Saturday, September 29, 2012

mushrooms, magnolias, and way too much schoolwork

So it would seem that despite my best efforts, I only publish seasonally now. Not a good thing, but my writing is tied up in other venues again. School is ON, and it is kicking my ass - in a good way, but nevertheless, I am reminded of all the reasons I dislike being a student, and why I greatly prefer the non-formal education route.

I'm taking 3 classes this semester, because of crappy advising, and should have probably only taken two. A teaching methods class that seems geared toward the majority of my classmates, who are brand-new (as in as-yet-uncertified) teachers in a Master's program. I like the technology and research aspect of it, but I could do without the weekly lectures of the professor on how important it is to have a literature-based program, and how teaching is more than a 7-3 job...they'll find out soon enough, lady, let them be.

My linguistics class is far and away the most interesting. I love the prof, who is very involved in classroom-based research, and whose personal interest is adolescent intertextuality - how teens shape their identity by the things they read and write, and specifically through nontraditional media; internet, fanfiction, texting, and suchlike. Very cool. There is a ton of reading associated with this course, mostly journal articles, but fascinating stuff. I don't mind the writing that the course involves, because it's centered around reading, digesting, and integrating this research. Interviewing, transcribing interviews, and looking at the social aspect of language learning round out the work.

I'm also in a practicum, working with a Burmese refugee family, teaching reading with the mother, and doing some computer work with the father. Really enjoyable assignment, though the ranty professor of the methods class is my field supervisor, so I'm hoping to see a different side of her through this work, because I'm not enamored of her in-class style, at all. The mom reads at about the 2nd grade level, and we're working on navigating the myriad of forms that life in America requires, plus vocabulary and conversation that trips to the doctor and library necessitate.

All this has served to consume my brain-and-body time in a big way; knitting has suffered, and I broke my footman-to-treadle connector on my spinning wheel, so spinning has been nonexistent. I ordered a replacement part from Louet, and it is here, so I just need to do the repair to get back on that horse, but I'm a little afraid of that distraction, right now, as I've always used spinning to avoid work, in my non-academic days, so diving back into that caramel colored silk/alpaca again seems a dangerous thing.

Aidez is finished, except for sewing up the side seams. The sleeves fit, a huge relief, but since we are still having 80-degree days, I'm not in any big hurry to get those done. I DID finally learn mattress stitch, thanks to my sister, who insisted that I use you-tube videos and Knitty tutorials to figure it out, since I'd been avoiding it all these years. Hey, guess what? It's easy and fun, and makes a gorgeous, flat, invisible seam!!

Now I'm just messing around with a Kureyon sock, and trying to knit a little every day, and rediscovering how very comforting it can be when it's a stolen pleasure. House and yard have fallen into disrepair, though the dogs are doing very well. Ella is still on arthritis meds, and a liver supplement, and seems to be feeling frisky at the moment. End of summer, and a break in the profound heat (a week of 100+ days were too much for us both) have revitalized her. Cricket is Cricket is Cricket; funny, sneaky, and utterly unfit for society, though he brings great joy here at the Atomic Lodge.

Around here, we grow our plants big: A magnolia flower from down the street,

 and a great big whompin' mushroom back in the woods...heat and humidity have their advantages, botanically speaking. At least the magnolias smelled great; our street is lined with the trees, so summer evenings are wildly fragrant. The mushrooms, not so much.
This weekend, a much-deserved getaway to St. Simon's island, on the GA coast, with some of my knitters. Ahhhhh...relief.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

a rainy week

I am loving this week of daily thunderstorms and somewhat cooler (high 80's) temperatures. Yes, it's true that my driveway and front steps are now too slick to walk upon without risking life and limb, but the grey skies suit my mood. This morning it is sunny, though, and I'm thinking that our dark n' stormy week is at an end.

