Just letting you all know I did a guest post over at my friend Limecello’s blog on Saturday. It’s all about asking who are your favorite writers. Want to find out mine? Head on over to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet to see!

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

One of the things I hear people say a lot about knitting* is “Oh, I could NEVER do that” or “That’s WAY too hard” or “I’m not nearly as smart/good/clever as you. I could never knit like that.”

What a crock of bull.

We knitters are not knitting because we expect to churn out store-quality items. Our stuff has mistakes unintentional anomalies personal design choices, and, really, we like it better that way. It assures us that all our projects are different. Even if 200 people choose the same pattern, all our projects will look different. Maybe we made it bigger or smaller or fuzzy or striped or random. Whatever we choose, we all choose to knit because it fulfills something within each of us.

As important as knitting is in my life, as much as I love it, as much as it challenges me and satisfies me, it is NOT rocket science. Nor is it brain surgery, or anything else where someone will die if I don’t finish this row of lace correctly. If I use the crochet hook method to attach beads instead of pre-stringing, I’m not going to be burned at the stake.

THERE ARE NO KNITTING POLICE. I swear. They don’t exist. If they did, I would have been locked up with the key thrown away YEARS ago.

Therefore, when people say they’re afraid of learning something new or taking a risk, I just don’t understand it. What’s the worst that will happen? You have to rip it out. Seriously? My first sock, I ripped out every day for two WEEKS. You know what happened? Absolutely nothing. Well, other than learning I don’t like knitting socks. LOL And there are a lot of ways to start a toe. The building didn’t collapse. The yarn didn’t explode because I ripped it out X many times. Was it pretty? Umm…No. It was so Fugly it made the Yarn Harlot’s blog. (She very politely suggested I had gauge issues). It WAS, however, a sock.

If you look at something and decide it’s not for you or you just don’t want to try because you don’t like it, that’s one thing. Knitter’s Choice. But to not knit something because you think you can’t is, in my opinion, silly. Of course you can. All you need to do is find a good place to learn, whether that’s your local yarn store, your knitting group, YouTube, whatever. My knitting group is a big fan of the Debbie Stoller Stitch ‘N Bitch books. Every time we need to learn something, we almost always find it in one of those.

So the next time you’re faced with something in knitting which challenges you, TAKE THE RISK! And if you don’t like it/don’t get it/don’t want to do it, then rip it out and do something else.

BE FEARLESS!

The world won’t end.

I promise.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fearless Knitter Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

*Every time I say “Knit”, “Knitter”, or “Knitting”, feel free to read it as “Crochet”, “Crocheter”, or “Crocheting.” Don’t want to be accused of being monofiberphobic.

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on February 12, 2013

Here I go again, trying something new. Vivian Arend is an evil, evil woman. She kept posting quotes from Wolf Nip on Twitter until I finally caved and read it. It’s possible she was just trying to entice ALL readers, but as the world revolves around me, I choose to believe it was a plot against me personally.

I’ve never been a fan of Shifter stories. As the daughter of a Special Effects guy for the movies, I always knew how the tricks worked, so I was never able to suspend my disbelief enough to buy into the premise. Plus in one of the series’ I read AGES ago had guys with penises with weird barbed things or extra protrusions. It was creepy and SOOO not my cuppa. I gave up and never tried them again.

I finally picked up the first Granite Lake Wolves book, Wolf Signs, on Sunday and finished the 6th book, Wolf Nip, on Monday. Yup. Read all 6 in 2 days. To be honest, they’re novella length, so it’s not like I read 6 full-length novels in 2 days. I think you can safely assume I loved the series.

Wolf Nip is the story of Tessa Williams and Mark Weaver. We met Tessa who is Keri’s best friend in Wolf Line. In that book we saw how antsy and energetic she is, constantly on the move. Oh, yeah. And she’s a cat. That’s right. A cat. She meets Mark, a wolf, and he declares she’s his mate. The problem is wolves know their mates instantly. Cats don’t. So while she believes HE believes he’s her mate, she wants to take some time and actually get to know him. Maybe fall in love the traditional way.

Throughout this book the main conflict is how a wolf and a cat–and a man and a woman–learn how to connect and fall in love and accept their differences. It was a fun story, as there were lots of cats vs. dogs jokes, and the final scene cracked me right up. It was sweet watching Mark do everything he could to provide for Tessa and her slowly realize how incredible he is and how much he loves her. I also liked how her best friend Keri sat Tessa down and gave her a good dose of reality, as a good BFF should.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout all the Granite Lake Wolves books is how the Pack is always supportive. Sure, there are a few petty differences, but the leaders are fair, and the pack is for the most part accepting of all. A true family. And if anyone gets out of hand, well, there’s always a good Sharpie to the rescue.

