related to fiber arts: weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting, crochet, tatting… everything. The sales staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and love their crafts. If you’re near Boulder, go visit.

4. The Scarlet Letter. If you like reproduction samplers, the history of embroidery, or would like to learn more, here’s the place. The store is on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin, where there used to be breeders of Shetland, Navajo-Churro, Jacob, and some other rare breeds of sheep. I discovered the embroidery store when I went for a fleece shearing/sale years ago.

5. Sweet Libertine Cosmetics. Mineral eyeshadows, blush, concealer, face powders. The colors are beautiful, the names are awesome, and the company is run by a lovely knitter. She offers samples with every order and the service is outstanding.

That’s all I have time for today. If you know of another online company that you’d like the rest of us (or both of us, to be honest) to know about, speak up in the comments. Don’t be shy. And try to get outside this weekend.

Halfway-ish Through

Well, here it is. Halfway through the month. I had hoped to have more time to write, but I underestimated the effect working a new job would have on me. I can’t really talk about who I work for, or what I’m doing (for an admittedly limited period of time). But it is a new line of work, and something I don’t have a natural aptitude for doing. So it’ll be interesting. I’m also in a training class of people who have done this all before, some for several years. No pressure.

I did manage to spin a bit for Spinzilla this year. I brought my Bosworth Mini with me to work, complete with a coffin’s full of fiber, and I managed to get a couple hundred yards done during breaks and the “non-people” section of my lunch half-hour. I also spun about 150 yards of llama fiber on my big hummingbird spindle. Our team officially was 14th (out of 74? I think) this year, so that’s their best place yet. Here’s what I spun.

No, not a lot. But considering the crazy week I had, I’m happy enough with it. Plus, this weekend I spun some more rug yarn. So there’s that.

I really did enjoy spending time with my spindles. Even though I didn’t have as much time as the last time, I tried to find at least an hour to work on the llama every night. The time spent spindling made the wheel spinning and plying go faster too, I thought.

Last week Baby Goth had her fall break. I’ve never worked a full-time job while she’s been off before. It was a little tough, I have to admit. But Dad Goth was home, and they got to do some things together – they made the annual Spirit run, decorated the house (due to the weather the yard will wait until next weekend), and did various odd and assorted things.

Also: does anybody remember me saying that I was finally off the hook for Halloween costumes for other people this year? Did I? Because it seems that I am not. Having bought a bunch of fabric and a surprisingly expensive pattern, it looks like I’m making a girlie 10th Doctor costume. It’s okay, I think. I don’t have to come up with the entire pattern myself, and the modifications she wants aren’t that taxing. But still.

Lastly, I saw The Host is on Netflix this month. Not a new one, but a great Korean monster movie. I also watched 13th, which is about the American prison system and a horror movie of a very different sort. It’s also time to pull out the old classics next week: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Carnival of Souls (yes, really), Phantasm – things like that. Have a lovely evening, or week, or something.

Day Jobs and Debates

Today was my first day at my new day job. I’m not really supposed to say where it is, or what I’ll be doing. But it is in the same place where I had my last oh-so-brief day job, so I know how to get there, and the layout of the building. I also knew a couple of people that I saw this morning. I told one of them what had happened and came very close to breaking down in front of a large group of people. She was sweet, encouraging and understanding. Hopefully things will go better this time, and I can work quite a bit longer.

Last week, the week I was supposed to have started this job, was the time of the first Presidential debates. Anna from Mochimochiland offered two free patterns for tiny Presidential nominees.

Yep. There they are, Tiny Sec. Clinton and Tiny M. CheetoDumpsterFireTrump. Right next to the tissue box, as I haven’t had a chance to make the tiny debate stage. Even if you’ve never made tiny knitted figurines before, it’s pretty easy and a lot of fun. Also highly addictive.

Tomorrow is the Vice Presidential debates. Fortunately, I have to go to bed early so I’ll have to miss them (dang). Let me know below if I miss anything.

Tonight is also the first day of Spinzilla. I’m looking forward to doing some spinning to get the day out of my head.