At an end, as well, is the Tour de Fleece, with my best result being this lovely fiber. It is the knittyandcolor superwash merino, that was a joy to spin, and has me wanting to make some socks from it - just under 300 yards of super soft sportweight, so I could get away with some short socks I think.
I am now spinning up 8oz of Herdwick fiber, dyed in an indigo sig vat - that is, using naturally sourced ammonia. In other words - traditionally fermented with urine. I found this fiber on Etsy, quite by accident, and was so curious I had to order it. It doesn't stink, other than a slight vegetal smell, but it is a very scratchy wool. But pretty! Pics to come later. 

Some recent finish object success in the form of the Deep Sea Flower Dice Bag, a free pattern from Ravelry. I gifted this in the Outlander Clan Beauchamp envelope swap. Noro Kureyon is  so much fun to knit, though I did dissect the skein a little, to get the proper blend of colors - way too many green/blacks for my tastes in this skein. 

And a dreamy violet-hued dishcloth for the soap and cloth swap on Ravelry. This is the run of the mill Lily Sugar n' Cream cotton that I seem to have so much of. I do like the colorway a lot. I love that swap - a dishcloth is knit up in just a day or so, and getting a package in the mail with some fancy soap is always a big thrill! 

Little else going on. I am still living La Vida Low-carb, which is fine as long as I eat enough and have enough available things to snack on; veggies, hummus, etc. I don't really miss the bread, but I am missing my easy oatmeal breakfasts! Bacon helps to take the sting off that, though I'm not sure how much my thick-cut, locally sourced bacon is helping my weightloss cause...I have dropped a couple of pounds, and have added hills (there are a few in my neighborhood) to my dog walks, at least for the powerhouse Cricket walks, which should burn a few more calories. 

I've been making a very good breakfast, in the form of some sauteed kale, with garlic and lemon juice, topped with a couple of poached eggs and a smattering of parmesan cheese. I used to eat this feast on toasted garlic bread, but it is now bread-free, and still very satisfying. I leave the yolks runny, and mush it all up into a rather ugly but tasty mess. Bacon on the side. 

School starts up in a couple of weeks - classes for me, and I'm still trying to figure out this whole logistics thing of taking 2-3 classes. It looks like I'll have class on Monday and Tuesday nights, with Tiger Mother keeping me on as a tutor Wednesday and Thursdays, and the occasional Saturday. I can probably work as a sub, as well. It will play havoc with my yoga classes, though it looks like GA State has an Iyengar class in the rec center several times a week, and that would be infinitely cheaper than my studio class, if I could time it right. I could also go off the reservation and take a Vinyasa class which is tempting - imagine yoga with music! Iyengar is such a strict tradition in many ways; no music, little emphasis on spirituality, the focus is on alignment and doing things properly, and the teachers can, at times, seem rather harsh. I love my teacher, it might be nice to have a change on the mat. 

Transportation-wise, my plan is to take the MARTA lightrail downtown to classes, and save on parking fees. This should allow for some time to knit, as GA State is about 20-30 minutes away on the MARTA. 

To celebrate becoming a student again, I'm buying a new daypack. I would never have done this, except that I have lost my beloved lavender Jansport pack,  the Scotland splurge, and have looked for it everywhere imaginable; here, at P's place, my mom and sister's houses, etc. It's been missing for 2 years that I can account for, and through all that time, I haven't really required one, but was wanting one badly to use as a bookbag. I can only surmise that it got sent off to Goodwill by accident in some household purge. I searched REI, but couldn't find a reasonably priced daypack that wasn't ugly. I do have some requirements: it must be subtly colored, it must be a panel loader, it must be hydration compatible (ie, hold a Camelback bladder for water) and it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. I went to thrift stores, but the packs I found were all trashed, or little kids' packs. I'm young at heart, but I don't want a damn Dora the Explorer daypack. SpongeBob, maybe...then I went on Amazon, and was admiring a Kelty pack that seemed to meet all my criteria, and saw that it was available used, in "like new" condition for $29, so I ordered it. Free shipping. I'm awaiting its arrival now. I've bought used items off Amazon in the past with great success, so I'm optimistic. I am half-waiting for the old missing pack to turn up as soon as I get this new one unwrapped, though. Isn't that usually what happens? 

