No End And No Beginning

We’re expecting a snowstorm tonight and another immediately following. Somehow, this does not amount to expecting a snow day. How-how-how can two separate snowstorms in one night not result in my spending my tomorrow in jammies, kneading whole wheat dough?

Kids, you will use geometry all your lives.

A circle, another circle, a square.

When I’m at home during daylight hours, every two hours I pour a pot of boiling water over a frozen water dispenser for the chickens and give them treats. They reward me with a few eggs and standing at the other side of the run, pretending we’ve never met. It is winter, after all. The chickens have wild ideas about me. Why can’t I fix this wet stuff falling from the sky, with a roof over the run perhaps? It’s hard to look at this and not think, “Since I can manipulate their weather, I should make it spring already. Where’s my tanning lotion?”

 

 

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Deep And Crisp And Even

Annual report time!

The yarn is fuzzy, too.

Action photo of baby blanket.

This started out as the Cat Blanket Project. The Lovely Georg, Ceiling Cat Remember Her With Fishy Treats, asked friends to knit or crochet blankets for animal shelters, which I did. But then people from all over – possibly including you – send me yarn in large boxes; other agencies/organizations ask for yarny help. So! You trusted me with art supplies. This is what I did with them in 2014, in 2015, and in 2016:

cat blankets These go to Georg or to a shelter with which Georg is in contact. In 2017, I added crocheted cat toys.

baby blankets A nearby hospital has a baby blanket project. I try to make blankets early in the year or during long car trips.  I sometimes buy special yarn for this.

scarves There are a number of projects that ask for scarves. I send or deliver them all over the place. Mostly, I buy yarn for this that I think will be fun and soft to wear.

hats Several agencies ask for hats for infants, children and adults. Infant hats are quick to crochet.

lap blankets There’s a chemo facility nearby that asks for lap blankets for patients. I send these through a friend. She feels they are greatly appreciated. In 2017, lap blankets also went to veterans near the Shore.

In 2017, I stitched my fingers off!

Early in the year, I sent out 15 cat blankets and a friend donated an additional blanket. Later, 45 + 45 cat toys went to the same place. That’s 10 more blankets than I produced last year, yay!

Three baby blankets went to the hospital project. Four scarves and three hats went to a community project. I made a thick, giant rug for a very large dog belonging to a very elderly lady.

Seven lap blankets went to veterans, through new friends. Two large blankets went to the Welcome Blanket Project. Finally, early in the year, I made 36 pussy hats for the Women’s March On Washington. I totally bought out my local yarn store’s pink yarn supply!

Sometimes, when donated boxes of yarn arrive at my door, the skeins look like random leftovers from dozens of projects, but sometimes they don’t. This year, I spread out the contents of one box on the floor of my craft lair and discovered unfinished sweaters, Alpine lace, knitting needles, bobbins, threaded tapestry needles. Many things were individually wrapped in plastic bags and labeled. My impression was that a knitter’s projects stopped suddenly, and everything ended up in the box.

Thank you, you, you for trusting me.

Fight And Never Lose

Night One: the doughnutting.

My tiny town has a menorah lighting ceremony ceremony next to its Christmas tree and one reasonably naked busker. My union president, walking briskly toward me on the main drag, urged me, “Go get a doughnut!”

Not many people know this about me: I don’t eat doughnuts. It’s not that I’ve joined the Doughnut Temperance League (meetings Tuesday nights at the Best Buy near the feed store), it’s that I have no metabolism and the fastest way to double in size is eat a doughnut or six. I don’t really miss the doughnuts I don’t eat.  So when I was encouraged to get a doughnut, that is exactly what I did not do.

“Ta,” you say, “this is fascinating and all – everything about you is! – but what does it have to do with – for example – me?” I haven’t got the faintest idea, really. At the moment, I’m sitting at a desk, waiting for someone to finish a task so I can resume doing a very large job where I work at the unnamed university. Waiting is a skill. I do not have it! It is taking a great deal of effort on my part not to skitter across this room, loom over the working someone and bellow, “ARE YOU FINISHED? BECAUSE MY MIND IS WANDERING AND I AM TALKING ABOUT DOUGHNUTS.” You can see where that might be a workplace no-no. And I am so hoping my new supervisor won’t have HR on speed dial.

 

 

It’s A Clean Machine

A thousand slides can make you feel like you're a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Dad’s images of a Cape Canaveral launch from 1975, including a surprising number of boats, which were in space, but not the same way.

Starting sometime in 1963, Dad started photographing everything: his wife, his children, the neighbors, street lights, college classmates, train tracks, rockets, places he went, birds, plants, boats, statues, co-workers, bonfires, bodies of water. When he died, a mountain of his work moved to my apartment. Since July, I’ve scanned and uploaded about 2,000 images to a private Flickr museum of these images. It’s an ambitious project, facing a number of obstacles.

First: some slides were originally developed with dates and numbers, some with just dates or numbers, some with no dates or numbers. Second: Dad kept over 800 mixed slides in carousels, rather than dark plastic containers, and in these less than ideal conditions, some slides have faded or developed mildew damage. Third: at some point, my stepmom Summer labeled a bunch of plastic slide containers, which may save my sanity; unfortunately, about a decade’s worth of slides were stored together, which may send me round the twist. Fourth: a few years ago, the digitizing company I paid to scan slides essentially poured separate groups of slides into a machine and I have yet to undertake separating them because I panic every time I think about it.

Despite all this, I’ve made progress. I’ve started to recognize pictures that must have been taken at the same time, significant places and faces I haven’t seen since childhood. My father was 21 and my mother 22 when I was born, and these images start before I was a year old. It is strange now to see my parents as young twenty-somethings, to witness my father’s learning to see the world and his life through the camera’s lens. In these pictures, I see that we, his children, were photographed constantly and were completely accustomed to it. I don’t remember being photographed constantly, so in some ways, it’s like looking at someone else’s life with my face.

There’s another obstacle: not all of the slides are here. Enough dated and numbered slides are present to render obvious the gaps. Where are these missing slides? I don’t know. Summer doesn’t remember Dad mentioning them. I don’t know what that means, or what it would ultimately mean if thousands of images were just missing.

At this stage in a blog post, I usually make a joke about how some ginormous thing in my life is totally small, except in this case, that’s too literal. This ginormous thing in my life is meaningless to all but a handful of people on the planet, and even they don’t really seem to care much. So I am doing this because I can and I should, to the best of my ability. When I’m done, I’ll store the slides as permanently as I can, but I doubt anyone will ever look at them again. Dad would have been as surprised as anyone else that there could be a private museum of his photographs, and for that reason alone, I will keep building it.