28 December 2007

number 51

Dude, I had 50 posts and didn't even know it. Duuuude.

Coffee-shopping it with Laura, "working from home," on my first latte and third caffeinated beverage of the day, the first being a pot of black tea ... feeling glad I knit myself fingerless mitts last winter with desperation. This winter I think I'll knit myself some in alpaca, because it's warmer than wool, and because I wear these things to pieces.

Off tonight to 'Appy Hour and Sweeney Todd. Yup.

I have misplaced an entire bag of whole wheat flour. The possibility that I used it all exists, but only in a small way; it's far more likely I lost it. Other things I have lost: a pair of jeans one summer; several watches; three-inch blade pocket knives, to airport security and the general universe; an Israeli bracelet from Noah in Paintbrush Canyon in the Tetons (I had it on when I went in, but not when I came out the next day); several pairs of dress shoes and 'real' earrings one summer in college; a favorite black cotton shirt ... so really, it isn't that weird to have lost a bag of flour, except my kitchen is not large, and where else would I put a bag of flour?

I wish I didn't get so cold so easy. I'm in the mood for an early winter camping trip. I used to go on one annually with my dad and brother; they'd put me in between them to sleep in our two-person tent, in my own 20-degree bag with another one spread out on top of me. I kind of was warm enough. But that was Missouri, and it wasn't 20 degrees on those trips, not like here.

Also, I'm ready to go vegetarian. I've been thinking this for a while, and the only worry is that vegetarianism seems like veganism with significant cheating to me, and milk products suck for me because I have more than enough mucus already ... but I can't afford the meat I want to eat (free-range and organic) and not the cheese and milk products either ... but good lord Crane Alley makes an excellent burger with portabellas, onions, and gorgonzola that made me rethink this whole thing.

So what I'm really thinking is I like/d being vegetarian, and that it always makes me want to go vegan, except vegan is hard to pull off. I might do it anyway.

And I might not. Last time I was vegetarian hardcore, not like the two years I spent afraid of cafeteria food but the real no-meat six months of my life, I also stopped eating rich foods (think fried, along with eggs) and sugar/s. I dropped weight like crazy. I also lost muscle like crazy, culminating in a sudden inability to lift heavy things (like toolboxes) -- quite different from the months before, when I would lift fifty pound bags of dry clay and not blink. All this changed when I realized that not only was I not eating meat, but I wasn't eating ... and I started longing for lunch meat ... and I ended my vegetarianism. Yeah, for lunch meat.

Veganism is cool, though. But I'd eat honey.

Okay, now my thumb is aching randomly and I'm going to leave.

22 December 2007

The problem with traveling is ...

how much yarn do I take with me? Thankfully my needles are easily condensed.

Things to finish knitting before Christmas morning:
--one arm, two legs, one tail, and two ears for a knitted cat doll in shocking pink
--one floppy dog ear on one psychedelic purple hat for oldest niece
--two other indiscriminate ears for other hat for younger niece
--a lot of the Apple IIE hat we're fashioning for our cube-headed niece (oh, there will be pictures)

That list is so much shorter than it was a few days ago. Goodness.

After we buy one book at the store, our shopping is DONE. My present for Noah is even wrapped; he's still asleep, which makes the subterfuge easy.

To knit before Jan. 8:
--one scarf for one man I love very much, in a Fibonacci-derived stripe sequence, in charcoal grey and burnt orange alpaca yarn

To knit before I leave stl if it's possible:
--a small soft thing for a dear friend of whom I am very proud

And then it's time I start some socks for myself, people. I may pay Birgitte to teach me, even. I may just read on Knitty and go to it, too. I've decided the only way I want to learn to knit socks, and thus, the only way I want to knit them, is toe-up on two circular needles. I think I'll split my yarn into two balls when I ball it, too, so I know exactly how tall they can be. I love tall socks. Like knee-high.

I think I got a cold yesterday. YESTERDAY. We started heading to bed, I started a combination dry/wet cough, and now I'm all sore inside, my sinuses hurt as per usual, I'm worried about the babies in Saint Louis ... so it goes, I suppose. It is winter, after all. I have my antibacterial lotion, which I will wield with great force.

