May 19, 2011
just because a=b does that mean that b=a?
posted by soe 2:45 am
I am down to the toe on the Sock Madness socks I’ve been working on for the past month (being eliminated slows down the knitting immensely, I’ve found), which means it’s time to return to the project I was working on before the last pattern was announced.
This was a long lingering UFO (unfinished object), dating back to my first year of participating in the Tour de France knitalong. I knit the first sock during the Tour of 2008 and then inexplicably put them aside, despite a love of the yarn, Lazy Perry Ranch, and a fondness for the pattern, Bastille Day.
Suddenly this spring, I needed to finish this pair of socks and picked up the needles and cast on Sock #2. I knit it intermittently in between Sock Madness rounds, and I can only say that the stop-and-go nature may have had a detrimental effect on my project.
See how I’m nearly done? Less than an inch to go…
The knitting went quickly, although I was grumpy about how the yarn was suddenly pooling on the leg. I figured my gauge had changed over time, and ripped back to the heel in order to try to actively knit differently in order to keep the yarn from looking hideous. You can see from the above photo of the sock fronts that it’s clearly still different, but not too bad.
Unless you turn the sock over and look at the backs:
Yep. I managed to knit the leg of my second sock not once, but twice, in the wrong pattern. The front of the leg remains the same pattern as on the foot, but the back is supposed to have a different pattern. I remember reading that when I put the sock down at one point, but clearly neglected to revisit the instructions (or even the first sock!) when I picked it up again.
Third time is the charm right? I mean, after three years and three times knitting the leg, this pair of socks is going to be awesome. I can just sense it.
May 18, 2011
ten on tuesday: outside
posted by soe 1:49 am
Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic is Ten Favorite Things to Do Outside. I’m sticking to summer activities, since that was implied, but I could come up with another ten for the colder months:
- Go to the beach. Bring a book. Bring a bathing suit. Bring a parka. Bring a grape soda and some chips. Doesn’t matter the season. Doesn’t matter the weather. Rainy, sunny, snowy, windy, hot, cold, idyllic. It’s all good. Honestly, life is just always better after you spend some time at the ocean.
- Sit at a cafe. Admittedly, this is probably the domain of those of us urban dwellers without access to a backyard, but it’s still lovely in the evening after work to plunk down at a table with a drink, a book, a knitting project, an iPod, and a crossword. Or another person. That’s even better.
- Picnic and barbecue. Be it lunch up at Mitchell Park on a Saturday or a weekend evening picnic with the gang, hummus and cheese and cold salads just scream summertime. And, just this past Sunday, we broke out the grill for burgers cooked on the stoop. You can bet we’ll be repeating that and we’re even talking about inviting the rest of the building’s residents to partake one evening in an effort to be more neighborly.
- Reconnect with the earth. Summer is the time for berry picking. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. Doesn’t really matter. I love them all and coming home with a flat of them after a day at a farm makes every mouthful that much sweeter.
It’s also the time to get out to the garden and grow some things of my own. It’s a really cool feeling to watch things you’ve planted from seed or seedling or kitchen waste grow into legitimate food items. I mean, we grow peanuts and potatoes and strawberries and lettuce! How crazy is that?
- Get artsy. From Jazz in the Sculpture Garden to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and from big name performers at formal concert sites to local church brass ensembles putting on a street corner show in the Circle, music is another thing that only gains from outdoor exposure.
And while I know that it is not necessary to view the Bard’s work outdoors, I find myself really only interested in attending performances al fresco. Unfortunately, D.C. has gotten rid of that option, but last year Rudi and I saw a great performance back at Conn in the Arbo and the year before we watched an abridged (I know!) version up in Olney. I can’t really countenance such adaptation, so I’m going to have to hunt around to see what some of the other local ‘burbs can offer me.
- Attend festivals. Although the season technically starts in early spring with the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Kite Festival, the traditional start of the season is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in early May. It’s anchored in early summer by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and goes through the end of September and the National Book Festival (two days this year instead of just one!). You just never know what you’re going to learn or see!
- Ride my bike. Don’t tell Rudi, but I actually enjoy tooling around on my bike quite a bit. I’ll never be the cyclist he is, but there is something cool about knowing you can propel yourself 20 miles in an afternoon. And I’d never see some of the places I’ve visited or the wildlife I’ve spotted if I’d had to go on foot or by car or public transit.
