Friday, February 08, 2008

Bizarro Day

I'm blue.

Everything just feels slightly off kilter today. Wha'dup?

I arrived in Pittsburgh today after what felt like a VERY long flight - one of those time/space relativity things, evidently, the flight was no longer than normal, but it felt like it was 7 hours.

Einstein used to take this MSP to Pittsburgh flight.

But I was SO cramped in my seat, my knees digging into the seat of the guy in front of me (who reclined... c'mon dude - it's DAYLIGHT, you can't be that tired!)

I got almost the entire brim of a hat I'm working up in Schaefer Susan (cotton) and I'm liking it, but I didn't bring the millinery wire I'd set out to pack.

The rental car went smoothly (I have an HHR this time - my first time in one of those), my luggage was waiting for me, and after one false start I found the hotel (I'd forgotten what it's like to drive in the hollows of Appalachia - I'm glad it's not snowing!)

After check in I settled in for a shower, and was pretty surprised when an odd woman popped into my room. "Helloooooo?"

When I called out, she apologized and left, but I didn't see her so I don't know if she was a confused guest or housekeeping. There was a broken glass in the bathroom - I'm thinking maybe she was coming in to get it?

Payschmoadz* Frustration
Then I opened my email and started an infuriating session with my pdf pattern delivery service (I don't think I've ever received such sarcastic and nasty customers service from any company. From the emails I've received, it feels like it might be run by a bunch of frat boys.)

They've been overcharging me, it's functionally impossible to downgrade to a lesser service level, and I'm getting a lot of emails from folks who've tried to download patterns and are having a very hard time.

One very sarcastic email prompted me to write back that I felt like posting the whole darned correspondence on my blog. I got this reply,

"I wouldn't post any of our communication if I were you. Read our terms of service."
"This is a nice little website you've got here, it would be a shame if something happened to it..."

Oooh, I'm shaking...


*update: I received an unsigned email from the customer service stating: "This post must have all references to P------z removed immediately. Not only is it defamatory, it is libelous and has material inaccuracies." So they're removed.

Show Horse or Work Horse?
This is one of those rare trips where - before I have even walked into a class - I'm feeling like a disappointment to the folks who've hired me.

Perhaps it's a commentary on the fear everyone's feeling about the economy, or perhaps I'm a dud, but my classes did NOT sell out this time (so far) and it's making me feel very apologetic. I guess there's still a chance for folks to fill up the classes tomorrow.

When I saw the broken tumbler in the bathroom I thought, "I feel like that glass..." Fragile and transparent.

(or, if you're going to whine, you may as well do it up red!)

Is it because I'm traveling again?
I like to travel - really! I like visiting venues, teaching folks, interacting with knitters. I get energy from it - inspiration - and I enjoy the time alone while I'm settling into a new hotel or waiting at an airport (excellent people watching...)

Is it because it's February?
I've heard this is the hardest time of the year for a lot of folks, and I'm definitely living in a place that has less sunlight than I'm used to.

Is it too much work?
The basement, after moving a wall because we had to add a drain, is a MESS and there's DUST all over the place. Don't worry, I'm wearing a mask... But the mop-up is excruciating.

Is it too little work?
No designs currently in any mags, no current books - everything I'm doing right now is entirely independent. I'm a wildcatter hand knit designer.

Is it Gerry's health?
It's true he's in a LOT of pain - and that affects all of us. But his movement is pretty good. Physical therapy is going well and we're sort of in a holding pattern. A to-have and to-holding pattern, evidently.

Is it my cousin's health?
I'm visiting her in Parkersburg after I finish teaching here in Pittsburgh.
The recurrence seems to be more serious than we'd hoped.

I wrote in late December:
But the best gift by far? This line from an email from my cousin in WV whose breast cancer had recurred. I shoved it so far out of my mind, I didn't write about it (although I couldn't help but dwell on it...) Here's what she wrote in an email this week:
The best news is that my surgeon said the lymph node and where it had metastacised was encapsulated so he got it ALL in one swoop!!!! And I only have to have a few radiation treatments to clean up what might be left.
She called to tell me she'd be here to boss me around for as long as I can stand her. She's more like a big sister than a cousin, so I can definitely stand it.
Once again, I'm residing in one of those 'in between places' that are so hard to inhabit. When I finish teaching here on Sunday I'll drive down and spend a few days with her - we'll do lunch, radiation, a girls day out. Stupid old cancer.