Today is sunny, and I am getting geared up to walk Ella before it gets too hot. I am happy to say that after 3 rats, there have been no others, and I'm calling this battle over, at least for the moment. This day will involve some basement yoga, dog walking, a bit of grilling for the week to come, and then a trip to the movies, to see this: 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

a week from heck

This has been a Most Difficult Week. It started with last week, Tuesday morning, at 6am, down in my laundry room. I was putting in some clothes to wash for my vacation in the DC area, when something raced past me, and scampered behind the washer. A rat, smallish, dark in color. A rat. Seen on the morning that I was departing town for 5 days. I didn't even own a rat trap here in the Atomic Lodge, in spite of all the rat drama I survived in Hawaii. Shit. I was leaving town, a dogsitter was coming by a couple times a day to see my hounds, and I was off in Arlington with my love for a week. Shit. "Okay, you've got 5 days to party, Brother Rat, and then it's all over."

I went on to Arlington, where it was spectacularly, sensationally, insanely hot. Really, GA had nothing on the DC area for stifling, white-skied, 100+ temperatures and swimming humidity. I tried so hard to have a holiday, but it ended up being rather quieter than I'd planned, due mostly to the need to keep cool. People, you know me. I am heat-tolerant. I love the feel of humidity on my skin, welcome the sun's healing fire. But this thing that's been hitting the East Coast the past couple of weeks was bigger than all of us. I saw movies, met friends for breakfast, spindled pretty wool, watched Tour de France recaps, hung out with P, swam in his apartment complex pool, which was like bathwater. One desperate day, we decided not to go outside, in favor of watching the entire first season of The Walking Dead, in one big air-conditioned marathon. Good times, even though I would never define myself as a fan of the zombie apocalypse. One does strange things in this heat.

I came home, and set off to find my rat traps, visiting Lowe's, The Home Depot,  another local hardware store, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, and finally, the hated Wal-Mart. It was that last place, a desperate bid, that turned up 3 Victor rat traps, which I initially thought might be overkill. I set them that night, and turned up the next morning with a rat in the laundry room trap. Next night, another. Next morning, a third, caught in broad daylight, over by the dogfood. At this point, it ceased to be a humorous thing, and turned into a panic. 3 rats in 36 hours is not a laughing matter. I emailed my friend Mike, a well-known rat killer, in CA, who offered me sympathy, encouragement, and the advice to "keep the rat death machine rolling, whatever you do, do not lose heart."

So I kept setting traps, though there have been no other kills. The week kept on being a series of ups and downs. Badly behaved, disrespectful children at work. Heat, humidity, and a nasty 5 hour stomach flu that I thought would kill me, and then mysteriously departed. Huh...

Through an act of mindlessness, I melted my plastic compost bucket on the stove burner, thus putting that system on hold, temporarily. The garbage men did not pick up my trash, leaving me one rotting rat in the trash can. It got rained on, making rotten rat soup in the can. Nature's Miracle and a lot of baking soda took care of that this morning, after they finally came. I wised up and just pitched the other 2 dead rats out into the woods, allowing for decomposition and the circle of life, but the stink of dead rotting rat is one you don't soon forget.

My dear pagan friend Leah came into town, and we went out and about in Roswell, for negronis and charcuterie at the salt factory, a cool pub in this hot town. That actually was a bright spot in my week, which continued on in its desultory way, culminating in my laptop crashing last night, and temporarily losing all the pictures in my iPhoto library. 8,000 images. Attempts to restore the photos have met with mixed success, and it looks like they are still parked in a file on the machine, and will have to be added back into iPhoto manually. I am not so happy with OS Lion right now. I back up my data pretty regularly, and it shouldn't be a huge crisis, but for a few minutes, I was heartsick.

Leah's advice to me was to join her in a re-read of Pema Chodron's great classic book, When Things Fall Apart, which I think is sound. Now it's Thursday, we've had 2 nights of violent thunderstorms, which have broken the awful heat, but left me a yardfull of sticks to pick up.

