knitting round-up

03.2017_emmett with knitting

On a bit of a whim, I decided to felt the two pairs of mittens I’ve finished this winter, because both pairs are a little big. The first pair was a learning experience because I didn’t use a smaller size needle for the cuffs, and the second pair was made of alpaca mill ends that I thought might look more “finished” if they were felted. Both are cozy, but just a little bit floppy and ungainly for comfort.

The first pair turned out, but the alpaca mill ends didn’t fare so well. Some of the yarn weight was very inconsistent, going from bulky to super-fine, and unfortunately the super-fine bits just didn’t hold up in the felting process.

Grr!!!! But live and learn.

 

03.2017_felted mitten

the ones that survived the felting

I’m currently trying out a pair of worsted-weight socks with a pattern by Susan B. Anderson. This has been my “knitting at gymnastics” project for awhile now (I get my best knitting done at Miss L’s 1.5 hour gymnastics class). I didn’t really gauge it so the first one came off the needles baggy, with sort of elephantine ankles, but I think that will be okay for winter – I can wear a pair under them and have them be sort of slipper-type socks. The pattern is a little confusing because it’s modified from her sock-yarn pattern and you have to keep flipping back and forth between the two patterns because she is prone to say things like “continue in original pattern”. But we shall see. I’m using a very inexpensive craft store yarn which is satisfyingly glossy and soft.After these, I’m starting up another pair of traditional woolen handknits because during my power outage, I wore my old Jaywalkers for three straight days and never had cold feet once. Emergency Socks are good to have.

Upon seeing my pink hat, knitted for the Women’s March in January, Miss L promptly wanted one of her own. I was a little reluctant to knit her a pink one, because it’s been so politicized, so I made her one in pale grey and lined it with a bit of leftover flannel I had.

03.2017_lily flat hat 3

03.2017_lily flat hat 1

I’m no seamstress but I figured people rarely look inside hats so my sloppy stitching job would be safely hidden. 

Miss L is a Girl Scout and part of our annual responsibility is hocking cookies for a couple of hours at a grocery store booth. This usually consists of the Scouts horsing around, rapidly becoming unfocused, complaining that they are hungry / tired / have to go to the bathroom / insert random grievance here while the moms scramble to keep them from freaking out and sell the cookies at the same time. However, when a dignified older lady wearing her Sunday best stopped to purchase a box of Thin Mints, I noticed her shawl and asked if it was handknit. It was, she said beaming, and we discussed how handknits are immediately discernible to a fellow knitter. Quite precious. Her pattern was the Papillon. I’m not a shawl wearer but if I were, I’d be queuing that.

Otherwise, I’m watching Outlander for the knits and the scenery. Jamie is acceptable but the actress who plays Claire is too arch and fragile and prickly. She always seems inexplicably mad at either Jamie or Frank and this is annoying. But her wristwarmers and cowl? To die for.

03.2017_floppy socks and outlander

And here you get a gratuitous picture of the exceptionally floppy worsted weight sock AND a screenshot of Jamie from Outlander in the background, brandishing a sword manfully.

 

entertainment round up + nanowrimo update

11-2016_sunrise

Currently reading: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.
I’m not a huge BRUUUCCCCE fan but I heard him on Fresh Air and he was pretty articulate and thoughtful, so when I saw his autobiography in my library’s Lucky Day section, I picked it up. Goodreads tells me that based on my page count, I’m about 20% through it, and so far, I’m fairly ambivalent about the subject matter. It’s not making me feel much different about the music, but his writing is undeniably beautiful and lyrical. In fact, he’s an excellent writer – his chapters are well-organized, his thoughts are expressed clearly, and his descriptions are vivid and tinged with emotional awareness and a sense of passing time. I’m enjoying it  but am casting some longing glances at the next book in my “To Be Read” pile, Six of Crows.

Currently listening to: Podcasts.
I don’t know how I missed the podcast bandwagon for so long, but I have become aware of two that I’m currently devouring voraciously – My Favorite Murder and Thinking Sideways. Truth be told, I like Thinking Sideways better. I was the kid who read all about serial murders at an inappropriately young age – I still remember the look the lady at the bookstore gave me when I bought a biography of Ed Gein with my allowance – but the giggly, jokey tone of the My Favorite Murder hosts can get a little cringeworthy. I like the Thinking Sideways hosts better and am more interested in the wide range of topics they discuss – from the disappearance of Amelia Earhart to a mysterious website that went up in 2011 to ‘min min’ lights in Australia. It’s made my commutes and workouts fly by.

Currently watching: An Idiot Abroad. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a show that makes me laugh out loud as much as this one does. Karl Pilkington is the perfect foil for Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and his escapades going on twisted world adventures that they dream up for him – priceless. One of my favorites was his experience on a desert island, and his consternation over being asked to wear a grass skirt that’s customary garb for the local tribe.

