sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 27, 2006

have you missed me?
posted by soe 1:55 am

Well, I’ve missed you too.

I’m feeling much better. It’s amazing what drugs can do for you. I am still tired, which causes me to take long naps (and miss key blogging time), but I’ll take that over feverish and unable to swallow.

Today I got up and did a little housework before my two hour nap. Then I went for a walk, did a little grocery shopping, and came home so we could meet friends for a concert.

The Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows both put on audience-friendly shows, even though I didn’t know as many of their songs as I often do when attending a show. I did know more than I expected to, though. Our friend Phillip bought them in absentia for our friend Susan and invited us to accompany her to the show. It was a terribly sweet thing to do and, as we like music, we hopped in the car with Susan and Sarah, pointed it toward Virginia and took off. The crowd definitely skewed young, chatty, and prone to drunkenness, but there was less pot smoking in our section than I’d expected. Maybe they bust people there. The attendees certainly don’t clean up after themselves terribly well, though. Clearly all those young people were under the impression that their maids had also come to the show, as empty cans and bottles littered the field. (Thanks for teaching me to tote out my mess, Mum and Dad.)

I wasn’t that impressed with the Goo Goo Dolls, although they put on a fine show. I liked the Counting Crows better, even if they didn’t play “Accidentally in Love,” their Shrek II theme song. Oddly, they seemed sort of U2esque with the lead guitarist dressed a lot like The Edge and the lead singer doing some progressive propaganda à la Bono. But since I like U2 and I liked the Counting Crows’ songs, it was a comparison that worked well for them.

On tap tomorrow: the farmers’ market (must buy milk!), the yarn store (I have a discount that expires at the end of the month I’d like to see about using), and some work.

I’d also like to do a little knitting. I taught myself the Magic Loop method of knitting the other night and have finished the cuff of the sock that was driving me nuts. (For the non-knitters, Magic Loop allows you to knit a small object like a sock using just a long, single circular needle instead of on 4-5 double-pointed needles or a pair of circulars.) Since I needed to downsize this project from US3 needles — which I had two of — to US2s — which I only had one of — the most prudent thing seemed to be to learn a new technique. I’m pleased to say that although it seemed intimidating before I tried it, after looking over a detailed, photo-heavy website and watching an online video tutorial, it was really much easier than I’d expected. I love when that happens.

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August 24, 2006

ice pop, balloons, and gauge
posted by soe 11:52 am

Sickness has a way of making you appreciate the small things in life, because you’re just incapable of achieving big things. So in that frame of mind, I offer several beautiful things from my sick days:

1. All I wanted yesterday was a popsicle. Really. My throat hurt so much, I was miserable. Needing tp for the apartment and not wanting to trek all the way up to Rite Aid, I stopped at CVS when I got off the Metro. Not only did they have tp, as well as nice soft applesauce and mandarin oranges, but they also sold Edy’s fruit bars. I don’t think I’ve tasted anything so nice as that sweet stream of strawberriness as it melted down my throat (and my arm) on the walk home.

2. Rudi attended a fundraiser last night and stopped home to bring me a bunch of balloons before going out with some friends for a late dinner. They were a very sweet gesture, rustling over my head and freaking Jeremiah out with their pinging against one another. (I’m pretty sure he vaulted through the window in our bedroom in a single bound. I admit it; I laughed.) They were even funnier around 4:30 this morning, when they deflated a little, floated out of the bedroom, and caught their ribbons in the clamp that holds the fan’s screen on (not actually in the fan’s blades). There they were doing balloon boxing when I awoke. Della was looking on from the cat perch with utter delight. You could just hear her thinking, “More! More!”

3. I went to work on Tuesday because, as I have noted, I have an encroaching deadline that has me remarkably stressed out (and because I thought the flu was waning. If I’d known that it was strep and that it just a breather before the major bout, I might have handled things differently). Nonetheless, there I was on Tuesday, so I went up to our weekly lunchtime knitting group. I had knit a bit on the sock over the weekend — enough to know that I need to pull it out (again!) and knit it on smaller needles. (It does occur to me that I should perhaps let these socks rest for a little while and try a different pair…) So I decided to knit a gauge swatch for the baby sweater from the yarn I bought on Saturday. (For those who don’t knit, you knit a gauge swatch — a little 4″x4″ square — to avoid problems like I had with the sock where you find out that you and the person who wrote the pattern differ so dramatically in your choice of yarn or how tightly you knit that you end up with a different sized garment from what you’re expecting. This is not a problem in a scarf or a bag. It is a much bigger problem in something like a sweater and something you really ought to do if you’re giving said sweater as a gift to a friend.) And I’m on gauge! So I don’t need to mess with different sized needles and can cast on for the sweater as soon as I’m feeling a little more lively. (Don’t want to give any strep germs as a bonus baby gift…)

Three bonus beautiful things:

4. Moms: My own is a wonderful caretaker and is sending me emails several times a day to check on my recovery. There’s no one I’ve ever wanted around more when I was sick, and I’m grateful for the virtual nursing. Rudi’s mom is a doctor and is supervising my recovery from 2,500 miles away. And my boss’s motherly instincts kicked in yesterday to send me home as soon as she saw me. Even if I couldn’t see that it wasn’t essential for me to be in the office for things to get done, she could see that I needed some additional recovery time.

