Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Warning...Rant Ahead

There seems to be a lot of um…hostility...out in the knitting blogosphere these days. Apparently there are rules that must be followed as set out by some um…Knitters In Charge. I’ve been reading some blogs and visiting a forum that seems to have some issues that they need to deal with. I recently read a series of posts about what constitutes a “knitting blog.” Apparently you only qualify as a “knitting blog” if you offer free patterns, of your own design, for things that this person specifically wants. And NO PERSONAL CONTENT PLEASE. Personal content will make this person NEVER VISIT YOUR BLOG AGAIN! Can you imagine the horror of losing this person as a reader? How will all of us personal content writers survive? What will happen to our dreams of fame and fortune and the love of a good Knitter In Charge? Based on their criteria, I should immediately remove the word knitting from my blog title. I am not worthy of the word. Of course, that brings up a different problem. If it were simply called Gourmet Disasters, rather than Gourmet Knitting Disaster, will that upset the Gourmets In Charge? I don't want to have them on my case too, because then it would just be Disasters. I'm sure FEMA would soon find out and make me take that out too. In fact, maybe I should just quit blogging all together. I obviously don't know what I'm doing.

As well, there are certain words and phrases that must not be used, for fear of upsetting people who think these words and phrases are improperly used or possibly inflammatory. Words like “fiddly.” Apparently all the new knitters and want-to-be knitters who are reading what constitutes a true knitting blog are scared off when they see someone say that a pattern or technique is “fiddly.” They then feel that this must be something they could never do.

My first thought on reading this was that anyone who is deterred from something they want to do by a total stranger, well…then they either aren’t ready to do it, don’t want to do it, or shouldn’t be doing it anyway. In any event, it is not a universal responsibility of a writer and/or knitter to make sure everyone feels encouraged and included.

My second thought was that I have used that term, and I’m annoyed that this person thinks she knows what I meant when I said it. While doing a three color intarsia patterned sock with two circular needles, I said that it was fiddly, which it was. It was like knitting with an octopus. (Three balls of yarn and four needle points only add up to seven, but my octopus lost a leg in a tragic spinning accident years ago, so now I knit with a seven legged octopus.) My use of the word fiddly was no indication of whether or not I thought other people should try it. Maybe they are better knitters than I am and they would find intarsia to be a breeze. Maybe they couldn’t do it with all the encouragement in the world. It was not an indication of whether or not I was a total loser and just gave up because it was too hard, and in the process encouraged everyone else to stop trying it as well. (I didn’t. It’s making me crazy, but I’m still doing it.)

Anyone who knows me at all can attest to the fact that I do not follow direction well. I don’t like being told what to do. I like it less when total strangers feel the need to instruct anyone on how to conduct themselves in the knitting world. Part of what I love about talking with and meeting other knitters is the amazing diversity of people. Everyone comes from a different place and has taken up knitting for very different reasons. It is an artistic expression, much like writing is. Not everyone who knits has jumped on the bandwagon because they think it’s the cool thing to do, or because they plan to make their fortune designing knitting patterns, or because they want to be famous by writing their blog. Some of us just like writing and knitting. We should be able to do what we choose with our knitting and blogging without fear of censorship or flaming from people with nothing better to do. I’m far more put off by the behavior of a few individuals than I am by the average person who dares to use the wrong words or talk about their cats. If they want to make sure “everyone is encouraged and included” maybe they should look to themselves and their own comments first. And if I ever visit their blogs again, there had better not be any personal content.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wedding Weekend

Many of the people who read this blog were actually at this wedding, but it certainly deserves it's own post with some pictures. For those of you not there, the wedding was at the Lareau Farm Inn over in Vermont. For me it was more than a wedding, it was a reunion of people I have known as far back as the first grade. For those of you who know how old I am, that was a long time ago! Jessica and Joel I hadn't seen since the early 1990s!! Michael I hadn't seen since our sixth grade graduation!!!

First, Alex and Bobbi looking happy and relieved. Oh, and married. Don't they look married? I'm so happy for you both.

Kate and Steve looking awfully nice themselves...

And the reunited (if incomplete) Shrewsbury crowd, including from left to right:

Joel, me, Alex, Jess, and Michael.

The last time the five of us were in one place was in the sixth grade. Can you pick out who is who?

