Songs of a Frog

o you know… on previous occasions when I have thought and/or posted about not faking my own death, I’ve only ever envisioned one model for that particular phenomenon, and it basically goes like this:

Premise: You ain’t dying.
Appropriate Course of Action: Don’t go around saying (or hinting, or implying) you are… because, well, see #1.
It turns out, however, that there is a second model; one I have to admit had never occurred to me until very recently. And this model is a doozy:

Premise: You are dying.
Appropriate Course of Action: Don’t go around denying it… because, well, see #1.
This second model has been brought to my attention in the rudest manner possible – and now I’m adhering to it. Not that I have any choice in the matter. In the course of the past few weeks I have learned the hard way that there really is no way to sugar-coat this piece of news, so I guess there’s no alternative but to blurt it out: I actually am, fer realz and fer stupid surrealz, dying. Of a nasty hot mess of super-stealthy, super-aggressive abdominal cancers that have very literally tied my insides in indissoluble knots.

I’ve been in the hospital for a little over three weeks now; am hoping to head home pretty soon for some variation on a theme of hospice care. How long I’ve got left is anybody’s guess, but the best-educated guesses are not those pointing at the high end of the possible range.

What does this mean to YOU and to ME?

In reverse-ish order, what it has meant to me is a great clarification and simplification of purpose. There’s a whole lot I don’t expect to have time to do… myself, anyway. But damned if this ridiculousness hasn’t taught me – AT LONG LAST – what it really means to delegate the stuff that needs delegating. It means choosing the people you trust, because you trust them for a reason; it means having the conversations that matter, pointing in a direction, and then really REALLY letting go. And that leaves you free to do the stuff you actually do need to get done yourself.

What this means to YOU the club member: Those final i-dottings and t-crossings on the long-delayed Tsock #4 are taking place right here and right now. I hope to be able to supervise final kit and package assembly at home, but I’ll roll with the logistical punches and do it remotely from here if I have to. (As for those delays, BTW, and as for the slightly lesser delays in processing refunds to those who requested them – yeah, cancer is a harsh mistress, it turns out, but the commitment remains.)

What this means to YOU the show customer: We’re not doing the full Mayathon, but we will make a showing at Maryland Sheep & Wool. By “we” I’m afraid I don’t mean me – I’m now permanently tethered to various types of equipment that don’t travel well – but delegation is a great thing, and the Tsarina’s Finest will be out there with a pretty goodly selection. New (or returning) to the line-up since last year’s show are the new edition of TSOCKS 101, plus The DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT, and ROXIE – along with, of course, many of the usual suspects from previous seasons.

The lovely ladies of Bead Biz will be with us again, and I think we will have copies of Kate Atherley’s exciting new Pattern Writing for Knit Designers available (sorry, still playing e-mail tag with Kate on this one and I’m not sure how it ended up, but will clarify later if necessary).

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
May 2 & 3
Howard County Fairgrounds
West Friendship, MD
Location: N5

What this means to YOU the once and future Tsock customer/knitter? Well, that’s part of this whole Delegation Adventure, but file this under the heading of Irony Is Ironic That Way: It has long been my plan to put the Club on indefinite hiatus after the above-mentioned Tsock #4, precisely for the purpose of getting our act together on other fronts, like web commerce, like bringing back all the old titles to the lineup, etc. etc. Well, as it turns out, that is still the plan. I just won’t be the one executing it. There’s a lot still being figured out about the how and what of all that, and I don’t know exactly how it’s going to be managed. What I do know is that (see above) I have chosen the people I trust, because I trust them for a reason; it means I am having the conversations that matter, pointing in a direction, and then really REALLY letting go. I think and hope that for the foreseeable future they will continue the Tsocks tradition at least at Maryland and Rhinebeck, and that they will focus the rest of their not inconsiderable abilities on all this other development… including some new ideas that aren’t quite ready for prime time yet.

What this means to YOU the marvelous imaginary friends inside my computer? The ones who sometimes pop out of the screen when one might least expect it? The ones I meet at shows and events? That’s the hard part. I don’t know exactly when it’s really goodbye, the big one, the Heghlu’meH-QaQ-jajvam or Hokay-Murray-Dis-Is-It moment. I don’t think we’re there yet. I hope not. But I’m rolling with new punches every day, and there’ll come a day when the punches are one too many and the rolling stops. What won’t stop, even then, is the love and the weird adventurous joy that has been this fibery tsocky journey from minute one if not before. So there can be no reason to wait until then to thank you for it, for this indescribable thing that really has, for nearly a decade, been the gift of my life.

For some reason I am moved to think of the things my uncle said around deathbed time. Asked by some innerness-of-the-outerness person to leave five last thoughts for posterity, he said:

Things change.
Saran Wrap is good.
More is better.
I love my daughters

OK, so his idea of how many things make five may be a little off, or maybe that sort of rule becomes less important when you’re that close to the end.

But I love this list. Ain’t got no daughters, myself, but love a lot of people and have been wallowing in the love they have shown to me. Also, there’s this – my uncle’s posterity has had a fortuitous field day with one of those thoughts. One of my cousins, his granddaughters, makes things… as one does. And she took “Things change” and she used some kind of wicked cool tool to cut those two words out of wood, and somehow things got twiddled, and in the final design it became “Change things.”

I’ve never written a blog post like this one before, obviously, what with my previous firm adherence to Model #1. But I think somehow that is a fine note to end on. There’s plenty of profound out there, somewhere, and I’m probably gonna get a good wallop off of it any minute now. But for now, the transmutation from “Things change” to “Change things” – I don’t need to go no deeper than that, you know?