Monday, August 30, 2010

Art Imitating Art.....



I'm the one who can take the heat,

The one they say just can't be beat,

I'll shoot it to you straight,

And look you in the eye,

So gimme just a minute

and I'll tell you why,

I'm a rough boy.....

("Rough Boy", ZZ Top)


Well I finally finished the Little Red Riding Hoodie and so I chose a new project to work on. I ended up choosing the the unifinished set of "Animal Crackers Socks".

What I aim to do with these socks is finish designing them and then put the patterns up for sale in the same document. Kind of like a 4-in-1 deal.

There will be 4 socks. The knitter will have her/his choice of cuffs, leopard color combo, heels, and sizes. One size will be a ladies med/large. The other size will be a ladies small.

Also, I made the leopard fair isle chart to where there's only one place that a float is longer than 5 stitches so that there is that only place which requires the knitter to twist the yarn to carry it in back of the working color. (I hate doing that.) There will be a complete pattern repeat on each needle, which makes it easier to see where you are and check that you haven't made any mistakes. (And it makes it much easier to fix mistakes before you go on and knit umpteen more rounds before realizing it.)

But it's always a big entertaining thing for Blaine to sit back and be sarcastic about what he calls "my crazy, psychedelic projects".

Blaine is a macho man and thinks the whole world should dress in somber blue, gray, or dark brown. He's what you might call (as ZZ Top said so well) a "rough boy". And believe me, I suffer my rough boy's analytics about all my psychedelic projects because, as most of you know, all my knitting projects... er.... march to a different drummer.

You should have heard him while I was knitting the Little Red Riding Hoodie.

"Hey Bo! Ronald McDonald called---he wants his coat back!"

Very funny.

Or, while I'm trying on one of my wildly colored cardigans, he'll remark: "Now all you need is a big red nose and big floppy shoes...."

Lord Jesus, keep me from throttling him......

But actually, his remarks don't stop just with my crazy knitted projects. He does it in other situations, too.

For example, if he sees a huge, multiple car crash scene on the Nascar races, he'll say: "If you weren't sitting right here I would have sworn that was you driving.... because that's how you drive our buggy in Walmart."

Ho ho ho....

Or if I'm not understanding some computer thing that he's trying to explain, he'll exclaim: "Geez, Bo--do you need a flashlight and a map up in your brain?"

God help me!!

Eventually I got so irked at him because of that remark above that I began providing my own snappy comebacks. Like: "What do I look like? A Bill Gates employee?"

(Okay, it's weak, but it got my point across.)

And I've written before about his habit of harping at me over how much toilet tissue I use (see "The Quicker Crapper Picker Upper" post here).

Verily, verily, no matter how much I tell him I'm only performing the typical female's hygiene, he still makes crass remarks about my "usage" numbers. And then I'll get irritated back at him and reply back at him:

Him: "Bo! We're out of toilet tissue again! What are you doing with it in there---eating it?"

Me: "What would like? To come into the bathroom with a magnifying glass so you could witness just exactly how much I'm using and why? Or should I just stop using it altogether and see how that goes?"

Or I get irritated because I suspect he's not listening to me when I'm talking. So I'll test him and ask: "What did I just say?"

Him: "Ummmm, you said that Little Baby did something that made you mad..."

Me, suspiciously: "Well okay....I guess you were listening."

But I couldn't quell my suspicions. So I began to ask more specifically.

Me (again, suspecting he wasn't listening): "What did I just say?"

Him: "Umm....You broke a wooden knitting needle....."

Me: "What did I say after that?"

Him: "Ummm......uh... well... "

Me: "Ahah! See? You don't listen to me! You've just confirmed what I've been suspecting all along. And that's a neat trick there---you've actually trained yourself to remember only the last 5 words I said simply to prove that you really were 'listening'! But I figured you out, Buster! Yessiree, you didn't remember a damn thing after those words--- and I talked a whole paragraph!"

Sigh..... I know. I know what you're thinking.... and you'd be right.

I really shouldn't be complaining about that idgit because he is so very good to me. Blaine's good qualities are endless---he actually thinks it is his job to ensure my happiness because I'm a female and he's the Alpha Male. In fact, he just called me from some super computer building to wish me a happy birthday. (It's my birthday today.)

Here are some of his good qualities: He does ALL the laundry, he makes enough coffee so that when I get up there's a lot left for me, he can literally fix anything which is broken (ask me about the crystal candlestick some time), he notices if I'm depressed or anxious and asks what he can buy me to fix it, he tries to massage my tensed up shoulders but his big strong hands do it too hard and it hurts (but I never tell him that), and......

....the biggest and bestest thing....

Is that he knows I'm crazy and doesn't mind...

