I thought I'd distract you from my continuing inability to post new pictures by showing you the peonies I carried for my wedding. Aren't they so pretty?
1. I started Foliage last night. It's Christmas knitting.
2. This kit arrived in today's mail. I may shun the Cozy V-neck pullover for all the grief I've had of it and cast on this as my Rhinebeck sweater.
3. I taught a good lesson on thesis statements this week. Well, I did it in two parts, and today was the workshop part. The brave kids who volunteered their draft thesis statements seemed pleased with their revised, post-workshop statements.
4. I just booked a flight to visit my bestest friend and sister, MB, in January. I'm super excited as I'm hoping to get a visit with Sheila in, too (I'll be e-mailing you with the 411, Sheila!).
5. Even though I can't wait for Season Four of Gray's Anatomy to start (I've almost caught up on all the previous episodes), I thought the hour-long PR piece about Addison and her new show was ridiculous. I tried to defend it while Neal mocked it. After all, these are my tv friends. But, c'mon. WTF?
6. Despite the inherent sadness of the subject matter, Away With Her, adapted from Alice Munro's "A Bear Came Over the Mountain," is one of the best movies I've seen in quite some time. I liked that it opened a lengthy discussion between me and Neal about how we want to be treated as we age. I hated that we need to have such discussions, but better to know each others' minds than just think we'll be young (ish) forever.
7. We went to a divey Mexican restuarant on Wednesday after I cried over my failed polenta on Tuesday. Yesterday I woke up thinking about the leftovers I would have for lunch. One might say I obsessed over them. After two years in New Mexico, I'm damn fussy about the Mexican I eat, and I'm glad to have found a joint I like, even if it is in Connecticut's own version of Hell. At least the restaurant isn't in a mall, right?
8. After a bit of spit-spat housework, I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon outside. We're having divine end-of-summer weather here, and I want to savor every moment of it.
Thanks for bearing with the randomness; I hope you enjoy your weekend!
I made this earlier in the month for a handmade swap. I like how elegant the linen makes this simple pattern, and any books I give this holiday season will come with a little thong, too.
While I'm able to get pictures from the camera to the computer now, I've managed to lock up the memory card that goes in the camera, so fixing that is my next technology challenge. I've got lots of other things to photograph; I'd better get out that camera manual again!
I'm getting bored with my lack of pictures, aren't you? Not that my pix are any great shakes, but they do make for a more interesting post. I guess that means that I should focus on getting the cameral and computer together. ETA: After some time with Google, I discovered that I need to buy a memory card reader, and then I can get back to posting pictures. I'll be stopping by my favorite box store tomorrow to pick up what I need!
Pictures would really help me to explain what happened at last week's SnB. Blog-free Kim was talking about the way in which a stitch sits on a needle. I looked at my stitches (I was working on Cozy V-neck, v.2), and her description and my stitches had little to do with each other. I decided to ask the question that I've avoided for a while.
"Do my stitches look twisted to you?" Both Nearly-Not-Blogless Sara and Blog-free Kim agreed that they did. I showed them how I knit.
Nope. My knit stitch is not the culprit. I showed them my purl, and NNB Sara (an English-style knitter) confirmed that I was not purling properly. I don't need to hear comforting comments about how there is "no" right or wrong way in knitting. I believe there is. One may get to the right way via a variety of methods, but there is a place of rightness in knitting.
Anyhow, NNB Sara showed me her purl stitch, and whaddya know? My knitting looks just as it should again. My pals wanted to know WTF? How was I purling wrong for so long?
After I thought about it for a few minutes, I realized that when Scout and Carole instructed me in the ways of English knitting, I was working on socks, and I only learned the knit stitch from them. I didn't anything flat until after I'd moved back east. I find it hysterical that I have been effing up for nearly two years now; I applied my Continental way of approaching the yarn to the English way of knitting. Jenny asked if I was doing combined knitting, and I guess I had been, of sorts, but not a combination that works!
To soothe myself from the distress of having to rip out, yet again, the Cozy V-neck pullover, I spent my craft time over the weekend on embroidery and spinning. I also whipped out a washcloth to go into the Christmas gift basket. My oldest sister suggested that her daughter would *love* a pair of hand knit socks for Christmas, as well as an iPod cozy (she's coveted her mother's for a while), and a hat. Gotta love a girl who wants hand knits, no? I just need to get information about sizes and colors, and I'll start some projects for Miss Alexis.
