Sunday, February 25, 2007

Working it?

It’s been hysterically active around here. Oldest child and I spent most of Thursday disassembling her giant bunk bed structure. Youngest has the same structure, only his set of drawers was broken, so once we freed it I dragged Oldest’s drawer set into Youngest’s room and removed his broken one. I humped Oldest’s now-yucky mattress down to the trash, got the boxspring out of the barn, and then we went mattress shopping. Dragged new mattress and frame and boxspring up to the third floor, where kid’s room is. Got bed set up. The martyr factor was very high. Oh, and then we got ready for middle kid birthday slumber party. Which went rather well, actually. I got out the good china for the gaggle of girls and their Chinese takeout, and they had a lovely time.

I realized while oldest and I were struggling with hex wrenches that if I found tools and put them someplace that I’d be able to remember, they would stay there. Dh used to have organizing sprees, which often resulted in my not being able to locate vital things, like the backup system disks for my laptop or the power cord for the sewing machine, or any screwdrivers at all. This was usually fine, often wonderful, and occasionally disastrous. Years later, we still have not recovered from his notion one day that all power cords for all appliances in the house should go in one place. He then forgot where he put them. I still don’t know where the charger for the cordless drill is, and it’s been at least five years. Small things. I’m inspired to clean out the basement this spring and organize things in the barn--of course I spent last night throwing up, so perhaps I should be taking it slowly and not push myself too hard. Yeah, maybe, ya think?

Inspired by Erica, I’ve begun a clapotis. This means that Lucia is now most likely the last knitter in the world not to have made one. I’m using some yarn I got at NH Sheep and Wool a few years ago, Decadent Fibers’ handpainted stuff that I think is a mix of alpaca and some merino and possibly silk, but because I wound it into center pull balls over a year ago and lost the labels, I really don’t know. Stuff actively on needles, then: poncho of doom, which is now back in progress after being rescued from the snow and sand and salt in the parking lot at SPA (thank you again, Jena and Lynne) – I must note here that the encrusted road grit does not markedly worsen the knitting experience with this stuff (Lion Brand Microsuede) (ack! Cough! Spit!); the clapotis; a commission in Very Very Big Yarn, which is just making me laugh; some sort of sweater in Malabrigo (swoon, thud) (dammit! Just once, mind you!); unending socks in that aloe stuff that Ruth is knitting, too (I’ve decided it’s time to do the heel, so they’re not entirely endless after all, merely absurd); need to sew up the base of the fingers on youngest child’s gloves; and the Charlotte’s Web lace shawl, which was a lot more delightful before I screwed up the count somehow and now I must sit down and pay attention and see where I lost one frickin’ stitch. Sigh. I’m not going to feel silly about starting so many projects. I will knit what I feel like knitting. Nyah.

My Christmas cactus is beginning to bud. We’ll have blossoms soon, a bit late, but nice. My little lime tree is also getting ready to bloom. The sun last longer each day, and we’ve turned the corner and are heading for spring. I’m slowly turning corners, too, I think. I still can’t wear my contacts because I keep crying so much, but some of the habits of mind are re-configuring themselves. I’ve finished reading C. S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed, which was less portentously insightful than I expected but also immediate and real and familiar-feeling. The big thing, that I’m not married anymore, is still impossible to absorb, but smaller things, I can handle once in a while. Working on it. Working on a lot. The main thing is that I can, and am.

See you again, all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mind the gap

Long gap between posts - sorry 'bout that. The days keep getting away from me. I've been knitting a bit--another sweater for me out of malabrigo (swoon, thud) Crap! I'm awake again. It's really nice yarn, but the picture is so crappy I won't post it. Speaking of crappy, I've also started a lace shawl, Charlotte's Web, with some Koigu:

It is lace in progress. It therefore looks dreadful.

Now that I'm on row 49, I realize that this wasn't the lace pattern I was thinking of. I actually wanted to knit the Peace Shawl. The shawl in progress is going pretty nicely, except for the usual foolishness I have with most patterns--you know, believing that I would have written it differently and (of course!) better. Given the state of my brain, this is unlikely. I have experimented with doing the decreases differently, and concluded that I really should do them as written. I also got in a snit about an error in the chart. Except there wasn't an error in the chart at all; I just lost the ability to count six graph squares. Also I've done the yarn switchover a bit late. And I notice that I'm not going to use up all five skeins of Koigu, not by a long shot. So maybe there'll be enough left over to make the Peace Shawl. Once I order the pattern, that is.

