All DK Yarn is Not Created Equal

Yeah, the yarn I’m trying to create a Christmas gift out of says it’s DK yarn. And the pattern I’m using calls for DK yarn.

Someone is lying.

When the pattern calls for size 7 needles and I’m down to 4s, and I still think it’s way too open and lacy — even given the fact that I knit loose and need to go down 1 or 2 sizes all the time anyway — it seems to me we’ve got a failure of equality here.

I’m going to double my yarn and still use the 4s, and see how it goes. Tomorrow. I’ve already started this project six or seven times, bringing the needle size down, trying it double once on 6s. Casting on is my least favorite knitting activity so I spent most of the evening working on my re-ignited openwork scarf instead.

But hey, as long as I’m safely on the couch knitting (or casting on, knitting, ripping, casting on, knitting, ripping, casting on), I’m not out catching the flu!

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The Worrywart

I spent a large chunk of my life in intense worrying. About everything. Imagine how much fun I was to be around after 9/11. You could ask my ex-husband about my circa 2001/2002 fixation on the possibility of dirty bombs or germ warfare.

In recent years, though, I’ve mellowed. Become more philosophical. Possibly it’s just that I wore myself out, or became more fatalistic, or something. Or all of that.

But I find myself tense about the H1N1 flu. We don’t have vaccines yet — or I’d be first in line — and I’m afraid Kaiser will be stingy with the Tamiflu, and also might make difficulties if I need them to fill out the voluminous paperwork my employer would require in order to pay me for more than 3 days off.

I do know that as soon as I know I can get vaccine I will. And if I get sick I will call and throw a tantrum if they won’t give me Tamiflu, and if I feel really really crappy I will show up at their ER. And somehow I will sort out the work thing if need be.

But being sick is something that has always stressed me out — not only do I hate it, I always feel self-conscious when I’m sick. And now with the possibility of, oh, say, dying in a matter of days in a rather unpleasant way… augh.

People in my age group, and the heavy, are apparently particularly at risk for complications. Thankfully I don’t have or work with kids, don’t see the public much, tend to be a homebody, and am currently all about the alcohol-based hand sanitizers, anti-viral wipes, and the like.

Not enjoying this return to this kind of anxiety, though.

Vodka, IMing, and Knitting

They don’t mix well for me. I’m working on an openwork scarf for myself — sometimes I need something round my neck, but the quasi-laciness will keep it from being too much. It’s a simple 4-row pattern with rows 1 & 3 being the pattern rows. There are a couple of oopses early on, where I forgot whether I was on 1 or 3. I decided I needed a row counter even with such a simple pattern. It was all good til I had a drink Saturday night while IMing with a friend, and tried to continue knitting.

I changed pattern mid-row. Sigh.

I thought about it, and although it’s visible, along with the earlier coupla screwups, when you lay the scarf down, it’s not going to be when wrapped around my neck, and I’ve decided I just don’t wanna rip back. I know this makes me a slacker knitter, and if I were knitting for someone else, or if it were something like a sweater, I’d do it.

I’ve learnt my lesson, though, about how far my multi-tasking can go, especially when  mixed with vodka.

Addendum: Having said all this, I started over.

Sundays and Mondays

…somehow occur more frequently than the other days of the week.

I wonder, if I didn’t  have a full-time job, if despair would settle on me on Sunday nights anyway. It did when I was in school, because I’d always fear I’d forgotten to do something that would blindside me Monday morning. It only got worse when I got out of school and started working.

I think by now it’s become a Pavlovian response to Sunday. I have a feeling I could win the lottery and be a lady of leisure the rest of my days and Sunday nights would, at the very least, cause me uneasiness.

Sunday evenings unfortunately are not particularly conducive to socializing or other get-togethers; everyone is gearing up for the week ahead. That being the case I need to brainstorm some ways of keeping myself diverted on Sundays from about 2 PM on.

Or I need to heartily convince someone that they should spend their Sunday evenings distracting me!

More Introverted than Thou

I am waiting to make a friend as introverted as I am.

Someone with a job who showers regularly, anyway.

Once upon a time, I was married to someone who seemed as introverted as I am. We used to joke that “Who Can it Be Now?” was our theme song.  We liked coming home after work. He laughingly told me not long after we married that some people at his office were going out, and his first thought was, “I can’t go; I’m married!”

Wellllll… that obviously didn’t last. And he turned out to be not quite as introverted as advertised.

I don’t mind going out and having some drinks, having dinner with friends, or traveling. I do actually have friends. I just need to have some quiet solitude on a daily basis. When I was married, I didn’t really need solitude from my husband much, but when I did, I’d take a long hot bath. What I don’t like is having to be “on” from awakening to bedtime. I don’t like having to work all day and then do something until so late that all I can do is shower and go to bed after. And I like to have one weekend day to just read, knit, hang out, whatever.

And on top of the introversion, I am shy (sans a few drinks, anyway). I’m not good at mingling and unless there’s some kind of structure to a gathering that gives me a topic for conversation, I’m not good at talking to people I don’t know.

Oddly, many people I’ve known, but not known well, can’t believe I’m either shy or introverted. This might make meeting other introverts a little challenging, because if they’re out there they may never think I’m one of them.