Thanks to everyone who played in the contest--at 11:29 last night, Bev left the 2,000 comment on this blog.
Bev, will you please e-mail me at b13army AT Yahoo DOT com with your snail mail addy? I've got some yarn and something handmade for you and want to talk colors. I like my contest winners to be happy.
A while ago Neal suggested that I must see Gothic. As a fan of the English Romantics (I almost made that my area of study instead of Shakespeare. Imagine!), he thought it was shameful that I had never seen Ken Russell's film about one of literature's most important contests. I dutifully put the movie on my Netflix queue, only to discover that it was being reissued. All summer I waited for word that it was on its way to us, and yesterday, finally, it arrived. I was so excited about it that I called Neal at work to tell him the good news. I did all my chores and even cooked a lovely meal, then settled in for the movie. Neal gave me a sheepish, "I hope you like it," you know the way you do when you've built up a movie or book and then have doubts about your recommendation.
I couldn't even finish it, and I'm pretty good at finishing even bad movies. The aesthetic of the film irritated me; the angles at which Russell shot the actors were beyond unflattering; the story was all wrong. Don't even get me started about the sound track, which was constantly at a frenzied, built-up state, meaning that the viewer is constantly expecting something big and is constantly denied that big something. Not in a suspenseful way, either.
As Neal chatted with me before work this morning (one of my favorite parts of the day, btw), he was a bit sheepish and unclear about why he'd thought that movie was one of his favorites. I blame it on the 80s. Perhaps it seemed artsy and edgy then, but it did not hold up over the last 20 years.
First, thank you to everyone who left a comment yesterday. I appreciated the thoughtful words you all shared.
Now, some math. If there more than a few comments to this post, I'm pretty certain we'll have a winner for my little "2,000th on the 300th" contest. There's something attractive about reaching both of those numbers at the same time to me. I like when numbers align.
I had to align some numbers myself today. Last week I diligently knit the first part, you know, before you join, of the Cozy V-neck Pullover from Fitted Knits. I did all thirteen repeats before I got off my lazy tush and found a tape measure. The pattern calls for 3.5 spi. I had 5 spi. My math-addled brain said, "fine, missy. You'll just make a smaller size and be fine. You're just off by a little." After Blog-free Kim and Blogless Sara messed around with the math for a few minutes, they reached the same conclusion at the same time. Wanna know what it is?
Beverly is a ding dong and totally, as Noelle might say, a math-impaired Barbie.
I was convinced my gauge was off the wrong way. So I ripped, and then I did some algebra. I took all of the places in the pattern where numbers of stitches (S) occurred, divided said number by 3.5 (pattern gauge), then multiplied it by 5 (my gauge). I penciled in the new numbers and cast on again. Sixty-nine stitches instead of forty-eight.
In formulaic terms: S / 3.5 x 5=NSN (new stitch number). Now that ain't so tough, is it? I'm not math-impaired at all. In fact, I'm a bit clever about math.
What's made you feel rather clever in your life lately?
It's gray and rainy today, but six years ago, the sun shone and the air was crisp, bringing to mind football games and baked apples. The morning was nothing short of glorious, which added to the pain of the attacks.
There has been debate in The New York Times and elsewhere about the appropriateness of commemorating 9/11. Some say it only reopens the wounds. Some say it's time to move on. Some say the list of victims should be read every year. There is no right answer to when grieving, either public or private, should be finished.
I was fortunate that day; I did not lose anyone I loved. I lived in Westchester, though, and for weeks the newspaper was filled with the obituaries of young men and women, many around my age, some of them accompanied by stories of bravery and kindness performed in the face of fear and death.
That's what I want to think about today, what I want to take away from the unbearable pain of that day. I want to consider how I might be kinder in my life, and then I want to be kinder. That was the glory of 9/11, at least for a while: the kindnesses proferred by strangers. That's what I want to see continue.
Won't you go out of your way to do something extra kind today, too, as a way to quietly remember the tragedy of the day?
This lack of communication among my toys tools is bumming me out. I really want to show you pictures of my Sockapalooooza socks on my feet. My pal had e-mailed me that she would be late with them, but that I'd understand why when she revealed herself. Well, this week, Dani's lovely Monkeys arrived with a packet of S.O.A.K. and a skein of her own hand dyed in shades of black and gray. She got married this summer, too, and had a glamorous honeymoon trip in Belize. The socks and yarn and sweet note were more than worth the wait! Thanks, Dani!
