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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Peonies

I return to this blog with serious intent to start posting regularly again. It was a busy season of conference-going and conference-organizing, and I’m so happy summer is here.  Went on a 7 mile walk through lovely Golden Gate Park with my hiking meetup yesterday.  Today my partner and I strolled down to the farmer’s market for lunch.  They had pizza from a portable wood-fired oven, can you believe it.  Then a few blocks to the Temescal Street Fair on Telegraph Ave (the part in North Oakland, not Berkeley).  Dozens of local artisans and more food, yum. I HELLA HEART OAKLAND!

I’ve finally downloaded Picasa onto my MSI Wind (my beloved little 10″ netbook that could) and taken some projects pics.

For some reason I’ve gotten into a lot of knitting lately.  It took a couple of weeks to knit up this bag, which needs lining.

Messenger Bag WiP

Pattern:  adapted from Guitar Messenger Bag in Greetings from Knit Cafe by Susan Mischer. Yarn:  TLC Heathers in purple heather .  Needles: Knit Picks Options Size 6.

Maude Louise WiP

I took a dive into my first knit sweater project involving knitting pieces in the flat: Maude Louise. The cardigan pattern calls for expensive drapey yarn, but I went with Cascade 220 in Flamingo Pink from my stash. The waistband pattern was a bit slow going but fun and easy once I got the hang of it. Working on the right front now, a bit scared about what the set in sleeves will be like to sew.

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I finished the charcoal raglan sweater just in time for Xmas.  Guess who it was for?  Er, my spouse.  We’ve been hanging out a lot, and I dared the curse of the boyfriend sweater to make it.  Apparently I dodged the bullet, will explain later.

I will try to skirt TMI territory, but suffice it to say that relationships are complicated and hard to explain to oneself, much less anyone on the outside.  And then there are the anxieties of parental units (mine and the in-laws).  To whom I say unequivocally, “Back off, you evil demons!”  Okay, maybe not the demons part.  But you get the gist.

Chacoal Gray Men's Raglan Sweater

Here is a pic taken on my sister’s crack delivery vehicle iphone.  Fuzzy resolution, but doesn’t it fit beautifully?  Many (grumbly) fittings en route.  I even did short rows at the shoulders and to make a kind of shirt tail in the back 🙂

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The Meaning of Success

I’ve been restless this past holiday season, and now that 2008 is here (!!!!!), something is pressing on me.

I feel like I should feel more successful… after all, didn’t I just file my dissertation? (Oh, but it took you how many years?). Didn’t I just co-author a big research grant that got funded? (It wasn’t really your idea…) Am I not about to submit an article as part of a special issue for a leading journal? (Yeah, but I bet yours is the only article that doesn’t make it past peer review).

I do think having high standards helps you excel. But at a certain point, it gets in the way. For example, the immense pressure to produce brilliant and flawless work makes it hard to enjoy developing my own ideas.

And… this holiday season’s giftmaking started as something I wanted to do in order to be creative, and to give something personal and thoughtful to people in my life.  Then it got to be about performance.  Somewhere inside me lurks Bree Van de Kamp except I don’t vacuum.

The scary thing is, when I try to imagine what would be enough, under what circumstances I would feel successful, I can’t. It’s not a bar, but a wall that goes up and up and never ends. It also stretches horizontally to infinity. And has a million places where I can slip and tumble down. Aaaaack!

*sigh*

I’m in the thick of it and don’t have anything graceful or insightful to say about this. Except that I want to do it differently.

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Forthcoming Projects

Since starting a “real” job I’ve struggled to keep this blog current.  Surprise (and expensive!) dental procedures, throbbing jaw of inexplicable origin (so says the dentist), and adverse reactions to narcotic painkillers have not helped either. But I’m still chugging away, Vicodin haze and all…

  • After ripping out the waistband (which was supposed to accentuate my waist but just made it look thicker) on my Malabrigo cardi and doing the whole thing in stockinette, I have one more sleeve and the border to knit.
  • It took no time at all to crochet BICO, a baby cardi from a Crochetme.com pattern. Too cute for words just because it’s so tiny. I’ll sew on buttons and weave in the ends after I check the fit on my friend’s baby, and then hopefully post action shots.
  • Just started a sweater from the new Crochet Me book edited by Kim Werker, using Elann.com’s fingering weight Alpaca Fina. Yes, you can create a supple crocheted garment if you use thin enough yarn. Crocheted sport weight = knit worsted weight, crocheted fingering weight = knit sport or DK weight, etc. What I didn’t figure is that by that point, the crocheting is almost as slow as knitting, especially with thin alpaca yarn.  Next time I’ll try some springy sock yarn.

