Attack of the Cooties

Sorry that I have not been around very much the last week. I seem to have had picked up a bug of some kind and I just couldn’t shake it. It wasn’t like a cold, but something that felt more sinister. I couldn’t keep anything down, and just moving my head made me nauseas. My innards felt gross and my head throbbed. The only thing that felt good was sleeping, of which I did an awful lot. I did get some knitting done in bed and Campbell’s Soup should have a good month thanks to me, and I was able to catch up on some terrible binge watching of horrible television shows. It’s ok if its a crap show, especially since you’re zoning in and out of sleep anyway. Just try not to fall asleep with your knitting needles in your hand. That can be bad. Very bad.

So, now I’m starting to feel better. It’s in the mid 60’s in Orlando with a slight breeze. I have the doors and windows open to swoosh the cooties out of here and get some fresh air whizzing through. I’m thinking if I’ve got the energy, I might bike up to Walgreens and snag a few things. Like bubble bath…. :)

I just wanted to give ya’ll an update on how things were. And they are, despite an attack of the cooties, very well.

Hope all of you are doing well, too!

Mad Man Saved

Ok, I’ve struggled to write this blog for the better part of the day. But, I was so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude I couldn’t think of what to say, nor how to say it. I just wanted to hug everyone and hold them.

See? Even now I’m getting emotional. Watery eyed, its hard to write a blog post. But, that’s good! I mean, that has to be one of the best reasons for not being able write something. Sounds poetically pathetic. “I could not see to write for the tears in my eyes….”

Yesterday I ran around paying rent, paying the utilities (which were already one month behind), paying the internet (definitely can’t lose that), grabbed some groceries, ran back here and worked on four bears that needed to go out ASAP and started refunding money to people who have not been happy with me.

And today? I slept for probably 10 hours, got up to pee, made a pot of coffee and didn’t even drink it. Nope, I just crawled right back into bed and slept another three hours. I guess when stress is lifted off your back you just finally plop. You stop and catch your breath.

I got up long enough to heat up some chicken soup and write to you. I’ll spend a few minutes with Butch on skype in a little while. For some reason, that big bastard always makes me feel better whenever we skype.

And I wanted to tell all of you how much I love you. I truly do love you. And it’s a real love, a real care and concern and gratitude that makes me so thankful that you’re in my life. I LOVE you.

I’ll be able to write more tomorrow , but tonight I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know how much you mean to me, how much this life of mine is valued because of you. And that I am safe for now. So happily safe with my little flat and tiny cat.

Ok. I’m just getting teary again. Trying to think of all the jumbled emotion in my head is just making me weepy again. It’s a good cry! It really is!

Here I am, slurping soup with a tear trickling down my cheek…..I finally get a chance to feel safe for a while, catch my breath, then go forward.

Better tidy myself up before I skype with Butch.

I’ll talk to all of you tomorrow. :)

 

Mad Man Screwed

It was only a matter of time.

I truly have been trying to push out as many orders as possible. But, I’m just not able to keep up with people just getting thoroughly pissed with me.

The truth is, when the Huffington Post article came out, I got a nice chuck of orders….but, I didn’t charge enough for them. So, once the money was spent on rent and utilities, I had to go back to making more bears. And people have been truly upset that I could be making new bears when I have older bears that need to go out. I had no choice. I had to make new ones to keep paying rent, keep paying utilities.

But here before Christmas, I know the tension gets worse. Deadlines are unmistakeable. And pressures mount. I understand that. And when people get angry, I understand that, too.

I didn’t do any bears for this month because I was convinced I could get most everyone out in time before feeling the pressure. But, that wasn’t the case. No bears being sold, means no money. And no money means no rent. So, I didn’t knit up any new ones, I’ve just been busy trying to get older ones out.

So I’m screwed. Rent still hasn’t been paid and I’ve been refunding money to people like crazy. Yes, the prices of my bears has double, because half of that goes back to people who just are so infuriated with me that I have no choice but to let them have their money back.

