Monday, August 26, 2013

F is for Finish

Almost time for Husker football to start up again.  Next Saturday, as a matter of fact (or so the husband tells me). 

For the past few years, I've had this tradition of CO'ing a new sweater each time.  Thing is, I'm not sure I've actually finished any of those sweaters.  It's hard to say.  The only one I've ever actually documented as a Husker kickoff sweater was last year's Astoria, which is not finished.  (As I suspected, I got to the stranding bit and chickened out.  It's still on the needles, it's just... waiting.)

I have a rather shocking amount of WIPs.  Most are in an enormous bin in the basement.  Here's my Wall 'O Yarn...

Here's a closer look at what's in the middle...
That big monster in the middle, on the right is my WIPs bin. 

You see my dilemma.  Above it we have the Knit Me Next!! bin.  Below it, we have the Sock Kits bin.  And the little one to the left is the Socks That Rock bin.  Sigh.

 That WIP bin is overstuffed.  The Knit Me Next bin is on top of it to help keep the lid from popping off.  It's not all sweaters.  It has quite a variety in there.  Socks, kitchen towels, bath mat, hats, more socks, a pair of mittens, slippers, some socks... 

And I know that's not even all the WIPs I have floating around the house (I almost typed "gloating" instead of "floating" - equally appropriate, I think.).  I can think of at least six sock WIPs that are gloating outside that bin as we speak. 

What should I do? Shall I finish things from previous years?   Shall I start a new sweater?  I've been puzzling over this for quite some time.  I think I may have a solution.  There's 2 halves to a football game.  Why don't I CO something new at kickoff like I always do? (frontrunners right now are either Idlewood, Alta, or Comfortable Cables - mainly Idlewood and CC because they are mindless enough to be able to watch the game.)  I can work on the new thing during the first half and then work on a WIP only during the second half! 

The issue with this particular bit of compromise is that I often doze off during the second half.  I don't know what it is about football that makes me sleepy.  It certainly isn't the hollering husband sitting next to me!

I think we all know which way I'll go, Ruth!

Friday, August 23, 2013

E is for Egg

Before I met Dave, I never ate bacon.

I always thought, "Bacon and coffee.  How can something smell so good and taste so bad??"

My dad was always a bacon and eggs man.  And coffee.  He had bacon and fried eggs for breakfast every chance he got.  He and my mom drank copious amounts of coffee.  I tried all of it and didn't like any of it.  My mom used to tell my I'd change my mind about coffee when I was studying late nights in college.  Never happened.

I didn't discover the joys of bacon until years after Dave and I started dating.  I think it was a few years in to our marriage that I caught on. 

As to eggs, I like eggs.  But I've never liked them overeasy.  Hardboiled (in any form - plain, on a salad, mixed in to egg salad for sandwiches), ScrambledVeryDry (when I was in the Army, I had enough nasty, wet scrambled eggs to last a lifetime), cooked in to pastries (that's the best use of an egg)...

Dave likes his eggs overeasy.  Those type of eggs always grossed me out.  The yolky part just seemed like uncooked egg to me.

I've always been one to try new things.  Particularly with food!  I watch a lot of the food channel and they keep talking about the "eggy goodness" of a fried egg, so I thought I'd give it another shot.  Hell, I didn't like mustard until I was in my 20s, stationed in Germany!

Overeasy eggs are Delicious!!

I quickly became obsessed with them.  I had a fried egg sandwich nearly every day for almost three months!  I'd order them when we went out to breakfast.  I tried them overmedium and overhard.  I like overmedium best.

I'm liking this whole discover-(or even rediscover)-things-in-my-adulthood thing.  Makes me feel like there's hope that I'll never be stuck in my ways and inflexible about my preferences. 

Are there foods you hated as a kid and now you can't get enough of them?  What about other things? 
Like classical music?  I never hated it, but I never really gave it a shot, either.  I think I'll explore that next...

I still can't stand coffee, but overeasy eggs and bacon? mmmm.

All that wasted time, Ruth!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

D is for Dope

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the store for a mere 40 minutes, and while I was gone, Dave and his mom had the mother of all blowouts. 

Thankfully, the kids were also gone (in CA with my mom for 2 weeks).

I think I've mentioned that when she gets mad, she says things I wouldn't say to a dog.  She also brings up the laundry list of your entire life's mistakes, real or imagined.

One of our imaginary sins that came up during this shouting match (lovingly held outside so all the neighbors can know their business) was that she thinks Dave and I are "dope fiends" because we are OK with marijuana having been made legal in Colorado.

The funny thing about that statement is that Dave has NEVER tried an illegal drug in his life.  It's downright un-American, if you ask me.

She and I almost got in to it a week before on the same issue.

