Friday, May 28, 2010


I arrived a few minutes late – the result of late afternoon calls at the office and an uncooperative ferry. I walked up to the door and knocked. No answer.

After fumbling with my blackberry for what seemed like an acceptable period of time before trying again, I rang the bell. I heard the sound of feet on hardwood. The door opened and I was welcomed graciously by our host.

The other guests were already seated around the table, but before I made my way over I stopped briefly to visit with two of my host’s young children: a boy and a girl. The boy is delightful, and good friends with my middle son, though I get the feeling that the two of them prove quite challenging when running in tandem at their preschool. The girl is adored by all – myself included. She is precisely the kind of daughter that you wish you had when you arrive home to find your sons covered in mud and filth and screaming like savages in the front yard. After a brief exchange, I excused myself from the kids and made my way to the table.

I settled down into a chair, pulled out my project, and set to work.  The project I’d brought is a lace stole, which I plan to donate to a charity fundraising event put on every year by the Woodland Park Zoo. A friend and recent grandmother is on the board, and she asked me if I would make something.

The pattern is intricate, and although I swore I’d never do it again – there are beads involved. Not too many, just about 300 or so. I’m doing it in a shiny black Jaggerspun Zephyr, which is 50% silk and 50% wool. It should be light and airy, and the beads will give it a certain amount of shimmer in the right light.

I was working away on the stole when I heard two words, which shook me to my foundation and made the gravity of my situation immediately apparent: “hot flashes”. Somehow, while I’d kept my head in my pattern and a crochet hook between my teeth (for the beaded bits), the conversation had drifted from projects to progesterone. I assume there were some interim steps in this progression, but was too focused on my work to leave any breadcrumbs that might have helped lead the way back.

Occasionally, when I’m experiencing something unpleasant – like a dental procedure – I try to focus intensely on something I find enjoyable. It helps to block out the reality of the situation. I quickly and heavily leaned on that technique – and poured myself ever deeper into my work. The rest of the evening passed in a blur, and although I’m confident I heard one of the other guests use the words “Johnny Depp” “Orlando Bloom” and “yummy” in the same sentence, I ultimately escaped unscathed.


Monday, May 10, 2010


Hello. My name is TSMK and I’m an addict.  I think.  Or maybe I'm not.  I just don't know.

It started out casual, you know. I passed the stuff one day and thought “I’d like to try that.” So I tried it. It was good. Not great. I tried it a few times, actually, but didn’t really get hooked.

But then... Well, it got worse.

I know I shouldn't make excuses for myself, but really – it wasn’t my fault. You see, I had family visiting. My brother. He’s a big user. Turns out his wife is too. I haven’t even met her in person, but soon enough the three of us were using together. Sometimes late into the evening.

It began interfering with family life. I wanted to do it for hours at a time. Sometimes, my kids would watch. That’s wrong. I know – you don’t have to tell me.

Eventually, it even began to interfere with my knitting. Sure, I’d still knit a bit on the ferry. But instead of knitting after the kids go to bed I’d find myself doing it again - while my knitting bag sat alone, silent and filled with possibilities.

Mrs. TSMK noticed. She even commented. She said she thought my interest in knitting was waning. But it wasn’t. I just needed one more time. Just one more. Always.

And so here I sit. With an entrelac baby blanket still yet to be finished, and behind in my goal of 10 significant lace pieces during 2010.

What have I achieved instead? Not much. Sure I managed to kill a few trogs – even got my leatherworking skill up to almost 200 – but that’s nothing to crow about.

But now I understand that I’m not alone. There are many of us. There’s even a whole group or two on Ravelry devoted to people like me. Some of them know they have a problem – some don’t. Maybe some can use responsibly, you know, without it interfering with their knitting.

Anyway – knowing I’m not alone helps. Now, I just need to decide what I’m going to do about it. Do I press on – trying to get just that last talent, next spell or next level? Do I try to taper off? Do I go cold turkey? And if I go cold turkey, what will happen to Zorklebottom and Nadsmasher? Even if they are just bits and bytes of data – it seems unfair to orphan them. Do they really need to suffer?