I'm happy she's here, happy I'm here, I'm happy we're ALL here (damnit!)

But I'm fearing the future, terrified of the empty spaces (all those holes that have cropped up around me in the past few years. Something I said? My breath?), and I'm not sure about my ability to handle the bridge between where I am and where I need to travel.

Geeze Louise, who died and left me in charge of being in charge.

Wait, that's not funny.

Is it my weight?
I wish I were thin and I wish I were short(er).

But I'm not.

I am walking a lot, eating okay, doing better than I have at some times in my life - not as well as I'd like - but not badly enough to beat myself up over. And I won't beat myself over the fact that I end sentences with prepositions, either.

And I'll never get my legs to fit into the space they give you on a plane.

But I just saw on TV that Queen Latifah's doing Jenny Craig
(oh, get your minds out of the collective gutter!)

I promise tomorrow I'll be cheerier. I really need to see some students, dang it.


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posted by Annie at


Blogger Theresa said...

For a pattern download service, have you considered eJunkie? I went with them because I thought payloadz was too expensive for the volume I would do. I've had a good customer experience with them, they connect seamlessly with PayPal, are easy to set up and they aren't that expensive.

February 08, 2008 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Dani said...

Annie; thank you for sharing with us, it takes a lot of courage. I think you are down because that is where you need to be right now, and it is okay to feel that way. Very few people can be up all the time. ( I worry about them) Don't wish to be any different than you are because you are already wonderful.

February 08, 2008 11:10 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

"No designs currently in any mags..." Annie, there's a super shawl by you in the VK that landed on my doorstep last week.

You're in a tough spot. Thanks for writing about it. There are an awful lot of people out here rooting for you.


February 09, 2008 4:40 AM  
Blogger shoeboots said...

Well, don't wish to be too much shorter! I'm five feet, and it would be nice to reach something on the top shelf for a change! I'm sure your classes will do well, so keep your head up!

February 09, 2008 5:21 AM  
Blogger Steel City Knitter said...

I would desperately love to take one of your classes this weekend, but I'll be working all weekend since I work in an LYS. Best of luck with your classes- I taught at the knit and crochet festival here in Pittsburgh last year and I loved it. It was a blast!

February 09, 2008 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Martha said...

Dear Annie, Be nice to yourself, You're having a blue day. I think it's justified. It's okay to have a blue day here or there - don't let yourself get freaked about it. Enjoy your weekend, put your feet up and know that you don't have to deal with at least the basement for a few days.

February 09, 2008 7:11 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

You have been through more difficulties recently than most people and you have every right to feel blue once in awhile.

All your fans see you as tall, talented and terrific! We are amazed at the things you can do and tickled by your wonderful sense of humor. We read and care about your beautiful family.

When I feel blue, I call my sister and she reminds me of my good qualities. This is my sisterly call to you.

February 09, 2008 8:00 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

I'm sorry you're blue. Pittsburgh can be fun....that's where I went to college. Hmmm...maybe it was college that was fun?

Jenny Craig & Queen Latifah...after Kirsty Allie and Valerie Bertinelli... Glad I'm not a celebrity, it would be really depressing to get a call from Jenny.

February 09, 2008 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are more than entitled to whine (wine).
You have been dealt a very tough hand to play and it amazes me how you play it out in your daily life.
Hugs, hugs, hugs...and a few glasses of wine.
( by the way I'm 5"10 and zaftig too...and I push back with my knees in those evershrinking air plane seats....I smile sweetly when they inevitably turn around and say I'm almost 6 feet tall...I can't move my knees back but you could move your chair up just a bit !!!(works sometimes!)

