the last straw


At this very moment, we are having the Very First Real True Blizzard of Winter 2015/2016, right here, right outside my window. No. Really. See those white smears? Blizzard.

It’s been a rather nasty winter, to tell the truth. People have been people, for all values of “people”; I have been human (for ALL values of human, believe me); my body cramps up in the cold, and for some reason, both Melody and I have been hearing Buddy’s tags jingling around the house at odd moments. I wake up because I hear him barking.

I gotta say, sobbing because I dream of Buddy, only to wake and realize my beloved dog is gone, is a great way to start a dreary December day. Just peachy.

Buddy pawprint 1

I don’t know if other folks do this, but on bad days, I fight back by wearing my favourite clothes and jewelry. Like armor, right? Gifted armor that shelters me from invisibility, from loneliness, from all the Goblins of Winter. My shield, knit or sewn or woven or gifted, proclaiming I Am Loved. Every day, I don at least one thing that someone who loves me made for me, or gave me, or long-term loaned me. Lately, it’s been a pair of adorable silver owl earrings that my BFF gave me.


Left owl is grumpy because I dared show her sister’s backside. What can I say? It’s a nice backside.

Those earrings remind me that she loves me, and that no matter what lies Depression hisses in my ear, I am still, and always will be, Myself, a Wiseheart.

Good friends remind us of who we are. Their respect and love gives us the courage to be more ourselves with each passing day. It’s hard to be My Self: I am loud, friendly, outgoing, and will chatter with strangers in the oddest situations. I am also moody and I think too much. I dress like a Berkeley hippie artist, I carry stuffed toys in my purse, there is usually a melted chocolate in one of my pockets. I steal a baby’s nose, kiss it, and then gently press the freshly-kissed nose back into place, giving it a wee nudge to make sure it is on straight. I compliment strangers, I hug trees in public, I greet every living thing within sight while other folks watch and roll their eyes. I weave, I knit, I quilt. I spin yarn. Heck, I even spin embroidery thread.


A quirky, laughing weirdo being herself. That’s me.

I am weak, because Chronic Pain/Illness (::ominous background music::). I am strong, because, well: Chronic Pain/Illness is not for wusses. I am lonely and spend way too much time alone; I have friends, close friends, good friends, literally all over the world, and I can talk to them every day on my computer. My soul sings when I write; I seem to have the worst case of writer’s block for about half the year. I become more real every time I lift my voice in song; I am terrified to sing for others because I once did it for a living and people paid to hear me sing, and now I sometimes have the idea that they were all just being polite. (They weren’t. I know that.)

Small Gifts MED.jpg

These are gifts from friends the world over. Well. The wooden spools contain that handspun embroidery thread I talked about earlier. Perhaps those are gifts to myself: Competence. Confidence. Bit o’ Pride.

I finally got my dream job working for a publisher of yarnly books and magazines, and I walked away from it when I was insanely successful because I was not strong enough to fight the evil that is Upsell and SEO and Marketing. (Yes, money is lovely, and yes, we were there to make money. However, I personally cannot make money by using my god-given gifts to prioritize ads above content, to persuade my own community to spend money they may not have on things they may not need, and to treat them like six-year-olds in the process.)

wow. um. a rant. how did that get in here?

Ahem. Back to Friends and Handmade Gifts.

Last year, a whack of knitters decided that they each would knit me a pair of socks to help me get through the winter. I got green socks and pink socks and plum-coloured socks and striped socks and blue socks; I cried every time a new pair arrived in the post. These socks have become quite precious to me, and they are treated as though they are the best part of my wardrobe (which, in fact, they may be).

A few mornings ago, a bad day was made even worse by the necessity of issuing a First Warning letter to the Sock Gremlins.

Dear Eaters of Socks,

I see that you have been busy this year. I appreciate your help in goading me to discard some socks which were becoming quite ragged; thank you for filching half of those pairs so I had no choice but to toss the remaining singles.

I will say that you Sock Gremlins perform a much-needed service to our community. As mentioned above, you help us to let go of unworthy socks when the time comes. You nudge us to clean behind the dresser, to look under the bed, to run a broom handle under the dryer. This cleaning is both essential for tidiness and for the continued happiness of our feline children, who dance with joy when reunited with long-lost toys. Sometimes, we knitters even find such treasures as an actual tape measure. We thank you for your role in the smooth running of our households.

