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04 February 2006

WTF? A very lengthy pot pourri post in which the word "knitting" is used, but no actual knitting is discussed

Let me tell you about another gift I received last week -- a phone call from my sister; a sometime knitter, she knows about my blog, but has never seen it or any other.  She was talking to me while munching on chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, and munching quite loudly -- very loudly, in fact -- and laughing, making sure I knew that she was talking to me through a mouth full of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and trying to tell me that they were direct from Hawaii. I beat her to the punch on that one, though; I knew, the minute I heard "macadamia," that they were sent from Hawaii and I knew who sent them!  I knew that she was really calling to tell me that she was totally floored by the macadamias.

You may recall that I did a little outright pimpin' for my sister after Christmas, right here on my blog, and even made a photo album, “Shameless Nepotistic Commerce," (it’s over there on the right) to showcase some of her hand painted pottery.  Speaking of which, if you're in the area next weekend, she and her business associates have rented booth space at WPT's Garden Expo in Madison (TwirlGirl, darlin', there's your cue -- seems the only time I hear from you is when I say the "magic word").  If you're an artist in Wisconsin, this is a shitty time of year for making money; maybe we should try being Norma's neighbors in Vermont.  Anyway, I’m doing my teensy little thing so that her dog and cat have food this winter, when lo and behold, there was de-lurking and emailing and phone-calling, ordering and shipping from Wisconsin and receiving in Hawaii, and everyone was, apparently, quite happy.  That's business!

Ah, but the de-lurking order-placer sent my sister a gift (the macadamias) and a "Thank You" card after receiving her order.  My sister was flabbergasted, and the macadamias were no doubt foofing out all over her shirt as she asked me, "What kind of person sends a thank you card and a gift because you sent them something they bought and paid for?"  I told her, "Knitters, baby!"

I’d like to say a public thank you for the thank you to Sandra, in Hawaii, from me and my sis.  ; )  Her reaction to the gift you sent was, in turn, a most delightful gift to me, too, in the crazy way of the world.  Oh, I do so love blogging and this community!

There's just a lot been going on and, to tell you the truth, over the past few months, I think I nearly reached the point a few times where I could definitively answer the question, “How much shit can a person take?”  Alas, there's always more; that whole infinity and beyond thing... there's always “beyond.”  So, I sometimes take great pleasure in little things – maybe, sometimes, more pleasure than I should -- like a bed piled high with pillows or receiving a belated birthday present (or any kind of present, anytime)!  I like receiving them, opening them, savoring them, photographing them for my blog (I pretend that rubbing elbows with Cara has made me a better photographer - ha!), thinking about them, admiring them, fondling them (if appropriate), using them, writing about them for my blog, posting them on my blog, and sharing them (with public thanks) on my blog. Did I mention my blog?  I also like thinking about and shopping for presents for pals -- better or otherwise, when I choose to participate or I accept an invitation.  I also sometimes pick up presents for plain old friends, but usually only when I see something that’s “them” and the price is right.  I like reading about the presents I give and seeing pictures occasionally (with public thanks) on other blogs, if the recipient is so moved (plus, it’s like Technicolor delivery confirmation); if not, okay!  Anyway, it's the little things, you know?  Lots 'n lots of little things that sometimes show up on my blog.

I read Knitter's Review's review of Mason-Dixon Knitting the other day and I'm anxiously awaiting the release of Mason-Dixon Knitting (the book), having read and enjoyed the very charming Mason-Dixon Knitting (the blog) for a long time, as have many of you, of course.  Plus, I met Kay at Rhinebeck last October!

I also read Annie’s post, including quotes from the above-mentioned book review, and I got to thinking about those quotes, too. (It also made me a little defensive and somewhat taken aback. She could be talking about me! Is she talking about me? I showed pictures of gifts the other day!! I wished I had a cast list so I, too, could follow along as to who was “in” and who was “out”).