Summer's heat and weird schedule, plus the daily Korean rice-and-noodle based lunch my boss makes have served to make all my clothes extra tight, and not in a flattering way. So, in an attempt to avoid the creation of a whole new wardrobe, I've stopped eating bread, rice, noodles, and sugary foods again, revisiting a modified South Beach diet, which always makes me feel more energetic, if not thinner. These days, breakfast is a slice or two of smoked turkey or veggie sausage, a hard-boiled egg, some kind of fruit or leftover vegetable. Lunch is salad, and dinner is something cooked up - tonight it's tandoori chicken legs and grilled yellow squash, because we've got a break in the rain. Last night it was this treat, a grassfed ribeye from Whole Foods, with a decadent baked potato topped with plain yogurt.
Tomorrow is a day off from work, possibly my only Friday off for the rest of the summer, as few of the other teachers want to work. I don't either, but I could use the money.

Tour de Fleece rolls on. Here's my spindling, all plied up. 120 yards of worsted-weight squishiness, some mystery silk/merino from Acornbud. Silvery greens, golds and touches of brown evoke late summer/early fall. Enough for a hat or a cowl, I think.

I am off to grill my chicken legs and walk Ella down to the labyrinth and maybe try and turn this week around before it runs right over me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

tasting summer

Greetings from Arlington, VA! I am up here, visiting P, and digesting pizza, waiting for the Tour de France coverage to start, while P naps. It is hot, terribly hot, and many folk in the area still don't have power, due to the derecho that whirled through on Friday night. P, because he lives in a concrete jungle, with no trees of any size, only lost power briefly, which is a mercy.

I spent the weekend being quiet and subdued, in Atlanta's 106 degree heatwave. Really, I almost never left the house the whole weekend. Something about 100+ and humidity combined to make a blast outside, and the dogs and I spend our time down in the basement, knitting, cleaning, puttering. I ate easy things like salad and smoothies, and did some Tour de Fleece spinning.
This fiber was a joy to work with, and I'm a little sorry that my wheel is back in GA - now my TdF efforts must be carried out on the trusty spindle, and with some fiber that Acornbud brought to SAFF for us to play with. It's been a WIP for far too long, so I'm glad to get back to spindling it. No real hopes that I'll finish it, but I will post my progress.

Looking forward to visiting with my dear DisKnit, and some pagan friends over the next couple of days, a visit to the National Building Museum, and maybe a walk on Teddy Roosevelt Island, if it's not too mercilessly hot. I also get to go to my interim Mid-Atlantic Kaiser doctor (long story, but I have long-distance health care through 2012) for prescription renewal and grad school immunizations. It looks like I need about 100 shots, and hey, I have only a battered WHO card, that shows the last time anyone stuck me with a needle was for tetanus back in 2003. Hmmmm...hoping to talk my way out of some of them, and wondering how to prove that I've had stuff like MMR, etc. I don't even sport a typhoid scar, though one assumes that by virtue of having grown up in modern day America, and having served in the Peace Corps, I've had all those kinds of shots.

On the knitting front: I find myself in 2 swaps coming due, and so I have a sorta super secret project for an Outlander Clan Beauchamp Envelope swap, plus a pair of Dashing mitts for my friend Leah, and a dishrag for the soap and cloth swap I'm in. All amounting to a lot of work on small, satisfying projects, and a welcome break from the slog that has become the sleeves for Aidez. Which I hope to get done before Ravelympics. Or whatever they are calling this event now.

A couple of pics of summer so far:
The yarn that broke my yarn diet: some Malabrigo Arroyos, purchased at Wyrd Sisters. Too pretty to knit, but I play with it daily. 

Some surprisingly sweet blackberries, found on my Ella walk a couple weeks ago. Funny, last summer, the berries weren't at all sweet, but these were much juicier - recent rains have done them good, I guess. As you can see, i was lucky to find the few ripe ones that weren't already eaten. 

Box turtle, rescued in the road, in Floyd County, VA. I was on a rambling jaunt with my sis, out in the rural reaches of southwestern Virginia, and we came upon this box turtle, just about to cross the road. It was a really sassy turtle, popping out to visit, and very curious. We gave it a little ride to a less trafficked place, and turned it loose; later found out that you aren't supposed to move them away from their territories. oops. Master Naturalist screws up big time. 