(Oops, I shouldn't have said that. My therapists tell me not to refer to myself as crazy. They say that I should say instead: "I have a chronic mental illness"--- which sounds totally lame to me.)

Where was I?

Oh the end of this blog post.

Talk at ya later, 'taters....



Monday, August 23, 2010

I'll Huff And I'll Puff....Oh Wait, That's A Different Fairy Tale....


You like your life in a free-form style,

You'll take an inch but you'd love a mile,

There never seems to be quite enough,

Floating around to fill your lovin' cup,

("Jackie Blue", Ozark Mountain Daredevils)

* last, I've finished the dratted Little Red Riding Hoodie....

...a garment which has virtually sucked the life out of me for months. I'm totally SICK of the thing. But it's finally finished, thank God. (Except I haven't sewn those frogs down yet.)

(You can click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Originally, in the beginning, when I was sketching out how it would have to be knit, I had wanted lengths of green leaf trim for the button bands and the wrists. I thought that the leaf trim would be so cunningly pretty. But the time length that I procrastinated about putting it on the LRRH convinced me that my continued delay was actually due to the fact that--- deep down in my heart --- I just didn't like the leaf trim on there.

Nope, the trim just didn't look right, no matter how I arranged it, and thus my prolonged hesitation.

So I chose this way of finishing the LRRH---black frogs for closure and giant tassels on the drawstrings. It looks cute when you tie the drawstrings into a bow and let them hang down the front.

I would say "Tah Dah!" but I know that a lot of people probably think the garment is hideous. But I like it. And I'm sure I'll get a lot of wear out of it this winter.

I'm going through some difficulties these days and I'm glad I finished the thing because I need the relaxation of knitting on something else for a change. I'm even to the point that I can't think up decent topics for this blog. Don't know what's the matter.....

...but my therapists are like cerebral battering rams, mentally pounding at me over and over...

My therapists don't play around---they are on me like white on rice, every minute of three days of therapy a week...

People think therapy is just sitting in a chair and boring the hell out of your therapist by talking about one's youth. But that's not it. It's actually a lot of work---and if your therapists are like mine, they will eventually beat you down to a malleable, humble state.

I thought I was like that until I saw my psychiatrist last week.

And he surprised the hell out of me by substantially increasing the dose of one of my more serious meds, Seroquel. I am absolutely mortified about that.

The increase is hundreds of milligrams more than that of the other patients in my group. What's up with that?


I always joke around behind the therapists' backs and amuse the other patients by calling Seroquel "animal tranquilizer".

Gallows humor, I guess....

I used to be known as quite the "wild child"..... but that's all gone now. I feel like these meds have beat me down into a colorless, melancholy, and sad creature. The only place to find the roots of my wild child personality is in my knitting, where I vicariously knit madly colorful things on the fly, making up the patterns as I go---the color changes performed in deference to the changes in my mood...

Oh well, didn't mean to whine at you. I think I'll go upstairs and look into the Magical Yarn Closet and pull out some unfinished object to knit on. The shawl with a ruffled trim. Or maybe the "Animal Crackers" leopard socks. Or that totally wild cardigan which just needs sleeves.


ooh-hoo, jackie blue,

Making wishes that never come true,

Going places where you've never been,

ooh jackie, you're going again....



Monday, August 16, 2010

Finally Over With The Consumption......

Well, FINALLY, after over a week of being ill and not being able to play with my hobbies, I am back in good health--- and also back in the saddle again for getting back into my studio to enjoy myself making jewlery. First off, I decided to get organized and tidy things up. The above is one of my "stringing stations" where I sit on the floor to string necklaces, make earrings, or wire beads & pendants.

Above is one of the "unfinished stations" where I have things that are mostly finished but need the finishing touches. Like how those metallic blue buttons need holes drilled into them with the dremel. The pendants and earrings to the left need beads to be attached to the bottom loops. (You can click on the pictures to enlarge.)

The above is a bunch of finished items---sorry the picture isn't very good (but you can click to enlarge). There's pendants with matching earrings and there's a sack of finished buttons all the way to the right. (And yes, I do realize my jewelry is not everybody's cup of tea.)

More finished items---necklaces and earrings.

Even more finished items.

And more finished items.

The above is a pendant with a guilded gold edge, made to look like the metallic gold papers some chocolates come packaged in.

Here's some other pendants and earrings---and I transferred a Barbie-like face onto one of those pendants. I liked the picture because she's wearing a leopard hat.

And last but not least is the paints area, where all sorts of paints, glosses, and other miscellaneous items are. There's other areas in the studio, where different things are done---you'd be amazed at how much stuff I have got in there.

I'm still an amateur, but it's fun learning. My mother is going to teach me some things when I go down to Texas in September.