- Drink daiquiris. My dad makes the best virgin strawberry daiquiris in the world. I hear his full octane ones are also pretty good.
- Watch baseball. We’re part of a group that goes in on season tickets to the Nationals, so Rudi and I catch ten or so games of major league ball each year. While I’m particularly fond of a Mets-Nationals match-up, I’m happy anytime I can get to the ball park. The crack of the bat is just a summertime sound. And a ballpark at twilight is just a magical place.
- Lie in a hammock. Because after all that gardening, festival going, gardening, and bike riding, sometimes you just need a nap.
I can’t figure out what to delete from the above group to fit in camping, but know if this were a list of eleven, my love of campfires and stargazing would shoot this onto the list. And if it were an even dozen, dancing in a torrential July downpour would probably round out the twelve.
Check out the other participants’ lists at Carole’s blog. And feel free to share your own favorite warm-weather outdoor activities in the comments.
May 14, 2011
catch you tomorrow
posted by soe 12:17 am
Sarah, Rudi, and I spent the night at Nationals Park knitting away as part of Stitch and Pitch. Between sock knitting, extra innings, and a delay on the red line, there’s just no extra time in there for blogging.
May 12, 2011
juicy, quintet, and blast
posted by soe 11:16 pm
This has been a beautiful, lovely, amazing, fantastic week of superlative spring weather. It has been, people, the week we will look back on in mid-July when the temperatures are 90 hazy degrees with 90 percent humidity and our tempers are flaring because we are not so slowly becoming a human puddle and think, “I wish for that.” So I’ve spent time outside every day and walked or ridden my bike and sat at cafes and enjoyed outdoor markets and festivals and plan to continue to do so until the weather gods cut me off.
1. The first strawberries of the season dye my fingertips pink.
2. Bachelor buttons are 5/$1 at the local farmers’ market. I take a dollar’s worth back to the office for my desk — pink, purple, orchid, burgundy, and white with a deep violet center.
3. When we get in the car to drive up to the wool festival on Sunday, the radio is working. (Rudi informs me this is a somewhat rare occurrence these days.) And my iPod shuffle opts for “Last Train to Clarksville.” So I turned up the radio and rolled down the windows to share the joyful combination of fortune with the rest of Dupont Circle. (And, yes, my iPod says it knows that “Pleasant Valley Sunday” would have been more appropriate, but it didn’t want to send me over to rapturous.)
What’s been beautiful in your world this week?
(Oh, and before we go, happy early birthday to Jenn!)
mid-may garden update
posted by soe 1:10 am
What’s growing in this mid-Atlantic community garden plot in mid-May?
Our herbs are doing well. Rosemary and sage and lemon thyme survived the winter, to which this week we added regular thyme we picked up on our way out of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. (more…)
May 9, 2011
one book, two book, three book, four… and five
posted by soe 12:48 am
Pardon my lack of words. My brain says I’ve had too much fun and sun at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and that it’s time for bed.
I found this meme over at raidergirl3′s an adventure in reading; it originated with Stuck in a Book.
The Book I Am Currently Reading
I am stuck a third of the way into Jasper Fforde’s One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, just before Thursday gets thrust into a dangerous position. I seem unwilling to commit her to danger. And I just picked up Erin Bow’s Plain Katehalf an hour ago and read the first chapter.
The Book I Finished Last
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. That’s the last 2011 book review I owe before I’m caught up to date here on the blog.
The Next Book I Want to Read
Tea: A Global History by Helen Saberi, which Rudi gave to me for Christmas.
The Last Book I Bought
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, in part because I had kept the library copy out past its due date and still hadn’t started it. This paperback copy will fit nicely in my bag.
The Last Book I Was Given
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer — a birthday gift from a coworker.
May 5, 2011
cleared out, numb3rs, and greetings
posted by soe 5:35 pm
Today is sunny and mild and a perfect spring day — the perfect time to reflect on three beautiful things from the past week:
1. After a grey and dreary day, rain clouds pass through, leaving the sky washed clear with pink cotton candy clouds decorating the horizon.
2. One of my favorite tv series of the Aughts comes to Netflix streaming. Having missed the first season when it originally aired, I greedily watch the first five episodes of Charlie and Don trying to build a working relationship.
3. A card arrives in the mail with Easter wishes. The entire inside is filled with notes and colors, spilling over onto the back. Real mail makes my mailbox (and me) happy, but particularly when it’s so ebullient in its expression.
