Friday, September 28, 2007

And Carl says I'm introverted.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Check that off the list.

Well, last night I met my number-one hero. Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series and the world's greatest comic genius, and a damn fine human being. Of course, I was only able to get pictures on my camera phone, so until I figure out how the heck to upload those, you'll have to check him out at I was able to get my advance reader's copy signed, thus ensuring my retirement fund. Working at a bookstore is sweet.

Best quote of the night: "I read books that support my pre-existing view that the world is a very interesting place."

Also.."No-one seems to have caught on yet that in Wee Free Men, there is a toad. The toad is yellow. He says he is yellow because he has been ill, and for a lot of the time, the toad is leading Tiffany....and yet no one seems to bring up the phrase, "Follow the yellow sick toad"."

To my shame, I'd never caught that either.

Oh, what all is happening...all sorts of stuff. I guess in knitting news, I made my very first boyfriend scarf that was actually appreciated...and when I say appreciated, I mean I am blown away by this man's level of commitment to keeping the scarf within two feet of his body at all times, and it hasn't even snowed yet. I think I hit the jackpot, ladies and gentlemen. I will get pictures as soon as possible.

It provides such a contrast to every other knitting I've ever offered to an object of my affection. In fact, want to hear a story that will make blood come out your ears? I know you do. It's sort of funny in retrospect, it being such a fantastically yarn-based tale of betrayal.

I made a scarf, oh, two years ago for the fellow I'd been with for two years. It wasn't much, a simple 1x1 rib, but I picked those colors carefully and knitted it carefully out of beautiful brown Lamb's Pride and presented it with love, as we all do with our knitting. He liked it okay but my knitting was always sort of an object of resentment for him. I think it had something to do with his mother, or some such foolery. Anyway he wore it for awhile, and then he stopped, and then as we continued to fall apart it lay in the backseat of his car covered by Wendy's bags. I had a health scare one day and showed up on his doorstep for help because at the time he was the only one I could go to. He opened the door and THE BASTARD WAS WEARING A SCARF. Not MY scarf, no, but a badly-crocheted hunk of PURPLE ACRYLIC Lion Brand Homespun. I eyed that for a minute. Who made that for you? Carolyn! Oh, of course it was Carolyn! Naturally! How silly of me! I guess that settles the question of our future!

Now, in non-knitting circles this might seem sort of, well, not as bad as it could have been, but you all understand, I am sure, that to wear another girl's knitting (or crochet--even worse) is a slap in the face to everything you are, and rather worse than actually discovering him doing the dirty with the tramp in the living room. The fact that I did not come in the night and slash his tires was owed solely to the fact that it might jeopardize my student teaching.

The point of this story is that the fact that I have found a man who thinks my knitting is "bitchin' righteous" (direct quote) is enough to make me want to tie him to the couch to prevent him escaping. Did I say that? Woops! I mean...I feel lucky. Really lucky. I am.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

NDK 2007

I made my Mononoke Hime costume totally all by myself, and I was not detected by anyone at the convention as the anime enthusiast poser that I am. My cousin decreed me a perfectly acceptable San. It was fantastic. And we are totally hot.

Friday, August 31, 2007


  • Sweetheart Sweater
  • Based on Stephanie Japel's top-down raglan recipe
  • Circular size 7
  • Caron Simply Soft, Wool-Ease and wool scraps
  • Buttons from local yarn shop
  • Heart chart:

I think this is the best fit I've ever had in a sweater, and it's definitely going to get more wear than any sweater I've knit before. I did a bunch of increases for the bust, and in retrospect I clearly have no idea what size I am. I need to learn to make darts.

So in local news, I'm in Colorado and feeling at home, for the first time in my life. I'm working in a bookstore and Terry Pratchett is coming to Boulder next month. Life is very, very good.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A rant.

I've been browsing an online dating website lately. It's great entertainment. Only one out of every 30 guys seems to have any ability to use words. There are a few stock phrases that you see over and over...I really think they just copy and paste each other's profiles."Chivalry is not dead"; "Do nice guys finish last?" "Part teddy bear"...Good god. One of the phrases you see in almost every single one is, "I know how to treat a woman."

This fascinates me. How, in fact, is a woman supposed to be treated? I have two theories as to why they are saying this.

1. They think that "being treated like a woman" means flowers, candy, door-holding, being given presents and inane flattery. They also think that women like this. So if they say they know how to do that, women will like them.

2. It's some sort of ############ innuendo.

Regardless, I just can't imagine saying anything like, "I know how to treat a man." What, bring him his beer while he watches the game and swan around the house in a negligee? I know how to treat my man! Could anything sound more archaic?

How is it possible to be a human being living in the world today and not realize that the "way to treat a woman" is to treat her as a friend? With respect and kindess? Treat her as a unique human being who is not to be put on a pedestal nor put down for your amusement. I would treat any man the same way.