But wait, there was more good mail this weekend. Remember back in May when Erin directed her generosity towards me? The first installment of her yarn club arrived, along with an adorable "We Rock the Dyepot" tote. The colors of this yarn, "jewel", are so rich and yummy that I'm going to wind the skein into a cake and start a shawl with it today. It's too wonderful for my feet!
I feel pretty lucky to have had so much wonderfulness head my way in one week. After my SnB debacle, in which I knit a whole lot before checking my gauge and had to rip out the start of the Cozy V-neck Pullover and now I'm doing gauge swatches, but may have to knit on 15s to make gauge (ok, I'm exaggerating, but just a little), these fantastic treats help me to keep my head on straight.
I've gotten more new technology in my life in the past few months than I had in years. During my visit to NY with Mike and Dana, I indulged in a new iPod, which if I had waited a mere six weeks would have been less expensive. In any case, I've been listening to the same two bbq mixes that Mike made for me since our party in July. Today I decided, was technology befriending day. I moved files on my new laptop from the backup folder the Geek Squad inelegantly left on my desktop, and I connected my new printer/scanner/copier (it's small enough to sit on my desk comfortably! And it scans! And it was inexpensive!). I wanted to update my iPod with some podcasts, and I'm irritated that I can't quite figure out how to get it to load the many, many episodes I haven't yet heard. Even more irritating is that I can't get the new, unnamed (does it deserve a name if it's not cooperating with me?) computer to recognize our digital camera. What's a blog if there aren't pictures? I downloaded the patch or whatever you call it for Vista, but it just won't recognize the camera. Snotty computer (although I do love you *strokes computer*. Please don't break on me. I love you, you poor, no-name slob).
I think me and all of this new technology can make friends with each other. Time and patience. And maybe my oldest nephew would help. He's pretty tech-savvy.
What have been the biggest hurdles to you and technology being on good terms? Like how I'm giving you comment fodder? Because I'll tell you, it's now less than forty comments until the giveaway.
Tonight's my SnB. If the technology was all living in peace and harmony, I could show you the new sweater I've started. Some day soon, I hope!
I hope everyone had as relaxing a weekend as I did. A bike ride, some house cleaning, a luxurious Sunday morning reading the Times, a picnic with my cousin and her friends all added up to a lovely time.
Tomorrow begins the academic year for me. I've revamped my first sequence (on American culture this time) and will copy my syllabus today. I'm going to try out a blog for my course this year; it could be a great tool if I use it right. It's a matter of figuring out how to use it right that will challenge me.
Even before I became a teacher, rather by accident, I worked for a college in their public relations office, and later in their sponsored programs office. In my late 20s, September became once again a time for fresh starts, and I think I like it even better than New Year's Day for that. There's a quality of opportunity to September. I may have done things that didn't work during the last academic year, but this time, I can try something new. I can improve.
Neal and I reflected on our summer over the weekend. The weather was the nicest I ever remember, and Neal's flower gardens really took off this year. Unlike last year when I felt that I had wasted the summer as I worried about living back east and finding a job, this year I had a summer that leaves me satisfied with myself. It started, of course, with our wedding. While we didn't kayak as much as we wanted, it was fun to get on the water when we did. In June we made it out to NM to put the condo up for sale, and despite the craziness that ensued near closing, we met our goal of closing by the end of June. There was our fantastic party, with a visit from my NM pals Mike and Dana, including trips to New York and Boston. By the end of July, I finished my novella, and in August I began revisions and also managed to write three new essays. There was a beach trip, and Neal and I both remembered how much we love to ride bikes, resulting in new road bikes and a few falls for me (those clipless pedals are a challenge!). I read some good books, got closer to friends old and new, and knit almost every day.
A good summer, no doubt.
Now with September comes cooler evenings and milder afternoons. I have some goals for this month, which include embroidering and knitting some Christmas gifts, revising my novella, and taking lots of bike rides. What are your plans for September?
Oh, yeah, the contest. Only a few more posts before I reach No. 300, and under 50 comments to go to reach 2000. Did you notice Santa commented on the last post? Who knew I had such a prestigious reader!