Patience is running thin with people. They’re not happy with my promises anymore. And I have to reiterate, I understand. I truly do and I’m doing everything in my power to get you squared away, whether its the bear or your money you want, and pay my rent and utilities at the same time. And this month? It just didn’t happen.

So, if you’d like to help out, I’m hoping you can. If you want to consider it an early Christmas, I’ll gladly accept.

But, this is the last, and I do mean THE LAST opportunity I have to save my reputation, get solid ground, and finish the year with EVERYONE happy. They’ll either have their bear, or their refund, and I’ll have paid the rent before temorrow before I’m asked once again by my landlord, “Late AGAIN?” then asked to leave.

I know there are many of you, soooo many of you that have received your bears and love every single one of them. You write to me and tell me, you send photographs to prove it. And that is the hope that keeps me working well into the night, and early in the morning.

Here I was hoping to score my little white house one day, while destiny was pressing me into remembering that I can only move forward from the groundfloor. No high flying expectations, walk first. Crawl if you have to. You can’t move forward until the past is settled.

You can help out by buying patterns, or my bundle, or perhaps a gesture into my donate box. Everything counts. Every dime.

It’s time to clear this once and for all. Am I to knit for people hopes and dreams that they can clutch and hold dearly? Or am I to be a huge disappointment?

Everything we’ve all worked so hard for can’t collapse so quickly. I need a fighting chance to win your favor again. I really need a fighting chance.

If you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

Macchia

I met Giovanni Macchia about a year ago and we soon became fast friends. Although I’m in Orlando and he’s in the Netherlands, we were able to build quite a friendship thanks to Skype. Probably every two weeks or so, we catch up, touch base and have a wonderful time talking about our future hopes and dreams. And that’s always the best ways to build a friendship isn’t it? About what CAN be, as opposed to what is. That the life you wish for yourself can be inspired by others. I’m proud to say I inspired Giovanni to pursue knitting. And when a man picks up knitting, I obviously take notice. I want to inspire fellas to knit! And when they do, I pursue every avenue possible to let the rest of you know how many fellas are actually knitting and purling.

Macchia has been pursuing a different path in knitting that I could have never approached. He knits vase covers, I knit teddy bears. But we both have the same philosophy about our simple work. When your eyes scan a room, you see the striking impression of a knit covered vase….or a pouty faced teddy bear in the corner, silently holding court. We don’t boastfully own the room with our work, we just bring attention to a corner of it :)

il_570xN.689568156_8gxxSo take a look at Macchia’s work. Subtle, quiet, but impressively iridescent in darker corners of a room. His vases are ready to be filled with whatever it is you wish your eyes wish to take notice of: Flowers, paint brushes, votive candles, stalks of wheat, or a bed of stones…..but, always brought attention to by the simple little cover of that vase. Simple, I’ve said….but clever and eye quietly catching in a room of noisy boast.

So explore the art of the knit vase imported from the Netherlands and hand crafted by a remarkable Italian artist.

…yeah, that’s right….can you imagine what these will look like in tulip season?

Take a Good Look at My Nuts

So we all celebrate Thanksgiving in our own particular ways. Mine? Well, it was rather interesting. I didn’t have turkey. I have turkey often. It’s cheaper than beef! So today I made a huge pot of pasta and with no one else around I asked Carlos (my knitting friend who’s been doing arms and legs for some of my orders) if he’d like to visit. He accepted.  No shit! Company for ThanksgivingIMG_1099! Really! I never have company!

He said he had to work at 4, so he’d be here at 12. Damn! What do I have??? What do I have??? Well….we’re having pasta! Oh! Had some fresh pecans I’ve been lusting over for the past few days, some cut up swiss cheese and some crackers for appetizers. He brought a bag of Chex Mix (didn’t realize they were so addictive) and we nibbled the whole way through Thanksgiving. See my nuts? See my pecans? See Mario’s face off in the distance? Quite funny. It’s like an odd version of Where’s Waldo? (Look to the right of the crackers at the carpet….see her eyes???)