So yeah, we're leaving today. We are not packed, Noah is still asleep, I am not dressed -- but we are leaving. Sometime.

Produce in the fridge I wish we'd eaten already, instead of falling asleep on the cough nearly every night this week:
--two bunches of watercress with roots attached
--beautiful celery hearts
--one pear (I think we can handle that)
--tasty dates and figs (well, I can get rid of those ... with my belly)
--six zested lemons, and a bunch of other lemons and limes
--white potatoes and sweet potatoes

Maybe I'll bring some of it with us. It's a short drive, relatively.

21 December 2007

GoodReads sent me a Poem of the Month

by Lorna Johnson

Still Mouths

This is about the way things breathe
in my absence. About the sound
of things breathing that are supposed to be
silent. About the way I can almost catch
a chair filling with air, a wooden spoon
left near an open window, opening its small mouth.

Mouth the secret of these still things who
breathe in, out,
spoon the air from window ledges,
sound like tambourines or flames crackling.
Catch something breathing.
Be quiet.

Be still. The clock advances like a
mouth speaking strict lines.
Catch the sound of tense lips that cannot open to
breathe (even the
sound of death can soothe. The chair. The
spoon.) Certain among us are beyond this fear, and simply

spoon air into invisible lungs.
Be still, and know that I am
sound. That you are
Breathe in.
Catch the same breath leaving.

Catch god taking his air with a
spoon. What gods eat we cannot even
breathe, let alone
be. And still my
mouth waters, thinking of the
sound of spatulas, the

sound of saucepans when they
catch a ray of air, open a small
mouth to it,
spoon it in. When I enter, they will of course
be silent. But they will still

In my kitchen, it is the things who breathe. Though I cannot catch
them at it, I think I would like the sound. Just now, a spoon
shifted in a drawer. Trying to be quiet, opening its mouth.

18 December 2007

daydreamy day

I have a great idea for handmade Christmas cards. Like really great. Super-great, even. I need watercolor paper (I may have some already), I need a silver pen or glitter maybe and maybe not, I need brown paint, but really I need TIME.

things left to do:
--finish one knitted cat doll
--finish the dog ears on one knit hat
--finish other knit hat with animal ears
--record myself reading to my niece who is fascinated by my voice
--decide to make another baby hat, or not; get yarn, or don't
--finish one knit cuff bracelet
--decide on two more presents
--purchase two (now one) decided-on presents
--wrap them all

If I want several small boxes for wrapping things ... can I get them somewhere? Like small shirt boxes and jewelery-size boxes? I've never thought of buying this before, but I bet I could buy them indeed.

17 December 2007

Handwashing etiquette, people!

Okay, I have not always been the most stringent handwasher. Nor have I historically been interested in hygiene ... I've never been dirty beyond belief, but there have been periods of time during which showering, teeth-brushing, shaving, hairbrushing, and general concerns of appearance and smelliness have been my last priority. I'm much cleaner now. I'm not considering dreadlocks anymore.

Insert montage here of me eating food off the ground -- as in, the forest floor, pulling my fingers through my hair and finding more snags than hair, including one unintentional dread in the back, a friend's boyfriend telling me I smell ...

But people! HANDWASHING. It is simple, it is effective, and it even feels nice -- warm water, decent soap, that "so fresh and so clean clean" feeling. COME ON. And especially if, perhaps, you work in an office building where 50 people or so use the same bathroom, and those 50 people bring between 1 and 10 people's germs with them to work, and perhaps some of us have the crappiest immune systems ever -- WASH YOUR HANDS.

For 15 seconds. Count them.

I am terrified to touch the faucet handles in the bathroom now. I am usually far more into conserving water, but I think I've been forced into 15 seconds of washing with the water on, then towel-drying my hands, then turning off the water. I'll find other ways to conserve water.

Martha's January issue has a section on how to eat to fight colds. I think I need to buy this issue, even though I already know all her tips. I can post it on my fridge and ask myself, Self, when did you last eat kale? Let's eat some kale.

Things I'm thankful for lately: a kind husband who offers to drive me to work in the snow; friends who give us their produce before leaving town (oh the organic fruit and vegetables!); friends in general; a brain that still works; good modern medicine. Decongestant can father my children any day.

