I’ve Opened the Can

Can of worms, that is.

I occasionally delve into comment sections on Facebook just to see what people are saying. Mostly it’s a lot of unrecognized need to be heard and validated.

Most of my comment diving is in groups I belong to. Those tend to be more productive conversations and people getting the validation they’re craving.

I wrote about actually making a post in one of these groups the other day. I rarely comment and almost never post anything (except in knitting groups, they’re different). This was a big deal for me and it went pretty well. Except for one person.

One person who felt the need to belittle me, insult my intelligence, and call me hypocritical. What’s funny is they couldn’t see their own hypocrisy. The admins had my back and the post was closed for comments, but people are still liking what I had to say. Yay me!

Part of why this is such a big deal for me is it’s a subject really close to my heart. Well, several topics close to my heart. Passion interests, if you will. The Twilight Saga just happens to be a great example of many of the issues surrounding critiques of my favorite genres, literature with a large female/women fan base, young adult content, writing techniques, and the media storm that ruins any proper understanding of the original work.

The naysayers have been whining long enough that I’m finally outlining and researching for a series of articles on these different aspects, specifically focusing on the Twilight Saga. I know my views, opinions, and observations about these subjects aren’t really popular. Many feel I’m not the feminist I claim to be. Or the literary expert I’m ‘pretending’ to be. I get it. I have been challenging my own perceptions my whole life. I get positively giddy when people have new ideas that cause me to really examine what I’m thinking. So I’m not new to being disagreed with.

I’m also really out of practice when it comes to literary critiques, discussing social and cultural biases, and psychological influences. The nuance of what I’m trying to say is still rusty. I’m going to do a bunch of research and then reread the books while looking for what everyone is talking about. Plus read the ones I haven’t read yet. Or, I may just stick with the four and save the other books for later.

I’m confident that I am not the only one who actually understood these books and the story that was being told. So many have missed the mark and I’m hoping that by getting this out for myself, it may give validation to other readers who have endured criticism and insults by elitists who think they know what good literature is.

I Wrote a Facebook Post

I did it. I wrote a post in a writing group. I tend to avoid engaging in conversations on Facebook outside of friendly ones with people I’m actually friends with. It’s opening a can of worms and there’s a reason I dropped out of debate club in high school.

I can totally appreciate people having different tastes and opinions when it comes to the stories we read and watch. Stories are powerful magic and can inspire change or encourage outdated ideas. They can become part of who we are. They can also just be for fun. So it is important to be aware of what you put out there.

There is a lot that is popular that I don’t like or even think is bad, but I’m not going to go around deliberately tearing them, and the fans, down. That is just wrong and often comes out being elitist.

The post was in defense of Twilight and 50 Shades. I will not sit here and say they are beacons of perfection (I actually only read the first two books of 50 Shades, have not seen the movie, and read it for only one reason-but I have read the Twilight saga 3 or 4 times and Life and Death). My issue is not that people don’t like it, it’s with this ingrained need to be hypercritical of the fiction/media young women and adult women consume as though we do not have the ability to know what is good for us. I have a problem with the criticisms unconsciously infantilizing women. It’s absurd.

I’m also tired of everything being called abusive. It undermines real abuse. Discussing aspects that may not be healthy in the relationship, ok. To not recognize that relationships are often between two messy people, that there is room for forgiveness, and that true love inspires both to do better as they learn and grow together is ridiculous.

I’m also tired of people feeling the need to police women’s consumption of porn. That enjoying violent sexual fantasies is wrong when women do it, but ok when men consume violent porn. If you criticize both, fine, you’re not a hypocrite. However, there is a difference between what people enjoy through fantasy and what they want from reality. Assuming people (specifically women) can’t be trusted to know their own desires is obnoxious.

One of these days I will finally write an essay series about all the different aspects of why so much of the criticism Twilight (in particular) receives is faulty and ignores the sexism of those opinions. How history shows us that not much has changed in how we regard women and their pursuits.

In the meantime, I’m going to go check that post. It’s been extremely eventful and engaging so far. I am definitely not agreeing with everyone, but at least it’s a better conversation than is usually had on the subject of Twilight and 50 Shades.

