Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm Too Old - For Anything

I made it.

I finally got the energy to sit and type for a while. Where have I been, you ask? Yesterday, I was at the prison. The weekend, I was working. Today.... well, let's just say that I've done enough for today and am sitting in the Monster knitting. All day and all night. It's heaven. I nap when I want, have coffee, and am just plain relaxing. I've been working 24-hour days. Literally. I know that Rabbitch will understand what that does to you. She spoke in her blog about having jowly tits growing out the side of her face. I don't have that, but what I do have are black circles under my eyes, skin with pores the size of craters on my nose, and the dreaded feeling of looking my age. I know it's temporary, but still... it's not pretty, and if anybody thinks I'm sitting still for a picture of myself right now, they're nuts.

Prison day was most enlightening. We had a short class because of the holiday - there were some other activities going on in the chapel. The adventure really started, however, when I arrived at the guard shack. I found out that Bill had shown up and told the guard to tell me that the golf cart wasn't charged, so I had to hoof it. Sacramento is windy; it's on the flats and bangs up against the foothills. Not only that, they were getting low snow yesterday, so it was COLD. I threw the flute quiver over my shoulder, put on my hat, and started off.

By the time I got to the sally port for A/B blocks, I was exhausted. It was beginning to rain, and the wind was howling. Then I set off the damn metal detector. I had on sweats with no bra, so that wasn't it. We never did figure it out, but I finally walked through and it didn't beep. The guard there knows me by now, so he didn't bother to call the lieutenant and let me through. I got through those gates and made the hike over to C Block. I had almost made it when I felt something warm on my upper lip. I figured that snot was running down my face, so I took out my tissue and dabbed at it. The tissue came back bright red. I had started bleeding like a stuck pig from my nose for no reason. Shit. I had to stop and cram the tissue up both nostrils to staunch the flow; thank goodness it stopped before I got there.

Then I walked out onto the yard. My boys weren't there. In fact, the yard was pretty empty. It's actually kind of amusing now; when I walk down the gravel path, the men part like Moses parting the Red Sea. One man said good morning to me, but nobody else even looks now. One of my boys came down the path to greet me as I was walking up - it turned out that they had let the men go later than normal. So I unlocked the chapel, went inside, turned all the lights on, and waited for the guys to be searched so they could come in. When they did come in, I had to open doors, unlock closets, let them in the bathroom, blah blah blah. I should get paid for this; I'm doing the chaplain's job.

The class was terrific, but since it ended early, I tried to call Hubster at the motel to come get me. Of course, he had chosen that moment to step in the shower, so I couldn't get ahold of him. I left a message and was left alone in the chapel with three of my boys. We sat there and began gabbing. It's a funny thing - I always wondered how women could be so stupid as to fall in love with incarcerated men and marry them, knowing that their new husbands would never see the light of day again. But you tend to lose your senses, if you will, and get extremely comfortable. You forget that they weren't selling ice cream to wind up there. You only see that they're humans and don't think about their crimes. They're charming. I've learned to distinguish when they're shining me on (which doesn't happen anymore; they were testing me when I first arrived), but I've let my guard down. That's a stupid thing to do in a prison, especially when you're dealing with Level 4 inmates (which is the highest designation inmates in California get). I trust my boys; I know that they look out for me. But that isn't true of all the inmates there. Anyway, we were gabbing and I learned some truly horrific things. They've dropped their guard with me, too, because they trust me. And it's because of that trust that I won't elaborate on what they told me or who they are. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not a snitch. And that's one thing I learned; snitches are everywhere inside, looking for any information they can get to tell the guards so they might get time taken off their sentences.

I finally decided that Hubster would be in the parking lot, so I had them walk me back out. Then I started the hike back to the outside. It's over a mile from the first shack to where I wind up. I never did see Bill yesterday; he seems to be there less and less, leaving me with his responsibilities on the days I'm there.