I am still feeling a low-key blogging mojo, which I hope I can sustain through the summer. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

tour de fleece!

It's the beginning of the Tour de France, and to spinners of yarn, that means the Tour de Fleece is now in session! The goal of this tour is to improve one's spinning, by spinning every day that the Tour rides, and to set up special challenges on the days of the hard mountain stages. Here's a pic of my wheel, sitting empty and ready to be spun this morning during the opening - the Prologue.

I'll be spinning this pretty roving, purchased at Stitches South this spring. Superwash Merino by knittyandcolor, in the Candy Hearts colorway. My goal with this braid is to spin nice singles. I don't spin consistent singles, thus I have to ply everything. I hope, by spinning daily, to work this out. 

In other news, we are having a spectacular heat wave here on the East Coast. It is supposed to reach 106 today. oy. I have a few things to do outside, and a little run to Costco for coffee and greek yogurt, but otherwise, I am going to be ensconced in the cool of my basement for the day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

an attempt to catch up

Gah...have I really been gone since mid-February? (shakes head, dusts off laptop, wonders where to begin)It's not like the blog hasn't been in my thoughts. I've composed entries almost daily, but haven't quite been able to put those good intentions down on this here dashboard. But a chance early rising (thanks, Ella) and a cup of coffee might just make this happen today. I can't completely catch up on every little thing in life, but I will hit the highlights...the trip to The Mountain, with the knitting guild was definitely one of them. Oh and I spent 8 weeks in the spring taking the Georgia Master Naturalist certification course, spending every Friday out in the woods around Athens, GA, sciencing, learning about our local natural surroundings and hot environmental issues. I am now a certified Master Naturalist, a title I do not yet feel qualified to carry, but there it is. This path got me interested in stream water quality assessment, so I've been pursuing the trainings for that certification, as well. This is considerably more technical, there are tests to pass and qualifications must be renewed annually. I passed my chemical monitoring lab test, and in late July, will do macroinvertebrate id training. This is where you learn to id all the little crawlies in the stream bed, for census. I like little crawlies, streams, and data geekishness in general, so I am happy with this new direction.

Friday, February 17, 2012

north to the mountain

A home for a gnome? Seen on a dog walk I took with Ella a couple of weeks ago.
Our knitting guild is holding a getaway retreat in Highlands, NC this weekend, and I am headed up there. Supposed to be like a "camp for adults," it's at The Mountain retreat center. My friend Debbie and I are driving up there this afternoon - it's about 3 hours away. The capable Cathy is coming again to babysit my beasts and hold down the Atomic Lodge whilst I'm off breathing rarefied air and knitting up a storm.

Handknits lucky enough to go with me are: the long-languished Noro Stripey Scarf, Aidez, a sock that is just not moving, and a gift for my swappee for the Outlander Swap. The scarf is really just an hour or so away from being done, after nearly 2 years on the needles. What can I say? I am slow, and some knits, while desperately wanted in finished form, just don't get knitted up all that fast. I am trying to make a sincere effort to finish or frog some longstanding UFO's though, over the next month or so. I will report progress on that front when it becomes less shameful to do so.

I promised an update on my employment status, a couple of entries ago. I got hired on as a sub teacher in the district, and started working in some of the schools in my area. The money is so-so, but the biggest epiphany for me, in this job, has been how amazingly different the school culture has been from last year's hell job. Teachers seem happy, kids go to recess, admin seems to be somewhat less psychotic in these 3 or 4 schools where I've concentrated my efforts. The possibility of maybe teaching full time again has entered my mind, though I am enjoying the pleasure of half-time work.

For a few weeks, I was trying to doing some work with a company who ran Lego robotics classes as an afterschool program. This was fun, and initially, I thought it would be a take-off new direction for me, but alas, it was not to be. There weren't many hours, and what hours there were conflicted with my subbing, and it just didn't pay enough to justify my not taking sub work, which I consider very easy money, most of the time.

