Aug 31, 2009

You Say Crotch-et-y, I Say Cro-chet-ee . . .

Crotch-et-y --adj. Capriciously stubborn or eccentric. Given to crotchets, subject to odd notions, whims. Having a difficult and contrary disposition.
--Synonyms: fussy, eccentric, grouchy.

At lunch last week my good friend Linda said I was a bit "crotchety." It all started when another friend noted that
I was the only person at the table wearing a watch, adding that, "in this day and age, why wear something that only does one thing?!" Lazybones that I am, I told her I refuse to pull out my cell phone or blackberry just to see the time. Looking back, I guess I was a bit stubborn in my defense of wristwatches, admittedly a bit capricious since my watch is stuck on 9:00 as I wait to find a replacement battery.

Naturally, lunch and meandering conversations being what they are, we were stymied by the question, what the hell is a crotchet?

Some have suggested that perhaps being crotchety might be an affliction of people who crochet.
Hrmp! While it is true that "crotchety" does sound and look very much like "crochety," and that only a T separates the two, it doesn't help that Internet search engines assume you can't spell and must mean "crochet" so offer links to all things crochet. The etymology of "crotchety" is related to the crotchet, which in 1573 was a "whim or fancy," which seems to have taken its meaning from a 1394 usage as an architectural ornament of curled leaves, which in turn may have been taken from the Old French word for hook. The Online Etymology Dictionary says the sense evolution is obscure. Really?! Seems to make perfect sense to me -- curled leaves resembling a hook that during the Renaissance might well have been considered quite whimsical or fanciful. A hook is also a barb and can be quite sharp. Thus someone who displays an odd fanciful or whimsical notion or uses a sharp tone (i.e., grouchy) is crotchety. See?! Not exactly rocket science.

And certainly not limited to the practitioners of my favorite craft, as we all know and bitch about crotchety knitters, crotchety weavers, crotchety bosses, crotchety neighbors, crotchety friends, crotchety . . . The list is endless.

Being called crotchety gets one to thinking, thinking about getting old. Admit it, only people of a certain age remember when that word was in common usage. When have you ever heard people complain about some "crotchety little kid?" I turned "mmph" this year and it finally hits you that you are now the third oldest person in the office and that you are old enough to be mama to almost half your co-workers. It's a bit mind-boggling, considering that you feel as young as they are. Sometimes act like it too.

Am I a crotch-et-y old lady? No?

Am I a cro-chet-ee old lady? Yes. And proud of it.

Aug 20, 2009

Off the Hook no more

I'm back. I know. It's been a while since I last posted. Actually, way too long.

The last six, no, seven, weeks, have been very busy, what with moving, working full time, packing boxes, running an evening Girl Scout camp for a week, unpacking boxes, locating stuff I had accidentally packed for three swaps all due in July, getting kids into and motivated for summer school, trying to process a grant award, painting a bedroom-living room-dining room-hallway-kitchen, moving, preparing and running for a national 3-day public meeting, coordinating not one but two reports of recommendations to the head of my Agency, dealing with a mailperson who insisted that my new place was vacant and thus sent all my mail back as undelivered including my new driver's license, fighting with the phone company to get my dial tone, taking a 12-hour train ride to and from the 2009 Summer Knit and Crochet Show in Buffalo, and . . . did I say moving? Seems like I have been doing everything under the Sun. Everything, except crochet. Came pretty close to making this Cancer very crab

But now the move is over (except the 40 boxes in my living and dining rooms waiting patiently for a spot of their own), the meetings and reports have been conducted and submitted, the grant almost finalized, the swaps sent off and received, the Postal Carrier straightened out, the camp successfully run its course, the rooms painted, and the dial tone returned for good. To top it all off, the trip to the Crochet Show proved to be the most relaxing thing I've done in a long time and was sorely needed. This Crab is ready for crochet.

I'll keep you posted.

More frequently.

I promise.

BTW, the crab above is the work of Portugal artist, Joana Vasconcelos, who transforms manufactured objects into works of art, often using crochet. Click on her WORK and select a year, such as 2007. Pretty cool stuff.