Hubster and I had to kill a couple of hours because I had a doctor's appointment at 2:00 p.m., so we went to this dive for lunch. I discovered it when we lived there; it had been written up in a local rag. The food is incredibly delicious, and they give you a shitload for the money. I had fish and chips; Hubster had chicken enchiladas. We were both ready to explode when we left. Because we still had an hour to waste, we went to Rumplestiltskin, which is a weaving/spinning/knitting shop. It's not very large, but if you want a wheel or loom, it's the place in town to go. I looked at some wheels (I still like mine better), some looms, and wound up buying some Noro Kureyon sock yarn (gasp!! another non-indie purchase!). I hate how it feels when it's being knitted (sort of like badly spun linen), but the color gradations are beautiful. It also fulls and softens when washed.

The doctor was a non-event. I was in there five minutes and got my scripts. Then we headed out to go home. I fell asleep as soon as we hit the freeway and had a helluva time waking up when we got home. I managed to stay awake for most of the evening, and then I fell asleep again. I woke up early this morning, took a nap, and decided to relax today. I really need it. My body is beginning to give out, and once it passes a certain point, it's hospital time. I can't and don't want to do that. The blood flowing of late (remember the episode last week or so?) is a sign that I need to pay attention to. So I'm on a self-imposed one-day vacation. Tomorrow, Hubster goes in to work at the office, so I'll be working on taking pictures. It's supposed to rain all week, so I'm hoping they turn out okay.

I saw a new product on Lime & Violet's Daily Chum called Flat Feet. It's a knitted sheet that's been hand-dyed; no two are alike. You start unraveling it at the corner and begin knitting it while it unravels. I've seen the finished socks and they're gorgeous. So I wrote to the lady who makes it, exchanged a few emails, and called her today. After talking for a short while, I placed an order. She's an indie with a wonderful idea, and even though a lot of people are going to be carrying her product, I think it will sell in my shop, too. I ordered 24 of them in a random variety (I get a free one for myself - YAY!), but it will be close to three months before they're here. It's unique, and that's what the shop is all about - helping indies and carrying unique items.

I don't have all my orders yet, but I have enough already to open the shop. I'm still shooting for the end of the month, but we'll see. It's a lot of work for me and Hubster (wait until you see this website), and the poor man is as exhausted as I am. I'm sending him to bed for a while in a few minutes. Me? I'll be knitting and trying to meet a swap deadline.

Pictures of some of my new, personal yarny goodness will be taken tomorrow and posted both here and on the yarn review site. I just don't have the energy to take pictures today. Some of you have also asked me where Gaby the Mascot is. She's taking a vacation (meaning that Hubster cleaned the table for Christmas; when he moved my computer, he put her in a box somewhere, so I have to find her). She's safe and well - just misplaced right now.

Time to go knit. Or maybe I'll open some of those boxes full of yarny goodness for the store and just roll around in them for a while.

The trouble is, I don't think I can fit in the boxes.


Rabbitch said...

Plastic sheet on floor, or even just a bedsheet. Yarn on top.

Then roll.

Don't ask me how I know these things.

Anni said...

Look after yourself, Pam, and don't over do it. We watched a program the other week from a prison in California, forgotten the name now. I couldn't believe how basic it was and how little time the men spent out of their cells. I'd be terrified going to a place like that. So I think what you're doing is terrific.

Can't wait to see the 'Flat Feet' sounds very interesting. Does she knit the sheets then dye them? Must take a lot of time.

Pam the Yarn Goddess said...


The different prisons have different rules. Depending on where you're housed and if you've been bad, you might have yard access all day, or you might be in your cell 23 hours a day. At Folsom, the guys who aren't in the SHU (the housing unit where guys who have done something bad inside the prison - like killed another inmate or attacked someone) are out on the yard unless they're at work. The yard was empty Monday because it was a holiday, and they only let a small number of men out at any one time because of the guards being shorthanded. It really doesn't scare me at all.

The lady who does Flat Feet has the blanks commercially knitted and then has them hand-dyed by a couple of women. Each one is different. It's like the old tie-dye, except you unravel this one while you knit. They come in cool and warm, and then there are subsets within those categories such as bright or dim or something like that. I've ordered a selection of everything they make. I hope everyone likes them - I think they're really neat.