Spring Entered Differently This Year

The last bit of winter here was bleak, cold, and wet. It was as though Winter just didn’t know how to say goodbye. There was nothing unusual about it still being wintery. It simply felt desperate to hang on.

Then Spring burst up around us. It was as though all the birds and the bugs showed up on the same day, filling the air with their conversations. Daffodils and lilacs forced their way through the debris of the beds they had slumbered long enough in. Buds greeted the morning and now all the white blossom trees are in full effect, like beacons announcing Spring’s arrival.

I have found myself embracing the season in a way I never have before. The sun feels welcoming instead of harsh, even if we’re having 80 degree days (Fahrenheit). The sudden appearance of all this noise of life made the silence of the last several months that much more profound. I had really leaned into the rest part of the season and I’m refreshed. At least for now.


I absolutely love having a waffle iron in the house. They can make any breakfast feel like a special occasion. Add some blueberry pie filling and powdered sugar and you’ve got an extravagant meal!

My oldest mixed up the batter while I finished up some dishes (the never ending side quest). I added in some cinnamon and blueberry filling and heated the rest on the stove for a nice topping. A little powdered sugar and there you have it. A breakfast that keeps them quiet. For a while anyway.

Useful Crochet Therapy

I recently got to check a floating To-Do off my list. I bought us all metal water bottles with lids that won’t grow mildew we can’t scrub out. At least that’s the hope. So, of course, I had to make bottle bags (or whatever they’re called).

It was definitely helpful having a project while spending the holiday with my in-laws. I get really restless there, so I don’t go often, but after a year of no-contact, I have relented to some holidays for my husband.

This is what I made. She’s happy. I’m happy. I even got one for me almost done. Just the strap is left. And of course I’ve got to make it complicated. It just wouldn’t be as much fun otherwise.

Sleeve Number One

I forgot I was going to need my size 6 circulars for the sleeve cuffs and started to use them on a double knit scarf that will take forever to finish. So, I reached for my double pointed needles. Somehow I’ve misplaced all but two of my bamboo ones, but I do have a full set of metal ones.

Why am I mixing wood and metal then? Because I prefer the wood. They’re less slippery and I’m attached. I’m also frustrated to be using double points instead of my preferred circulars. When I get to the collar, I’m going to have to put the scarf on scrap yarn because I’ve got to have those needles.

Oh well. I’m almost done with the first sleeve. Next, the trick will be to get the second one to look the same. I didn’t mark out picking up stitches, but I should be able to make it work. I definitely wrote out my reverse pattern instructions and the extra modifications I made.

Knitting Away Anxiety

It began yesterday evening and has steadily climbed to a full anxiety attack that greeted me this morning. The best I can do is ride it out and keep myself as calm as possible.

I rarely have panic attacks these days. As long as I’m handling life ok I don’t have them. Anxiety and anxiety attacks are a different story. Sleep, food, water, and exercise usually help, but I’ve been struggling to accomplish these tasks. So here I sit, in utter dread for life, but I look completely normal.

Knitting often soothes whatever has spiked my threat-response. The repetitive rhythm, the familiar feel in my hands, the grounding and centering that happens with each finished round. I have to focus just enough that it distracts my feverished, nail-biting, conspiracy wielding self. Slowly they’ll fade away and my more discerning self will emerge.

Until then, I’ll just keep knitting one round after the other, reminding myself that sometimes this is what taking care of myself means. With a little more yoga (yes, I did that too), and maybe something to eat, I should be feeling well enough by the time the kids get home from school.

Slow Beginnings

*Deep breath* I’m currently working on two large writing projects, while also having a plethora of ideas for other, smaller writing projects. I’m using notebooks and pens. Ideas come in short bursts. Which leaves time for other things. Like another project in a different area.

Both novels have been with me since my youth. I have always loved Beauty and the Beast. Every single version I found gave me a deeper appreciation for the story. One of these days I might even write a whole essay about the layers of this tale and the ties to different cultures and eras. I digress.

Since I first began enjoying this particular fairy tale at a very young age, I always wanted a longer version of it. I must admit I have not yet made it through the original tale, but I have read about the original. And the many retellings. I have a couple picture books, I’ve seen stage productions, film renditions, read many variations from different cultures, and I always wanted to expand on their relationship. I saw them allowing each other to be themselves and learning to trust each other where loved ones had failed them before. It’s about owning your mistakes and letting someone see the ugliest parts of you and still finding a person deserving of love. Here I go again.

