Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The joy, the pain, and the meme

The Joy:

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Walking distance, people. Walking distance. I peeked in the window the other day--there's shades, but with little spaces between them--and saw giant piles of Lorna's. I'll be needing some in green, please, for Anna's beautiful Elfines.

The Pain:

Oh my god. May I be a total girl for the moment, and say I. Have. Nothing. To. Wear.

Seriously. Closets full of clothes, and not a thing to wear, because all of a sudden, I have to dress like a grownup three days a week, and it is so not working out for me. Part of the problem (and it must be faced) is that I am in my fat jeans right now, so some of my wardrobe is out of rotation. Another part is that I actually have a decent fall/winter grownup wardrobe, but summer? Not so much. And the third part is, and I was discussing this with my friend Vim the other day (hi Vim!), I am in clothing limbo. I'm no longer the same age as my students, and therefore shouldn't really be dressing like them, but neither am I at the momly age of Eddie Bauer/J.Jill/Chico's. And I can't afford to shop at Banana or J Crew, which seem like the best in-between options. Dammit.

I tried today. I really did. I spent 3 hours at the mall, in an attempt to find something presentable to wear in the classroom tomorrow. This is what I came home with:

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Ah, jewelry. It never makes you look fat.

Finally, The Meme:

Cordelia tagged me with this one. I don't have time to do the whole thing now, but I'll try to work the rest into subsequent posts:

10 years ago: I was just starting my senior year of college, happy as a clam to have my own car and my own apartment off-campus. Also, I was probably drinking a beer, since that is what I mostly did during my senior year of college. (Lest I sound like a total wastrel I will also point out that I pulled down 4.0 GPAs and played a varsity sport.)

5 years ago: Starting my second year of grad school at UT. Finally finding my feet in Austin, partly because I had moved out of my craptastic little apartment that overlooked the highway into a lovely house in Hyde Park with fun roommates, and partly because I was finally making good friends. Note to self: that is how long it takes.

1 year ago: Starting my fellowship year, and delighting in the fact that I didn't have do anything for the forseeeable future except write and play with Bailey. (Hence, no grownup clothes.) Also facing the fact that I had to go on the job market, which, as my fellow academics know, is no picnic.

Yesterday: First day of school, i.e. first day of the REST OF MY LIFE. A bit daunting, when you think of it that way. Taught two of my three classes (the third is Wednesdays only) in what appears to have been my one grownup outfit. Um. Hung up a clock and some pictures in my office. Ate macaroni and cheese for dinner (see above re: fat jeans). Knit 3 repeats on the Sockapal2za sock. (Knit one more today: 9 down, 3 to go.)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sockapal-2-za: So close! and yet so far...

I was far too ambitious in my plan to complete my second Sockapal-2-za sock while I was on vacay. I did get the foot done while I was away, though, and now I'm five pattern repeats into the 12 that make up the leg. Voila:

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7 repeats left is nice, because it means that even if I only do one a day, I'll still be done in a week. And I imagine that I'll do more than one a day, so I'm on schedule. They are being mailed abroad, so I'd like to be done sooner rather than later, but I have been swamped with real actual work for school. The first day is tomorrow, and I still have to finish the syllabi for two of my classes. Shameful really. Back to work for me...

Saturday, August 27, 2005


As some of you deduced from comments left by real-world friends, it was indeed my birthday last Friday: 31. Thank you for all the nice wishes! 31 was not quite the momentous occasion that 30 was, but that's really for the best; I have to admit that 30 was a little bit of a crisis birthday for me, although I'm not sure exactly why, but 31 just seemed like business as usual.

What was not business as usual is that on a usual day people don't just hand me buckets of yarn and yarn-related items, but last Friday they did:

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In the back, Knitting on the Edge, which I'm excited about, and on the left, absolute piles of Koigu, all from my parents. Yay for! On the right, a skein of Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb in Mineshaft and a pair of ebony Lantern Moon needles from Marc. Hmm...does this mean I am destined to make....(dum dum dum) The Clap? I swore I wouldn't. But when someone just up and gives you some Lion & Lamb, it starts to seem fated. Of course, I'd have to track down 3 more skeins.... Anybody have any good ideas for one skein (205 yds) of L&L, other than holding it on my lap and petting it like a kitten, not that I or anyone I know would do that. (Meanwhile, when we're actually dating I get a crockpot for Valentine's Day, but now that we're broken up I get superfancy yarn and needles? Things are askew.)

But in the end, I think the best yarn-related gift of all, if only because it will save me so much time out of my life, is my lovely new umbrella swift, here seen happily churning out a center-pull ball of Koigu. Delightful!

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Isn't that yellow paint cheerful, by the way? That is another good thing about my apartment: it has a cheerful yellow dining room. Unfortunately, all that dining room has in it now is a swift, but I'm hoping that will change soonishly.

And another good thing about Michigan in general: it gives me access to PONIES!! Bailey and I were invited today to the house of one of my new colleagues, who lives out in the country and has two dogs, a rabbit, two ponies and four horses (and a spinning wheel, a loom, and plenty of knitting accoutrements). Which really is my idea of paradise. So today Bailey met her first horse. You can see how thrilled about it she was:

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Erm, not. However, she warmed up later when one of the horses slobbered his feed all over the barn floor and Bailey hoovered it right up. She was still a little afraid of him afterwards, but appeared to think he was giving her treats, which, in the end, is all you need to do to get Bailey on your side, because she is a little bit of a piglet. Anyhoo, we are invited back to go riding soon, so perhaps she become a horse dog in the end. Keep your fingers crossed....

