Well, I Did It

I opened an Etsy shop.

I WOULD SINCERELY LOVE SOME FEEDBACK.  That’s it, just some feedback if you are so inclined.  I am very open to suggestions and criticisms regarding this tiny new venture.

If you accept this mission, here is the link:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Inkytags?ref=hdr_shop_menu

In the meantime….

In case you're feeling munchy

In case you’re feeling munchy

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Monday Moments

  • Wrapping myself in a radiator-heated towel after my shower.
  • Taking my first sip of piping-hot tea.
  • Starting the laundry.  (I’m one of those weirdos who truly enjoys doing laundry.  Sue me.)
  • Watching the birds fly about the feeders, beating the squirrels at their own game.
  • Planning a new dish for dinner tonight.
  • Enjoying the background buzz in my head for a new project I’m considering.
  • Reading creative blogs.

If you’ve noticed a lack of sarcasm around here lately, it’s because I’m pretty much a homebody since I stopped working, and with no people around to stimulate my sarcasm bone, it’s fairly tame.  I try watching the news but that just drives up my blood pressure which squishes all the sarcasm out and brings up the sputtering rage.  And nobody needs to hear that.

So I did see something yesterday.  I was waiting at the deli counter to buy the sliced meats that Family loves to slap between bread and watching the numbers get called.  (And really, why aren’t more things in life like a deli counter?  Its choices are clearly arrayed before you and everybody takes a number and waits patiently.  Just think how many things could be improved by that system!  The mind boggles.)  One smallish woman with her raincoat clutched firmly about her was hovering near the edge of the counter trying to catch the eye of the deli workers.  They’re smart, though; they are too tall to make eye contact and too used to shenanigans like that to pay any notice.  When number 46 was called, Smallish Woman clutched her ticket and said she was number 44 and she “didn’t hear” them calling her and she wanted to be waited on now.  Number 46 was a tall young woman with a knitted hat and matching knitted Ugg boots (and it really wasn’t that cold out but I digress…) who looked her up and down, then said clearly “So that’s how it works?  We all wait here patiently for our numbers but you go shopping and expect to be waited on whenever you’re ready?  Really?”  She looked about at the rest of us.  “Really?”

Smallish Woman ignored her and started placing the order she wanted.  Youngish Woman looked at the deli workers with a wide, pearly, are-you-really-going-along-with-this smile, and we all waited to see what would happen.  Secretly, I admired the chutzpa of the Youngish Woman because how often do we find ourselves in those situations and think those things but never say them?  She just came right out with what she felt.  I could never do that.  First of all, I’d turn beet red, then I’d choke on my words, and I’d end up looking like an enraged harpy instead of a cool customer mildly stating the facts.

Luckily, two deli workers were free at the same time and addressed both women, and the incident was no longer an incident.  Youngish Woman ordered two items, thanked the men, and left, glancing once more at Smallish.  Smallish still ignored everyone about her, squeezing between people and carts to see all ends of the deli counter as she deliberated if she wanted a quarter pound or a third pound of liverwurst.

I was number 48, and Smallish was still going strong, ordering quarter pounds of cheeses at this point.  I looked over at her and whatever sympathy I might have had for her missing her number and being called out on it went right away: Smallish looked at her list, ticked off her items, then crumpled her list and threw it on the floor.  Dealbreaker. You’re a public mess-maker?  You lose all your sympathy points.

I have no clue what this story might mean to you, nor why I chose to write about it except my life isn’t too exciting lately and I have to seize the moments where I can.  Hubby is working again though as a “consultant” which is a fancy way of saying “we’ll send you all over the place but no benefits” so he’s actually on another interview today which might involve International Travel.  My parting wisdom to him was if they offered him a job it can only be to countries that offer outstanding chocolate and yarn for sale.

The helpful spouse, that’s me.

Must remind myself of this quite often.

Must remind myself of this quite often.

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Tuesday Thoughts

It’s been a busy fall which should mean tons to write about, but other than election crap there has been zero motivation. I’m not doing the whole write a novel in a month thing again, nor am I attempting to knit a sweater in a month, either. It’s enough that I still have five more Christmas presents to knit, yeeeesh.

Instead you get the ever-popular bullet list!

