Friday, January 27, 2012

taking risks

This is what happens when you leave your neurotic dog alone by herself:

I've been kenneling Malina when we're out because it's slipper season, and last year she demolished my slippers (I didn't realize my yarn was at risk as well). I've been diligent in kenneling her, but I think James was a little more optimistic. He left her out last night.

I can't be too upset at James, because the night before that, I inadvertently threw his wallet in the trash (you can imagine how long it took before we thought to check there). Besides, he detangled the yarn for me this morning.

This is a project for my friend Martha who is living in Finland right now. I thought her hands might be cold, and plus I think I promised her something woolly and hand-knit a while ago when she was considering moving to a cold wintery location. Thus, thrummed mittens. And bonus! I still had my pattern from four years ago. As long as the dogs don't get into this again, I should be able to finish them before Finland's long winter ends.

I don't know exactly what Martha is doing in Finland, but I'm pretty impressed by her. Since I moved to Arizona, she has visited three different continents and lived in five different countries. She's become a world traveler while I've been hanging around this same place. Yet I know that I wouldn't have the courage to travel to all those different places, especially not by myself. When it comes down to it, I'm not particularly brave. Even though I ended up on the other side of the country, I still miss the midwest, and I would be happy to move back. I think when it comes down to it, I am impressed by her because she represents something that I am not, but yet something that a part of me wishes I could be. How cool to travel the world! I am happy that she has the opportunity to travel, learn languages, and make interesting memories.

Me, I am not a risk-taker. I mean, I don't even gamble with leaving the dog out of her kennel! James is the one who took that chance, because he sees the possibility for good in our dogs. And it's a good thing that he does. If it wasn't for him, I would have taken Dutch to the pound, and we never would have gotten to know what he was like, beneath his abused and frightened outer layer.

James is the one who would like to travel the world. Maybe it is good that we are matched up, because we balance each other out. Also, it's easier to take risks when you're not doing it alone.

I know it's not on the same scale, but I likely would not have taken the same knitting risks if I hadn't met you. You were, after all, the one who introduced me to thrummed mittens. I think we knit pretty well together. It's easier to take knitting risks when you're not doing it alone.


P.S. I tried to match the colors of the mittens with Finland's colors. It's not an exact match, but I like it.

PPS. Malina has such enormous separation anxiety that she will wait for James by the kitchen window the entire time that he is on a bike ride. And sometimes the length of these bike rides approach two hours. Though she may be neurotic, she is still pretty loyal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

magical transformation of shawl into scarf

I've been working on things, albeit slowly. I'm ready to wash and block some lace, which is always an exciting step. This project turned itself into a scarf, because the border wasn't matching up properly, and I decided that it would be easier to leave it out altogether than to figure out what was wrong with my ability to evenly pick up stitches. I would have probably ended up wearing it as a scarf anyway, so it's no big deal.

Here's the first edge I tried, which didn't quite work out:

Here's the project wallowing in washy goodness:

And here's the project about to reach full scarf-potential:

When little M came, I was about at the point where I needed to start the edging for this project. Which meant that I needed to think about things and learn a new chart and pick up stitches (which I apparently failed at). That was difficult because it took a fair amount of concentration, and also because M takes up a lot of my free-arm time. So I was thinking about the future of my knitting post-baby, and thinking maybe I should stick to the mundane. I'm going to reign it in a little.** But then, I was also thinking about my mom.

She said she put down sewing and picked up knitting once Brent and I were born. Most of the knitting that she did was done during an age at which I was too young to remember anything. But the fruits of her knitting were still around during my childhood, and what I remember are lovely and sometimes intricate sweaters, with cables and bobbles and loveliness. I'm pretty hopeful that if she could knit prolifically, I can continue to stitch away as well.


**I need to keep reminding myself that this is not the type of project for which I have time or inclination right now.

PS. I heard my new neighbors fighting yesterday. And then a door slam. And then their truck driving angrily off. . . Oh well.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Dr. A,
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Graduation, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year's! I guess I haven't posted in a while.

We had some interesting neighbors for a while. They were the first neighbors we've had who left their windows open. Which meant, well, I got a little snoopy. I mean, it was hard not to, because their default voices were loud. It was difficult to make out actual words, but their tone was frequently sarcastic or angry. This made James sad, because he didn't like to hear dysfunctional families, though I am ashamed to say that I reveled in the drama. Then, they put their house back up for rent just a couple of months after they moved in. I wondered if there was any drama involved in that decision, but I will probably never know.

Our new neighbors just moved in about a week ago. They're from Wisconsin. By the way, in case you were unaware, Wisconsin is code for awesome. I have high hopes for this couple.

What I wanted to say was that, even though I enjoyed snooping on my neighbors and trying to overhear their conversations, I am glad that I am not in their position. I am thankful to have a loving and supportive husband, and a beautiful, brand-new little girl. I know it doesn't work out like that for everyone, and so I am all the more thankful. I wish us both new years full of functional family life and much joy.


PS. Check out little M's awesome fashion sense. Aren't her socks adorable?

PPS. I know you were thinking about short-term jobs for the semester. Even though it's likely not practical, I feel I would be amiss if I did not recommend applying for the job of astronaut. Or, you know, since you were interested in tutoring, I might recommend online tutoring as well.