There was a traveling nurse that came to our house to give her an insurance-company-mandated physical.  MIL was telling me what a lovely person that nurse was (which, to her mind, means the nurse agreed with everything the MIL asked her about, thus confirming that MIL is, once again, right in all ideals).  One of the things they talked about was weed.  Nurse agreed with MIL that weed is the root of all evil.  Nurse used to work in a prison and claimed that every single man behind bars ever started down the road to the big house by smoking a joint.  Nurse also told MIL that it's been proven that marijuana is the ONLY drug in existence that NEVER leaves the body.  That it stays in your cells and never leaves.

At that point, I'd heard enough.  We were driving to the grocery store, just she and I, and I'd had it.  I said, "That nurse was talking out her ass."

MIL looked shocked and said, "Well, she's a nurse, so I think she knows what she's talking about."  I said, "Never happened.  Your body completely regenerates every cell it has about every 7 years or so, depending on the cell type.  NOTHING stays in your body forever."

I went on to give her my views on addiction.  Here they are, for good or for ill:

I think addicts are wired to be addicts.  I think there may be things in their life that they need to escape from, some of them have horrific things that they should be able to escape from, but some people do it with addiction, others do not.

I strongly believe that if someone is going to be an addict, it doesn't matter what drug they start with.   My brother grew up in the same unstable, dysfunctional household.   I might even go so far as to say that I had it worse, considering the Very Bad Things that happened because I am female.  (No one in our house ever touched me - see previous post for the story.)  I've done the exact same drugs my brother's done.  (I almost let that slip out with her, too!  I can only imagine the firestorm that would've started.  Not to mention the filing away and savoring of that little tidbit until her next tantrum.)  My brother is an addict that has had a very hard time getting his life together.  I never got addicted to drugs or alcohol and have managed to reasonably keep my life on some sort of "normal" track.

Everyone is addicted to something.  For the MIL it's cigarettes and (as I've recently discovered) copious amounts of alcohol.  For some it's food.  For some it's being a dick.   (Please misread that last one as you will. hah!) 

For me it's yarn.  And spending money.  And yarn.  And spending money on yarn.

I really have tried quite a lot of drugs over the years of my well-spent youth. 

Weed:  Tried it in high school a few times.  Bored me to tears.  My friends would be cracking up and getting the munchies; I'd be asleep in the corner.

Cocaine:  My high school sweetheart had several cousins heavily involved in the powder.  One worked at a company that makes (among other things) the sauces they use at Baskin-Robbins.  That place was fuckin' Candyland.  Most of the employees would spend their lunch hours snorting up in the parking lot.  He also had a cousin who dealt coke. 

The first time I tried it, we went to the dealer-cousin's house.  The house was modest, but lovely.   They set up some on a small mirror laid on the pool table.  I'd been so terrified by all the Just Say No propaganda that I was sure my heart would literally explode the first time I tried it.  I turned to Sweetheart and said, "Promise me if anything happens, you will call an ambulance."  He promised he would.   He didn't even laugh at me. 

I was so nervous that when I bent to take that first sniff (rolled $100 bill at the ready), that I started laughing and accidentally blew the stuff all over the pool table.  Cousin and Sweetheart were both patient and didn't get mad.  They just set up again, and I did it right that time.

Don't mistake me.   Neither one of them were pressuring me or cared whether I did it or not.  I was curious and wanted to try it.

Sweetheart and I used to coke the fuck out three or four times a year.  4th of July and New Year's Eve, we'd go to different cousins of his in Sacramento.   His female cousin there, T, was a heavy construction equipment driver and always had good stuff.  We'd stay with her and her husband (and their kids) and party all night long for a few days at a time.  (Never in front of the kids.  They'd get sent down the block to stay with her parents.)

The thing with me and coke is that I'm way too fucking cheap for that crap.  I was always a hyperactive person anyway, and I couldn't see paying $100 for something that made me MORE hyper but only lasted twenty minutes.  It was always free and it was always a blast!   But I'd never "waste" my money on that.

Meth:  Yes.  I've tried it.  When I first moved to Tucson, I met and was hanging out with this group of people my age.  I suck at names, but I do remember this one ginger boy they called Peaches (because of his hair and all the fuzz on his arms?).  They all worked in construction (well, not the girls), so there was easy and copious access to drugs.  They called it Crystal in the 90s.  I'm rather dim, so it didn't occur to me until much later that Crystal Meth was, you know... Meth. 

Anyway, like most of my drug mini-adventures, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. 

It suuuuuuuuucked.  

I was up for three days.   We were all hanging out in the same house for this long weekend.   I did a few lines and that was all.   Up for Three.  Days.   At the end, I told Peaches, "I can't stop talking.  I'm annoying MYSELF and I can't shut up."