IMG_1103It was rather kind. It was a quiet Thanksgiving. We chit chatted simply, nibbled quietly, ate pasta, and had a great talk about celebrities we had met. God only knows how you get to those places when you converse. His stories just didn’t match the time I met Boy George and Anne Rice…..but that’s a different post, now isn’t it?

Then Carlos went of to work, I skyped with Butch and all was well…..right? Quiet Thanksgiving.

….until I decided to check my email.

Really? For real? I mean for really?

There were some amazing emails from people all over the globe kindly wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. Thankful for me and this little blog. Thankful for me??? I am the one that is so thankful. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for you. I really wouldn’t.

I was at first moved to an emotion you cannot catalog for anyone. It’s the sort that makes you laugh, smile and cry all at one time. To think that people were thankful that I, me, this scrawny man with a mad knitting hand were in their lives. How do you respond?

You say, “Thank you.”

Wow. Couldn’t help it. I was overjoyed. Had to dance. :) My playlist went from Skinny Puppy to Siouxsie to Soundgarden to Seal. (I really do like all sorts of music. The more unusual the better).

(wait….all those S’s. OH! I see how that happens now)!

IMG_1095But, here it is, at the end of a Thanksgiving that will go down in history for me.

Impromptu nuts and cheese, with pasta as a main course for a guest I randomly asked to come over, a lovely peek at emails that made me feel so incredibly special, and a dance about the apartment that shouldn’t make people wonder why I’m so thin….

Thank you all. ALL of you….for a wonderful, WONDERFUL, Thanksgiving. :)

oh! Dead or Alive is on my playlist now! Gotta dance!!!

Go ahead….Dance with me. You know you want to!

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

 

 

 

You’re a Cranky Little Man

It’s no surprise I’ve been cranky over the last few days, or especially since my last post. Thanks so much for all of the comments and words of encouragement. That really meant a lot to me.

I got so wrapped in a fog of depression that I physically got sick. Don’t worry, it’s not a clinical issue, sometimes you just get so…..so……BLAGGHHHH about something you shut down in little ways. Maybe its defense? Who knows. But two days of nausea and two days of lethargy just pissed me off even more. I’ve got work to do! I don’t have time to be all wrapped up in a shroud of anger and being pissy!

So we all become reminded of those little sayings we hear often. The one that came to mind this time was, “You cannot control what happens to you, however you can control your reaction to it.” Sounds wonderful….in theory. But, in practice? You can only do your best. Human relations are based on nothing BUT reaction. We are responsive creatures. And perhaps we use too much instinct rather than foresight before we react, we still nonetheless react. And if the party in question to which you want to unleash your anger is unavailable, you have a tiny tendency to unleash all that crap on yourself.

So, here I am. In a spot in my life that is a long time coming. The overhaul that I’ve hinted at, wanted, yearned for, but never actually pursued because I was chained to the past, chained to an emotional strain that kept me guarded and insecure. A chain that also made me feel like I wasn’t valuable enough to pursue the life I wanted, only fortified by the comments I heard time and time again throughout my life. “You can be anything in life you want,” they would say, “….except yourself.”

Well, screw it. Those days are over. As well they should be. Time to move on. Time to cut, dissect and breathe free. Time to act on those changes I desire, not dream about them, not close my eyes and wish hopefully about tomorrow, but make active changes today. And why can’t I be a success? And why can’t I start today? Who is stopping me? I have patterns to sell, books to sell, and this blog must mean something to someone. There are a million things I can do right now, right this second, today. I can knit (well, I need to knit because I have orders that need to go out this week), but I can knit some more! I can write, I can smile, dammit! I can use the resources I have at my disposal, the one’s God handed me HIMSELF, to make my life better, to make my TODAY a helluva lot better than yesterday.

The past and my desire to know the truth used to be what held me back. Now the only excuse I have for not being the success I want to be is little ol’ me.

(whew! I feel better.) Now let’s sell some bundles! Come on! You know you want one!

If you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

My Real Name Is….

I promised I would blog more later today. I’ve had some lunch, gotta cup of coffee with me, sitting here ready to write about the ups and downs of the last few days.

