Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Miss My Thumb - A Sucker's Lament

When I was a little girl I was a relentless thumbsucker. I like to blame my beloved Mother who nursed me mere months when compared to nursing babiest brother 'til just prior to grad school. Well Mama, it seemed that way to me!

Then I grew up, had a son, and experienced the knife in the heart that is the self-weaning (at 14 months!) babe. My best beloved, my wee boy had given up all but his last night time feeding and one day, as I coaxed him to latch on, he looked up at me and very patiently said, "No Mama." Like a little, ever so patient god. Crappage. As you can see dear reader Red Tara, I have yet to let it go...much like that now grown baby boy.

We have discussed my hanging on problem before. So, here I will impart my tried and true methods of self-comfort for those times when life pokes you in the eye and says "boogerface" or "gobshite". These simple, good things have replaced my much maligned thumb (my parents insist it was the reason for my expensive orthodontia-I say that was dodgey genes) with their magical powers to infuse my soul with the calm. They are relatively free of vice and whilst somewhat addictive, not controlled substances by any stretch of your highly elastic imagination.

This month has been especially hellacious for me and for many people I love. I hit the wall a week or so ago and have been in a fugue state for many days- hence, I have no memory of how I have passed the time. From the red and puffy eyes, I assume crying was involved.

What finally brought me to my senses was a day of laundry (the disorganized person's quick fix), reading, sugar n' cream cotton yarn in the "Playtime" combo, and Ina's Lemon Cake recipe...throw in a few gallons of Stumptown coffee and I am almost restored to my former glory.

I really enjoyed the book So Late, So Soon by D'Arcy Fallon. I read it all in one quick bash. All my life I have had wicked bad dreams about musty beach houses and fanatical Christians. I think we can attribute this to, in no small part, my 2 years of OMSI sleep away Marine Biology camp in North Bend where every other group passing the rainy summer days was made up of "Christian Youth". We OMSI types were the unwashed, hippie element their parents had warned them about. They were vocal in their superiority, fear, and loathing of us. I heard no less than 3 adult counselors tell groups of roving christian young'uns to "Stay away from those kids. They're from OMSI!"

My parents neglected to read the fine details of the camp (this happened frequently in my youth and when I bring up the inevitable, ensuing traumatic experience-because I have a hard time "letting go" not having been a raging stoner or free love advocate- I am constantly reminded by both of them, "Hey! It was the 70's!Let it go!") and thus I was a very innocent 9 and 10 year old hanging out in the back of the bus with real live, non-innocent early 1970's teenagers! I've never recovered. I couldn't smoke a joint until I had graduated from college-and people, I lived in Eugene Oregon! In the 70! I graduated from the U of O in the 80's! I went to Grateful Dead shows, the Oregon Country fair, and a theater cast party with Ken Kesey-well, not with Ken Kesey, but he was there!!!

As the youngest in the group at Camp Arago, I was in charge of feigning illness or hysterical homesickness anytime one of the counselors started investigating the wild giggling in our cabin a little too closely. I was often laughed right out of the drippy, mildewy cabin for suggesting that we actually go down to the slough and investigate the collison of the fresh/saltwater ecosystems that were, at that very moment, colliding! Or that we hang out at low tide and count sea anemones.

I feel lucky to have survived. It was a trial and a feat I do not completely understand, for I had no easily accessible comfort. My thumb had long since lost its magic. I had finished my 45th reading of my beloved Misty of Chincoteague.

The commissary served fruit for dessert. Every. Freakin'. Night. I had yet to discover the comforts of tea and coffee and drink. And, saddest of all, I had no yarn, no needles! When you are a maker, e-h.s. (empty-hand syndrome) is a dread state.

In retrospect the only thing that actually saved my poor little soul was a scheduled laundry trip to the Pony Village Shopping Mall.I knew it lay just ahead of me, so near. Just two more days. Now just one more.

There, I was able to restore some brief but blissful freshness to my clothes, which smelled just as D'Arcy Fallon describes the just washed cotton sheets fresh from the dryers at her Northern Californian Christian commune - Moldy and Damp. I could buy some pens and a sketch book with which to draw. And it was there, at the majestic Pony Village Mall, that I discovered MASCARA, specifically Brown Tussy mascara. OMG! Make up! The thrill of it took my mind off of the disturbing sight of my fellow splotch-afflicted campers french kissing indiscriminately, every where I looked.

I spent the rest of that summer at camp practicing my mascara technique, drawing pictures of holothurians, and hiding from the uncool boys who were confused and hormonal enough to mistake a prepubescent girl for a potential summer lover. I remained chaste. With MASSIVE lashes...truly endless. Poor boys. It must have been such a painful, unrequited kind of desire what with my groovy, raccoon-like mascaraed eyes and all.

However, now as a truly growed-up woman, mascara, like my beloved thumb, has lost most of it's magical powers to soothe. So, in any existential crise, I now rely on the baking of things (with butter), obsessive, indiscriminate reading (which I refer to as literary prozac), and knitting bias cloths out of cotton yarn. Bliss. And, also, more productive most days than sleeping, which has always been my go-to, get outta your head method of self-care.

First, you must bake something wonderful like Ina's Triple Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Here's the drizzle part that you drench the cake with before it cools: Sugary, lemony, and warm...sometimes I drizzle a little in my tea too. See the little lemon peels?No? Ah well, once I learn to use my new camera all will become clear-er.

Then, while the cake cools you whip out your trusty number 7's
Hey RT I want these for Christmas!!!

and some cotton yarn ( I prefer the natural color for face cloths, but sometimes a girl needs a serious jolt of color), and follow this age-old pattern known by many names such as the Eyelet Wash Cloth, Bias Knit Cloth, and Granny's Favorite Dishcloth:

Cast on 4
Knit 4
Knit 2 Yarn Over Knit to end
Repeat until you have the width of the cloth you desire (between 40 and 48ish)
Decrease - Knit 1 Knit 2 Together Yarn Over Knit 2 Together Knit to end
Keep going until you are down to four stitches on your needle
Bind off

If you want to make a loop for hanging, crochet a short chain with the yarn tail.

There is a lovely recipe for this pattern here.

You wind up with a beautiful square that has an eyelet border.

Which you can then employ to cover your delicious lemon cake whilst it cools.

Then you should make a big, hot pot of tea or a giant mug of coffee and you will have comfort at hand.

Throw in a good read, a warm dog draped across your feet, some sweet music and you have comfort. Almost as good as the memory of that old thumb....

Now that I am back in the saddle, it's on to fall yard clean-up, fixing the slippery stairs, and planting thousands of bulbs! But first, a weekend in Reno (the biggest little city in the world) with family to celebrate my obnoxious father's retirement and move to Ouray. Cheers!

P.S. I feel it is only fitting to close with the obvious comfort-ne joy! of being right (as in correct or just). Evidently Senator Wyden, on Tuesday (obviously after reading my blog), came out in support of a public option. I am now ready to re-evaluate our relationship. I feel the love people. I feel the love.

1 comment:

mig said...

omsi marine biology camp, i'm envious. i got no further than day trips with them to tide pools at haystack rock.
also, that cake looks good, dude.