Now that I’ve sat down to give it attention I’m finding myself doing more research than I had anticipated. Which is fine with me. I’ve got some bigger concepts for the story now, so into French history I go. Then some around the globe history wherever this tale took hold and blend some of those ideas in. This may take a long time.

The other novel came to me on an overseas trip in high school. I turned it into a short story and left it there. I’ve thought about it a lot over the years, but haven’t ever given it much attention. Now it comes to me in short scenes and concepts that don’t really translate to storytelling, but are needed to tell the tale. This love story has turned into an epic journey of self discovery and many different types of love relationships (as in it’s not all about romance). It’s a big ol’ sticky web and I’m just putting pen to paper when I can. “Just keep writing. I can fix it later.” Is my ongoing mantra at the moment.

I’m trying to make myself work a little almost every day, so I’m getting somewhere with all of it. Maybe by the time the next school year begins in the Fall I’ll be ready to start piecing it all together into two coherent stories. Yes, the kids are still in school, but it’s the last chaotic stretch and I’ve only just begun collecting material. Plus that other project. And there’s that other idea…

The Books We Keep: Childhood Favorites

No matter how many times I’ve moved I have always made sure to hang onto my books. I have picture books that hold more stories than the pages contain. The American Girl Felicity collection that I’ve treasured since the day I got each of them. Early reading chapter books. My mother’s Nancy Drew hardcovers. I know it pained her to pass them on, but I loved them so much and borrowed as many as I could from the library, that she took comfort in knowing they would continue on. They have a special spot of honor on their own shelf.

Scary stories have always been one of my favorite genres. The kind of tale that really gets into your head and grips your chest. Gets you attached even when you shouldn’t. The ones that make you look at the world a little differently. That sit with you for a while.

Christopher Pike does that. I can still remember details from almost every one of his books I’ve read. I know he was popular in the 80’s, but I’m sure his popularity continued through the 90’s and I think he’s still writing. Even so, I’ve only known two other people who have read his books.

I’m hoping to continue spending more time reading and be able to reread a few favorites-like these books. I’ve also been meaning to reread the Anita Blake books in preparation for the latest five books. I couldn’t bear waiting for each release, so I fell behind and have more to catch up on.

Just some classic stories here. When I returned to a few of them several years ago, it was a trip to the past. A strange time before the internet and social media and widespread cellphones or cameras. There is a dark honesty in his characters. A rawness that makes you forget you’re reading.

If you’re into thrillers with a supernatural twist that stick with you for life, try some of his books out. I’m sure your local library has at least a few. Seriously, how have I not met more people who read these kinds of books?!

(Mostly) Following a Pattern

I think of this sweater as my main side project. I go back to it as a palate cleanser between items, or for a break from more complicated creations (or frustrating ones.).

It’s rare for me to find a pattern I like ‘as is’. I’m either reworking them, or mixing them together. These days I’m mostly making up my own. And making them up is definitely different from designing actual patterns.

This one, I rather liked. It’s good to actually follow a pattern from time to time. I learn best through practice and this is how I teach myself different sweater constructions in order to make my own. I love the big collar, big sleeves, and split hem of different lengths on this, but, of course, I had to alter a few things.

I am knitting in the round instead of in pieces. It’s bottom up, so I began the hems separately (and shortened them). When I finished with the first one, I worked it onto the larger cable needles, completing half of the first round. When the second was ready, I just worked across, finishing the first round and joining the pieces.

Bottom-up is fun. I enjoy working back and forth for the upper part and joining the shoulder seams. I’m actually going to sew them together, as instructed, this time.

I’m also picking up stitches for the sleeves, so I have to break down the flat, separate instructions. I’ll be picking up stitches along the top edge and then picking up more as I go for the increases until I’ve got them all picked up to work in the round once more.

And, naturally, I’m using acrylic instead of wool and different size needles than the pattern calls for. I have definitely put it on scrap yarn to check that it’s coming out the size I want. So far, so good.

Winter 2018