I somehow managed to clench my jaws and continuously talk for three days straight.  I still have jaw issues due to that mess.

Like most of my drug mini-adventures, I end up asking myself, "How is this fun, exactly??"

Random drug stories:

Worst high I ever had:   In college, tried a "cocoa-puff".  That's a cocaine-laced joint.  The weed is trying to take you down, the coke is trying to pull you up, and you are just fucked up in the middle.

Funniest high I ever saw:  When I was in high school, I hung out with mods and punks.  There was this cheerleader that had a crush on one of the punk rock boys.  She was always bugging us to hang out.

In my little town, there was a place where ALL the kids went to party, no matter what clique you ran with.   It was called the Dykes.  It was a big canal out in the middle of nowhere.  To get to it, you had to know where the turnoff was - a tiny side street off a country road.  Once you took the turnoff, the little road went steeply up, then made a nearly 90-degree turn, and then sloped down to the area where the canal was.  About once every few months, when leaving, some kid would go straight and end up with a broken axle.  Also, when you were actually at the canal at night, if you were looking toward that road off in the dark, you'd see nothing, then.... lights.  Tiny lights of the headlights of approaching cars would appear.

The cool thing about the Dykes is that the farmers who lived further down the road (and, I assume, owned all that land) didn't care if we partied there, as long as no one got hurt or left their beer cans about.

Ok, so with my friends, they did a lot of drugs.   Heavy shit like PCP.  This was pre-me-trying-anything, so I'd just hang out, sip a beer (maybe) and those of our group that didn't partake would sort of babysit and drive those that did. 

Cheerleader sauntered over one night and was trying to schmooze up to the boy she had a crush on.  He was a PCP user, and to try to get in with him, she was bugging him to let her try it.  She weighed slightly more than her birth weight and was claiming she could hang and wouldn't let up, so finally he let her have a hit.   (They'd dip their joints in the PCP liquid.) 

After a few short moments, she was obliterated.   I noticed her staring off toward the dark road, and as I followed her gaze I saw.... lights.  She shouted, "COPS!!" and took off running.   We all looked at each other in bewilderment.  We saw white dots, no red or blue.  (The cops would come out occasionally, but more often then not, they'd have a beer with us and leave.)

We let her run.

A few hours later, when we were ready to leave, CrushBoy said, "We can't leave her."  I was all, "Can't we?", but was overruled by nicer friends. 

We went off in to the field to find her dumb ass.

We found her, all right.

She was entangled in a barbed wire fence.  It was so damn funny!  She was trying to call for help but as quietly as she could so the "cops" wouldn't hear her. 

It was like a scene from The Fly:
"help me!  help meeee!"

We untangled her, put her in a car, drove her home, put her on her front porch, rang the bell, and left.

Now, those of you thinking of Tetanus, don't worry.  It was what passes for Winter in Clovis, CA, and she was jeaned and jacketed and unbloodied.  Most of what was caught in the fence was her enormous down jacket and her even bigger, '80s-styled blonde hair.

So, yes, weed is legal in CO.  Have I tried it?  Not since the '80s.  It's not quite the point in CO where you can walk in to a dispensary and walk out well-stocked.  One still needs a medical card at this point.  But soon, my friends, soon....


I may try it again.   Dave has expressed vague interest.  We'd definitely go the edible route if we were to try it.  We can't stand smoke - blech.

I have some questions about the whole legalizing weed thing.

First there's this:
3.9 tons of marijuana confiscated by Texas Highway Patrol

What are they going to do with all that weed?  Wouldn't they be smart to sell the confiscated drugs to a state that has legalized?  An auction to dispensary owners, like they do with confiscated cars, houses, etc. 

Would that make Texas a drug dealer?

But seriously, how much debt could be erased by selling that amount of illegal to some place that has made it legal?  Would it be wrong to use that "drug money" to help schools?

Personally, I think all drugs should be legalized and regulated.  Prostitution, too.  But that's just me.

My jaw still aches, Ruth!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

C is for Comedy

I spent most of last year angry.  Just pissed beyond all reason. 

One of my best friends is a counselor, and she said that's a sign of depression.  I don't know about that, but I know I wasn't myself.

I've always had people telling me I'm a dreamer and overly optimistic and always looking on the bright side.  Last year, those qualities have seemed to have left me.  I hope they aren't gone for good.

So much happened last year that sucked.  My FIL passed in June.  My high school sweetheart's mom and a friend of mine (two separate people) passed away within ten days of each other in the fall.  I wasn't especially close to either of those two people anymore, but at one time or another in my life, they were important to me and the world was lessened by their passing.

School keeps changing and not for the better.

I hated my job with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns.