[Incidentally, we have just passed the six-year anniversary of publishing three beautiful things each Thursday. Thanks to Clare, who inspired such a lovely way to spend a part of each week.]
How about your week? What was beautiful in it?
posted by soe 1:38 am
Carole has, on occasion, written posts that are comprised of three lists of three related things. I’m stealing a post from her blog (it’s just not as seamless a phrase as the page-book metaphor) here:
Three things about my knitting:
1. I have three semi-active projects (meaning I’ve knit on each of them in the last three weeks) on my needles. All three were started at different times, but all three are green.
2. Sock Madness continues, but my portion of the insanity is done. I was knocked out of the competition Sunday night with only one+ of my socks done. I am still working on that sock. (Yes, it’s green.)
3. I have only bought two skeins of yarn so far this year. This streak may come to an end this weekend when Sarah and I head up to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on Sunday. Or, perhaps, I’ll decide that I have enough pretty yarns that are in my stash at home. It could happen.
Three things I’m unreasonably frustrated by:
1. My work schedule is such this year that I won’t be able to go out to Portland this summer for Sock Summit.
2. One of my galoshes has developed a gash on the side. Large slices in your boots tend to defeat the waterproof nature generally prized in such items.
3. I can’t find the bars of soap I bought in France when I was there three years ago. (Hey, it was a practical souvenir!) It would now be generous to describe the current bar in the bathroom as a shard, and I refuse to buy more when I know I have several tucked safely away somewhere.
Three things I’m looking forward to this weekend:
1. Morels at the farmers’ market.
2. Climbing up to the top of the tower at the National Cathedral.
3. EU Day. I’m thinking I might try Belgium and Finland this year.
Feel free to share your own three random things in the comments.
May 4, 2011
into the stacks: wicked appetite
posted by soe 1:08 am
Wicked Appetite, by Janet Evanovich
From the jacket: “Seven Stones of Power. No one knows when they were created or by whom, each said to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins. For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature…. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues’ gallery of power seekers. He’s an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire. That would include Elizabeth Tucker, … [whose] life is pretty much on track â€¦until it’s suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.” [Lifted from the author's website, since I forgot to copy it down before returning the book to the library.]
My take: For three weeks in March, I stopped reading altogether. Nothing appealed and I just couldn’t bring myself to force my way through my reader’s block and malaise. My library books came due and I packed them up to take back unread after work.
I don’t remember why, exactly, I cracked this book open while waiting for the train, but I’m glad I did. It was light. It was funny. Cupcake baking was a major focus. It was perfect to pull me back from the doldrums. I returned the copy (which was from another branch) that was due and took home a second copy the library had on the shelves.
The reason I picked up the book in the first place is because Mum mentioned to me that Janet Evanovich, author of the Stephanie Plum mystery series, had a new series out, featuring Diesel, an occasional and other-worldly visitor to Newark. I admit to being intrigued since Diesel appeared in both Stephanie Plum books I’d finished and his character offered what I considered to be a lot of depth for expansion.
In this new series, Diesel, who’s sort of a bounty hunter of/detective for immortals, is seeking a supernatural stone. Unfortunately, while he’s great at locating people, he’s not gifted at finding magical objects. So he needs to track down someone who can. Enter Lizzie Tucker, whose cupcake baking skills are out of this world. Finding life as a chef in New York to be too stressful, she has carved out a quiet life in Salem, Mass., landed a gig baking cupcakes for a local bakery every morning, and settled into the rambling house her great aunt bequeathed her while she tries to compile a cookbook for publication.
In other words, she’s content with her life before Diesel, who would be the first to admit he has a way with women, waltzes into her life, bringing with him a long line of increasingly uncomfortable situations as they race to track down a collection of gluttony charms before Diesel’s dangerous cousin, the lupine Gerwulf Grimoire, can steal them away for his own dastardly purposes.
Lizzie is tremendously relatable. Diesel is hilarious and suave. There’s an attack-cat, a chimp with an attitude problem, and an amateur, unskilled spell-caster. Plus, did I mention the cupcakes?
No high literature, but a quick, enjoyable read.
This book fills the category of “A book with evil in the title” from the What’s in a Name 4 Reading Challenge. It’s also my first book for this spring’s Once upon a Time Challenge.