5. Increments: I am feeling better today. Not well, but well enough to work from home. I expect to feel even better tomorrow. And the day after that. The miracles of penicillin…

6. You: Thank you for all the well wishes. I don’t even know some of you! All suggestions were taken, and it gave me a little boost each time I got up and someone else had left a note. I’m sure today’s progress is, in part, due to all of you.

August 23, 2006

sickness updated
posted by soe 2:12 pm

After three days of having what I believed to be the flu, my throat developed white spots and I got a red rash on my chest. No doubt about it — strep.

Swallowing hurts. Talking is now done in a whisper. I don’t want to eat. I can’t sleep.

No wonder my boss sent me home from work today…

I look like those one of those crazed lunatics in their mug shots where you wonder how many substances they’re on. I feel not like death warmed over, but more like death warmed over, allowed to grow cold again, and then left on the floor in the hopes that the dog will eat it.

But there’s nothing wrong with my sense of humor!

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August 20, 2006

posted by soe 9:09 pm

I have some sort of bug that has prevented me from doing many of the things I’d hoped to accomplish this weekend — find yarn for my sock pal, read education white papers of the mayoral candidates, and work through de Tocqueville.

I did manage to toddle down to the farmers’ market this morning, but pretty much I’ve moped in bed all day sleeping off and on. I’m on deadline at work, so I’ll have to pull myself together by morning, but otherwise I’d stay home.

Apparently, I will do anything to avoid reading de Tocqueville.

Update (Monday morning): A 102* fever, ague, and two hours up in the middle of the night have convinced me to stay in bed one more day. I awoke in a dead sweat two hours after going to bed last night convinced that the sweater yarn and pattern I bought in the spring would look terrible on me, that the deadline I’m under is going to not be met in a major way, that I’m going to be fired from work, that people in DC weren’t really my friends and were just pretending. Usually I’m pretty unflappable and things like this only stress me out in tiny doses once in a rare while. So clearly my body is trying to fight off some nasty bug and thought I needed nightmares and panic attacks as a symptom to convince me to stay home. So I’m going to listen to my body and am returning to bed. See you when I feel better.

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August 19, 2006

you shouldn’t knit during the world series
posted by soe 11:00 pm

Even if it’s the 1986 World Series and you know the outcome of the game you’re watching…

I am working on a sock. Or I would be if I didn’t keep having to frog it back. The first time was the other night. Somewhere along the line when I had first started the sock, I had screwed up the ribbing. Knowing that I’d have to pull it apart, I thought I’d just knit a little longer to make sure the guage was right. Instead, I managed to skip a needle and leave a four inch yarn loop dangling. Okay, clearly I was distracted. I put the knitting away.

Fast forward to today. I went to the yarn store to buy the US3 circular I need. (Turns out that when I broke a US3 circular on the first pair of socks I knit and subbed in a spare needle Rudi’s mom had sent me that I used a 3mm needle — which is a US2 — instead of the correct needle. Not a problem on that pair, but I figured I ought to correct it before going ahead with this one.) I cast on 34 stitches on each needle, knit for a couple rounds, and then looked at what I’d knit. It was huge. Grrr… I looked at the sock, then at the pattern, then at the sock, and then back at the pattern. 34+34=68, which does not equal 64, the number of stitches called for in the pattern. I sighed and ripped the yarn out again. I might try to cast on once more tonight; otherwise, it’ll have to wait for tomorrow.

The good news is that I got to see Game 7 of the ’86 Mets-Red Sox World Series, which I hadn’t seen in … 20 years.

The other good news is that I bought yarn for the sweater I’m going to knit a friend’s baby-to-be. It’s a very pretty Rowan handknit cotton in Slippery, which I’m going to use to make the Yarn Harlot‘s Daisy cardigan. And because I went to the yarn shop during at the end of the season, their cotton yarns were on clearance, as was the needle I bought. A very pleasant surprise.

Now I just need to pay attention. I’d hate to knit the baby’s sweater with three arms or my sock that I forget to close the toes of…

(Confidential to my friends and loved ones who read the blog: I have joined Knittin’ Mom’s Sock-A-Month 2 knit-along, which suggests I believe I am capable of finishing a pair of socks every month. (Clearly this was before this week…) While I’m more than happy to knit them all for me, I thought I’d offer to share the wealth. If you’d like a pair of handmade socks (and you live in a place where you’ll actually wear them), please leave me a comment. I make no promises, but we’ll see how it goes…)

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August 18, 2006

poetry for friday
posted by soe 10:03 pm

It’s a beautiful Friday night, one of the final ones of the summer season, and it just seems to cry out for some poetry. I offer you this one by the great Mary Oliver, who is Frostian in her ability to evoke emotion through imagery of the natural world:

Sometimes I Am Victorious and Even Beautiful
            ~Mary Oliver

Sometimes I am victorious and even beautiful —
as when I go down to the pond in the half-light
and wade out into the black water,
where I unloop the taut lines from the willow stakes
      and bend to the weight
and lift the trap from the water — not slowly and carefully
      as in ordinary work, but hard and fast —

and open it,
and stare down and see the turtle’s foot-wide mossy shell
and he sees me
      and he thrashes

and I gaze into his pink throat and haul him higher
and he hisses, his eyes shine
and the tongue wags in the gaping, beak-shaped mouth
and I shake him from the trap, his thick head flashing,

      and he swims away

and I close the trap with the heels of my boots, and fling it
into the bullbriar wracked and useless,

and the pink sun rises and sees me, by the black water,
      washing my hands.

Thanks to Jen, who clued me in to the fact that some people actually post poetry every week!

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