After my FIL passed in June, I was so angry with the MIL.  She never really treated him well.  She fed him in to oblivion and she kept the house clean, but she was never nice to him.  For the few months we lived together in Parker (after they first moved out to CO), I watched her take his every misstep, misspent dollar, mistake he's ever made and fashion them in to a spiked club with which to beat him over the head every day.  Every.  Day.

My prime example of how she treated him:
We were having Sunday dinner at their place, as usual.  We'd just had a KFC meal and she'd made corn on the cob to go with it.  We'd put all the food on paper plates, to make that day easy for her.  Dave asked his dad to please pass the corn.  His dad picked it up with one hand and started to pass it.  She yanked the plate away from him, snapping, "You need two hands.  You're going to drop it."   Ironically, she'd yanked it away from him with... you guessed it.... just one hand. 

I sat there thinking, "Jeez, woman!  The man is 80-some years old.  I think he can figure out how to successfully pass a plate of corn."

Whatever they had together obviously worked for them because they were married 40+ years until he passed.   And he would sit there and take it, so... I don't know.

It made me so angry that in his last days and after he died, she would tell anyone who listened what a great man he was.  What a fine man, a good man, a good provider, etc., etc.


She sure as hell never let that on when he was living.

Maybe I should be a little more compassionate.  I probably couldn't be less so, because to hear her go on and on about it made me sick.

Maybe she finally figured it out too late?  Seems like she was suddenly afraid to be alone, even though when he was alive, she really seemed to hate being with him.

We moved her in with us last November.  It's been... interesting.

I've been with Dave since.... well, we met October 1998.  You know, I've never once seen that woman laugh?  She's never been taken by surprise and burst out laughing.  She's never heard a joke she didn't scoff at.  I'm not even sure I've ever seen her give a real, genuine smile.

This January, I sat down and had a little chat with myself.

I see how bitter and lonely and angry and unhappy she is with... well, just about everything.  I see that if I kept on the path I was on last year, I could easily end up just like that.  What a horrible existence that would be.  Not only for the people around her, but for her as well. 

So I've been making a real effort this year to have more joy in my life. 

It's tough.  Stupid, bad, scary things have happened this year (more on that in future posts).  I have to keep reminding myself that stupid, bad, scary things have happened every year of my life and will continue to happen every year I have left. 

I remind myself that I can roll with it and see the good side, the bright side, or (at the very least) that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and even if that light IS a train, maybe the train is full of candy.  And yarn!

One of the steps I've taken... no, that's not accurate.  One of the steps I've been handed on a silver platter is a new radio station in Denver. 

I hate radio.  They play the same crap over and over, there's always commercials, and most of the DJs get on my nerves.  On my commute to school (about an hour each way), I've rediscovered audiobooks.  When I'm not listening to those, I'm listening to this new station.

It's all comedy, all the time!  Clips from comedians of all types (of course, they censor the bad words).  They even do clips from "vintage" comics.  A couple of weeks ago, I was driving to knitting group, upset about something that went on in my house (don't remember what)... that station played Abbott and Costello's Who's on First!! 

I LOVE A&C.   I used to watch reruns of their show whenever I could find it on cable.  When I was taking sign language in college, we had to do partner projects (??).   My partner and I did Who's on First.  I was Abbott.  We printed it out and laid it along the table.  We moved on down the line as we did our show.  So much fun!

When I was in my 20s, I always thought it would be so much fun to do standup - all that traveling and making people feel good.   As I am older and presumably wiser, I see the flipside of that.  Sure you get to travel everywhere, but you probably don't get to actually stick around and see much of the towns you're in.  Also, as I listen to more and more of this station, I realize, there's really a craft to it.  It's hard damn work to come up with new stuff, funny stuff, relevant stuff.  Best left to the professionals.  And then there's the hecklers.   I don't think it would bother me after I'd done it awhile, but I think in the beginning, it would've stumped me. 

Here's a master of dealing with hecklers....


Let's see, what other steps have I taken to be happier...

I try to get my hands on needles every day. 

I've made an effort to spend time with friends.  Not just at knitting group either.  I have tried to meet with my friends from group OUTSIDE of group!  One on one, here and there. 

I try to let the bullshit roll off my canopy of yarn and friends, instead of letting it stain everything.

I've taken to listening to audiobooks that intrigue me and watching whatever the fucking schlock I want to despite my husband's judgmental sighs.

I try to enjoy my boys as much as I can.  I noticed that when I was tired or upset, I'd snap at them and that's not fair.  They make me so happy.  They are so damn funny and sweet!

I'm not always successful with any of the above steps, but I'm making a real effort.  It saddens me that this has become effort when it used to just be who I was.  But maybe with that old adage, "Fake it, 'til you make it", it will become my nature once again.

Enjoying the laughter, Ruth!