See what I mean?

I managed to get up to Portland for SPA this weekend, for about three hours, all told. The kids were perfectly willing to have Mom go on up, but there was the little matter of a birthday party to be prepared for, and I got a late start, and, well... wan hello, folks. Another huge thank you to Lynne and Jena for finding the poncho in progress that I accidentally threw into the snow in the parking lot. I noticed this on arriving home. The poncho, which is for my daughter, is nearly done. It is knit in yarn I really don't like working with, Lion Brand Microsuede. But I honestly didn't mean to cast it into the gutter and drive away; this was apparently an action undertaken by my subconscious.

So the theme appears to be that my brain has some big holes in it, still. I'll just keep rolling with it and see what happens. I've agreed to do a commissioned piece for the yarn company; I hope I don't do something ridiculous, like, oh, knit the sleeves one size and the body another.

On we go. Aaaaaaaaah. Also eek.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter, and flashback (oh, Happy Valentine's Day, too)

No pics today; just the inside of my head, which can be rather colorful all by itself.

Winter is finally here! I love winter. I love feeling like we're surviving something together. This is the only time when native New Englanders happily engage with strangers. There's been snow whomping northern New York, but nothing here (and this is so humiliating for a New Englander), until the forecast this weekend that there would be...dramatic pause...a Nor'easter. Yes, the correctly termed kind, where the wind blows from the northeast, thus picking up moisture from the ocean and flinging it back at us. Cranky people like me get in a prodigious snit when foolish weatherpersons from Other Parts call anything in the Northeast a nor'easter--it ain't so, ya numbskulls.

Anyhoo, we're all listening to weather guys 'n gals and calling our snowplow guys and such, cheerful Yankees getting ready for a storm, don'tcha know, hey maybe school cancellations! (whoo hoo! say the schoolchildren; the homeschooled kids chez weasel just sigh), and the forecast kept getting pushed back, and downgraded, and by this morning, after a predicted huge! storm! starting! after! midnight!!, well... I took out the trash and the recycling before seven this morning, and jeez, what a total frickin' wuss of a storm. Not even particularly cold, above 20F, even. I took the dog out. Wicked disappointing.

Sigh. School cancelled, which meant co-op cancelled, and kids really annoyed at not seeing their friends. Sigh. I made pancakes and bacon, and we fooled around and did a little bit of schoolwork.

And then the storm got good.

Whoa! Skiing snow, horizontal! The kind that hurts when it hits you, and is not remotely fun to be out in, not even to go get the mail. Now, that's more like it! Yeah! Bring it on! C'mon, I got a generator, I got firewood, g'wan, just try it, ya wuss of a storm. Nyah.

It ain't no two feet of snow. But it's finally looking like the kind of winter we can all at least not be embarassed by.

Blessings on the head of the plow guy, who is the sort of plow guy who never, ever calls back, but simply shows up. We are content. Also able to get out of the driveway. O sing! O recount the joy in terms celestial! Or at least remember to pay him promptly.

I was figuring out what to make for dinner, like you do when it's been a sort of odd day and nobody really wants anything, and thought about food in Mexico, the one time I went there, in 1982. I had some swell fish, red snapper with lime on white rice; yum. I thought of it because I had some fish and some rice and there was this salsa sitting there in the fridge. I ended up having a frozen quesadilla, which reminded me of having them in the subway stations in Mexico DF; they were really good, and smaller than you get them here by a long shot, and cost about a peso--roughly two cents at the time, at 45 pesos to the dollar, but that was before the peso totally collapsed. Back when the population of Mexico City (aka DF, "districto federal") was only 15 million. The quesadillas were a peso, I mean, and were good; actually the subway was a peso, too, and was Rawther an Experience--hey! creepy guys feel you up on crowded subways! ewww! The guys traveling with us made discreet walls around us gals after that.

I tend not to meet people when I travel, but my assigned companion was an incredibly outgoing young woman whose company I enjoyed, who also spoke no Spanish. And she certainly wanted to talk to people. We went wandering around Chapultapec Park, and she insisted I buy some homemade bubble stuff from a woman selling stuff on the sidewalk. It was purple, in a baby food jar, with a bit of wire in it twisted into a shape you could blow bubbles with. This was unnerving for me--the transaction, not the bubble stuff. Of course, she got tired of blowing bubbles (good! I was already completely embarassed!), and then wanted to give the bubble stuff to a little boy, so I translated for that, too.