I like to think that I write a "good blog" – not anywhere near the level of the Mason-Dixon girls and the like, but pretty good – my knitting (nothing too technical), the kids, the house, my yard, it’s all pretty everyday because we’re pretty regular ‘round here -- and I like to feel that I'm part of a "close-knit community."  I am not writing a book, though, so my blog -- my blog -- is not 'isolated on paper' and is, very much, a public conversation.  "A Chosen Few" might choose to read my public conversations as if they were private, and might choose to keep themselves "decidedly left out" of the public conversation, might choose to isolate themselves by building a wall but forgetting a door.  My comments have always been open, except, I think, for one post; that, along with the fact that I post to the internets without constraint, makes my blog undeniably public.  The welcome mat has always been by the front door, I don’t think I’ve ever been rude or made anyone feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. I'm not always as active in the "close-knit {knit blogging} community" as I'd like; arguably, some may choose to differ. Sometimes I feel paranoid or shy, scared or insecure, uninformed or intimidated – my own manufactured feelings which I’m usually able to quickly quell. {I’m usually pretty confident and secure in my skin and, despite this really long post (I’m so sorry, but I may as well get it all out and be done), I really despise blogging about blogging (*yawn*) or blogging about my feelings about blogging (save for the occasional, exuberant, generic “I love blogging/bloggers”).} Sometimes I just have a hard time keeping up with all the action! Mostly, I have a complete and utter blast with other regular people, like me, and some not so regular, who all happen to have a blog, usually about knitting. Some are younger, some are older, most are warm, charming and witty, with personality and character and without taking themselves too seriously; they have a great sense of fun and humor and playfulness -- about themselves as much (usually more) as anyone else.  It's fun to involve myself in "all the goodness and wackiness and generosity that can exist among knitters, especially online."  The keys are doing it -- taking the risk and getting involved, putting myself out there, give and take, come what may – and having fun.

I have recently written the words "blogging etiquette," even with links, but not with much explanation. I put it out there occasionally as part of my own fascination with the blogging phenomenon (I’m not really so fascinated by the rules and regulations).  There are very fine points to be made, I’m sure, but my bottom line in regard to blogging etiquette – “The Golden Rule” – is pretty much the same as my off-the-shelf variety, everyday etiquette.

Blogging is huge, did you know?  There are millions and millions of bloggers… and "beyond."  An originally small niche community of bloggers, such as knitters, was probably quite static for a very long while, and slow-growing for shorter while, and has most recently exploded into a mushroom cloud and it’s impossible to keep pace with the changes or even try to imagine the many ways it may change.  Who heard of “podcasting” a year ago? In April 2005 – less than a year ago – programmer Chris McEvoy did a study of Bloglines knitting feeds; Wendy was declared the "knitters' knitter" with a whopping 70 subscribers (that was a lot, way back then, in the olden days of blogging) and today that number is 2,827; Yarn Harlot had 51 subscribers, and today it’s 2,921 (no doubt they each have quite a few more, with other services, additional feeds).  There are 900 member bloggers in the Knitting Blogs webring, and over 100 waiting in the queue.  What was once one small and intimate community is now made up of many small, intimate and very fluid communities formed of like-minded people that come together to make something of a whole.  Thank goodness, just as in the real world, each of us is different and unique; differences that provide immeasurable opportunities for sharing and learning.  Unfortunately, just as in the real world, each of us is different and unique; differences that are sometimes viewed as polarizing threats.

I choose to celebrate opportunity!

+ + + + + + +

Random (exercise):  Yo-glow.  That's what I was feeling this morning after 90 minutes of piping hot, power yoga (my longest class yet).  The stretching and twisting and sweating did wonders to right a few things in my head, rid some toxic thoughts and loosen my shoulders, and (bonus) my aching back felt so much better!

Random (TV):  I've waxed poetic in previous posts (I may even have been inebriated once) about Betty White, "Boston Legal," William Shatner, James Spader...  And I’ve been meaning to say that the past couple of episodes have had a cherry on top!!  Michael J. Fox – he was incredibly funny and also so sad.  The storyline for Betty White, trying to get arrested for armed robbery as a means to socialize with her former co-workers was hilarious and also so sad.  I was, as Norma would say, “ROFLMAOWPIMP,” with a quivering chin.  One of the things I love about that show is that it always gives you a little something to chew on for a while afterwards.