During my Lego phase, I was offered another job, at a tutoring center which served mostly high schoolers studying for the SAT. They were getting a lot of requests for an elementary tutor, one who could teach reading and writing to children whose primary language was Korean. This had more hours, evening hours which would allow me to take sub jobs if I chose to keep doing that. I've been doing that for about 10 days now, and am kind of enjoying the work. The kids, for the most part, speak pretty good English, though the moms prefer speaking Korean; mercifully, my boss is bilingual and translates. My students are in 1st through 4th grades, and we're working mostly on reading and writing, with a little math thrown in, and a little test prep, mostly because this is Georgia, and the test is the tail that continues to wag our dog. The center has a lot of resources, so it's not a huge planning and prep toll, and HEY!! I don't have to submit lesson plans; merely to record what we worked on for each session. It's nice to be working, it's nice to see the same kids each week, and to feel like I have a little more flex in what sub work I take. I'm off on Wednesdays and Fridays, and on Saturdays when I'm in town (commuter marriage and all) I see a first grader for a couple of hours. Seeing a paycheck, albeit a small one, is a good thing.

Beyond that, I'm kind of languishing in an end-of-winter doldrum here. I've had a nasty cold, which I treated with a combination of Chinese herbs, elderberry syrup, hot tea, and chicken soup. I spent every non-working hour in bed, asleep, for about 3 days, and really think this "let-it-run-its-course" approach is a wise approach for such illnesses. Funny thing, a month into working with children again, and I get sick. Predictable as the seasons, right?

I've been continuing to have fun in the kitchen, of late, and have been making homemade salsa, using a Rick Bayless recipeinvolving canned fire-roasted tomatoes. I am never eating store-bought salsa again, I think. I also put together some preserved Meyer lemons, and they are about ready to eat, so we should see some tagine in the near future.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Brigid's Day Silent Poetry Reading


I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen, arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.

Translated by Robert Graves;The White Goddess.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

water dragon new moon love bubble

Since all hope of catching up with the events of my last 3 weeks is washing away in my 2 flooding creeks beyond the yard, I will simply post a cold-hard-facts post. Bo-ring, I know, but we play catch up with a minimum of drama.

Knitting: Aidez, back completed and pretty. I love the sheepy Ecological Wool, and the big fat US#10 needles. I do not love traveling trellis cables, as they require me to pay attention to the ever-changing status of seedstitch fill and which cable to use to cause all that traveling. But I do like cabling, as evidenced by this little bit of cozy comfort:
I joined in the madness of the Outlander Fans annual swap, centered around Diana Gabaldon's book characters and storylines. This little coffee cozy is a product of a swap-related activity, in which you and a partner are "dancing to the same tune" so to speak. I have been using it nonstop, since taking the fiddly thing off the needles, and I've decided that a coffee cup cozy is the ultimate Small Luxury, especially when it is knitted up in one's own handspun - the remnants of the shetland that decorated my Riverrun Shawl.

I'm still in the commuter marriage, which has been a blessing and a curse, depending on the day you ask me. P was offered an early retirement buyout from the Feds, and is considering taking it - it wouldn't happen til 2013, but that event is one which profoundly affects where we live - on one salary(mine) + one pension(his), the Washington, DC area becomes too expensive to enjoy. He'd take a year off and then go back to work as a private consultant, but we're thinking to just locate that work down here in Atlantis. My hard-working husband has been kicking around retirement for awhile, but thinking it would be a 10 year plan, as he gets increasingly fed up with the government service. As in Education, the golden heyday of Federal Service is past. So we're running the numbers, but the current plan is to stick out the commuter marriage til mid 2013, keep the Atomic Lodge as our home base, and then decide whether to stay here or move to some cheaper, possibly more rural place in VA, closer to my Olde Country.

After a day of heartfelt sadness over not going back up to the Love Bubble of the DC area, I experienced a wave of profound relief at not having to plan for a Big Move this year, and a wave of joy at the idea of being able to live in the Atomic Lodge for at least another year. I don't think I'd been letting myself feel the love for awhile because it all seemed so temporary. Now, I look at the redwood ceilings, the boulders, the green woods, and I feel a balm, a loosening of my frozen heart.

