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November 23, 2005

The brink of delirium

This entry has been edited to add information about the Soviet Revolutionary march that's quoted. Check the extended portion of the entry if you're interested in learning more.

Follow this and entertain me for a moment, would you? It involves knitting, really :).

Exam week in college was always very tense and stressful. My roommate and I would spend the entire exam week studying our butts off, day and night, night and day... We were tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, overworked, and perhaps malnourished since we sustained ourselves exclusively on grapes and grape tomatoes every single day (they make no mess whatsoever and are quite tasty!).

I'm not the type who can study in the presence of distractions, so I would excuse myself to the library, but my best friend would coup herself up in our apartment and not even change out of her pajamas. Every day of exam week I would come back around midnight and find her in the exact same position she was in when I left - at her desk, books spread out everywhere, with that look... that look of too much. I looked exactly the same, of course. We were both on the brink of delirium.

That's when I would drop my bag, take off my jacket, and break into my favorite Soviet Revolutionary march, complete with singing in Russian and marching all around our apartment. Roughly translated, it goes something like:

There isn't so much, there is just a little bit.
The last battle, it is the hardest.
And to my homeland, to my home I want to go,
It's been so long since I've seen my mom.

Suffice it to say that the first time I put on this performance, my roommate was seriously confused - the marching, the singing, the Russian (which she doesn't speak), the feverish tears running down my cheeks. After I explained to her what I was doing, and translated the song, it became our special thing - what I would do to break the tension, to pause our exam studying for a second, to remind ourselves that although the last battle was the hardest, there was just a little bit left, and that we would see our families soon enough.

And so, I sang as I grafted the last row of the Grumpecue to the first. I sang out loud.

There isn't so much, there is just a little bit...


The last battle, it is the hardest...


The last battle, it is the hardest.

The needles are out, the rough draft of the grafting is done, and soon... soon there will be an FO.

As for the Curlicue - you see over on the sidebar I claim to be a "trouble maker"? I'm not kidding. I offered, and Oat Couture took me up on my offer - a week ago I mailed them the two-thirds completed coverlet and enough yarn to finish it; hopefully it will be useful "evidence" for their "investigation."

They received it on Saturday, and I am eagerly waiting to hear what they make of this whole mess.

I did a little research about the Soviet Revolutionary march that I quote above.

It is called Guys of our regiment (Ребята нашего полка) and is from the movie The Last Battle (Последний бой). Based on the lyrics it's a march from WWII. Personally, I only knew the chorus, but the rest of the song goes as follows:

It's been so long, it's been so long since we've rested.
Rest has been the last thing on our minds.
We have ploughed on our stomachs through half of Europe,
And tomorrow, tomorrow, finally, the last battle.

There isn't so much, there is just a little bit,
The last battle, it is the hardest.
And to Russia*, to my home I want to go,
It's been so long since I've seen my mom.
And to Russia, to my home I want to go,
It's been so long since I've seen my mom.

It's the fourth year that we have no livelihood from these Germans (slang),
The fourth year of salty sweat and rivers of blood,
And I'd like to fall in love with a good girl,
And I'd like to touch my homeland with my hand.


Tomorrow is the last time we'll engage in hand-to-hand combat,
The last time we'll be able to serve Russia,
And for her it's not even frightening to die,
Although each hopes to survive.


*In the version I know, "to homeland" (на родину) appears instead of "to Russia."

I found a site where you can listen to a version of this song. It's a 2004 remake which is much more lyrical and much less march-like. Nonetheless, it's true in spirit. If you visit this site and click on the "real 28" or "real 56" button, the file will open with Real Player. Enjoy!

Posted by Kathy on November 23, 2005 04:17 AM


So they're going to get one of their test knitters to try finishing it? I, too, am very interested in how this all shakes out.

I think you deserve the purple heart of courage for this FO!

I'm interested in hearing what they will say!
Is it my imagination, or did grumpecue go super fast?

Oat Couture accepted the gauntlet, eh? I'm eager to see the results!

You must be really thrilled that the grumpecue is done and the curlicue is now out of your hands. I would be. That image of you marching around singing totally reminds me of something I'd do in college too, the torture, the pain..

Happy Thanksgiving!

You are such a tease! Showing us something ALMOST done, but not showing the FO.

Hopefully you like the way the grumpecue turns out better than the curlicue. And won't it be nice when the Oat Couture people finally admit defeat.

What are the lyrics in Russian? I need to add to my repertoire.

Woo ha! Great job!

(Where did you go to college?)

Good Luck getting through the end of this! It looks fab so far.

Ye gods, woman! You are one tenacious (and talented) cookie.

Хорошо сделанный!

Many thanks for your blog. It is perhaps my very favorite for your wit, wisdom, and passion for all you do.

Can't wait to see the Grumpecue, hope you sell or give the pattern online. (I wouldn't mind paying for it.)

And . . . you know Russian? Isn't it a great language? I took four years of it in college, plus a summer in (then) Leningrad. Stunk at speaking it but loved it to bits.

YEAH! Stick it to the man!

Great work! If you check out Crazy Aunt Pearl's blog entry for today, she has a picture taken at a yarn store and it looks like there's a completed Curlicue in the forground.

Can't wait to see your completed Grumpecue.

Do my eyes deceive me or does the knitted item heaped on the table in this snapshot from Crazy Aunt Purl have a suspicious resemblance to Culicue? Surely I'm hallucinating!

(Sorry, I don't know how to make an actual link here.)

Congratulations on the grumpicue and getting oat couture to pay attention. You aren't a trouble maker, just someone who is appropriately assertive!!

You're a champ. Can't wait to see it all done! FO! FO! FO!

I can totally imagine you marching. Too funny.

I'd also really love the lyrics in Russian!!!
That is a fabulous story. Hugs, Hope the grumpecue turns out okay, it's such a cute name it has to work right.

i love taking people to task, but usually it's at the dmv or some other bureaucracy. your battle is much more vital! love the colors of the grumpecue.

Are there more stanzas to the Russian theme song? Do you have the music to the march/tune? Great story!

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