I started to have a really good time.

I bought some mango from a woman selling it on a street corner. Truthfully, I just wanted to watch her prepare it; it was wondrous. She would jab the mango with a stick, and slice off the peel with as much ease as if she were plucking petals from a rose. Then she'd slice it more, into spiky bits, bite-sized, that stuck out from the pit--it was so cool! She laughed at me, at my turista shorts, looking like some prostitute or something, and laughed more when I gave her a 500 peso note to pay for the mango; she sent a tiny child into the nearby bar for change. Then she sprinkled what I thought was cinnamon onto the mango.

Um, it was actually some sort of red pepper she was sprinkling.

Have you ever pulled out a nose hair? This was kind of like that. Tears flooded; I laughed, shook my head, tried to pretend I was really enjoying this, and wandered off.

Happy Valentine's Day. I'm shaking my head at my own folly, trying not to cry too obviously, and also having a pretty good time, all things considered. I'm in a strange place, but I'm starting to understand it better.

Monday, February 12, 2007

New and Improved

Okay, I tend to be behind the curve with things. One of dh's indicators that this blogging thing was really going mainstream was that I had one. So I've been hesitating, but Blogger forced my hand, and I'm now using New Improved Blogger. Feh. We'll see. Grumble, grumble.

Happy Darwin's Birthday! I've been hanging around here yakking about politics again. It seems to help a bit.

Anyway, thank you, you guys: Jena and Lucia and delurking Old Round (hi!) and Carla and Lynne and Carole and Erica. Virtual hugs much appreciated. I'm out from under the waves again. I think. Thursday was pretty challenging--I kept bursting into tears all day, and had to teach two classes at the homeschooling coop. By Sunday the weeping and wailing was pretty much limited to while I was driving. Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth? Gore talks about polar bears drowning. They swim in the direction of new ice, and the ice isn't there, and they keep swimming, and eventually they stop from exhaustion and they drown. Thursday was my polar bear day. Thanks for throwing some ice my way.

ADDENDUM! My Secret Pal has been so amazing, supportive, warm, wonderful--I'm grateful beyond words. At last I know who she is: Lorena. Hi, Lorena, and thank you again. Hope to see you this fall sometime.

Some miniscule knitting progress can be seen. DS's gloves are becoming asymptotic for some reason; I don't know why, but I seem to be resisting finishing them at some very deep level. I am infinitely approaching, but never quite reaching, completion of these. Here's where they stand (or lie limp on the kitchen table):

I'm already not charmed by the new Blogger image upload. The html is now much longer and includes "AAAAAAAAAM", which looks very much like I've accidentally leaned on the keyboard. Ah, well. I've wound some new yarn and begun a desultory sweater. It's, um, that really soft yarn that makes me fall over in a dead faint.

Malabrigo. (swoon, thud) JUST ONCE could I remain conscious, do you think?! Holy moly. It is very very nice stuff. Really.

Bustling in that New Improved Functional way: I have finally moved the boxes of Christmas decorations upstairs, ready to go into the attic. I have phoned the snowplow guy, leaving a wheedling message along the lines of, boy I hope you're still plowing after this totally sucky snowless winter, could you please plow us out when the blizzard hits tomorrow night? I found a lost library book, under the driver's seat of my car; the Dracut library will be so pleased. I used my gift certificate to Michael's and discovered that they now sell Paton's wool (suitable for felting!) and that Lion Brand has some new wool, also good for felting (I haven't gone near their yarn section in some time, so this was news to me); I inquired about whether they need a knitting teacher, too, though I don't know if I'm ready to deal to that extent just yet. I have closed out a joint account that had a couple of hundred dollars in it. I am tidying piles of crap, creating a smaller number of piles if not actual orderliness. I have successfully discussed the need for a corrected W-2 for 2006 with dh's employer--new forms on their way, yay. Upcoming: MacMall says they've shipped my new hard drive, so the next major project will be installing it and tranferring and repairing all my damaged files.

Happy Darwin's Birthday, all, keep warm, and thanks for stopping by.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dreaming (grief warning)

Things have been okay. Yesterday, I even thought, hey, I'm actually all right. Apparently this is my mind's cue for another tsunami--"enough strength has built up, time to leap again." My aunt pointed out that my mind is doing a huge amount of work under the surface, trying to integrate the loss.