February 09, 2008 9:14 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Woman you have a lot of change going on in your life - you have a right to feel 'off.' Loss, the potential of the loss, the impact of loss, your own health issues which take a backseat while you forge a living for your family and take care of everyone because you are compassionate and caring enough to be a true partner to your ill husband, manage to get out there and teach, knit and create AND do it in a fresh and completely non-main stream manner (which makes your soul happy but creates other pressures) and you are deep and reflect on all that is your life....seriously I would be having an off year. Keep venting Annie and continue to forgive and be patient with yourself. I am continually impressed with your courage, your soul and your grace. Burn Baby Burn!

February 09, 2008 9:42 AM  
OpenID kmkat said...

Others have said it better than I could. Given what you have dealt with in the past year -- and done so lovingly and gracefully -- it is a wonder you aren't in Hazelden for treatment yourself. In the list of possible causes, I would point to February as the current trigger. Besides all the extra stresses you listed, a constant battle to stay alive and functioning, in a climate that defines hostile, in the dark -- that's tough. Really tough. {{{hugs}}}

February 09, 2008 9:49 AM  
Blogger OfTroy said...

Its true... we are never happy with what we are stuck with..
Oh to be tall.. to have long legs and long arms.. to be able reach the 3rd shelf of the cabinet with a step stool.. to not have to hem ever pair of pants, to be heads above the croud.

at 5' 5", i am hardly short... but to be tall --i can only see the advantages from my height.. not the disadvantages!

no doubt i too would complain of bumping my head, and seat that don't fit, and pants that need hems let down, (not taken up) --

Oh well.

February 09, 2008 11:11 AM  
Blogger nonsie said...

Things WILL get better. If you give up thinking like that you have already lost.
I promise Portland will be a lot better! Even with rain and grey skies it beats Pittsburgh on any given day;) See you at Knit/Purl!

February 09, 2008 11:48 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Some days are like're not alone! It is really hard to cope with everything that's going on right now in your life! Give yourself a break. Take a bath, do something meditative or relaxing, sleep more, or maybe take time to get a massage or talk it out with somebody over a cup of tea. Sometimes it's helpful to consciously remind yourself of all the positive stuff--and push that scary stuff away so you don't think about it 24-7. (some, yes, but not all the time.) I'm rooting for you, and yes, February is hard for everybody! You'll have a great class!

February 09, 2008 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...


I just loved the class this morning. Still can't get the hang of the cable you showed us at the end of class. You did a great job and you were a hoot, now I wish I signed up for your other classes this weekend.

February 09, 2008 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

I hear you!!!A million I hear you's!!!!! It was getting so bad here that I announced a doldrums contest-best response so far was one where a reader suggested to eat chocolate, but only in small little secret bites-when no one was looking!!!!! Hey- there's still time to enter......

February 09, 2008 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Please help me, I tried to find your pattern for the head band you wore today but can't seem to find it.

February 09, 2008 3:04 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

After reading the other comments, I can't say anything that won't sound ridiculous. I applaud your ability to be so honest in a public forum. Life DOES get better, and you have to feel the pain to appreciate the joy (see, ridiculous). Cheer up, you are missing the Arctic Blast back here in St. Paul!

February 09, 2008 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope your tomorrow is better.

February 09, 2008 6:01 PM  
Blogger Milly said...

It is just one of those days, I think it is the low pressure systems that get to some of us. Hang in there, it will get better!
As for that pdf service, you want me to post it on my website, I don't have their service so what can they do to me? LOL!
It is nearly impossible for fine a company that will acutally provide the service they advertise these days. I share your pain in that regard!
Smile, there is a whole blogworld out here who loves you!

February 09, 2008 6:38 PM  
Blogger Paladin said...

WTF with that correspondence from that download service?

Anyway, provided that you're not trying to downgrade to the free version of the service, which I hadn't tried, I had always been able to downgrade to lower price levels, unless they've changed it recently: just identify the level you want, and select "upgrade" (even though it's technically a downgrade).

February 09, 2008 8:20 PM  
Blogger Fancy Pants said...

