Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Comfort Knitting

Today, I am exceedingly tired, having risen early for an appointment that was much earlier than I would've preferred. It doesn't help that it's a grey day, which isn't exactly ideal for picture-taking, either; but I still have a photo for the yarn along.


It's a green fuzzy blanket! I don't think you can tell from the picture, but it's knit in a feather and fan lace pattern. This is my comfort knitting: it's soft and cuddly, it's easy enough to do while reading, so both the product and the process are comforting. I need some comfort knitting to get through the rest of this semester. (And I imagine that this blanket will take me a ways into next semester, also; I have ten balls of the yarn and am currently on the third.)

The book is from the library, and it's one I've been looking forward to reading for a while. I have to be honest: when I started reading it, I was a tad disappointed. This has nothing to do with the quality of the book, but rather with it being a different kind of book than I expected; which in turn has to do with my being in an MFA program and having a lot of exposure to Creative Nonfiction. I absolutely love the concept--knitting designers sharing stories about family members who played a role in shaping their creativity; using knitting as a link between generations. Larissa Brown does a good job of recreating these stories from interviews with the knitters themselves, and now that I'm into the book, I'm enjoying it and highly recommend it.

I also completed the first of a pair of socks last week, and I must say I'm pretty proud of it. It's a lizard sock for Keith's birthday. But alas, I don't know where he put it, so no pictures.

And now, I am off to take a nap ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yarn (and coffee) at the end of a long day ...


For this week's yarn along I haven't much on the needles. But I do have finished objects!


(Sorry for the crappy picture: it is rainy and dark outside, and darker in our apartment.)

All the Baby Surprise Jacket needs is to be sewn up and have the ends woven in, and then I'll have to pick out some buttons. :) And I finished my Honeymoon Socks (finally!).Again, just some ends that need weaving.

And on the reading front, I finished Shadow Theater, which I found a little confusing at times (lots of names to keep track of), but enjoyed. No new books from the library yet, as I was pretty focused on completing a short story for workshop last week and over the weekend.

Today I am knitting a hexipuff from the honeymoon yarn. But most of my day, so far, was spent running around trying to find the lost and found where my purse had been turned in. Once I got there everyone was nice and helpful, and I even bumped into the bus driver who had found it for me; but it was a very rainy day, and I was tired and frustrated, and it ate up all my time. Blarg.

Although I do have to get working on some school stuff, today I am going to take it easy and concentrate on things like laundry and various other housekeeping things that will make me feel good about myself and accomplished and save this day from being wasted.

On the bright side: As a reward to myself for finding my purse and surviving and all that, I stopped by Anthropologie and poked around for a bit. Pretty things. :) (I did, of course, scoff thoroughly at the simple bulky-weight knit hat that cost $58. Anthro, there is a yarn store down the street.) They had lovely peacock lampshades that I lusted after.

Then I went across the parking lot and bought what I honestly believe was the best mocha of my life from Coffee Tree Roasters. For real. I don't think I can ever go back to Starbucks again.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I thought I wouldn't mind a job at Anthropologie, working amongst so many pretties with (I assume) an employee discount.

And then I realized.

I will probably never work a retail job again. At least, not in the foreseeable future. Not with babies to take care of who will grow into children to homeschool.

It was kind of an odd realization, but it made me happy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Four Angles of Tuesday

1. I left my purse on the bus today. Luckily the driver was headed back to the garage shortly after my stop, and the Port Authority managed to track him (and my purse) down, and it should be waiting for me at lost and found. Eesh.

2. I was asked today, for the first time ever, if I was pregnant. (Well, okay, not the first time; but for the first time because I *looked* pregnant.) This made me happy. :)

3. Flannery O'Connor is an amazing woman. Proof: "Writing is like giving birth to a piano sideways. Anyone who perseveres is either talented or nuts." For those of you who have to deal with me/listen to me weep and moan on bad days, just remember I'm giving birth to a piano. Sideways. (Not sure if writing a manuscript prepares one for real labor, or real labor prepares one for writing. I'll get back to you on this in five months.)

4. Today is a soft and velvety fall day and it is wonderful. And my husband gave me money to sustain myself before class since I am without my wallet. So I can't really complain all that much I guess.

Back to grading.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Desultory Bits (and a contest)

So I am not one of those people that shares their wishlists on their blog or Facebook page ... but. Knitpicks has a contest. And I want to enter it. And so, for those who care to click the link, I share with you:


(At least I think that will be my wishlist if you click on it.)

In other news, I have discovered that if I do one load a day on my days home, I can keep the laundry beast in check. It's an empowering discovery.