How is this not obvious?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

where troubles melt like lemon drops

Dress: Vintage with the original tags, $2 at the Salvation Army. Cat: Fat and fluffy and entertaining, $30 at the local shelter.

I just read an amazing book which I'm prepared to bet you haven't read. The librarian tells me that I was the first one to check it out since it was purchased..six years ago. Did you know that a man named W.C. Minor, a primary contributor to the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, did it all from inside Broadmoor Insane Asylum, where he lived as an inmate? Because of schizophrenia manifesting as extreme paranoia....and guilt...not to be a spoiler, but the man felt that perhaps God would forgive him for certain spicy thoughts if he..well. Too bad that eighty is a bit old to start a new career as a castrato singer. A thrilling read! *bright smile*

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I just watched The Squid and the Whale. It was so real and hit so hard. The characters were so true..and the issues so powerful. Your parents and their love, sex, what potential these things have to be land mines..they are like the giant forces, the squid and the whale, battling it out. They are so huge and dark and powerful that just witnessing the fight can make you do things you can give no reason for at all. What makes us lash out and why in the way we do? I read The Stranger by Camus the other day, and it was clear to me there was something I was missing..and this is it, or part of it. In the face of death, sex, and love, people do destructive things that make no logical sense. Why? Why? Because nothing we do matters in the face of death, or because the breakdown of love is overpowering, or because sex is too frightening a concept, outside of love, to handle? And if love dies, then where does that leave us?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rocky mountain high

I passed student teaching! There's a whole passel of thought and growing and pain and stories in that which I am not yet ready to discuss. I'm moving to Colorado in 11 weeks! They use sheep to mow the grass by highways in Colorado. This was at least 50% of my decision-making process.


I finished this in four days during my vacation to Colorado. It's a modified Forecast by Stephanie Japel, free pattern on her website and Knitty. I used size 10.5 needles and good old dishcloth cotton. I didn't actually follow the pattern, I started off with it and then sort of went my own way. It's getting a lot of oohs and aahs! The ribbing hits me above the belly button, so it's a sort of bolero thing. Anyway it's cute and light and it makes me happy! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A full life

Well. This will be my first single Valentine's Day in many a year. In theory I'm not upset--I've had more than my fair share of not-alone valentine's Days, and it's time I got to take the other side.
Still, I'm not kidding myself. It's going to be tough. Really tough. I expect there will be many a moment when the tears are going to come. But I'm determined not to mope around, or go on a date with someone I'm not in love with and deal with all that pressure. I'm going to enjoy it like I did when I was a kid! I've gone through an awful lot of manifesto days, when I swore to be a stronger person from that moment on. It doesn't work. I've accepted that you can't call love hate and have it really be hate just because you want it to. You can't stop feeling pain because it's inconvenient. The harder you deny your own feelings, the harder you will fall, and you will break bones. I accept that I am healing, that I will feel differently all the time, and that moving on isn't something you can force. A rebound is not the answer. I'm sort of pleased to find that I get no kicks out of using men. That's a lot more mature than I ever thought I was. So there's that at least.
I'm even amazed to find that my teaching is filling up the gaps in my life, and that I even get joy out of it. That I don't feel lost anymore. At least, not most of the time.
On the other hand, I'm developing more old-maid habits and preferences by the day. I'm not sure if it's being a professional husher for loud kids, or if it's not having a man to impress. I prefer medicinal herbal scents, pajamas with discreet stripes in sober tones, and the highlight of my average week is Tuesday, because House is on. My heart actually beats faster when I think about it.. my ideal man, apparently, is a crabby Brit. I'm twenty-two and I knit obsessively. I'm an English teacher who enjoys puns a lot more than is actually healthy. I smell of lavender and basil. The other day I even heard myself say, "Have some respect for the Word of God!" And so, my friends, I will die alone. Except for my cats. They will still love me.

Here is my game plan for the Day of Doom:

1. I will make extra-special personalized heart cookies for my students, cooperating teacher and principal.
2. I will buy myself flowers. Probably Gerbera daisies in red, yellow and orange. I really always liked them better than roses.
3.I will make funny, irreverent Valentines and mail them to my friends and family back home. When I'm in a relationship I forget to be generous to the people who really love me and are really, truly committed to me.
4.I will buy a Veggie Lover pizza from Pizza Hut: I haven't had one in years, a bottle of the cheapest, sweetest red wine available, and watch American Idol with my cat at home. Also some chocolate. I can spoil myself better than anyone else can.
5. Next weekend, my dear Heather will come up to visit, we will go see the Vagina Monologues and go out to dinner.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Beautiful Spy Sweater

After three months of work on size 7 needles, it's finally here. I shall seduce very important people and obtain very important papers and be generally sneaky, in a sexy sort of way. I shall also wear big sunglasses.