Finally, one of my favorite scenes references Romeo & Juliet and it was nice seeing someone, fictional or not, agree with my sentiments about those twits. Don’t get me started there. That’s a whole other review.

My suggestion: Go forth and read this book! It’s out today! And if you haven’t read a shifter book, take a chance, be fearless, and try something new. Maybe you’ll fall in love with these wolves just like I did.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Lynda the Guppy
aka Howler Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks

I am not a lesbian. I am not gay. I am not bisexual. I am not transgender.

I believe in LGBT rights. I believe in gay marriage. I believe in equality for all and no one should ever have the right to decide whom someone should love or judge what form that love takes. If it is not causing ACTUAL HARM to another living creature, why does anyone care if someone’s realationship is girl/girl or boy/boy or even girl/boy/girl/boy? What difference does it make? How does it impact anyone outside of that realationship?

What am I talking about?

This winter, Sochi, Russia will be hosting the Winter Olympics. Just this past week Russia has publicly stated they will fine, arrest, and/or deport any athlete or spectator of the Olympic games if they violate the country’s Anti-Gay law. There are reports of members of the LGBT community being attacked, beaten, and even killed while the police ignore it. I would be unsurprised if such attacks were encouraged by the local authorities. To be clear, I don’t believe there’s any more corruption in Russia than anywhere else, but when citizens are allowed to treat others with such a lack of respect and a lack of humanity, they are usually doing so with the tacit approval of the authorities, whomever those authorities may be. Otherwise there would be fear of repercussions for such criminal and cruel behavior.

More eloquent bloggers than I have already discussed this issue. HERE‘s Stephen Fry’s amazing open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron and the IOC. The ever outspoken and passionate defender of all, author Karina Cooper adds her two cents HERE.

Read on for my thoughts.

From USA Today: “In June, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed an anti-gay bill that outlaws “homosexual propaganda” making public events that promote gay rights and public displays of affection by same-sex couples illegal. Foreign citizens arrested under the law can be jailed for 15 days and then deported.” [emphasis mine] Not only that, you can be punished for TALKING about homosexuality or anything related anywhere children “might hear.” I don’t know about you, but that terrifies ME and it probably wouldn’t affect me. Maybe.

What has the International Olympic Committee said in response to this? Last week they said they “received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

Yes, because “assurances” are going to protect people. That always works. No government has EVER gone back on their word to protect their citizens.

The IOC is relying on “assurances” and “talks” and “political negotiations.” However no sooner has the Russian government made those “assurances,” than that SAME politician (No, seriously. Literally the same person) has turned around and on Russian TV contradicted everything they told the IOC.

The IOC response?

*crickets*

As I said on Twitter earlier today, if an athlete or coach or official of any sort is arrested, detained, harassed, abused, attacked, or mistreated in any way, they have the full might of their team, their country, their Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee, and the world press at their backs. They can make one phone call and the story would go viral around the world.

What about the spectators? The ones who don’t have instant access to the IOC or the world media?

What about the young gay man who decides to take a spontaneous trip to see his sports hero compete and, being young and probably not politically savvy, or at least exhibiting the brashness of youth, makes a comment overheard by the wrong people? Is he going to know how to contact his embassy? Will they let him? What happens to him?

Think this only affects people who are LGBTQ? Here’s a situation which I could see myself in. What if my best friend Cynthia and I went to the Olympics? What if, to save money, we only got one hotel room? What if there was a mixup at the hotel and we had to share a bed? Sure, we could do it. We would do it. Why not? BFFs, remember? What if our room is next to a family with small children? What if the night clerk doesn’t know about the mixup and is anti-gay and decides we are a couple and chooses to report us? What then?

That’s what terrifies me. Not that the athletes would be abused or mistreated, but that the spectators would. And in this the IOC’s silence is inexcusable.

Do I think the USOC should boycott the Olympics? No. Not because I don’t believe this is an important issue which must be addressed on a global political stage, but because the athletes should not have their dreams and accomplishments taken away because of one country’s political agenda.

I do not believe we should boycott the products of those companies supporting the USOC. This is money which goes towards supporting OUR athletes and OUR team, and should the Olympics be moved OUR Olympians will need it. Also, should our athletes fall victim to this anti-gay harassment, they will need all the financial support they can get.