What's happening is that my sister is going to get married. And afterwards there will be a two-day wedding event in Dallas--- with a family dinner and a huge cocktail party at the Mariott hotel in "The Legacy" complex.

But there's a glitch---my mother and sister have had a huge falling out and are not speaking. My mother has chosen not to attend the wedding event. (Long, complicated story.)

So anyway, I will go down to Texas a couple weeks before Blaine drives down so that I can spend some extra time with my mother. As you know, she is a professional artist and has 2 huge, exciting studios which contain every hobby material imaginable. And Mumsy has promised to teach me jewelry wiring techniques--yay!!!

Blaine will come down later on, and then he and I will drive to Dallas to check into the Marriot for the two days of festivities. I asked Mumsy if she thought I could make napkin rings out of polymer clay for a wedding gift for my sister and she said yes---and that she will show me how to do it when I get down there--yay again!!!

(Yes, my sister is one of those who uses napkin rings on her table.....)

(Blaine and I eat our meals in front of the TV set with paper towels as napkins....)

(You know, I wonder what guests would think if I ever served a meal with napkin rings..... but with paper towels rolled up in the napkin rings instead of cloth ones????)

(Interesting thought, don't you think?)



Monday, August 09, 2010

What Can a Woman Do to Get Some Sympathy When She's Sick?


What IS IT with men that they don't know how to take care of a woman when she's sick? I mean, Blaine is the greatest guy in the world.....UNTIL I GET SICK.

You know, I rarely get sick with viruses and such. Rarely. In fact, I haven't gotten one in the two years since I returned to Blaine from Texas.

But since Saturday, I have been felled by the meanest virus I've ever known. I am so sick that I can barely get out of bed to go to the refrigerator and get a yogurt. And my coughing spells feel like I've coughed up a lung...

And when I do go downstairs, I get the scene below--no sympathy from Little Baby. She wants her tuna plate filled with tuna even if it means I have to crawl on all 4's.

Sigh..... so it must be true--- there is simply no rest for the wicked, as proclaimed in the Book of Isaiah verses 48:22 and 57:20-21.

(Maybe I should get less wickeder?)

Is "wickeder" a word?

Where was I?

Oh yeah, nobody in the household has any sympathy for me in my state of the consumption....

And below you can see how concerned Blaine and Leonard are about it.

As I walked by them to shakily walk back up the stairs to the bedroom, I couldn't help but to remark sarcastically: "Can I get you a Coke and a footstool?"

But Blaine is of the ilk that he doesn't do "sympathy" for sick people. And he doesn't believe in pampering me when I'm sick. Although, if he were sick, like he was this past week, he expected much attention. Now he's better but the virus jumped to me and I went down like a tossed sack of rotten potatoes. And yet Blaine just blithely goes about his business, irritated that I haven't done any housework in the days I was sick.

He actually had the GALL to sarcastically exclaim: "Do you even KNOW HOW to use a Swiffer?"

And when I whined that I was sick as a dog, he actually had even MORE GALL to say: "Get off the cross---we need the wood!"

And, being ill, I just couldn't come up with any snappy comebacks.

But let me think on that for a bit......



Monday, August 02, 2010

Therapy.....Or, Don't Cry For Me Copacabana...



She's got eyes of the bluest skies,

As if they thought of rain,

I hate to look into those eyes,

And see an ounce of pain,

("Sweet Child O' Mine", Guns & Roses)


Night before last, at the stroke of midnight, I awoke in the middle of a nightmare, and I experienced one of the worst panic attacks I've had in weeks. The panic played out like a piano doing scales.....going up and down throughout every single secret thought which haunts me....

My nightmares are always the same....I'm in a foreign country during my childhood and I'm re-experiencing the same thing over and over...

I had been remembering a bloody political riot on the famous Copacabana Beach when my parents were stationed in Brazil. That day my family had been at the beach. I was a small child, as was my younger sister, and we were playing at the warm water's edge where the waves lapped at our legs and we were laughing at something silly. My parents were located way up the beach, near the street, sunning themselves on a blanket stretched out, a picnic lunch packed in a cooler.

All of a sudden, seemingly coming from nowhere, there were hundreds of people fighting on the beach directly in front of us..... fighting to the kill. The beach went dark with scores of people battling each other. My sister and I stood stock still in the water, frozen in horror, each of us dropping our little sand buckets, which floated merrily away, never to be seen again. My sister and I both saw machetes and knives in people's hands, attacking and dueling it out in the riot---and blood was flowing freely. My sister and I couldn't run to safety because our parents were on the other side of the riot. The only other way was back into the water---and neither of us could swim.

And then I saw him.

