Thursday, February 11, 2010

Games-mania and List-mania collide with a BANG

I.  In which I am Rudely Accosted and Publicly Shamed by a Non-Believer
True story:  I may have mentioned (fifty or sixty times) that I take my grocery shopping very seriously.  If it were an Olympic sport, I would be the captain of the U.S. team and people from my home town would line up to watch me train at the local grocery store.  Just like any serious athlete has a game plan, I have a Shopping List.  I can't imagine walking into the store without one, mostly because  I can't be trusted to behave in a store that size.  The List keeps me in check.  Just like Mrs. Googins (yes, real name, and didn't we have tons of fun with that in school?) taught us in Home Ec., I plan out the week's menu in advance.  I make sure I list any missing dinner ingredients,  I survey the pantry to see what staples might need replenishing.  I interrogate family members to find out what they've used up during the week. To streamline the process, I have even made a master list that can be printed from my computer, complete with a nice little box for recording the week's menu and some spiffy check-boxes next to all the most frequently shopped-for staples.

Apparently, this is not universal behavior.

I have always been a little worried about people seeing my list while I'm shopping.  Not in a please-stop-copying-my-paper-you-big-fat-cheater sense, but in a please-stop-staring-at-me-you're-making-me-nervous sense.  I already know that it takes a "special" kind of person to truly appreciate the importance of The List, but mostly I've been able to rely on the discretion of other shoppers.  Some are intimidated and I can see them slinking off to another aisle, but we both pretend we don't know what's going on.  Some clearly think I've gotten painfully a little uptight, but they are polite enough not to mention it to me.  So after 15 years of living within the guidelines of the Shoppers' Code of Peace and Tolerance, imagine my shock when some first-class doofus man wandered over to me in the produce section last month and shouted "You use a LIST??? I didn't think anyone used a LIST!! Bwahahahahaha!"

And now I have List Anxiety.

II.  In which I Prepare for the Knitting Olympics

Fortunately for all concerned, grocery shopping is not an Olympic event.  It's not even a demo sport,  and the proud citizens of the U.S. do not need to fret over whether my List Anxiety will cause me to choke at a key moment and bring everlasting shame to the U.S. Olympic Shopping Team.

Instead, some wild and crazy knitters have created a parallel universe in which there is an entire knitting olympics.  There are teams, events, winners, etc. etc.  The idea is to pick a project (or two, or ten) that would in some way be a challenge for you to complete between the opening ceremonies and the dousing of the olympic flame. 

I'm in.  I decided a while ago that I would take part in this little bit of knitting craziness.  In order to get ready ("train"), I cleaned house.  Not in the literal sense, which would have been an almost complete waste of time, but in the knitting sense.  I started off the year with five outstanding (i.e., not done, as opposed to really spectacular) projects, not counting my pink sweater which is in a lengthy time out due to some gauge control issues.

In no rational order, we have a sweater for Nate:


a hat for El Husbando:


socks for my mother:


and mittens for me:


Now, just one day before the Olympics are due to start, I have one project left to finish:


A gift scarf.  But it will have to wait until after the Olympics.

As part of this Total Project Smackdown, I inventoried.  What really happened was that I ordered some impulse yarn and suddenly began to feel like the entire knitting/spinning thing was getting out of hand.  This was particularly true of my sock yarn.  So I made (wait for it . . .) a list.  The list is divided by the nature of the project (knitting, spinning, quilting) and subdivided as necessary (sock knitting, sweater knitting, random knitting).  I came up with some project ideas for most of the yarns that I have, just so I could feel like I have a little direction in life. I even inventoried my handspun, on the theory that I should actually make something with all that yarn.  Here it is, after being artfully arranged by my younger daughter, whose artistic sense was offended by the way I just randomly tossed the yarn onto the bed.


To really make the list exciting, I assigned every item a number.  The theory is that when I am in need of a new project, I will pick a category (e.g., socks), generate a number (you know, roll dice) and pick that project off the list.

Please stop laughing now.

This is an excellent theory, and I stand behind the idea just as much as I used to stand behind my Shopping List until someone laughed at me in public.  Anyway, now that I am completely organized and have finished most of my lingering projects, I am as ready as I'm going to be for the Olympics, both knitting and winter. Tomorrow night I will cast on for my Slanting Gretel Tee and then I will knit like a madwoman until (a) the sweater is finished, (b) the torch is extinguished, or (c) I perish from a knitting related repetitive stress injury.

Let the games begin.

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