A friend joked to me many years ago, “Going out to meet someone like you is pointless. They’re at home in their living room just like you are!”

I suppose I need to learn to strike a balance between a craving for quiet and solitude and the loneliness that can overwhelm even the most intensely shy. I think this is going to be a lifelong project, though. And I think one thing that I have to wrap my head around is that it’s okay if my friends, and even a partner, are more outgoing than I am.

Which would be a good thought to embrace, because almost everybody (employed, hygienic) is!

Transitional Season

It’s fall and I couldn’t be more pleased about it. There’s stuff to love about every season, but I’m absolutely a spring-and-autumn girl. I think part of it is that the rhythm of the academic year (which routine I passionately miss) is ingrained into my soul. Therefore, spring means that summer’s freedom is coming, and fall means that a whole new year is starting.

Even though it’s been the entire lifetime of a college freshman since I was fortunate enough to be a student.

It’s wonderful to be able to wear heavier clothes. It’s cozy and secure-feeling to be wrapped up in cloth — although I am only rarely cold enough to truly wrap up, and once went for years without owning a coat. I use big French scarf/shawls instead, most of the time, but in fall and then winter there is usually an opportunity here and there to bundle up. I love the light in the fall, being able to sleep under all the covers, and “falling back” so the sun is actually up when I haul my reluctant self out of bed in the mornings.  Cool weather invigorates me and makes me want to get things done.  Then there’s the return of soup, spending a Sunday afternoon roasting a chicken or baking. (Which you can do in the warmer months, but it’s not quite the same. And makes the kitchen unbearable.) And near the end of fall, in the holiday season, rain starts making a sporadic appearance, and I can sit and drink something hot while listening to it. The hills turn green.

Also, the piano professor across the street who practices atonal compositions for hours on end finally closes her bloody window when she does it once the weather gets cold.

I also consistently harbor the misconception that fall and winter nights really are longer, instead of just darker longer.  Dark is fine for me since I find it peaceful. But every year I think I will get more reading/writing/knitting/baking done in the evenings. It’s not like I’m out playing softball in the summer and now I have my evenings to myself, so I’m not sure why I have this yearly fantasy, but I do.

Hey, maybe this year.

je veux voyager léger

For the first time ever, I’m shedding things and keeping them shed. I’ve always gone through purges — I’d sell books or CDs or give clothes to the Salvation Army (I always say, and wanted to type, “Goodwill,” but it occurs me that I am using that generically and always give stuff to the SA). But I’d just buy more stuff shortly thereafter.

Now, though, I am suddenly really serious about the whole thing. There are certain things (books, fiber tools, cookware) that I won’t get rid of.  I love my KitchenAid, my new Dyson vacuum, the paintings and photos on the walls, my camera, my Harmony interchangeable needles, my two spinning wheels, and just about every book on my shelves. But there is so much crap here! And there was so much more.

Part of it is wanting to move — I’d like to be able to just pack up, pick up, and fly if the opportunity came to me. And then there’s age. The post title comes from Isabelle Boulay’s “Jamais Assez Loin.”  The line is A l’âge que j’ai j’veux voyager léger (“at my age I want to travel light”)  and I believe that’s true. (Of course I think she was in her twenties when she did this song. Anyway!)

And meanwhile, it does seem I can think better with less stuff around. I’ve noticed I can get out of bed slightly more easily if there aren’t a lot of things near my bed. I have a hard time waking up as it is and a jumble of stuff being the first thing I see is not conducive to anything but burying my head under the covers.

Still, though, it’s sometimes hard to part with something. Having had Depression-era parents, I had “but we may need that” inculcated into me. And I’m one of the most sentimental people — I still have the parking lot sticker from a trip to Oxford in August 1990. Clearly I am not throwing everything away.

But it appeals to me, voyager léger.

Anesthesia

I have a great terror of general anesthesia. At first, it was because that’s the easiest way to have something go wrong in surgery. Then, I actually had surgery, and nothing went wrong… but oh God, the coming out of anesthesia!

I felt like I was lying at the bottom of a well, with everyone about ten feet above me. All I wanted to do was sleep, and yet people kept talking, and lights were on, and I was disoriented and annoyed at the same time. (Later, in my hospital room, three family members had an extended back-and-forth on where to go to lunch, and annoyance overcame my anxiety — “Just go!” I snapped through my fog, and they did, and I went back to sleep.)

The second time I had it, it was outpatient, and the nurses in recovery were really really committed to getting me to wake up. So I was lying there, disoriented, a limb immobilized, feeling a rising panic attack and every time I’d doze blissfully back off they’d call my name out. It sounded to me like they were shouting, although my sister says they weren’t. But it made me panic more. At least this time the anesthesiologist gave me an anti-emetic with the anesthesia, so while I was groggy and anxious, I wasn’t nauseated.

But now I’m putting off relatively minor surgery because I am dreading the feeling of terror and anxiety that I get when I come out of the general. I also know that having any incisions, however tiny, in my abdomen will make moving and sleeping really hard for me. But mostly, it’s the anesthesia.

So the question to myself is: How much daily discomfort outweighs an hour or two of disoriented panic and a week or so of bad sleep?

And just how big of a wimp does this make me?