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Lest y'all think it is nothing but doom and gloom around here, there are some things that I am very much enjoying about Michigan life, not least of which is my new apartment. Quite honestly, any apartment would be better than my rat-and-flea infested slum in Austin (no, I'm not joking--it's a wonder I don't have the Black Plague, honestly). But this place is really super-nice--it's an old Victorian that's been converted into two apartments. My landlords live upstairs, so the place is very well-cared for, and it's full of lovely architectural details that make me feel like a rich person, even though, well, not so much. Here's a detail of the carving on the living room fireplace:

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And here's the bedroom:

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Sadly, both are non-functional, but they're still pretty to look at. Even the door hinges are beautiful:

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So that is one nice thing about Michigan. There are plenty more--I'll tell you about them later.

In the meantime, Cozy continues apace. Here is 1.5 skeins' worth as modeled by the Bean:

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She is sitting on her fancy new bed, which cost an arm and a leg, and which I bought her specially so she would not have to lie on hardwoods all the time. Naturally, she hates it and won't go near it unless I bribe her with a treat. Damn dogs. So willful.

I'm off to Pennsylvania for a week, so expect intermittent blogging for the next little bit. Hopefully when I come back there will be a finished pair of Sockapal-2-za socks to show!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Yarn makes things better.

Moving + breakup + sad family news + extremely vicious head cold have all conspired to keep me from blogging. Just haven't felt much like it, and haven't had much to blog about, knitwise. Not that I haven't been knitting--I finished the back of my Secret Gift Project, which felt accomplish-y (but perhaps I should finish the front before I feel truly accomplished), but since it's secret, it doesn't make for especially good blog fodder.

But yesterday, I thought to myself, "self, what cheers you up better than a trip to a yarn shop?" And since I have long thought that one of the big plusses to moving to Michigan was the relative proximity of the glorious Threadbear Fiber Arts, I hit up Mapquest, hopped in my car ($2.70 gas notwithstanding) and off I went to Lansing, Michigan. Yep, it's about an hour away. Yep, it's totally worth it. (Plus I used the time to listen to the ever-delightful Sarah Vowell's latest, Assassination Vacation, on the Pod.) First of all, Matt and Rob were just as nice as pie--I hadn't been in the store three minutes before Matt came up and to say hello and introduce himself and his little Tater Tot of a dog, who sat right down on my feet and demanded pats, which I was happy to provide. I love me a yarn store dog, I must say, although one time Stella at Hill Country Weavers did decide to use the skein of Koigu I was toting around as a tug toy. Anyway, super nice people, who UNDERSTOOD (Rob: "So where did you move from?" Me: "Austin" Rob: "Ohhhhhh. Sorry.") and who, I guess more importantly, had a phenomenal selection of yarn AND a phenomenal sale--15% off everything. Whee! Sale! I will admit that it crossed my mind to pick up a Colinette Ab-Fab throw kit, but I held firm. (Honestly I think most Colinette yarns look like expensive barf, but I, like my style guru Anna, love me an Ab-Fab throw.).
Instead I picked up a bunch of loot for my secret pal:

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And, naturally, a bunch of very fall-themed loot for me:

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Shepherd Sport in yummy yummy chocolate, and a buttload of Misti Chunky Alpaca in a sort of tomatoey-burnt orange color. This yarn--so soft, so lofty, so impossible to resist. Seriously, I touched it, and that was it. I had no choice. I drove home with my hand buried in the bag that it was in. I dare you: if you ever see some of this in a store, touch it, and then don't buy it. You won't be able to. Sure, it's sheddy and probably it's going to pill like a mofo, but I. Don't. Care.

It is becoming something that I have had bookmarked for a while, but hadn't found the right yarn for: Cozy

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Mmmm. Cozy indeed. I can't wait to be snuggled up in this on a crisp fall day at the farmer's market.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


That is how many unread Bloglines entries I had waiting for me when I finally, last night, got back online after a very unplanned hiatus, which was long enough that I managed to forget which login/password combos I use for blogger and photobucket. Picture it: Two days before leaving your home of six years to move to a small and, it must be said, somewhat unappealing (by comparison anyway) midwestern city where you know not a single soul, your computer falls victim to an insanely intense thunderstorm EVEN THOUGH it was plugged into a surge protector which was supposed to PROTECT it from power surges that would knock out the logic board and, oops, the entire hard drive. (Lesson: turns out you are supposed to replace your surge protectors every one to two years. Who knew? Go do it now. Seriously. Also, back up your hard drive, including your email archives, your photos, and your music, because otherwise they might all be lost to you forever and you will be super, super sad.)

Anyhoo, long story short, the computer is back, with its handy internets, so that I can now find things like the other Target, which I hope is not quite so sucky as the one Target I found and have been spending money at all too regularly since I got here. Isn't it weird how some Targets are the shit, and some might as well be Kmarts? Crazy world we live in.

You might think that with no computer I would have found myself with quite a bit of knitting time, but truth be told I have knit nary a stitch in the past few weeks-before I left Austin I was either packing or spending as much time as I could with friends, and now that I'm in Grand Rapids I have been unpacking and going to Target obsessively (because material posessions are my only friends). But now I am slowly settling in, and, not only do I have my internets, I have--glorious day--CABLE! For the first time in six years. It is like candy. Candy which is, luckily, conducive to knitting. So hopefully I will make some progress on something soon, like maybe my other Sockapal2za sock.

Since I have no knitting progress to display, I will instead leave you with two final Things I Will Miss About Austin. Vegetarians, avert your eyes.

5. Meat, Glorious Meat

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Austinites will recognize the pile of cow and pig here as a family-style plate at the Salt Lick. Sausage, ribs, and the best brisket ever anywhere. Love you meat! Luckily you can order it online, if you are feeling splurge-y and/or excessively sorry for yourself.

6. Friends

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