It started in earnest a couple of months ago ... Innocently enough, actually ... A woman contacted me hoping I'd be able to make her a scarf inspired by some of the knitted garments from a recently aired television series. Not being one to traverse the waters of custom orders all that often, I admit the current of curiosity was a little too strong this time, and I was soon swept away. After receiving a collage of photographs, and screenshots from Outlander, and talking it over with my soon-to-be new customer who knew exactly what she wanted, with visual aids, how could I say no?
Having already seen the first episode by stumbling upon some free-promo-thing on TV, but unable to remember any neck-wear of note, it was down to Episode Two. I gathered my checklist of knitting accoutrement necessary for the undertaking: Large needles, practice yarn, calculator, notebook, pen & measuring tape, and settled in for some gauge swatching & TV watching. Instantly recognizing "Dwalin," and "Jackie Elliot," (and they're brothers! *swoon*) I figured it had to be decent, at the very least. The hour passed in combinations of knitting, glancing, number crunching, ripping out frogging, and starting completely over, until finally the scarf in question appeared on screen ... BAM, credits. This won't do ... Episode Three! I HAVE to see more scarf (or so I told myself). It went on like this for quite awhile, er, long after the actual knitting stopped, in fact. I felt myself getting drowsy ... Just one more. I can relax on the couch and snuggle in and just catch one more episode (that's how I reconciled 5 & 6). But when Six ended with Claire storming past a group of Highland Scots, marriage contract in one hand, and snatching a bottle of whiskey from Dougal (Dwalin / Graham McTavish) with the other, after he'd just rescued her from Redcoats sending one scampering like a tiny mouse just by walking toward him whilst staring, I knew I had to get Episode Seven IMMEDIATELY ... And by any means necessary!
For whatever reason, I HAD to know what happened to these people next ...
So, I basically ended up freebasing the entire first half of Season One in a single night (I'm now patiently biding my time through the mid-season break for Part Deux's return April 4th, 2015), and it wasn't enough. I've never seen a more vicious-to- viewers mid-season ending than Claire trapped with Black Jack Randall about to meet her doom, just as Jamie Take-Your-Hands-OFF-My-Wife Fraser bursts through the window.
End Scene. Credits. That's all folks, for six months!
I was online ordering the first book before Sam Heughan got to the "e" in wife, and have since been burning through them as fast as I can get my hands on them -- Let's put it this way, if drone delivery were readily available I'd have been turning the last page of Book One with my other hand waiting outside my front door for a copy of Book Two to be dropped into it without lifting an eyelid.
My new shameless addiction aside, what I find interesting is how strangers have the ability shape each other's lives, and all because someone decided to go out on a limb and ask if I could do something for her, and by doing so, she has given something back to me that I've really come to enjoy. Don't mistake me, I'm definitely not saying we all need to become followers marching single file behind the same drummer, or white knuckle each latest piece of pop culture shot out at us by The Machine, or freak out over frivolous television shows. I mean paying attention to the ebb and flow of even the most casual encounters, because you truly never know where the next little spark to light your fire may come from, and that is always a gift to be thankful for.
And not because I'm back ... well, not only because I'm back! After a rather strange, and challenging 2013 only to turn around and chop slice the tip of my finger off earlier this year with this guy, and now fully understand why he's typically sold with his little friend I packed it in, and said "so long" to the Internet for awhile. I figured it could survive without me. I thought I was made of tougher stuff! Sew through my finger? No problem! But I'm no chef, and completely unaccustomed to chopping off finger tips, and shaving the odd knuckle off here and there so, firmly into hibernation I slipped.
For those of you saying to yourselves right now: Accidents only happen when you're not paying attention. Yeah, I used to be you ... All I can say is you've obviously never used a mandolin slicer! Apparently, accidents CAN happen when you're focused, and paying attention when it comes to Japanese kitchen utensils.
So, why is this the most wonderful time of the year (aside from having me back, and the buzz of the encroaching holidays in the air, of course)? The Worldbuilders are at it again with their fundraising efforts in full swing on behalf of Heifer International, which is a charity I find really interesting, and am happy to support when, and how I can. Its simultaneous massive reach, yet grass roots way the program touches the lives of the people it helps, fascinates me. Doubly cool, is that Worldbuilders is the brainchild of my English-101-professor-turned-bestselling-fantasy-author, Patrick Rothfuss. While, to me, he'll always be the scruffy chinned, grad student making my essays bleed red ink, this majestic warlock of the literary world who could be cashing his advance checks, and swimming in a bin of gold coins à
la Scrooge McDuck, is trying, and I think, succeeding at doing something far more special (as much as I've always wanted to swim in a bin full of money...). Every year his assembled team of world-building minions who keep the Rothfuss machine well-oiled and maintained, crack their knuckles and get to work connecting Geeks & Geekerati alike from far and wide for this one major event (including stretch goals to keep us digging into our pockets searching for more dough, see: Neil Gaiman reads Green Eggs and Ham for one such example) to raise money for people in the kind of crippling poverty, and despair most spoiled Americans, like myself, can only begin to imagine. How much money, you ask? Last year brought in 681,000.00 USD, an amount they're looking to beat this year, with eleven days to go and the total already sitting at 492,684.00 USD as I type this, I think this will be another record breaking year.
