I was going to give you blow-by-blow details of my fun time at the National Book Festival today, but I’ve decided to postpone that until tomorrow. I was just lying on the couch with a ball of yarn and mindlessly watching tv and listening to the rain fall outside when my eyes started to close of their own accord and my body started to twitch. Since my body thinks that it’s time to sleep, I’m going to go oblige it by putting it to bed.
September 30, 2006
September 28, 2006
On a day that started with a cockroach in the kitchen sink and includes the cutting and pasting of 500 more entries into a database, you would think it might be hard to see the nicer side of life. But, to my surprise, it’s not. Kudos to Clare, who started all this Three Beautiful Things posting and who enabled me to find the silver lining:
1. Leaves dot the sidewalk between the Burrow and the Metro. Summer is an oppressive season in D.C. and I’m glad fall has finally arrived, bringing cooler temperatures and thoughts of handknit socks. Even the light has changed with the turning of the season, with a yellower tinge to the air that I associate with the Virginia and England countrysides in the autumn. (And, no, you cynics, it’s not smog!)
2. As you know, I’m taking part in the Sock-a-Month 2 knitalong sponsored by Chrissy, a.k.a. Knittin’ Mom. Well, in addition to fellowship — and socks — you also get entered to win fun and fabulous prizes each time you complete a pair of socks. Surprisingly (and to my delight), I was the winner in August! The prize arrived in the mail last night and it is Patons Kroy in Tutti Frutti Jacquard. Thanks, Knittin’ Mom! The knitalong is fun even without prizes, but winning does kick it up a notch.
3. I’ve had a hankering for cookies recently, but have been too lazy to make them. But earlier this week, the yen grew too strong, and I pulled out the baking sheets. I didn’t want to make chocolate chip cookies, though, so I opted for a cookie that Gramma sometimes makes — butterscotch oatmeal. Yum!
I know today is Wednesday. Which means tomorrow is Thursday. But I keep thinking that it will be Friday, which means it’s time to look ahead to the weekend, right?
Friday night, we head to RFK Stadium to see the Nationals take on the Mets. The Mets have been sucking it up recently, while the Nats seem to be on a bit of a tear. My Mets may have managed (eventually!) to clinch the NL East (which was one of those three beautiful things I knew I meant to include last Thursday, but couldn’t think of), but they seem to be concluding the regular season in a bit of a slump. My hope is that the Mets are just getting the rest of the season’s losing out of the way now so that we can enter the postseason ready to rock. I’m looking forward to the game.
Saturday is the National Book Festival. Lots of cool authors are going to be attending, from Doris Kearns Goodwin (a favorite!) to Poet Laureate Donald Hall, from Alexander McCall Smith to Kevin Clash (Elmo), and from Julia Glass to Louis Sachar. Each author has some main stage time — to read, to answer questions, to speak at large — as well as some time put aside to sign books. (It should be noted that poets get the raw end of the deal because unlike the rest of the authors, they are only allotted 30 minutes to sign their works.) So I figure I’ll be spending the day down at the Mall. Maybe I’ll lunch at the American Indian Museum. They have an excellent cafeteria.
Sunday is the farmers’ market, of course. But it also brings the annual Crafty Bastards fair to Adams Morgan. This is a festival sponsored by our alternative news weekly, The City Paper, and encourages the artistic amongst us to create … stuff … and sell it. Everyone there is very creative. But it’s a matter of finding the ones that you go, “Wow! That’s amazing. I wish I could make something similar. But lacking time/commitment/talent, let me give this person $20-$200 of my money instead in exchange for it.” There are plenty of crafters that make you think, “Wow! Why on God’s earth would you make that? And who would give you $20 for it? I’m not sure that I’d take it home even if you gave me $20.” The festival is supplemented by local food vendors and local musical acts. It’ll be a fun day and I’m looking forward to hitting up Woolarina‘s booth to buy some yarn for my Yarn Aboard II pal. I just have to get there before Lolly arrives. Since she is once again hosting Socktoberfest, I’m afraid she’s going to buy up everything I want.
Okay, I admit it. D.C. does offer a wealth of activities within a very constrained amount of space. I won’t have to drive to any of these events and that definitely wouldn’t have been true in Connecticut.
September 27, 2006
Karen called me tonight to talk and in the midst of our conversation, she steered the topic to the impending arrival of November. I do not specifically recall if she mentioned putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys), but I did immediately know to what she was referring.
November is NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month.
Karen reminded me that if I wanted to participate*, I’d better come up with some narrative devices soon.
You see, you aren’t supposed to start writing until 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 1. By 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30, you should have 50,000 words and roughly 175 pages.
It’s not meant to be publisher-ready (or -worthy). It’s just meant to remind you that writing a novel
sucks will leave you begging for sleep from Santa would find Satan devolved into a quivering blob of jelly by the end comes about only through perseverance. Or some crap like that.
The idea has its merits:
- Growing up, I wanted to be a writer. Somehow I did not imagine that my subject would be obesity or skin. Periodically, I jab myself back into action and write something for myself instead of for work. Sure, everyone in it has an abudant waist-line and psoriasis, but what of it?
- The name of this blog, a gift from Rudi two years ago, is Sprite Writes. Not Sprite Knits. Not Sprite Talks Politics. This might suggest Rudi was hoping I would channel my surpressed writer’s frustration onto this blog. And, yes, I do write here on most days. But that’s not really the same, now, is it?
- A month is a short enough period of time that one could, if one were disciplined (stop laughing!), stick to the program. The timeframe means that you *only* need to produce 6 pages or 1667 words a day. Provided you write every day. Without exception. Yeah….
There are a couple of drawbacks to the idea, though:
- I do not have a plot or characters or a kernel of an idea for a novel. I have had a couple of book ideas recently, but they’re all of the memoir/long-form essay-style/series of vignettes sort of thing as opposed to a novel. Karen says she thinks I should just stick with the spirit of the thing, as opposed to the letter of the law and just write a book. I suggested that I could write an ode instead…
- I am not disciplined. I have difficulty remembering to go to work in the morning, let alone having to remember to write 6 bloody pages every day.
- Pretty much everything I’ve read from bloggers who have taken part in previous years means that if you already have a full-time job, you pretty much have to give up everything else in order to hit your word-count goal. Do I want to skip a whole month of parties and outings and blogging and knitting?
Yes, I realize that several of the negatives make me seem undedicated and shallow. Sadly, that doesn’t make them less relevant. It may explain, however, why I’m writing health literacy books….
So, what do you think? To write or not to write?
*Grey Kitten, Karen nominated you to join us on this odyssey, too, and told me to deliver the message. She says she has her idea ready and is just waiting for the company.
September 25, 2006
Some little old lady stole my knees. I didn’t see her do it, but I can tell she did, just the same.
How, you ask?
Because she left behind her knees when she took mine!
I mean, I just played an hour or so of volleyball today at the company picnic and followed it up — several hours later — with an hour-long bike ride.
Nothing too taxing for a 32-year-old.
But tonight I found myself hobbling around the Burrow and standing gingerly in the shower with a particularly achy knee.
It didn’t help that at one point during the game I was chasing after a ball and part of me went one way and part of me the other. Nor that I neglected to warm up before we started, really.
But 14 (wow!) years ago, when I was a college volleyball player, neither of those things would have caused me to limp longer than 5 or 10 minutes. (My tendency to run into solid, immobile objects, like bleachers, on the other hand, might have caused me a trip to the ER, but that was only once, I swear!)
Tonight, though, I’m just going to have to limp after that little old lady who’s running around with my perfectly good pair of knees.
But first I have to figure out who took my back and left me with this stiff one…
September 24, 2006
I’m stuck on a pattern. I’m working Daisy for a friend’s upcoming baby and have hit a snag in my understanding of the pattern.
It’s a raglan cardigan and I’ve knit it successfully up until the neck shaping on the second (left) front side, where the pattern directs me to:
“Work neck shaping to match right front, reversing all shaping.”
The right front neck shaping directs me to:
Row 1:BO 6 sts, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Row 2 [and all wrong side rows]: Purl.
Row 3: BO 2 sts, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Row 5: BO 1 st, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Continue purling WS rows, and repeat Row 5 1[ 2, 3] times– 4 sts remain [all sizes].
Next row: K1, k2tog, k1.
Next row: Purl.
Next row: Sl 1, k2tog, psso, fasten off.
Since I want to reverse that, I imagined what I should knit should be something like:
Row 1: K1, ssk, k to last 6 stitches, bind off last six stitches. etc. etc.
But that doesn’t work because then I have knitted stitches, a gap of six bound off stitches and then one final stitch way over at the left end on the button band. Which is clearly wrong.
So should I instead knit across a row and start my work on the wrong side and reverse all the decreases to the purl side? That would allow me to bind off the stitches along the button band first and continue increasing up to the shoulder seam on the other side.
And if so, do I want to purl 2 stitches together to get what should be a left-leaning decrease on the right side of the garment?
Or is there some other way that I’m not seeing? I’ve googled the question and no one else seems to have had difficulty understanding this part of the pattern but me.
Can anyone help?
(If not, I’ll wait for Stephanie to submit her book proposal before I harass her about what she meant in her pattern, herself.)