The whole weekend was really nice. Mark and I spent a few extra nights to celebrate our own anniversary, and many fine books and skeins of yarn were purchased. We managed to squeeze in a breakfast with Jessie and family before they headed out, and we met Steve and Kate for a great lunch in Burlington, and got to spend some time with them. Thanks to both of you for staying awake long enough to visit!

So, much fun was had by all, and I'm immeasurably glad that I was able to be a part of it. I did get a little melancholy driving home when we passed signs for the exit to Rutland. The six years I spent in Shrewsbury were some of the happiest I've had, and certainly the happiest of my childhood. I got a little sad thinking about the fact that these particular people will never be together in just this way again. People grow up and move on and have lives and stay in touch the best that they can, that's just the way it is. I'm just so glad I still have friends like all of you.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


We’re home from Burlington (this deserves its own post, with photos, to come later), and the portion of my vacation to be spent at home has begun. The biggest problem for me with vacations is that usually by this point (only a few days in) I start to freak out about having “wasted” my days off and end up in a state of hysteria for the rest of the week. I have always done this, and it annoys M to no end. This time around, I’m not sure exactly how the rest of the week will go. I’m feeling more than the usual sick-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach thing than usual, because when I go back, our manager will be gone. She’s taken a job with another bank, closer to home. I don’t begrudge her this. I think anyone who willingly drives long distances to work when a closer option exists is crazy for many, many reasons. Anyway, back to me. Before going on vacation I did apply for the position because it seemed like the thing to do, even though I think I’ve been pretty clear about not wanting to do this job. I’ve posted about it before here, if you need a refresher. This is not the sort of place where you get promoted because you deserve it; you have to apply like everyone else off the street. Frankly, whether I want it or not seems sort of irrelevant because I feel like I should be offered this position since there is no one better able to take over. Hell, I’ve been doing her job and mine for two and a half years. My heart isn’t in it, though. I’ve felt for a few years that I really need to get out of banking. Don’t even get me started on how the PATRIOT ACT has ruined banking. Just don’t.

In any event, my interview did not go well. I really don’t like the two people who would become my immediate supervisors in this job, and I find it hard to refrain from telling them exactly what I think of them. It doesn’t pay to burn the bridges before you see where they go. Fortunately I only had to interview with her, but believe me, it was bad enough. I was asked all sorts of weird questions that left me wondering what the hell she was after. What do these questions mean? What does she think my answers say about me? I often feel like she thinks I’m a total moron, and most of what she says is clich├ęs that sound as if they are straight out of Management 101. She makes me feel icky and manipulated. At least half of the hour and a half I spent with her was taken up listening to her talk about herself and how she does things. I was so wound up after I got home that I called my office and said I wasn’t coming in. I had already missed more than half the day, and my anxiety attack prevented me from finishing the rest. I was given an “assignment” for this vacation. I am supposed to write up a business plan as if this were my own business detailing exactly what I would do to generate new business and exactly what my marketing plan would look like. How am I supposed to know? I’ve never done marketing. My initial answer that I would meet with the marketing team and decide what to do was apparently not good enough. My comment that this would be a learning process for me and that they needed to either give me the job and let me try it or let’s all just move along was also not good enough.

I’ve given this a great deal of thought over the past few days, and I have decided to withdraw my application and let the chips fall where they may. This is not a job I want on any terms and I certainly don’t want it on hers. I don’t really care at this point what they think of me. I have no respect for them, so what do I have to lose there? If they hire someone from outside who makes my life a misery, well, it sort of already is. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I want to get out of management and possibly banking all together, so if I have to leave, well, fine. I obviously need a fire under my ass to get me out of here and into something that I can at least marginally enjoy. I have also made it fairly clear that I would prefer to work out of our main office, which is so close that if I stand on our front porch I can see the parking lot. Sadly, after two and a half years, nothing has come up in that office that would be a good fit for me.

While I’m still feeling a little sick around the edges about all this, I’m also staring to feel a little better now that I have sort of made a decision. My family is behind me in this, and that makes me feel better too. Everyone knows that I would ultimately be unhappy, and we all know that the amount of money on offer is fairly small and would not make up for the soul-sucking horror that would be involved. Now I just need to try to put it to the back of my mind and enjoy the rest of my vacation.