I believe the Olympics should be moved. A Herculean task to be sure, and a HUGE burden on whichever city would end up hosting (Vancouver and Salt Lake City are both high on the list, as they’re recent hosts and their facilities are still in use and in good shape).

I believe there should be consequences for using your position as host to the international sporting community as a bludgeon for oppressing those who live lifestyles of which the government not only doesn’t approve of, but actively suppresses and abuses.

I believe there should be penalties for attempting to legislate the social mores of an entire world.

That’s what I believe.

11/12/2013 UPDATE: Because of sp@mmers, I’m closing the comments on this post. Thanks for understanding.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Equality Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

This post is cross-posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on July 31, 2013

Mom at Six Flags

This past Saturday was the 1-year anniversary of my mom’s death. In some ways it feels like it has been 5 minutes, and in others it seems like it has been forever. The year since she died has been interesting. I’ve done new things, such as attended my first ever conference. I’ve started my own business. I’ve taken chances and opportunities I’m not sure I would have before she died.

I’ve also been standing still. Nothing of hers is gone yet. I’ve packed up exactly 2 dressers of her clothes. Everything else is as she left it, except maybe a little messier. LOL. The only thing of hers I’ve actually given away was her fabric. She was a quilter, so she had The Fabric Stash Closet. LOL It was a towering beast of fabric crammed into every single bit of space, and it was impressive.

StashClosetBefore

I’ve turned it into my Yarn Stash Closet.

Stash Closet After

Other than emptying those two dressers and cleaning out the fabric, I haven’t done a darn thing to change the house from Chez Bear to Chez Guppy. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why every time I went to clean out her clothes I just couldn’t make myself do it. Honestly, she TOLD me to get rid of her clothes. She said to do it first thing. There is no sentimentality attached to the clothes, so just give them to charity ASAP. It’ll open up so much more storage space for me. (Seriously. The woman was a clothes horse. 2 closets (1 a walk-in), 1 large armoire and 4 dressers!) Every time I went to do it, though, I’d find something a lot more interesting to do. Like clean the kitty litter or organize the spice cabinet. I couldn’t understand why I was so against cleaning out her clothes.

And then it hit me.

Mom used to buy furniture–antiques–and then give them away later. She used to do it all the time. Her house was small, so she’d buy a piece and live with it for a while, and if she found a piece she liked better, she’d get rid of the old one. She gave stuff to friends, family, co-workers, etc. She did it all the time. So if I get rid of furniture, or even knick-knacks, it wouldn’t be strange. Things were in flux at Chez Bear all the time. But her clothes. Ah, her clothes.

If I get rid of her clothes, she’s not coming back.

And that’s why I’ve been so hung up on cleaning out her clothes. Obviously, I’m well aware of the fact that she’s not coming back, but emotionally I just haven’t been ready to face that fact.

As for the rest of her things, well, I’ll get there eventually. The biggest problem is all my stuff is in storage, so until I start unpacking some of it, I don’t know what I’ll keep and what I’ll get rid of. Now that it has been a year, I think things will start moving forward again. I’m already looking at couches. LOL.

I’ve battled with some depression this year. I’ve more or less worked my way out of it, but it has been difficult. Especially as I didn’t recognize it for what it was for a long time. Longer than it should have taken me, but I think it was such a gradual slide, it never really occurred to me. Her birthday in November was the worst for me. Some days I couldn’t even breathe without crying. I’ve still got some family issues going on, and an unhealthy amount of anger over it, too. I know if I set up an appointment to talk to somebody chances are good I’d feel better, but I just don’t know if I’m ready for that. I do know I’m tired of being the evil villain in the family.

Saturday was obviously difficult, too. My friends have been amazing. I know. Like that’s news, right? I went to an event with a bunch of my good friends and they all started out asking how I was and if I wanted to talk about mom or pretend Saturday wasn’t the anniversary. They did everything they could to make sure I was okay and had whatever I needed emotionally. These friends are some of the best women I know, and they always amaze me with their willingness to reach out and help however and wherever they can.

So all in all, it’s been a rough year. I’m getting through it. I have some exciting plans for this year and next, and am moving forward. Slowly, but surely.

I still miss her every day. I still talk to her every day. I still cry when the grief overwhelms, as it does at the oddest times, but it is getting better.

And I want to say a giant THANK YOU to everyone who has offered condolences or support this past year, to everyone who has made me laugh, given me ideas, and helped me plan adventures. Whether you knew about mom or not, you all have helped me get through the rough days this past year, and I couldn’t have–WOULDN’T have made it without you.

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka A Better Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks
Site designed by Laideebug Digital
Laideebug Digital