Based on the Fern Diamonds Cardigan , but with 6/2 ribbing instead of lace. Yes, it's Red Heart Super Saver. I'm okay with that. Sorry, I was totally unable to get a good picture of the stitch definition..that's black for you, but you've all seen seed stitch before. Here's the best I could do of the front.

And the back:

Monday, January 08, 2007


YOURSELF - The Survey
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Brown
Height: 5'
Right Handed or Left Handed: Right
Your Heritage: Irish
The Shoes You Wore Today: High-heeled brown boots
Your Weakness: Red wine, and Internet surveys that allow me to answer questions about myself and feel important.
Your Fears: Sharks, loneliness and becoming jaded
Your Perfect Pizza: Thick, chewy crust ,veggie lover from Pizza Hut
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Doing a good job student teaching and being a hero.
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger: Ha!
Thoughts First Waking Up: Oh good, there's coffee.
Your Best Physical Feature: Smile. I think. I have quite nice eyebrows..
Your Bedtime: 10
Your Most Missed Memory: Playing in the woods as a kid. We made all these paths...
Pepsi or Coke: Neither. I dislike all soda.
MacDonalds or Burger King: Wendy's, they have spicy chicken.
Single or Group Dates: I've been on very few dates. I really don't know. Probably single.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Can't I just have some coffee?
Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate, and if it's 80% cacao, so much the better.
Cappuccino or Coffee: Cofffeeeeeeee...
Do you Smoke: No. It is yucky.
Do you Swear: My favorite is "Rats bloody rats!"
Do you Sing: Well, yes. Everyone sings.
Do you Shower Daily: Most of the time. I make no promises when I'm home on vacation and never leave the house.
Have you Been in Love: Yes.
Do you want to go to College: All the way through Masters...
Do you want to get Married: Very much so.
Do you believe in yourself: You know, I think I do!
Do you get Motion Sickness: If I read or knit in the car, I do.
Do you think you are Attractive: Yes. Yes, I do.
Are you a Health Freak: Mmmmm....not really. Not a freak, per se. I'm not opposed to health.
Do you get along with your Parents: About 75% of the time.
Do you like Thunderstorms: Yeah!
Do you play an Instrument: I can sort of play the guitar a bit. I know four chords!
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: Yes.I drank a bottle of sangria whilst making spinach stuffed shells on Christmas Eve, and they turned out great. Best shells I ever made.
In the past month have you Smoked: No. That is yucky.
In the past month have you been on Drugs: No. Never, ever, ever. I am a total square.
In the past month have you gone on a Date: No. I don't know what else to say to that. What an unpleasant question.
In the past month have you gone to a Mall: Yes. But I didn't have any fun.
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:'s been at least two months.They were the mint kind.
In the past month have you eaten Sushi: No. And I don't see why I should.
In the past month have you been on Stage: No. Not since Heather's play at GCC, I think...
In the past month have you been Dumped: Not quite; it's been a little longer officially, but muuuuuch longer in reality.
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:'s January..I haven't gone skinny dipping since that party at Sally's when I was sixteen.
In the past month have you Stolen Anything: No.
Ever been Drunk: On occasion. Probably five occasions. I mean Really drunk.
Ever been called a Tease: No. I am a hermit and I do not tease.
Ever been Beaten up: No!
Ever Shoplifted: Yes.
How do you want to Die: Can I pass on the dying? Thanks.
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: A shepherd. No, really.
What country would you most like to Visit: India.

People are stinky.

First of all, THANK YOU to all of you at Crochetville who alerted me to the person selling my aerial pig pattern on eBay. I wrote to the seller asking them to remove it, and reported it to eBay as well, so we'll see what happens.

I didn't envision this happening when I put my patterns up. I certainly wouldn't mind if someone made some pigs and sold them. That's what I meant when I said you could make money from them...but reselling a free pattern without crediting the author? Sliiimmmmmmyyyy.

If anyone would like to express their feelings to the seller, the listing is here:

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Here's a new hat pattern for ya'll:

The Post Office Hat

by Shannon Murphree, 2006

Please don't use this pattern to compete with my sales on Etsy. Anything else is fair game, 'kay?

I saw this gorgeous old lady wearing a hat like this in the post office the other day. I'm pretty sure hers was knitted, although I didn't get a really close look. The distinguishing features are the little tail on top and the glorious puff-stitch.


I'm also working on some writing about my kidhood...nothing is quite so therapeutic as making fun of yourself on paper. It really makes the drama seem a lot less important...tell me what you think. This is my original material and may not be copied or borrowed from.