Currently eating: The original, world famous Tokyo Banana Cake – special giraffe edition. I have a long history of being tricked by Japanese desserts. They are the most beautiful little works of art, all immaculately packaged in artistic wrappings, they look delectable, you take a bite and find out it’s filled with bean curd, or cold potato. However, on a recent trip to the US, the head of our global legal team brought us a box of Banana Cakes and I was pleasantly surprised. They tasted like light, banana-flavored Twinkies filled with caramel custard. I may have finally found a Japanese dessert that I can eat! (I really only ate one although if I hadn’t been forced to share the box, I could have gladly had more.)

11-2016_tokyo-banana-cake

Currently thinking about: NaNoWriMo.
I’m solidly out of the gate during this first week, writing every day. I’m not meeting the recommended daily word count of 1,600-something, but I’m over 1,000 words each day and averaging about 1,200. Respectable, I think. I have a full outline with all of my chapters laid out and am ready for the hard work.

in which i have a saturday.

Or, in my case, perhaps a ‘caturday’.

It still feels weird when Miss L is with her dad for the weekend and I have a full Saturday and a Saturday night without anything to do. I have a reflexive feeling of guilt about these times, and an almost subconscious anxiety that makes me want to sit at home and wait for her return. I’m gradually processing those feelings, and I’ve been dating, and I have things to do, and plans. But at heart I am still inclined to back out of social commitments and hide with the boys, which is exactly what I did yesterday.

04.2015 emmett lunch

Yesterday I spent my Saturday doing a few of my favorite things. It was a bit of a grand day for me because it was my first time running since January! I had a tibial stress fracture and spent the last nearly 3 months in recovery mode = no weight bearing exercise. No boot camp, no elliptical, no walking. I got to be very good friends with the spin bike in our workout room.

Last week, I was able to start with the elliptical and walking, and yesterday was my first gradual ramp-up. Run / walk intervals, 5 mins of walking and 1 min of running for 30 mins. It wasn’t much, but everyone has to start somewhere, and I have a 9-week recovery training plan that I am going to follow to the letter. I have new PowerStep Pulse insteps, a fancy shin harness, a new iPhone sport armband, and wireless headphones on the way, my gifts to myself for my return to running.

I picked Kensington for this run, and spent another hour after I was done tromping around looking at birds.

I swear, someday I will be the old lady clomping around the parks clutching binoculars and bird books. I know there’s something tweaked about me, that a day spent doing that is preferable to going out and socializing, but I was completely happy with my choice.

04.2015 swans

Everyone is sitting a nest these days, and the air is filled with the booming noise of the cranes nesting on the island in the middle of the lake, and the noisy chatter of red-winged blackbirds. The swan pair were quite domestic. She stood up to rearrange her nest and tenderly cover her eggs back up with fluff while her hubster looked on. The Sandhill Cranes seemed to be having some sort of dispute, however, as they kept the cold shoulder toward one another.

04.2015 sandhills

I came home, took a nap, which Emmett loved, and ambled over to Whole Foods for dinner… I am addicted to their pizza which is a sad and expensive addiction at $3 a slice, so I save it only for special occasions because 1 slice is never enough.

Sometimes, a Saturday night spent doing laundry and watching historical English programming (Wolf Hall, White Queen) is balm for the soul, and better than any night out on the town.

04.2015 chillin

object lessons

I flew home last night and left a glorious Florida sunset behind.

01.2015 florida sunset

Before I left, I took another walk to try to absorb as much sunshine as I could, and added some birdwatching to the mix. It’s always fun for me to see different birds in different places, although I wore my iPhone battery down trying to Google ‘small brown bird with yellow butt’. It made for some dicey moments standing in line to have my boarding pass scanned at the gate (I use the Delta app on my phone and I kept wondering if anyone has ever had their phone die before they could have their electronic boarding pass scanned…this is the kind of thing that would happen to me.)

This white ibis was pretty easy to ID and he was a fine looking fellow. There were a couple of other wading birds that were more difficult, it’s hard for me to distinguish egrets from herons from cranes and it began to interfere with my attentiveness to the final bits of my seminar so I finally gave up.

01.2015 florida ibis

And of course there were the usual flocks of house sparrows, a brown plague that has taken over my own yard at home. But I couldn’t resist this picture – they were all sitting around the table at the Trattoria at the Disney Boardwalk looking expectant and vaguely European.

01.2015 florida sparrows

My seminar was quite large, almost 300 people, and when you attend these types of events, there are funny little behaviors that emerge. You find yourself sitting next to the same people every day, you quickly establish your cliques. People network and chat and swap business cards and I am wretched at all of this. I sit in the front row where no one else wants to sit and I try not to make eye contact with people. I don’t like small talk or chatting, it makes me nervous. I always forget my business cards and I tend to be focused on consuming as many of the free meals and snacks as possible in the shortest amount of time and then fleeing to somewhere quiet. (I also stockpile pens at these seminars. For some reason my pen jar at home tends to be filled with dry markers and useless highlighters and small screwdrivers and broken-tipped pencils, everything except pens that work. I found these Disney resort pens quite satisfactory.)