  • Weddings fascinate me because it’s not only a microcosm of what family means to others, but how the actual “wedding” has changed over the years.
  • I still get jazzed over marching band competitions.
  • Putting my foot down in a gentle(ish) way about a social engagement I don’t want to do is easier the older I get.
  • Squirrels are buttheads.
  • I’m getting the itch to make Christmas cards again.  But I must do all the knitting first.
  • I like cooking.
  • And baking.
  • And eating.
  • I changed my twitter tagline.  I like it.
  • I think I spend a lot of time on my iPad, which I’m sure will just shock anyone who knows me.
  • Thanksgiving will be either really good or really bad for reasons, and I’m not sure how I’ll handle the latter.
  • when a puppy licks your face, magic happens.

and now, an old favorite:

*snort

*snort

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Lord-A-Mighty, Feel My Blood Pressure Rising

And I don’t even care for Elvis Presley, but that shows you how the right song in the right situation crosses all divides.  Or something like that.

I went to a retirement party for a lovely woman I taught with.  She has taught kindergarten for over thirty years, and commuted an hour and a half from Pennsylvania into New Jersey every day.  She stayed late to work, stayed late for meetings, came back on weekends to support community events, and was a cherished and valued member of the school community.

She was treated the same shabby way I was in that district.  Someone in the administration gets a wild hair that a teacher (usually tenured and a natural group leader) is detrimental to the American way of life and Must Be Dealt With Immediately.  Public humiliation, gossip, relocation without notification, suddenly terrible observations without any supporting documentation, a warning to all new (non-tenured) teachers forbidding them to consult with her… the mind boggles.

This is a district where the Board of Education declares sorrowfully that there’s nothing they can do about inappropriate behavior by administration because “their hands are tied.”  A teacher who takes more than six and a half of their allotted eleven sick days is automatically graded as “ineffective.”  Why?  Because it makes the district look bad.  To whom?  The board shakes their heads and mentions the tied hands.  An administrator puts a sign-up sheet for a “volunteer” faculty meeting at 3:30 on Friday, October 31, then takes away a prep period for those teachers who did not stay.  Hello, board members?  This is harassment.  “What can we do?  Our hands….”  Screw your hands.

There is so much information out there regarding the massive reform-in-education movement; read Diane Ravitch if you want a good start.  My understanding from what I’ve observed is teachers have become a target to distract from what’s really happening: a takeover to shake up the promise in America of a good, free public education to all citizens and turn it into a class-system of education where only the privileged few may explore a thorough education of their choosing while the vast majority become limited in their scope of understanding to become compliant and unquestioning workers.  We are moving away from a democracy when the educational advantages of learning and opening minds is throttled by those who see only a financial outcome bettering their own lives.

I don’t know how, but I am convinced that these sanctimonious and smug overlord-wannabes will be failing soon, but not before they’ve inflicted a serious wound on the public education system.  And how do I come to this conclusion?  I read my history, one of the courses that reformers want to remove from the curriculum.

If I had a nickel....

If I had a nickel….

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Happy Pumpkin Sacrifice Day!

Casually jacks it.

Casually jacks it.

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Well, That Was Fun

For the second year in a row, I made a pilgrimage to Rhinebeck for the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Family Festival.  (Excuse me while I lie down a minute to recover from that verbiage.)  It was a gorgeous October day, if a bit windy, and I had both Hubby and Younger Daughter with me.

And for the second year in a row, I came home with one perfect skein of yarn.

Well, yes, it is a long way to drive (two and half hours) just to buy yarn.  But that’s not the goal.  The excitement comes in spotting some folks that are only known online in the ravelry world (and if I have to explain what ravelry is then I am going to assume you know nothing about knitting and perhaps you might prefer to peruse some non-knitting posts in my archives?  I don’t want you to feel left out.) and seeing the walking fashion show of handknits for free, and sampling the free wine and munchies at the pavilion and hearing the ubiquitous pan flute group and experiencing sticker shock at the various prices of string and finding the perfect bite to eat and wondering if you have room or strength for ice cream and decide which sheep you want to kidnap and bring home with you.  (Or would that be lampnap?  Kid being a goat, and all…)  

But that one skein.  We are on a little bit of austerity here, since Hubby has been job-hunting since Labor Day but he insisted we go and enjoy the fresh air and whatever else it is I enjoy about these things; it wouldn’t be like years past when I might come home with a dozen skeins of perfect yarn because 10 of those 12 skeins are probably still in the stash, patiently awaiting my flirtations with new yarns to cease and really, if it’s not going to be WOW yarn why should I drop the dough?  The entertainment of petting everything was almost enough.  I say “almost” because I did find the perfect skein.