How can you join the fundraising mayhem? Several ways, actually! Between online auctions for donated rarities of the geekiest sort, to buying things straight from Pat's store, The Tinker's Pack, where all proceeds go to charity all year long (every single purchase), or by just straight-up donating on the Worldbuilders page, where each donation of ten dollars gets you an entry into the massive lottery of donated books, games, and delightfully dorky miscellany. Act quickly if you're interested in getting your paws on some swag whilst helping people feed themselves, their families, and rescue their village's economy. Even though sales through Pat's website are constantly put toward charity, this particular event ends December 15, 2014 so, get to clickin' if you don't want to miss out!
P.S. When a website offers the option for the author to scribble whatever you want on the cover page of the book you just ordered, things like this happen:
For Stormy, My favorite English 101 student of alltime!
While the sentiment may, or may not be true, I was in his very first 101 class, and I do have it in writing now so, it's his word against mine at this point.
P.P.S. The finger's fine, save for a little scar tissue. I'm clearly a shape-shifter, or at the very least, part starfish. Oh, and thank God my brother wakes up at the crack of dawn, understands my left-handed texts, and is a retired medic (among other things) without whom, I most likely would've bled to death. And thank God, for rubber bands, and that one year I was in Camp Fire.
I heard you howling from the depths of me. You were the scream and I was the still night air, You whispered from inside, the simple truth that there isn't a priest with a cross big enough to exorcise you from me. You will haunt and slam shut, in the middle of all my nights, the doors inside me. I will count your footsteps in the cellar of my soul and beg you to pass through me just once more. Just once.
With New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2014 winding down, and London's just getting underway; air kisses hanging like a thick cloud alongside thrilled gasps of front-row glitterati over how fabulous next year's donation pile is going to be, I'm wondering just how "fabulous" the people of last year's factory collapse in Bangladesh, and other sweatshop workers around the world are feeling. My guess is, not very.
Don't be fooled by the high price on your designer duds, the people behind the construction are, more typically than not, cutting and sewing in the same human rights violating factories pumping out threads for your local one-stop-shop retailer.
At some point something's gotta give. Right now our actions are saying that we value a pretty new dress over human life. It's time to put the champagne down, and get real.
While I feel a 50th anniversary special without Christopher Eccleston is no anniversary special at all (okay, I originally said: wasn't worth watching!), I'll still be tuning in to see what all the fuss is about, and if Billie Piper still mumbles everything she says.
We'll be missin' ya, Chris! But really, you've already given us the gift of air from your lungs...
What more could we possibly want?
Happy anniversary, Doctor Who!
Edited to add: Yep & yep! I was right on both accounts ... although, seeing John Hurt in a faux-hawk made it strangely worthwhile.
... It's time to call it a day They've burst your pretty balloon And taken the moon away ...
I remember my grandfather crooning whilst we un-decorated his Christmas tree when I was still a very small girl, and reaching into the branches he came out with a pair of white, sequined peacock ornaments that he decided I'd give a pretty decent home to. At the time, I thought they were "amazing!" a little later on, I thought, "who just has white sequined peacocks on their Christmas tree ... other than Liberace, of course ..." Then, naturally, time passed, and they were wrapped up, and packed away, and all but forgot until many years later when my mother spied a newly purchased, white, sequined peacock proudly displayed (would a peacock have it any other way?) on my tree, at which she exclaimed with surprise, "Just like Grandpa's!"
I knew I'd been busted.
But mostly, I knew then, exactly WHO just has white sequined peacocks on their Christmas tree ... other than Liberace, of course. Perhaps those of us who firmly believe there is no such thing as "too much," or those who have tossed out the less-is-more attitude in order to subscribe to the more-is-more school of thought, or who simply still allow ourselves the delight of being silly in an all too cynical environment.
I hope everyone was able to slow down, spend time with the people they love, and make wonderful memories to keep your hearts warm all throughout our new year!
...Well, more like a question anyway. I was recently asked if I had any hats for guys available. "Well, hmm ... kinda, I guess ..." I thought to myself as I hesitated to answer due to the last "discussion" I had about what men will, won't, prefer to, and refuse to wear. I was admittedly timid to offer up a hint at what I've been playing around with lately, which is a hybrid of the Commando Camo Cowl I made for my (survivalist) brother, and the Grunge hats whose pattern I've been messing around with since last summer. What's sprung up from these two lovebirds is a convertible 2-in-1 drawstring cowl that with the rip of a cord, and the pinch of a fastener becomes a hat! I happen to think these are handy little dudes to have around for everything from a brisk hillside jaunt, to breezy beach combing ... anyone familiar with the PNW knows the bone-chilling draft that creeps in right under the collar and rattles all the way down your pant leg. So far these seem to stand up to whatever conditions Western Washington can throw at 'em!
I'm glad I took the leap with one of my fun (to the highest degree) customers into custom order territory, and will be offering these in Ye Olde Knitted Dry Goods Shoppe soon!
I believe what has happened in Connecticut is a symptom of a bigger problem, much larger than any one issue involved. Please send your love, and healing energy to the families whose lives have been forever changed, and community at large. While you're at it, tell your people you love them.
The picture a mother's son does in jail hangs on her wall as proof that beauty is possible even in the most wretched. And this is a much different idea than the fancier notion that art is a scam and a rip-off. But you can never explain to someone who uses God's gift to enslave, that you have used God's gift to be free.