Random (more TV):  I stayed up late last night watching Steve Martin on A&E's Biography.  I missed the earlier airing and the VCR was being weird and the remote wasn't working!  Lucky, lucky ducks are we that he's hosting SNL tonight.  I'll even watch SNL for Steve Martin!  (Can't wait for "Pink Panther"!)

Random (last one):  Ali cut my hair today!  She took some pictures, I took some pictures -- hated them all.  How in the world do you look at a camera as if you love it?

Comments

I've been reading your blog for a while now. I really enjoy it, and love the pictures you post. I'm just a novice knitter, but I'm always impressed with what I see on here and other knitting blogs. I live in Wisconsin as well, just down the street from one of your links on the right, and always like your posts about what's going on in your neck of the woods. Keep writing, and keep knitting- you appear to do great at both.
-Gretchen

Vicki, I think this may be my favorite post of yours ever. Opportunity. Celebrating opportunity, MAKING opportunity. Having met quite a few bloggers and now counting a lot of knitters who blog as my friend - I have yet to meet someone who has excluded me or made me feel unwelcome. Posting about receiving gifts from friends is fun - if it's something you want to do on a lbog you PAY for - go for it. Anyone who knows you knows that you're the greatest and would never do anything to try and make someone feel badly....

I have more to say but will say it offline.

xo,w.

You were one of the first people to welcome me. That's all I gotta say.

Well, I'd say that warm yoga opened up some floodgates. Beautiful post, Vicki!

I am raising my knitting needles up for you!
OUCH, okay, that will heal!
:)
This is a beautiful post, Vicki. I love your heart!

Wonderful post - Great "first cup of morning coffee" reading. :::grin:::

You brought me near to tears and you said everything I was thinking. We are very fortunate to have our Blogworld and the true friends we've made here. I ***heart*** you Vicki!!

BRAVO VICKI! Bravo! I've been thinking A LOT about these subjects this weekend, because, like you, I feel I have a very open blog - about my own life for sure, but also a blog that has a welcome mat for everyone else, and it's been very upsetting to me that people might think otherwise.

I've been mulling a post in my head but for the first time in my blogging life, maybe, I'm at a loss for words. I think I'm tired of the drama that I didn't ask to be a part of and I feel like in a lot of ways I just got my blog BACK after losing it for a while to other circumstances, none of them bad, some of them surprising, all of my own doing. I don't want to lose it again! I love my blog and I love the community of people that have come to me because of my blog.

There is a super special place in my heart for you Vicki. SUPER SPECIAL! I'm specifically thinking of the second day in New York when we went around just the two of us and went to the uber cool show and a truly deep connection was made - at least on my part. This weekend while I've been thinking about blogs and bloggers and community I've been reminding myself that if for some reason it all went away I've made some REAL friends. Not just real life friends, but REAL TRUE friends. Maybe I can count the number of those on one had, but they are there and they are real. And I know I won't lose them to back biting and sniping and perceived slights.

In this comment about you, can I say I've really missed Ann this weekend? I keep hearing her wicked self-effacing laugh in my head and man I could use that right now!

Anyway, I wanted to THANK YOU PUBLICLY from the bottom of my heart because these issues you speak of have been hurting me this weekend and I've been trying to write a post in my head and I can't find the words but you have so I don't have to. Thank you.

Love,
Cara

PS - I thought SNL was pretty disappointing last night - except for the scenes where Alec Baldwin was in it and the first Prince song KICKED ASS.

This theme seems to periodically appear in blogland, to which I reply: it's your blog and you do what you wanna.

Vicki, all I have to say is ditto what has already been said. This whole business has hurt my heart - why can't we all just get along?