In other other news, apparently a bridge between our apartment and school is being Occupied on Tuesday. I have ambiguous feelings about this, but I imagine that a demonstration by the natives of this little community is going to be vastly different than those by people in, say, Oakland, CA, or NYC, or various other cities where the protests are avenues for behavior I can't condone no matter the cause.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Casting On and Off

I did quite a bit of knitting last week, but between doctor's appointments and story-writing and general busyness, I never got around to posting for Ginny's yarn along. But I am back today!

The BSJ looks about the same as it did two weeks ago, although I added a few rows. However, I have (finally) cast on the mate of my first Honeymoon Sock, and I have cast off my brother's birthday present.


For those who want to see the finished present, you'll have to head over to the Ravelry page. :)

I've also been kniting hexipuffs! I am enjoying these little things! It gives me a chance to work with these beautiful yarns again, and they are so quick and easy and lovable. They're made of leftover bits from my Haruni, my Annis, my cowl, and the light green one was knit of a strand of the Annis yarn and Kidsilk Haze (from my bridesmaid shawls) held together.


The book is Shadow Theater by Fiona Cheong, who is the chair of my manuscript committee. For whatever reason, I haven't actually read anything published by the members of my committee until now, so it's about time I did so!

Thanks to all of you who gave congratulations on my last yarn along post! I know I didn't respond to everyone because I got so busy, but I really appreciate it, and it makes me happy to be able to share our joy with others.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quickening

I've been waiting to feel my baby move for the past few weeks. Yes, it was kind of early, but you always hear stories about women who felt their first flutters at 14 weeks, so I paid attention! Every now and then I would pause whatever I was doing (usually typing ...) and think, was that the baby? My conclusion was usually no, it wasn't the baby--just gas, or some other bodily function.

But last week--week 16--I felt the baby move.

It wasn't at all like a fluttering, the way my cousin (and many people on the internet) described it. It wasn't at all like gas. It wasn't like "popcorn popping" (thanks again, internet!). It was like a poke from the inside, a small (but not too gentle!) prodding.

I was laying on my back on the couch, with my laptop on my stomach (a position that it later occurred to me wasn't the best for baby), and there it was, clear and pretty much unmistakable. And I've been feeling it just about every day since. Sometimes it's the poking, other times it's a broader sort of pressure I assume is the baby's head or rear.

It's always beautiful.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Present Moment

As I drove past a Catholic church on my way to visit a friend on Wednesday (after hearing our baby's heartbeat for the second time that morning!), I crossed myself as usual, and then added the prayer, "Lord, please help me to live in the present moment."

My friend is a stay-at-home Mom to two beautiful little boys--my godson, who is 19 months, and his little 6-7 month-old brother. We talked about how motherhood makes you live in the present moment--can practically force you to do so, just as parenthood (in some ways) can force you to be selfless in ways that being married without kids doesn't. (Don't feel like getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby? Well, you don't have all that much choice!)

And I realized (again) that I am in a pretty funny place right now. I want that so badly--that present-moment lifestyle of taking care of a little one. It's what I've always wanted for my life, to be a mother (and to write), and I guess not many people have their childhood wishes fulfilled so clearly. But living in the present moment isn't something I'm called to do five or six months from now; it's something I'm called to do--well, now, in the present. And it's very difficult.

I keep finding myself wishing that I was on the other side of this graduate degree, that grad school was over. Even more often, I find myself wishing, simply, that it was next semester, that the process of drafting my manuscript was over and I could simply focus on revision, which to me right now seems like a distant and peaceful dream. (Oh, I know revision will be tough. But the stories will already all exist in some state or other, and believe me, that's a big deal.)

I have to struggle sometimes not to be jealous of my friends who aren't in school, not because I have some romanticized idea of their lives, but because I am at this weird in-between spot where I *can't* make dinner for my husband half the time (we usually cook together, which is nice too), or keep up with the laundry and the dishes and the dusting, much as I want to, because even though I am home three weekdays out of five ... I am grading, and reading and writing for class, and working on my manuscript.

My present moment right now is overwhelming. It is, in fact, a place where I am mightily struggling with discouragement about myself. But it is where I am. It's where God wants me to be, and more importantly, it is where He is. A funny sort of in-between place it might be, with my future tangible in the very poking, stirring feelings of my baby moving around inside of me; but I know I am here for a reason, and if that reason is to bear the fruit God wills, I must live within His reality. (In fact, there is very little that has taught me as much about the operation of God's will in my life as grad school, from the very moment I chose to go. And I know He has so much more to show me if I rest in Him, in this present.)