My schedule changed a bit for today. Last night, "Chappy" (the police chaplain; her real name is Lawanda but she is known to everyone who is her friend as "Chappy" - and I think everyone who knows her considers her their friend, I certainly do) called me and said the woman we were going to visit had asked that we wait until she was home from the hospital. And I'm fine with that; she should be home late next week and I will have more open time then for a visit.
So, once the Honors' day was over, I was free. I decided to do a Sherman run; there were a few grocery items not readily available in town that I needed (I can't get good red meat in town. And I do think that I have a need for that - the heme iron, or the proteins in it, or whatever. The times I've tried being "really" vegetarian, as opposed to eating vegetarian "most of the time," after a while I'd start to feel really run down and people would tell me I seemed "pale.") So I wanted to get a steak, and maybe a package of ground buffalo meat.
And I also wanted to go to the JoAnn's. Not that I NEEDED anything, not that I ever particularly need anything there, but it raises my spirits to go to any kind of craft store. The same is true of bookstores, but it's interesting: I feel a lot happier visiting a small independent bookstore (which I hardly ever get to) than I do in the big chains, but the same feeling isn't necessarily true of craft stores. (It may be that so many of the chain bookstores carry so much "extraneous" stuff - toys, and bobblehead dolls of the Big Bang Theory characters, and t-shirts, and so forth.) And they are more to "general" tastes - this month, the bridal magazines had already begun to squeeze out the knitting magazines.
I realized while in the JoAnn's that these kinds of places are the closest thing I have to a "make everything okay" button. (I know there's such a thing on the Internet, but it doesn't always work (I mean, psychologically speaking) for me). Or, if I let my cynic have at it: it is something that allows me to pretend for a period of time that everything is okay.
Except, really, that's not true. Everything is pretty much okay, or at the very least, it's not as not-okay as I sometimes lead myself to believe. (It could always be worse: I could be living in the Urals and be picking bits of meteorite out of my garden). And despite the frustrations with bureaucracy, 90% of the time I can ignore it and just happily do what I'm supposed to be doing, which is teaching and working on research and advising students.
But bookstores and craft shops do make me feel like everything is okay. It's like the role Tiffany's played for Holly Golightly: nothing very bad could happen to you there.
And bookstores and craft shops do a funny thing to my brain: they make me think "Of course I will have time to enjoy [whatever it is I am thinking of buying]." So I wind up coming home, as I did today, having bought a sweater's worth of avocado-colored Vickie Howell wool-blend yarn (but is was so inexpensive! And I got an extra 15% off on top of that! It's a sweater for less than $30!) and another set of those pillowcases you embroider (even though I have two that I am mostly not working on). And I bought a big fat new biography of Queen Elizabeth (the current queen, not the one from Shakespeare's era) at the bookstore, just because I want to learn more about her life. (But then again: spring break with two 16 hour train trips is coming up, this could be my spring-break book)
It is a funny thing. It's like I disengage the reality that I don't have enough free time, because I see all these great things I want to make, or read, or do, or learn about. And then I get home and kind of slap my forehead a little because I have other projects I'm not getting done. Oh well. It's not like I'm spending myself into debt - I rarely buy clothes, I don't eat in restaurants any more, the frozen vegetables and stuff I mostly eat are pretty darn cheap, I am not a shoe or purse woman....and $15 worth of stamped pillowcases and floss is fairly cheap as far as therapy goes. Because it really is a form of therapy to me, both picking the stuff out and actually making it (when I finally get 'round to making it)
I also bought the newest issue of Simply Knitting (one of the wonderful UK-based knitting magazines) and the new Quilty. (I don't know how I feel about Quilty. I really like some of the patterns in it, and I love that it is reaching out to younger quilters to get them involved and into the quilt world....but some of the commentary is a little bit twee, even for me.)
However, going into my quilting room is another form of a Make Everything Okay button for me - I put on some music, I work, I forget about the outside world for a while, and at the end of it, I have something to show for my time. Or knitting and either listening to music or watching something fun on television is another version of that.
My valentine's day present to myself was dvd copies of "Despicable Me" and "How to Train Your Dragon." Yes, most of the movies I like well enough to re-watch multiple times are actually aimed at kids - but kids' movies are so often more clever than movies aimed at adults, I don't know why that is these days. And also, kids' movies often seem to offer more of an "escape" - they are set somewhere different, in a world that doesn't really exist, and I'd much rather watch "Vikings" that speak with Scots brogues than watch some bit of meet-cute silliness allegedly set in Manhattan, with people far wealthier and far prettier than anyone I know. The meet-cute movies are another form of unreality, but to me, they seem vaguely insidious, because they are unreality masquerading as reality, or at least to me they are.
And really, the only two remaining bastions of the musical movie these days are some of the kids' movies, and also Bollywood. (As much as I've thought about it, I've never gone and tried to find Bollywood movies to rent. I suppose I'd probably enjoy them but....I prefer to knit while I watch, and having to read subtitles might limit that)). As I've said many times, and I thought again as Sirius Pops was playing the overture to The Merry Widow as I was driving home one day: the world portrayed in musicals and comic operettas seems much more entertaining and much more lighthearted than the world we actually inhabit.
So, tomorrow afternoon, I am either going to Make Everything Okay by seeing about laying out the current quilt top, or by popping one of my new dvds in the player and knitting on a sweater.
Oh, and for some inexplicable reason, I can once again log in to both my e-mail and Blogger without getting the "HEY YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING THAT CONFLICTS" error message. I guess it was just one of those instances of my ISP being an idiot that happens periodically. Or something:
(From "Know Your Meme," creator not known)
Also: Yarnshaming. When good yarn goes bad. (Though I'm generally more often going to blame a pattern/yarn mismatch, or some kind of operator error, than the yarn itself.)