We also applaud you for helping to start new fashion trends: wearing mis-matched socks in public. This habit is now seen as “cool” and has been adopted by children who are thrilled not to have to bother matching things. Also, by some grownups who like to be a tiny bit irreverent.


This time, you have gone too far, Sock Eaters. This time, I will put locks on my sock drawers (one for handknits, as you well know, the other for the mundanes) so that you will find no sustenance in this house.

For here is the evil you have done: you have stolen a piece of my heart. You have DARED to touch a sock that was hand-knit by someone who cares about me, and as I have not been able to find that sock for two months, I can only assume that you sauteéd it with Gold Bond Foot Powder and a teaspoonful of Tinactin Anti-Fungal Creme, and served it hot at one of your Winter Sock Harvest Banquets.


Alas, pretty sock. I am sorry for your loss. Here’s a purple kitty to console you.

You…you…you monsters, you. How could you do such a thing?

If you return this sock to me, I will consider unlocking one of the sock drawers. ONE.

The mundane sock drawer, of course.

No love from me,


Did I mention I think too much?


~ If you love birds and Legos, this is your man: Article. Flickr Gallery.

~ Do you know where your pet is? The satellites do.

~ A recipe to cheer us through the blizzards of life: Dark Honey Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream, oh my. (I doubt this one is gluten-free, low-cholesterol, low anything. Food Pr0n!)

~ Press Upload to Shoe. (Might as well track the humans, too.)

~ Speaking of Her Majesty (we were, weren’t we?): Off-Roadin’ It with LizBet

~ And finally, I leave you with this: Archival Integrity

Writing takes courage. I am trying not to be too much of a chicken these days.


About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
This entry was posted in Animals, Family, Goblins of Winter, True Friends and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to the last straw

  1. InJuneau says:

    Love, all the love!


  2. Deb says:

    I’m with you. The cold of winter even in LA makes my hands painful. Just think how wonderful spring will be. Much love to you.


  3. Mary says:

    Growing up, the thing I could do well was write. Many years ago, when I was 21 or so, I landed a job as a copywriter at a New York ad agency. I was thrilled. My family was thrilled. I can’t say I ever made a lot of money, but people I met were always impressed at what I did for a living. Over time, however, I became increasingly unhappy. In some moral sense, it made me miserable to be always promoting stuff, stuff, stuff. I was never free in my mind from the stress of deadlines and I lost the energy to write anything truly creative, or anything that expressed who I really was. After a while, I left the ad world and many people acted like it was some sort of failure — “Why aren’t you still writing?”, etc. It wasn’t a failure. It was the best thing I could do for my true self and I am confident that you made the right decision in leaving that hot job. Sometimes when we are feeling down, those old failure messages kick in, but they are lies. If you hadn’t had your blog for Knitting Daily, I would never have made your acquaintance, so I am happy that it made that opportunity possible for me and many others who feel love and respect for you. Take heart, Sandi. Spring will come. Much love, Mary


  4. So sorry about Buddy. It’s very hard to lose a beloved pet.

    I was going to say that you can use single socks as cup cozies after you cut off the foot, but that’s probably about when the sock gremlins would return the missing one. So no, you’ll just have to wear mismatched socks. They’re still full of love.


  5. Ann P. Williams says:

    Sandi, I am so sorry that you are hurting and lonely. Just remember, you are loved very much!


  6. Liz says:

    Please snorgle the cats and Melody too, and remember, Spring is coming.


  7. molly says:

    if i had any of that yarn in my stash, i would knit you a replacement sock, but i don’t… however, wearing mismatched socks gives you the opportunity to experience the love from TWO sock knitters at a time!


  8. Margo says:

    If you have a front load washing machine look for your sock behind the rubber gasket.


  9. Barbara says:

    I hope you find the other sock – that is gorgeous and I would be heartbroken too! Just remember, spring is our reward for getting through the winter! Also, you get to wear all the great wool & alpaca for longer than many of us (yes, that’s a good thing). As always, I got a great big smile on my face when I saw “wiseheart digest” in my inbox!!


  10. Yes yes yes. More writing, reflective writing, honest writing. You ARE good, that’s why your book must be written. ~Liz


  11. Mary Alyce says:

    Your comments about that job reflect exactly why I no longer subscribe to those publications.

    Spring always comes. She has never failed us yet. Keep the faith, and turn on some lights.


  12. Verónica says:

    Where do all those lonely socks go?


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