The sunshine and birdwatching opportunities made my lack of desire to network at breaks even more prominent, as did the fact that I started reading George R.R. Martin’s “A Feast for Crows” on my Kindle during the flight down. I’m so absorbed in this book that I want to read it straight through and I feel a little dazed when I look up from the pages. I spent many a break hiding in a sunny corner poring over the pages. To be sure, this makes me feel guilty. When my company sends me to a seminar, I’m on the clock, so I really shouldn’t be sneaking away, even on scheduled breaks, to read or play or absorb sunshine.

So when I pondered skipping the last day lunch and heading to the airport to try for an earlier flight, I thought better of it. I girded my loins and hit the buffet and found a new place to sit and before I quite knew what had happened, one of the panel speakers sat down next to me and then another and then two board members on the other side. The first panel speaker started talking to me and quickly we were laughing and he introduced me to the other speakers and board members. I felt like the new kid at school who suddenly finds herself at the cool kid table. I came away with a pack of business cards and promises of LinkedIn invitations and guidance on which chapter I should join, feeling stunned. I told myself sternly that this is an object lesson – 45 minutes at a lunch table and I made great contacts that my boss would appreciate. Those 45 minutes of somewhat painful socializing probably had greater benefit than the prior 2 days of seminar materials and skulking. I was proud of myself and so I had Pinkberry at the airport to reward myself.

It was about 18 F. in Detroit and the airport was full of tired commuters, ready to be home with their families. It was so nice to be home, cold notwithstanding, and Emmett & Sarge piled onto my lap on the couch while I ate pasta late at night and finished watching ‘Broadchurch’. (What do we think about mysteries that end with the killer being someone entirely unexpected? Do we feel impressed at their cleverness or do we feel a bit put out that we aren’t given the proper clues to solve it ourselves?)

And now, Winter Storm Linus. For fuck’s sake.

lowlights

  • House of Cards – I’m not a huge fan of political dramas but this one is gooooooooooooood.
  • Listening to Jon Krakauer’s ‘Into Thin Air’ during my commutes. The version I have is narrated by the author and I am basically finding myself driving aimlessly so I can keep listening to it. Is it weird that I want to start climbing now?? I have become so obsessed with the whole controversy that I think I have to read ‘The Climb’ now as well, and I’m going to check Netflix for that Everest doc.
  • This week, I’ve been the only person in my department and I’m doing constant triage. People come to find lawyers, they find a row of closed doors, and me. I never imagined that being in a corporate legal department would result in such a wide array of problems to solve. I’ll never get any benefit out of it, but damn, my knowledge is now a mile wide and an inch deep on easements, governance, compliance, bailments, anti-counterfeiting, and FORK TRUCK LEASES. If I can drag myself through one more day of rolling that rock up that hill, bless my heart.
  • Please, please, please, please, PLEASE secondhand gods of running – PLEASE don’t let me be getting shin splints. Please. Okay? I will use my foam roller and increase my miles by only 10% per week and ice and sleep in my ugly compression socks and wear the compression sleeves when I run and slay a chicken on your altar if you just won’t give me shin splints.
  • I’m getting too much pleasure and enjoyment out of Get Off of My Internets. I won’t tell you which blogs I like reading the vicious snark about.
  • I never thought I was a motorcycle boot kind of girl until I saw THESE bad boys on my beautiful bestie. She assented to my request to purchase the same pair. She’s an unselfish sort. They feel extremely heavy and clompy but after mincing around in heels they are undeniably solid and comfortable and the leather is just absolutely gorgeous. They are also the real deal. Steel toe, oil resistant, Good year welt sole. They are, in the words of ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’, bona fide. They probably won’t look as cute on me because I don’t curl my hair, but anyway.

09.2014 boots

  • Soon I’m going to do a post on how crazy my cats are. But after this week of shin splints, legal department triage, and a disastrous climb up from base camp, I just don’t have the energy to get into it. I also don’t have the energy to link to the House of Cards and Into Thin Air and everything like that, bleah.
  • After a summer of ruining my hair, I’ve officially turned the reins over to my stylist. Burgundy lowlights.

09.2014 lowlights

And those, my friends, are the lowlights of the week.

troubles melt like lemon drops

04.2014 philadelphia storylife imitates art, two smart sassy redheads and four charming handsome boys (two of whom have four paws, admittedly). mornings off – be they good friday or just a nice weekend – sometimes just mean classic movies in our robes in bed. i think philadelphia story is the perfect vehicle for james stewart, and had i been tracy lord, i can’t imagine picking dexter over him. any man who will carry you elegantly up through a nighttime garden singing ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ is, drunk or no, in my estimation, worth keeping.

good friday is rainy and damp here, but no schedule and no timekeeping and no chores except from the assembly of the traditional nine-egg lemon tart for easter. no one is ever excited about the lemon easter tart except me, but it i remember eating it in australia, in a tiny one-room farmhouse, and thinking how fresh and wonderful and perfect it was. it stays with me, those simple happy memories, and sometimes a ritual can just belong to one person. lemons are spring to me. lemons are the taste of new life and rising suns and risen sons and lime tinge in the trees.

blessed, and thankful for it.

20140418_175021~2and just in case anyone thinks we are very serious around here, this.

IMG_20140418_103906#catladyproblems, insert smiley face and xoxo here, darling emmett, our little lanky james stewart of the day.