Can I hear an AMEN, SISTER? You wrote it perfectly, Vicki, for all of us. And I'm sure you saw my comment at Annie's because I also felt like I was being accused. My blog, my space, my life. If you don't like it, go read something else. Having said that, let me also say, I'm so glad that YOU read me and I read you and we are friends. Amen.

Ya know what? In my line of work I see it every day: Professional victims. They NEVER do anything to harm any other soul. They are the ones who are just so aggrieved. The whole world is out to get them, and the whole world owes them something special. Bleh. There's a diagnosis for that.

Well said m'dear, well said.

I closed my comments for a little while...not because I wasn't welcoming people...see how we always think the author is referring to us!

I am pleased for your sister and pleased to have met you via blogging. As with most things in life--there is good and bad and the ugly too. I try to "skim" the good and let go of the bad and ignore the ugly. In addition to the Golden Rule--I am a firm believer in the Serenity Prayer. It's just a bit harder for me to follow.

Hugs and love to you m'dear for your courageous post. I miss Ann this w.e. too.

And I just want to say one more thing. I don't think we do all need to get along. But I do think we need to live and let live. Nuff said.

OMG! I can't believe ANYONE could find any kind of fault with you for anything you've said or done on your blog. Ever. You've always been one of the kindest bloggers I've ever met.

What really shines through on your blog, and all of my favorite blogs is the authenticity behind the content, words and photos.

I think the blog world is a much better place when we post what and when we want and comment on other blogs as we are moved to. Hopefully, we develop natural relationships with our blog readers out of a geniune sense of caring and commonality, rather than a sense of obligation or political correctness taken too far.

Telling someone what they should or should not do on their blog is akin to someone coming in to your home and telling you how you "should" be decorating your home and raising your family. Just silly.

And really... "eff" em if they can't take a joke! Yanno!

Keep posting, darlin, you are loved!


har har! Spread the magic and here I am :)
Actually, its been a pretty busy few weeks, alas my lack of comments. Not to worry dear, I read daily tho, as I have time. Another move is on the horizon and I just spent the past three days at the hospital coaching my sister through natural childbirth!

And Vicki, everything I'm thinking right now, about your post, has already been said in previous comments. An "Amen Sista" would be my choice comment. Great entry (and...I would have commented even without the magic word!) ;)

I love all your posts Vicki, and I don't give a damn who's "in" or "out". I think it's awesome that I could take a train to NYC and meet up with a friend from Wisconsin. The benefits outweigh the issues.

--I really did write this last night at 1am, but typepad was busy being upgrading or soemthing and wouldn't let me post--

What a horrible person you are, making me actually THINK at 1am!

I'm sure I've commented here before, but for all intents and purposes I suppose I'm nothing more than a lurker. Hopefully I'm not going to come across as an ego stroking ass kisser, but seriously, your blog is one one my faves. Most of the other popular blogs have all of the glitter and glamour of a showgirl, but lack any real substance. Those blogs are like getting a brief peek into someones house through closed curtains.

Your blog, on the other hand, is a blog that you could easily sit down with and enjoy a cup of tea with. You're totally inviting us into your living room!

As far as the gift thing goes, I think it's almost better to post what you have gotten and from whom. If people don't like reading it, then they can skip it. For the people that actually sent the gift, however, I think it's a real treat. Blogs are open to the entire public, so showing the world that you appreciate a person is pretty damned cool, if you ask me.

From reading Annie's post, it seems as though she would prefer that all bloggers basically give a clipped and impersonal news cast of one's personal hobby/life/whatever, while pretending that the other people in that person's life don't really exist. I sure as hell do mention friends on my blog, but that's because I think they're worth mentioning, and that other people should meet them too. Then again, if people are doing it for ass kissing purposes, name dropping is pretty lame.

OKay, I'm rambling now, so I'll let you go.

PS It still blows my mind that we live in the same state! You're like the Knitter of Wisconsin, as far as I'm concerned!