Pics forthcoming!

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Sunshine for a Blue Day

Sunflower

Feeling maudlin today, and an hour in of dance exercise class failed to shake it loose. So I played with my camera and another Trader Joe’s $4.99 bouquet.

One of these days I would like to write a post about relationships and love. Right now I can’t even find the words. It’s just that sometimes I feel as if I’m living out a Latin American Novel, namely Love in the time of Cholera. The idea of that novel as a metaphor for my life isn’t even my own; someone else pegged it a long time ago. I tried to forget about it. But lately it’s been shocking to look back and see how the ways in which I’ve lived that story.

Sometimes an idea can insinuate itself deep into your mind. At the crossroads, they quietly push you in certain directions. Maybe this only happens to romantics.

I think I’ll finally do some more Kool-Aid wool dyeing for Babette, to cheer myself up this evening.

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From Sunday through Wednesday, I stayed in downtown Vancouver at Judy (aka Dotorious Judy) and Jenny’s, along with their two dogs, Puca and George.They were all such great hosts–including the dogs who are sweet, affectionate critters. 🙂

I pretty much ate the whole time. Oh yeah, I saw a bit of the city too–biked through Stanley Park and walked through a bunch of shopping districts. But the food, the food!  Foodies read on…. (more…)

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The Getaway, Part 1 (Hike!!!)

It rained nearly every day, but it was still one of the best trips of my life. I have few usable pics, alas, because my crappy old camera couldn’t handle the low light conditions in the rainforest, especially with the cloud cover. (New camera arrived today, yippee!) Here are the highlights:

Thursday 8/16 — Lake Quinault

Flew into SeaTac in the late morning, rented a car, got lost on the way to the Lake Quinault Lodge, finally checked in, and then drove down a long, long gravel road to the Enchanted Valley Trail in the southern part of Olympic National Park. Oh, that I had arrived earlier! Gorgeous green trail, and I saw exactly one party during 2.5 hours of brisk hiking. Back at the lodge, I soaked up the breathtaking views from the lakeshore.

LakeQuinault_SouthShore

Friday 8/17 — Hoh Rainforest

Two hours’ drive to the Hoh Rainforest visitor’s center. They don’t call it a rainforest for nothin’. 12 miles, 6 hours, constant rain as I hiked up and back on the Hoh River Trail. It drizzled lightly under the forest canopy, but I got pretty soaked in the open patches. I checked out all the campsites along the way, thinking how nice it would be to spend a night by the river. But the hordes of mosquitos that attacked me when I sat down for lunch made me think otherwise.

I’ve never seen so much fresh water: clear streams and rivulets everywhere I turned.

HohRiverTrail_stream

My pants got so muddy (a note to the wise: don’t wear flare pants for rain hiking!) I had to rinse the bottoms out in the Hoh River. After the close-in rainforest, it was nice to take a break out in the open.

HohRiverTrail_HohRiver

I got back to the parking lot at 7:15, and drove another 2.5 hours to the Royal Victorian Motel in Port Angeles. Basic lodgings for a reasonable price for the area, run by a very nice couple.

Saturday 8/18 — Port Angeles/Hurricane Ridge

By this time, I was feeling really run down from rushing around and being out in the rain all day. So I took it easy, taking Airborne (so much better tasting than those nasty zinc tabs) and eating tons of spicy Tom Yum Goong from a Thai restaurant for lunch and dinner. In between, I drove up to Hurricane Ridge–only 30 minutes–and climbed up the short but very steep Hurricane Hill Trail. On clear days, the peak is supposed to offer 50-mile views, past the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. Of course it rained, and I had the awesome view of, like, 20 feet at the very top, as I literally stood inside a cloud.

Still, the wildflowers and the panorama below the cloud line were worth the hike.

HurricaneHillTrail

HurricaneHillTrail_wildflowers

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