I’ve had a shitty, emotional ride over the last two days. Do you remember my blog and how the weather was chilly, so I had made some soup and was gonna bundle up and knit? You would have thought that would have been a perfect situation that anyone who loves their needles would have yearned for.

However, I had some issues with my family that erupted, and without going into too much detail, was wrecked….once again. And this is the issue I have with my family. Someone is lying to me. Not sure who, not sure which side of the story to believe, but will confess with all honesty, that the story itself, the lie being perpetuated has caused such a shredding of the heart in the last 20 years that I have moved further and further away from my family with every year that passes. I’m not sure who to believe, so I believe none of them, and prefer to walk away and resign myself to not going back ever again.

I told one of them on the phone the day before yesterday, “My life works best when none of you are around. If it’s not your criticism of the decisions I’ve made in life, then it’s the inability to tell the truth about what happened when I was a kid. But, that incident keeps haunting me….and I can’t go forward if every time I turn around I hear another version of what happened, but still with no one telling me the truth. So, I need all of you to go. And I need you to go for good.”

Carol sent me an email asking, what some of you have asked before. “Your name is Gregory Patrick, but I’m making payments to Gregory Johnson???”

Yes. My real name is Gregory Patrick Johnson. Sometime ago I wanted to distance myself from my family so I dropped the Johnson and used my middle name as my surname. Simple as that. One day I’ll have the money to change it legally. But, for now, its a method of symbolism. Only the bank and government refer to me as Gregory Johnson.

And people ask, why haven’t you finished “Will Knit For Food,” the sequel to your last book? Because I still don’t have the truth I need to finish it. In order to go forward with that book, I don’t need to know more about the past, I need to know the truth.

I tried to phone a friend. I needed to talk, needed to get advice, talk. Just talk. With so few friends, there was no one around, so all of this crap just kinda stewed in my head, cooked for too long, sat stagnant and got rancid, and this harrowing feeling of loneliness decided to keep me company. I hate that feeling. Because it causes this ridiculous lie to build in your head. You lose sight of your goals, you distrust food, you don’t approve of the rules of hygiene, and you look for methods of escape. For me? Binging on pointless, mindless reruns on my laptop. Hence the South Park marathon I had yesterday while eating a bag of corn chips. Sooooo not my style.

IMG_1078Then randomly, out of no where the post man delivered a huge bag. When I tore it open, skeins of all sorts of wonderful yarn fell out. Amazing, hand dyed yarn. A gift. From out of the universe fell in my lap the biggest smile you could have ever seen on my face. I spread the yarn out on my bed and just watched my little mind grow big with possibilities. I gingerly put the skeins with the rest of my stash, grabbed the cat, gave her a noogie (yeah, she loves them), turned off the South Park marathon and went on about my work. (oh, that mound UNDER the blanket is Mario. It’s 70 degrees and she, apparently, is a little chilly).

I know that I don’t have ONE person to talk to when needed, I have 10,000. So I come here to talk. This is why I blog so much and often about personal things. All of you out there (that I keep so close in here) are the one’s I share my life with.

Someone once asked me why I started my blog and I could only respond, “Because I needed to talk to someone….”

I thought about something I have always realized, but sometimes you need to tack to your ass on a Post-It Note when your head gets too far up your butt:

If you’re going to be strong in this life, if you’re going to pursue the hopes and dreams that wake you brightly in the morning with, if you’re going to find clarity, then it is necessary in life to push away all things that hurt you. ALL things. You must hold tightly to those things that bring a full heart, a charitable sense of human connection, and a sense of selfless purpose. You MUST.

IMG_1077My chocolate and cream bear is still up for adoption, which makes me nervous. Over the last couple of months, my ready made bears would be gone in a heartbeat. 10 minutes at most…..now, they’re taking days. I know I have a reputation for not delivering fast enough on the made to order bears from last spring. I know that. I read the posts. I read the comments. I spy on facebook on occasion and read the anger. I’m aware of it. All I can say is I’m trying my best. I really am.

But the bears I’ve been making lately are ready to go. Ready to be held and adored. Ready to be loved, ready to find new homes and new possibilities wherever they may go. Ready to find their new futures.