Don't feel bad! Anyone who feels bitter when they read a blog post about the gifts the blogger received from another knitter needs to quit kvetching and join one of the many knitting gift exchanges. Or, better yet, to pick a fellow knit blogger, and send them a gift.

Enjoy your friends, celebrate the gifts you receive, keep up the awesome work on the blog, and don't let anyone else's sour grapes get you down.

Wow. I'm pretty shocked quite frankly. And really hurt as well. My post was about the quote from KR- not one blog in particular. I have to say, the comments I am reading here on this post truly capture the heart of the people commenting. It's a good snapshot into their character, wouldn't you agree.

I honestly couldn't read your whole post. I'll come back to it later....

Beautifully said, Vicki! I have to agree with the Golden Rule thinking! And - you are soooo welcoming!

Thank~you for a well written and thoughtful post. I always enjoy your openess and your blog ;-))

You do have a welcoming blog, Vicki, and you write clearly, too.

Unfortunately, many of the people who have crowded in here to get their digs in at Annie are the same people who have told her over the past year to "get a heart" or not be "pressured" by a vocal blogger to "go over to her side."

It's been insulting and she's been hurt many times over. Frankly, its odd that the "can't we all get along" crowd is also the one to stab anyone who doesn't go along with the status quo. And giving the public hugging and kissing that follows the stabbing, it seems they enjoy it as well.

I've seen the private behavior, the smiling faces that turn away to shovel the dirt behind other's backs. It's not that people can't get along, it's that some play by rules that others find offensive.

Annie is at least honest about her actions, she has the guts to sign her name and show her face. She doesn't make vicious statements about yardsticks up the whazoo and then crawl back under some rock.

Let's face it, everyone talks. But when the talk is unsubstantiated b.s. designed to make someone look bad, it leaves the person with a choice: feel victimized or speak out.

If people are feeling defensive, perhaps they should ask themselves why -- and go ask the blogger personally. A couple bloggers recently left comments elsewhere that made me wonder what they were implying so I contacted them. One blogger was very polite and sent a reply back right away. The other one has ignored my mail. I'm left to assume I received my answer through her silence.

Annie obviously believes that people are free to write whatever they please on their blogs just like your commenters here do. Why, then, when someone writes an honest post -- based on her personal experience -- does that "freedom" disappear?

I agree with all the above comments and have a little more to say offline, Vicki. I "heart" you, too.

You are amazing and upbeat, Vicki. Which is why I love to read your blog.

Wow.

I think I'm a thoughtless (maybe just oblivious?) blogger. I just keep knitting, blogging, reading, and not commenting enough at the blogs I love, but I have an ostrich approach to my stats because I always fear my ex-husband (and stalker extraordinaire) finding me. I love this place, these blogs, and all the people I've met.

so, what have you kids been up to while I've been away? ;)

Vicki my dear, you have said it all and done a beautiful job in the process.

I just love you Vicki! You are who you are, blogging and in real life.

I'm just shaking my head. I think ignorance is bliss. I had no idea there was an "in" and an "out". Blogging is having a public diary. That's all. I learn all sorts of things I otherwise wouldn't have, on every topic of life and sometimes I make friends.

I guess human beings can turn anything into an issue.

(giggle) I'm going to leave you with my favorite high school yearbook quote:
"Love you, V! Don't ever change!"

I love your blog, and read it daily, along with many many others. I comment when I feel the need to say something, and am silent when nothing comes to mind. I feel as though I have "met" people with whom I share a passion for an artform (knitting) that I love. I don't blog for the comments, but it's always nice to know that someone connects to me, somehow. I will quit blogging if it ever becomes painful.......I'm all for connecting...

Vicki,

As usual, I'm a bit late to the party, but I just wanted to chime in with a me too--I love your blog. And I, too, am all about the blogs of the regular people!

I'd like to say more about the drama and the fact that it usually seems to stem from the same source, but I really don't want to get involved. So I won't. Or maybe I just did... Oh, well.

You've summed up our wonderful, astonishing community with words from the heart. Well thought, and well said!

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