I found (deep breath) 1,000 yards of a 3-ply, jewel-toned royal blue, 100% cashmere laceweight.  And when I tell you laceweight, I mean you look at how absolutely FINE that thread is and realize that it’s 3-ply and you have to shake yourself mentally to take this in.  What must the single ply look like?  It was a moment suspended in time as the other shoppers walked around me, carried on conversations, and looked at other yarns.  Other yarns!  When sublime perfection was in my hands!  I was transfixed.

Younger Daughter was a perfect partner in this.  You want somebody with you who can point out the possible flaws, the slubs that may not have been noticed, the bad color due to the bad lighting, the other minor flaws or excellent advice that a yarn shopper needs to keep a level head.

“You should totally get it.”

I’ve got to bring that girl with me everywhere yarn is involved.

This is EXACTLY what I look like when I knit.  Or in this case, darn a sock.  Which I've never done.  Either way, picture me in a pinafore on a window seat.

This is EXACTLY what I look like when I knit. Or in this case, darn a sock. Which I’ve never done. Either way, picture me in a pinafore on a window seat.

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Stitch Me a Sampler

I’ve been thinking a lot about home lately and what it means to me.  When Hubby told me his job was over and he was worried about the mortgage, I chirped “no problem, if we have to sell the house we will!”  (I bet you didn’t know that in addition to the unlimited sarcasm, I have an annoying habit of being VERY perky to cheer everyone up.  Can’t do it for myself, but boy howdy can I irritate a room with my upbeat-ness.)  After all, I thought, it’s just different walls so no big deal, right?

Or is it?  I’ve often said I love my house but I wish I could move it to a different place.  What is “place?”  Is it the physical location of your actual dwelling, or is it defined by the view you behold when you look out your window?  What about reaching said home?  Do you need to travel by highways or rutted roads?  Are there conveniences nearby, or do you need to schedule a 45-minute trip just to get a quart of milk?  Is your address easily found for deliveries of packages and mail, or is a Sherpa needed for a monthly provision drop-off?

I live in a small town surrounded by a larger town in the middle of a technically suburban area, but not overrun with housing developments.  I can easily walk to two separate towns with post offices, convenience stores, butchers, drugstores, bakeries, pizza parlors, libraries, and transportation into The Big City and surrounding environs.  While I despise the traffic issues of the nearby highway, I am pretty much in a quiet area.  A horn honking or a siren wailing is still something that makes us stop and look out the window.  When I lived in a city, that was just like your white noise machine playing in the background.

Granted, I live on a county road that sees rush hour in the morning and evening, but I have a huge backyard that attracts lots of wildlife (not the partying kind, although really how do I know what the squirrels and chipmunks are up to at 2 a.m.?) and has big trees and views of amazing sunsets.  There are no rude or noisy neighbors, it’s mostly just families that might have a loud party on a Saturday in the summer and who really cares about that?  I’m grateful I don’t have a neighbor who fancies himself a mechanic, feeling the need to rev every engine he works on super loud just to see how loud it can get and ignoring the belching exhaust out of the tailpipe (and yes, I used to have such a neighbor when I lived in the city parts; he was a prince, I tell you).

And while all these things add up to a pretty calm and serene existence instead of the jangling irritating climate I used to have, I’ve realized these are just the perks.  The real part of home is the feeling it evokes.

There are currently four adults living in this house, two of which I gave birth to.  We each have our little zones that we drift to when we come home, and one of us will always put the kettle on for tea.  The reassuring sound of the gas stove lighting and the cups clinking and the anticipation of the warmth of the tea (even if it’s July and a bazillion degrees, tradition and routine is important) and the comfort of familiar surroundings nurtures us.  We may read or play games on our devices or zone out with television, but we’re never truly disconnected from each other and we share those tidbits we find amusing or thought-provoking.  We also need space from each other and that’s good, too, because we can go into another room away from it all and not feel ostracized or insulted.  It’s called being human.  Would we have this shared connection if we were in a small, two-bedroom apartment with almost no privacy?

I hope I never have to find out, but if I do I am sure to have a kettle on at all times while we work to figure things out.  And that’s probably the essence of home for me.

Bring it.

Bring it.

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