….I guess I am, too.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

 

 

Chocolate and Cream

IMG_1077I made up this little guy last night with that really nice Wool Ease from Lionbrand in Cocoa. It’s the perfect teddy bear brown. He measures 12″ tall is ready to ship and comes with a signed card by me.

I have a lot of updating to do, so much has been happening on my end. Some bad, some good. I’ll write more about it later, but for the moment, it’s just shy before 9am in Central Florida and I was going to go ahead and get this little guy adopted. If you’d like to snag him, click here or on the picture.

The pattern for the bear is also included in my book and pattern bundle. Ok, gotta get some errands done, but I will be blogging later. Have a great day!

If you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

The Chills

Ok, so I imagine no one in the country is safe from the chill these last few days. Even here in Central Florida, we’re feeling the brisk burn of the cold winds. Ok, so it’s not AS bad as other places, but you do feel a definite pinch in the butt when the temp goes from 85 (like it was yesterday) to 45 (which it is right now).

We’re awfully lucky this far south. It’ll only last a day or two before we creep back up into the tropical 70’s. However, in the meantime, you do start to make preparation for the coming cold with dusty sweaters hidden in your closet, recipes for warming, brothy soups, and outside fire pits (if you have one).

IMG_1071Now, I was sure I was going to need an extra blanket. With money tight, I spied my stash and all the lovely yarn people have sent me over the last year. Jennie Owens sent me a box a couple of months ago with some amazing afghan yarn. Dude….perfect….PERFECT. All it took was a mere two days of going round and round in a massive giant granny square to whip up my extra blanket to keep warm under. It came out rather nice. Browns, blues, greys, masculine. And obviously, Mario seems to really like it too.

IMG_1073SO! We’re all prepped up for the next two days. No need to leave the cozy confines of my tiny apartment. I’ve made chicken soup from scratch, I’ve got my extra blanket to cuddle under, got the second season of American Horror Story to watch. Got my knitting needles, gonna whip out some teddy bears :) Yes, I’m busy still getting as many orders out before Christmas, and the weather is just PERFECT for knitting up a storm.

Gonna be a nice two days of comfortable productivity :) Ya’ll stay warm!

If you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

 

 

 

A Week with a Friend

As many of you know, Butch was here this last week visiting from Wyoming. Butch has grown VERY fond of Pho, so wherever he goes, he has to find a place to try local pho. (I could have tried harder and made that last sentence haiku).

IMG_1015As luck would have it, there is an amazing Pho restaurant just a block from here, so we popped in there probably 4 times throughout the week. If you’ve never had Pho, you’re missing out. A huge bowl of broth and noodles for cheap…..and RARELY can you finish the whole bowl. You get nice and warm and full.

 

IMG_1020We also went out to a new arcade that just opened around the corner. I have a fondness for air hockey, so we popped in some quarters and spent a good chunk of one afternoon slamming the puck across the table. Great time. I wont 2 out of 3 games. I felt like a freakin’ 15 year old.

We also went to the Science Center just up the road where I go such a massive case of vertigo in the dome cinema that I had to pull my hat down over my eyes and wait for the film to be over.

IMG_1036But, I have to say most of the week we rested and enjoyed the warm weather whilst I knit, which was actually all I truly wanted to do. That was my favorite part of his visit. Us just sitting and talking while I worked the needles, snacking on cheese and crackers, just enjoying each others company. It was a nice week with a friend. Reminds you that good friends don’t need to overly impress, or drag you everywhere. Good friends just want to be with you. Good friends sit with you while you knit :)

We did contact the realtor about my little white house. Haven’t heard back, but I’m not surprised. I mean, I can barely pay the rent each month for my little apartment, let alone ask for a mortgage on a house, despite whatever programs are out there. So, we press on, knitting bears and selling my book and patterns bundle. I’ll get there someday. If I work hard, I’ll get there. Have faith, young man. Have hope. You’ll get your little white house someday.

It’s a nice warm Saturday. Gonna head back out and get the needles back to work :)

If you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!