I have to admit that I didn't read through all the comments prior to mine but I'm sure I'm with everyone in expressing my support, in whatever way it could be helpful to you, for when you are having a blah or bad day...and even more when you are having a good day. My husband and I do really funny interpretive dance to classic rock songs so if you think that will cheer you up, please let me know and I'll arrange a videoshoot of some of the best of the best. Anyway. I hope your days are brighter in the future.

February 09, 2008 8:28 PM  
Blogger Berry Gal said...

Venting works for the soul, mind, and body.... and trust me we all have those days so we are perfect audience!

February 09, 2008 8:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Update--I'm doing the night shift at Regions Hosp Labor and Delivery. The bank thermometer that we can see from the hospital atrium reads -12! Hope you're warm in Pittsburg.

February 09, 2008 8:54 PM  
Anonymous annienoodle said...

I'm really bad at being sympathetic and understanding in writing, but I really wanted to show support anyways, from one MN annie to another. The wonder of springtime in Minnesota will be here really soon (so I keep telling myself).

February 09, 2008 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Annie M. said...

Hey Marie,

Here's the link to the headwrap pattern

February 09, 2008 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Thanks so much for the link. I bought a bunch of wonderful silk yarn at the festival to make a slew of them.

February 10, 2008 5:50 AM  
Anonymous penny said...

it's not much and it doesn't pay the bills nor is it a student in a class but here's a hug [because i don't know what words to use] and kind thoughts...

and i hope things with a pdf delivery service work out. if I come up with any eureka's you'll get an email quick. I have a few choice words about those types of ToS's which cause you to censor yourself and your opinions...

February 10, 2008 6:08 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I also taught at Pittsburgh, I'm not sure what constitutes a sell-out, but I was happy with 12-14 students/class. I also liked the market, because I found the things on my shopping list, I reconnected with Oasis yarns and have a design commission from them.

February 10, 2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger Morgan said...

Annie, yeah...some days are like that. They suck. And it's February, and you've got a raft's worth of problems crammed onto a saucer.

I'll let you in on a little secret...Just in this very moment in time, in this one corner of the world...right now, in this breath, you are completely safe and taken care of.

Maybe not the next breath, but deal with that then.

I was talking with a dear spiritual friend who I had lost touch with and recently reconnected. she was the woman sho taught me that secret. And when my mother was dying 2 years ago, and I was commuting 2 hours each way, every day, to spend as much time as I could with her, and didn't know how I would clean the house, work effectively (I'm in healthcare myself), meet the needs of my family, etc...I would remember, that in this breath, in this time, I am safe and being taken care of. So are you.

February 11, 2008 12:18 AM  
Anonymous KERaven said...

Annie, I hope you're seeing things through rosier glasses. Any of the things you listed are enough to make one a bit grim -- and yes, February is the most depressing month say scientists -- something about the holidays being over, it still being dark and cold, AND all the holiday bills arriving.

I understand completely about the "empty spaces" (a day with metastatic prostate cancer -- enough said).

Here's for a sunnier tomorrow.

February 11, 2008 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

It's that time of year when we are feeling blue and damn tired of the cold weather. It's OK to complain. Bottling it up is the worst thing one can do. Let 'er rip, girl!

February 11, 2008 8:59 PM  
Blogger Sorka said...

Jeepers now I am SHORT and small and you know what .. it only comes in handy with my other hobby.. caving... I sure wish I was tall each time I have to drag a chair arund the kitchen to step up and reach stuff..
Pay smoadz does overcharge.. they are going to lose alot of business to E-junkie. Have some tea and relax!! You deserve it.

February 18, 2008 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I used to be a lawyer, and one of the most basic aspects of libel law (same applies to slander) is the TRUTH is an AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE.

In other words, you can say the most horrible things about a person or entity and if it is the truth, they cannot pursue a libel action.

Also, if it's not the truth, then they must prove damages caused by that untruth. Damages would include "loss of reputation."

And now, I must repeat (because at one time I was a lawyer), that I am not a lawyer anymore and this is not legal advice, regardless of it's veracity.

February 21, 2008 9:46 PM  

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