In the dream, he has left me. We are renovating a house in London, and I have come home to it, and the builder tells me that my husband isn't coming home and that my instructions are not to look for him. He is gone without a trace but I'm not to try to find him. In the dream, I'm devastated, but I cope; I go about my days; I walk along with one of the children (younger for some reason) in the rain, wearing my raincoat, and I see his raincoat across the street, and I think, aha, okay, I'll be cool, not chase, not acknowledge. And the wearer of the coat is not him, as it happens, and I am glad not to have made a fool of myself. And I get home to the London house, and I have a stroke of brilliance: I can call him at work! Yes! I struggle, but recall his phone number at the office. And I woke up, thinking, I can call him at work! And what his phone number is. And that he'd left me. And that he was somewhere, alive.

And he isn't. And he didn't want to leave me. And I'm doing a lot of crying this morning. It's making the keyboard a bit soggy. I should have seen it coming because my body has been doing some odd things, the first tremors of the earthquake that struck as I slept. But who wants to see such things coming? Of course I'm going to continue to grieve; duh. It is not a conscious process; this is deeply disturbing for me.

Knitting: finally nearly done with little guy's gloves.

Time to take the dog out.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Random roundup

First things first: Lookee! My Secret Pal sent me some really nifty folding scissors, beautiful purple sock yarn, 3 Joe Haldeman novels, a scented candle, some cd's of podcasts I haven't heard, "Spin to Knit" (whoa!), and some nice moisturizer. Thank you so much, Selkie! The parcel arrived Wednesday, but I didn't have a chance to open it until Thursday. Wed. being the day we had lots of kid stuff going on for some reason: emergency haircut, emergency fabric shopping, emergency sewing machine repair. So I missed knitting at Javaroom (boo!) (wan wave).

Last night, I went to see Brittanicus at ART. It was odd. Visually, it's pretty good; conceptually, it's pretty good; the acting, though, drove me crazy. This is one of those productions that highlights the failures of modern American acting technique. Intensively miked, yet we still had lines delivered with no nuance, ever, all at one level, no discrimination or wit--all literal, one-note line readings, mainly shouted. This is what you get when a bunch of actors with just barely enough technique to do Shakespeare (at least from their resumes in the program--giving benefit of the doubt here) try to turn Racine into "how would *I* feel in this situation?" For chrissake, it's Emperor Nero! You have no "life experience" to draw on that will be remotely relevant, we hope! Fuckin' A. I see this time and time again. Either the actors turn some of the most outrageous figures in world literature into contemporary middle class Americans, or they flail around with what clearly they've been directed to try and do with "having lots of circular movement." And because all their technical training is about getting in touch with their sense memory and mining their feelings and other useless crap, they have no technique whatsoever to draw on when they have to do something genuinely imaginative. It is a tragedy of wasted talent, and it was on display in shovelfuls.

The notions of stuff to put in were interesting: one character walks around singing opera, which is quite beautiful. Certainly the text supports the incest idea that gets explored. The set had some nifty video projections. Nero playing electric guitar was a nice touch, as was his opening nude scene, showering while drinking beer; it would have made more sense if he kept on drinking, though. One of the publicity shots is of Nero, Britannicus, and Junia sitting on a bench while Nero sticks his hand up Junia's crotch, which (surprisingly perhaps) is entirely appropriate for the scene and, if anything, should have gone further. And I'm really kind of over the whole "oh let's expose the backstage space" thing; I think it was pretty much done with by 1978, frankly (darlings, we do realize we are in a theatre, really). But it's okay here. The offstage shootings were logical, and one is exquisitely timed. It just didn't seem to gel, somehow; too many bits and pieces.

Oh. I also seem to have broken my finger. Left pinkie; swollen and purple-ish; went and got a finger splint and some tape. That's what I'd end up with anyhow, and I don't think my doctor's office is open on weekends, so Motrin and my own first aid.

It has snowed! It is beautiful. I am delighted. See? Not unmitigated bitchiness! I'm happy about the snow! And my loot! There! And finding the camera doohickey, and taking myself out to dinner (Indian food; good), and not crying in the shower today, and my new tshirt, and all sorts of stuff.

My cousin requested a Christmas stocking for next Christmas. I've pulled some wonderful yarn from the stash, and have some spiffy ideas. Will show when there's something to show. Um, I finished a fun scarf for myself this week--I was cold. Very pleased. Pic: