October 28, 2010
spooky, strands, and commute
posted by soe 10:49 pm
As I write this Thursday night, a cool breeze is plucking yellowing leaves from our tree and sending them swirling into our brick window well. The cats are all very excited: Della is sitting in the upper window, staring down over the a/c unit. Jer is parked on the speaker, not quite wanting to get into the window itself. Corey is having the crazies, throwing himself around the living room — up into the window, then over to Rudi’s chair, then into the cat carrier, then back to the window. Posey, last I looked, was having some supper, only recently having emerged from her beauty sleep in the hallway closet, but Rudi notes that particularly loud drops of leaves cause even our most placid cat to look up.
Here are three beautiful things from the last full week of October:
1. Halloween decorations are out in full force. I have a strand of jack o’lantern lights above my desk. The neighbors have a neon green spider atop cottony strands on a bush. And when I arrive at work today, a sparkly green skeleton was lounging on the couch in our lounge with a container of chocolate for those brave enough to approach him.
2. I finally remember that in order to execute a spit splice in your knitting you have to part the strands of each end of yarn. It’s handy that my memory has finally recalled this piece of information as Corey has chewed through two spots in my stripey yarn. On the socks, you’d only notice the affected stitches now if you looked hard, and I didn’t waste a ton of yarn by having to find the equivalent spot in the next sequence.
3. On my ride west, a toddler warrior queen crosses my path in front of the White House and the spires of Georgetown stand before me framed in the fading colors of a fall sunset.
What beautiful things have you noticed this week?
posted by soe 2:34 am
Dear San Francisco Giants,
Congratulations on pulling out tonight’s win. I appreciate that you wanted to keep things interesting for your fans and so heightened the drama by allowing the Rangers to pull within winning range in the final inning.
Honestly, when you were winning by eight runs, a normal fan would have felt confident that you had business taken care of. However, I am a Mets fan, and, as such, I have learned that it’s really never over until that final out has been called and no lead is so great that it can’t be overcome by iffy pitching (and questionable fielding, although that didn’t seem to be the case tonight so much). So I was not surprised (although disappointed would be a fair description) when you allowed Texas back in the game.
Cliff Lee had had two great division series, but his sub-1.0 ERA was doomed to rise. Tim Lincecum, who had a great many strike-outs but two losses during the NLCS, was due to finally get a win.
The Rangers helped by making a large number of mind-boggling errors, both in the field and on the base paths, but they’re a good team. You can’t count on them to hand you a win (even one you attempt to fritter away) again.
As a lifelong National League fan, I was delighted to see us claim home field advantage after the All-Star Game for the first time since the ’90s. I was thrilled when you beat Philadelphia in the NLCS (even though the Yankees loss would not allow a cross-country reenactment of the borough battles of 1921, ’22, ’23, ’36, ’37, and ’51 [1962 saw a California-ized Giants lose to the Yanks]). As a girl from the Northeast, I would have loved that. (Okay, I would have preferred the Mets to you, but I’m not that unrealistic!) But my loyalty would have been torn, so it was just as well that you ended up playing a team from Texas (who used to play in D.C., but I’m okay with that…).
Please don’t squander a 1-0 start to the Series. The Rangers are no hacks and they will not make it easy for you. It would be helpful if you didn’t make it difficult for yourselves, as well.
Good luck with a quick return to the spunky, superior playing ability you demonstrated in the division championship series. We’ll be rooting for you!
October 25, 2010
posted by soe 12:52 am
Each time I think I have it figured out which colors I’d like to pair for my Neptune High knee socks, I flip flop.
Hey, you think that’s bad? I ruled out a whole chair’s worth of other color combinations earlier tonight.
October 22, 2010
posted by soe 11:36 pm
Hat tip to Jenn for this meme:
The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who’ve influenced you and [who] will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.
Here’s what popped into my head at the end of the workday:
- Richard Scarry
- Dr. Seuss
- Louisa May Alcott
- L.M. Montgomery
- Emily Dickinson
- William Shakespeare
- “Carolyn Keene”
- Barbara Kingsolver
- J.K. Rowling
- Jane Austen
- Jasper Fforde
- C.S. Lewis
- Mary Oliver
- Beatrix Potter
- J.D. Salinger
Play along in the comments if you’re so motivated.
improvement, going postal, and buried treasure
posted by soe 7:46 am
[Written Thursday night] Our sites are down right now, so I’m writing this Thursday night (after a pleasant evening of knitting, baseball, and tacos with Rudi) and will paste it in when our service provider figures out what’s going on:
1. Della is clearly feeling better. She is not quite her old self, but if this is the new norm, we’ll be okay with that. She has energy, has felt up to jumping up to the upper window in the living room, and has been interested in food — both when it’s time for medicine and in between.
2. A trip to mail my swap package after work last week could have derailed due to a splitting, nausea-inducing migraine. But the postal clerk working the floor just before closing time is cheerful, the girls behind me in the snake-like line hold my space while I find a customs form, and the clerk at the desk suggests I switch my shipping method to save money and waits for me to fill out the new form.
3. We dig up the back corner of the garden, where we harvest about a dozen potatoes and a dozen peanuts. Sifting through the dirt makes me wonder if we’ll also find some gold dubloons.
October 20, 2010
knitting for others
posted by soe 11:18 pm
As noted earlier in the week, I’m taking part in a swap on Ravelry. Before I could send my package off to Germany, though, I had to make something for my recipient.
I debated between a hat or a cowl and eventually settled on a hat out of the new Knitty that came out at the end of last month:
This is Brambles, knit in the Violet colorway of Shepherd’s Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill, a yarn grown, spun, and dyed here in the U.S. I hadn’t heard of this yarn when Rudi and I stopped by Fibre Space a few weeks ago, but the store’s owner really sold it on me and I’m so glad she did. The yarn is quite delightful to work with and at $10 a skein, it’s actually an affordable worsted weight yarn worth looking at if you were considering a sweater.