It was my tall, dark-haired father. Unbelievably, he was forcing his way through the riot--and I had never seen such a frightened, but determined, look on his face. As he made his way through the thick of the fighting hordes, he used any means or tactic he could to get through, shoving people out of the way with both arms. I even saw him kick some people out of the way. My father was a powerful man. When he was almost to the water, I saw him vault over a dying man who had fallen onto the sand, bleeding his life away. And....unbelievably, my father made it to my sister and I without any injury.

He grabbed us girls up, one with the right arm and the other with the left, and as he gripped us tight with his powerful arms, he courageously began wading back through the riot, us small girls each held like a football clutched under the arm of an NFL football player running for a touchdown. As we traveled wildy through the riot, I was inches away from people getting their throats slit and other people reeling backwards from being fatally stabbed---and I watched in horror as the mortally wounded people fell to the sand, which by now was running red rivers of blood.

But my father heroically made it back to the street, both his daughters safe, where my mother stood crying with relief when she saw us girls. We ran out of the area as fast as we could, among crowds of others trying to get away from the riot, my parents holding my sister and I tightly. And I'll never forget, as we made our way home, my mother crying piteously the entire time.

And there's other panic flashbacks...but let's not talk of them now...

Where was I?

Oh yes....the LRRH and my studio.

Anyway, I got up from bed and took a sedative, Klonopin, to try and diminish the panic attack. (Which only helped a little bit). Then I went back to bed and tossed and turned all night, sweating and waiting feverishly for the light of day, too afraid to go back to sleep in case the terrible nightmare returned.

I've had these panic attacks all my life. And the PTSD flashbacks can occur at any time without warning. No therapist has ever been able to help me cease having them, although the meds they have put me on have helped diminish the number of occurrences. I feel bitter about these attacks--and I also feel cursed and envious when I see all the normal people around me who don't experience panic attacks.

And then I get angry and ask God: "Why me? Why have you given me all this crap? Don't I have enough on my plate without things like alcoholism, absolutely no self-esteem, and anxiety 24/7 that sets off these panic attacks? And would it have been too much to ask that you didn't give me this horror-filled life, which caused my psychiatric breakdown and the subsequent need for intense therapy 3 days a week? WHY WHY WHY! Why did you pile all this stuff onto your creation called Bo???"

In the morning, I called Jack, my therapist, and he talked to me awhile to get me to stop crying so hard. Eventually I calmed down a little and then he gave me an assignment for that day to help distract me from the lingering effects of the panick. He told me to work on the Little Red Riding Hoodie--- and to work on them faithfully for the next few days. Through my tears, I promised to do just that.

So I did as he asked, and the results you can see here.

First, I worked in the studio. My hands still shaking from the after effects of the panic attack, I grabbed a big piece of black clay, wondering what to make out of it. And then I started working....

After conditioning the clay by squeezing it awhile till it was soft and pliable, I rolled it out flat.

Then, still trying to calm myself, I stamped the piece all over with words like "hope", "peace", "passion", "truth", and "love". And then I used a cookie cutter to stamp out heart shaped cut-outs from the clay. I had decided that I was going to make buttons.

I still had leftover tears rolling down my cheeks as I worked. I had to keep wiping them away so they wouldn't drip onto the buttons-in-progress.

Per the advice of my friends at the polymer clay list, I applied sparkly blue Pearl Ex powders to the heart cut-outs before I baked them, just brushing the top of them with the glittery Pearl Ex, which made the stamped words more noticeable. I decided that I loved the glittery blue on black. And then I baked them.

While the buttons were baking in my convection oven, I worked on the Little Red Riding Hoodie. Right now I'm currently crocheting a thin black line of single crochet on the button band area. As I work further on the LRRH, you'll see why I did that.

Below is it's pic---sorry the picture is upside down but I had to take the picture that way to avoid putting my shadow on the garment.

Meanwhile, Little Baby, as usual, wants tuna. But sometimes I just can't drop what I'm doing, especially since she wants it all day. I mean, sometimes I'll put a big glob of tuna on her plate, and she'll eat hers and Leonard's, too----and then she'll start asking for it ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!!

So now she has a new tactic---she just sits by her dishes all day with a disgusted look on her face in order to shame me into putting tuna on there. It doesn't bother me in the bit.

But it is unnerving.....

Well, I finally finished the heart buttons. After they cooled down from being baked, I painted some of the words or partial words on them red (one on each button) and then I finished by applying a nice gloss coat. (This picture of them is weird. In reality they are more blue---I think the flash of the camera blinded them in light.)

Now all I have to do is drill the buttonholes.


You're waiting for someone to understand you,

But you've got demons in the closet,

And you're screaming out to stop it,

Saying life's begun to cheat you,

Friends are out to beat you,

Grab onto what you can scramble for....

("Hide in Your Shell", Supertramp)