By Shannon Murphree

When I was a kid, I used to be a compulsive liar. Trust me. Ha ha. No, really, I lied about everything, on general principles, although I’m not sure which principles in particular dictated that a lie must be told in every circumstance where the truth would do just as well. Certainly I was punished for lying, when I got caught, but the problem was that most of my fabulation took place outside my parents’ earshot, usually for the benefit of their friends and relatives. Charming, eh? Often, at 2 a.m., when a red-hot humiliating memory plays on the wide screen in my head for the six hundredth and eighty-seventh time, I scream to my parents of ten years ago, “Why didn’t you STOP ME?” But the obvious answer is that I was too damn good. I probably lied my way out of punishment more times than I went to church in my life, and that is no mean feat, really.

Lie Number One: The Lie of Ignorance-Defending

I read a stunning number of books per day in my childhood, since we didn’t have television because it might corrupt our minds.* The books were primarily to do with animals. I was a big fan of books on pet care, and I educated myself thoroughly on the housing, feeding, varieties and training of every domestic beast from guppies to Guernseys. My repertoire was amazing, although really quite useless, since due to my little brother’s allergy-induced asthma, I did not succeed in twisting my parents’ arms for a cat until I was twelve. I had a tank of fish, which died like flies from, according to my fish book, Ichthyophthirius.**
The one blank in my encyclopedic knowledge concerned the small, yet vital, area of sex. We did not, and do not to this day, allow such things as reproduction into our home. I may have been protected from knowledge too heavy for my eight-year-old shoulders, but know this: The day I told my Sunday School teacher (who owned a horse farm) that my great-aunt Lenore had a beautiful black stallion named Samantha, who had just given birth to a colt named Daisy, lives on in my memory with all the horror of an illicit glimpse of ###########.

Sunday School teaching is not a job for the timid, and my teacher had little patience with me anyway, due to my pompous insistence that I knew more than anyone else, including the teacher, on any subject you cared to name, including Bible stories. I got a look of flesh-withering scorn as she informed me that it was impossible for my stallion to have borne a colt, especially a female colt, since these were terms for the male of the Equine species.
I was crushed, but physically unable to be gracious about being wrong. With increasing volume, I insisted that Samantha was a stallion, just like Black Beauty, until I was crouched in a corner, tear-stained and snuffly, for the duration of that day’s service. In years to come, I would repeat my performance on such subjects as male calico cats, whether my street tabby was a purebred Abyssinian, and the multiplication table.

*This is Irony.
* *I also kept pet flies in an applesauce jar.

Lie Number Two: The Lie of Supernatural Powers

When I was four I thought I could remember being in the womb. I told my daddy so, and he insisted that I could not possibly remember such a thing and that I was making it up and it was wrong to lie. I was so sure I did remember it that I expanded my story to include conversations heard through my mother’s swollen belly and playing checkers in Heaven with baby Jesus and Grover from Sesame Street, my personal God. My insistence that I was in possession of supernatural powers continued through the years, and ranged from super-speed due to my one-16th Indian heritage, to talking to trees and moving things with my mind. It ended when I was twelve and told some neighbor boys that I was one-half cat and could see in the dark and walk over dry leaves without making a sound. I stuck to my guns on the subject for forty-five minutes, as they staggered around the yard, laughing until snot came out their noses. Finally it was just too embarrassing and I laid my Feline Secret Identity to rest. My cat, Marbles, felt betrayed. She told me so.

Lie Number Three: The Totally Unjustified Lie

I really can’t explain this one at all. I lied when there was absolutely no need to embroider the truth. My personal favorite of this variety happened when I was eleven.
My dad had given me a toy cat for Christmas. She had lovely peach-and-white fur, and was the most beautiful, most magical thing I had ever owned. She was perfect. I took her to a friend’s house to show her off, and my friend’s mother commented on how pretty she was. My mouth opened and I heard myself say, ”Well, my dad got her cheap because she was the last one and she was a mistake because the factory made her wrong because her fur wasn’t supposed to be this color and you see how she’s got this funny eye, so she was made wrong and that’s why she was so cheap.”
As my friend’s mother’s expression changed from polite interest to raised-eyebrow puzzlement, I realized that I had no idea why I had just said that, and also that I had a problem. All of my small lies about horse’s gender, stolen cookies, hitting my brother, cheated-on math tests and peeked-at Christmas presents had added up until I was lying for no discernible reason.
As I think about it now, there were several types of lies, all very devious in their own special way, but all based on the premise that the world really ought to be better than it was, and anything I said to contribute to that result was vital. My world was so frightening, so confusing, and so often totally wrong that any sort of lie was bound to be better than being held responsible for what was really true. I know now that the truth is the only thing worth being responsible for, the only thing that allows you to take the consequences knowing that you are in control.
However, I really can walk through dry leaves without making a single sound.
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