The pattern also was lovely, and I would knit it again. In fact, since I really want one of my own, it’s all but certain that I will.
October 19, 2010
socktoberfest pair #1
posted by soe 11:49 pm
When I came up with my goal of finishing five pairs of socks during Socktoberfest ’10, I didn’t know we were going to end up with a sick cat and that it was going to send me into an emotional tailspin. I might also have forgotten that I needed to make a homemade item for a swap. Oops.
But the good thing about a recurring event and setting yourself up for a win is that you can have finished knitting a pair of socks but not yet have woven in the ends and if you save that part for the first few days of October, you have successfully completed a pair of socks during Socktoberfest.
I have been knitting these socks off and on since mid-May. I know I knit on the first one during ALA in June. I had the second one in progress when I was last in Connecticut in August.
The pattern is Badcaul and the yarn is Dicentra Designs in Solar Energy, both of them sent to me by Carola as part of the Yarn Aboard 2 swap back in 2006. The yarn held up remarkably well to being frogged at least twice in my earlier attempts to knit this cabley pattern.
Those of you who were at Conn back in the first half of the ’90s may find they remind you of something. I tried to track down a photo of Spot, Min’s striped van, but didn’t have any luck. Suffice it to say, there is more than a passing resemblance in the colors.
[Finally, thanks to Natasha Brenchley, who created this year's Socktoberfest banner and is letting folks use it for their blog posts.]
October 18, 2010
favorite things swap 7
posted by soe 11:43 pm
Last week was not all awfulness, since this package arrived for me in the mail. I have participated in the Favorite Things swaps on Ravelry before and am always excited to get packages filled with someone else’s favorite things in the mail.
Cassandra took great care of me, and I find we have many favorite things in common. She likes chocolate. I like chocolate. She likes tea. I like tea! She likes cookies — and really delicious oatmeal chocolate almond cherry cookies, at that. I like cookies and ate the whole package up! (Okay, I may have shared them with Rudi. He had a crappy week last week, too, after all.)
And, of course, we both like yarn. Cassandra sent me lovely indigo blue sock yarn made of merino, cashmere, and nylon that I believe she dyed herself. And then she sent me two patterns for socks to knit.
It really was a terrific package to receive last week when I was feeling so low. Thanks, Cassandra!
October 17, 2010
a relaxing saturday
posted by soe 12:43 am
Today began with a lie-in. I didn’t get up until noon, which was just fine from my body’s perspective. I haven’t been feeling well this week and clearly my body thought we needed some more sleep.
After a hearty bowl of oatmeal and berries, we decided to forgo the chores we should be working on and instead go out and enjoy the sunshiny weather.
I called up Sarah and the three of us headed out to the Maryland “countryside” (really, it seemed more like less developed suburbs…) in search of cider doughnuts. Not only did we find them, but they were in such short supply that when we finally got them, they were fresh and hot!
Having accomplished that goal, we decided to see if we could find Sarah some unpasteurized cider. Because I prefer my cider hot and with cinnamon sticks, I don’t tend to notice the difference between raw cider and its pasteurized sibling. But Sarah prefers hers straight up and cold, where I imagine the difference is terribly noticeable.
We hit the road and headed south, trying to make what Google said would be a 70 minute drive into the 58 minutes before the farm stand closed. As we hit Olney town center, we knew all hope was lost. Feeling slightly dejected, when we passed a different farm stand, we decided to pull in to see if anything they had for sale could make up for the loss. They had a sign up for cider, so Sarah decided that it was better to have the processed cider than none at all and asked the girl for a half-gallon. Well, you could have heard our cries of joy up the road when the girl turned and asked if Sarah preferred pasteurized or non! We picked up a bottle, too, and are going to do a compare and contrast with some I bought last week at the farmers’ market.
After we dropped Sarah off to enjoy her cider with the lamb stew she had cooking in her crock pot, I suggested to Rudi that we should do our cat litter buying up in Columbia Heights and combine it with dinner at Pete’s. I haven’t had our favorite D.C. pizza in ages and it just felt like the right way to end a fun Saturday out.
Tomorrow, I’ll have to get some things done — I need to hit the garden, the tomato paste needs to be made, and a heap of laundry awaits my attention. But after a stressful week, it was nice to leave all our woes at home and just to go out in the car with friends in pursuit of some Northeast soul food.
October 14, 2010
della, sunset, and blocked
posted by soe 11:06 pm
It’s been a rough week here in the Burrow and I just haven’t really felt up to talking about it. But tradition is the sort of thing that shouldn’t be messed with, so here are the usual Thursday Three Beautiful Things from my week past:
1. It was obvious that Della was getting weaker and weaker and I confess that I spilled many tears both before and after taking her to the vet, anticipating from past experience that she would not be coming home. But with the help of a caring vet clinic, some fluids, and a number of medicines, we got a call Tuesday that said we could pick her up and bring her back to the Burrow. Rudi and I are not natural nurses, but we do love our eldest cat tremendously and she is forgiving of our awkwardness. The barrage of medicines doesn’t offer us forever, but they do offer us all some additional time together, which we plan to spend snuggling.
2. Crossing the Taft Bridge up to Woodley Park last night, I note that a few trees below me in Rock Creek Park are beginning to be tipped with yellow and one or two with red. The sun perches just atop those on the horizon before it slips behind them for the night.
3. I finish a knitting project and block it (stretch it out a bit to even out the stitches) on a dinner plate. It ends up looking as cool as I hoped it would, and my fingers are crossed that the recipient will like it, too.