All this was hard to explain to the NoVA friends, of course. "How could you possibly stay there?" When I explained the whole ECONOMICS of the thing, there was understanding, of course, but closing the door on the Love Bubble plan was hard. I do have friends here, but settling into a place takes time, and I am still in the midst of that process, here.

I drove up to the Love Bubble this weekend, a drive which included 150 miles of blowing snow, and a return trip of socked in fog and stinging cold drizzle. It was punctuated by happy times visiting the King Memorial on the National Mall with P and a very old friend from CA, reuniting with DisKnit for a couple of joyous hours, bloody marys with my old cocktail circle in Shirlington, and good times hanging with my husband in his corporate apartment in Ballston. I took Ella, and learned that she is a great apartment dog, and that having a big dog in an apartment with no backyard is a hassle I do not want to deal with. She enjoyed the travel and the constant attention, however, and I do love spending time with my aging grey lady. Cricket stayed with the babysitter and played frisbee and tracked mud in the house all weekend. DC gets snow and ice, Atlanta gets rain and mud.

Now I'm back here, taking a day off from my 2 McJobs (which I will discuss in detail, later - suffice to say that neither is paying me what I am worth, but both are fun and not too taxing) and trying to embrace all that I have to do around the place.

Happy Chinese New Year! Happy New Moon! May the energy of the Water Dragon bless us all with prosperity, peace, and health!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

An experiment

How can anyone look at this yarn and not be happy? I just love Noro in all its crazy psychadelic beauty. This Kureyon sock skein is full of Easter egg candy colors that are just begging to be knit up into some silly springtime socks that go with nothing, therefore going with everything. It was a gift from my knitter Patty, who insists she didn't know what to do with it. (hoard it! pet it! sniff it!)

After a careful assessment of my stash - holding fast at 2 big Rubbermaid tubs and a file box, and my finances, holding fast at not very much money at all, I have decided to Not Buy Yarn in 2012. I have mulled over this long and hard, the past few days, when I was considering resolutions and affirmations for the coming year. At first, I made the pledge secretly to myself, and then decided it would be too easy to break if it were my little secret; I tell myself all kinds of stories and they contradict each other all the time. This would be another one. Nope. I'm putting it out there. It's an experiment. Souvenir yarn is no exception. Festival yarn is no exception. A year of not buying yarn. No exceptions. I am allowing myself a reasonable amount of spinning fiber, IF I am spinning consistently.

There. I committed to it.

Mostly this is an experiment, to see if I can do it, like the No Bottled Water commitment, and the No School Cafeteria Food pledge, and various slow food efforts I've made. Putting it out there helps me to take it seriously. It's also a challenge for me to delve deep into the stash and handspun and knit it up. I have more yarn than I want or need, and yet I love it all. So I'm gonna let all of it be enough for now.

In other news, I have finished the mitered mittens, including cutting into the knitting to place the thumb. I'm happy with how they turned out, and really, cutting into them wasn't too bad, and accompanied only by a cup of Tension Tamer tea and the latest episode of Downton Abbey, which is obsessing me, as I catch up with old episodes in order to prepare for new ones. The mittens are warm and slightly scratchy, and when our weather changes - supposedly temps are warming up by Friday, I will give them a good soak in Eucalan and hair conditioner to soften them up a little. If I had to do this project over again, I'd make them a little bit shorter. No one needs a gauntlet that long, do they?

Meanwhile, I march along on Aidez, enjoying the knit, but it's a big sweater, so the progress is slow and uninteresting to the casual observer. To folk looking to knit a chunky aran cardigan, it's an easy knit so far. I wish it was done already, as these temperatures in the teens and twenties at night are daunting. I am making full use of my little stable of hats, even wearing them indoors.

Hoping for sub work soon; the district just started back to school today after the Christmas recess, and I'm still being entered into the system, I'm told, so no sub calls yet, but I'm hopeful and ready to start working. I've ironed all my pseudo-professional outfits and hung them up in the closet, readjusted my bedtimes (9:30pm) and wake-ups(5:00am) and organized some lunch likely food. If you build it they will come, I'm told.