Let's start thinking food for the holidays, too. What food equals holiday? I missed out on latkes. I'll probably make a kugel anyway.

13 December 2007

a catalouge of events

Much has happened.

Noah's mom passed away last week in her sleep after a 17-year fight with Huntington's disease. We had a great memorial service; her body has been donated to science; seeing his family was awesome; and in the end, we ate far too much lasange. I never imagined I would get sick of lasange. Maybe I just want mine, with all the sausage, onions, wine, and broiled eggplant.

Officemate Kyle and I have been moved into a new office. It has big windows, is a corner office, gets way more solar gain, and we share it with another person. She telecommutes most days, so we haven't seen her yet. We have room for a Christmas tree ...

My parents have been married thirty years. We had lasange with them Sunday. Srsly, more lasange.

I am hell-bent on knitting more than I have ever knit before. It helps me sleep, it helps me think, and I want to be a professional knitter. I want to start dyeing yarn today. I want to design patterns.

I may be taking Noah's mom's weaving loom, though I don't know how to weave. Can it be that hard?

Can it, really?

06 December 2007

some things I believe about winter:

1.) The only way to survive winter in the Midwest is to apply as much skin-penetrating oil as possible, as often as possible, to all parts of your body. I mean lip balm like you wouldn't believe (and I already have three splits in my lower lip), I mean sugar scrub everyday, I mean those tiny little cuts you get on your knuckles when the skin cracks open.

The best things I have found to combat this issue of winter:
-- Kiehl's lip balm. In terms of healing, it's better than Burt's. And it magically works on cold sores. I have no clue how.
-- sugar scrub. 1/2 c. oil (olive, vitamin E, sweet almond, whatever), 1 c. sugar, 5 drops essential oil if you want it. Use on damp skin, rinse lightly, blot dry. Be careful not to fall in the shower.
-- baths and showers that aren't too hot. This is hard for me: I am chronically cold, and hot water immersion is when I get warm. But too hot = dry skin forever. So I turn up the heat in my house, have a robe ready, so on.
-- Neutrogena's Norweigan Hand Cream. It is nearly straight petrolatum, yes, but dude, it goes on your hands and doesn't come off when you wash them, or work in a kitchen, or throw pots all winter because you thought having your hands immersed in watery clay would be a great thing to do -- in WINTER, when it is cold already.

I'm liking this Bath and Body Works anti-bacterial lotion. It's okay so far. Hasn't cured my sinusitis.

2.) Cold begets cold. This has many meanings.
-- If you get a cold, you will get another, sooner than you'd like.
-- If you ARE cold, you will not get warm quickly. Go into overdrive: think hats, blankets, down booties, fingerless mitts, scarves -- all on top of your sweater, underlayer, thick pants, legwarmers, and wool socks -- and all when you're inside. If all else fails, either get into a not too hot bath or into a down sleeping bag. I spent a winter in Iowa in my down sleeping bag. A whole winter. I mean until April.

3.) Humidifiers are not an option. They are a necessity. I think I'm getting a new one for the first time in my life soon. The old one is so covered in scale that I'm not sure it puts out steam, but more like calcified chlorine in a gas state. If that's possible.

4.) Notice IT'S NOT WINTER YET. You live in the Midwest. Winter starts by Halloween and can go until after Easter. Make a note to yourself not to move any farther north than you are already.

5.) Good boots. Not dress boots. Good hiking boots with tread and steel toes and ankle support.

6.) Some places in the Midwest don't use ice melting salt. Like Iowa. They only use sand. I thought my ruin was certain when I moved there and saw no salt, just sand. I thought, what good can this do? Then I saw six months of snow and ice melting a little, then refreezing at night, over and over, and understood -- traction is the goal; this ice will never melt.

7.) Cold is exhilarating? Your breath looks cool? It humbles us? I don't believe these things. I'm too busy conserving heat.

05 December 2007

what happens when I can't get a song out of my head

is I post the lyrics, folks. Here's Regina Spektor's "Samson":


You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came fallin' on our heads
But they're just old light, they're just old light
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I'd done alright
And kissed me 'til the mornin' light, the mornin' light
And he kissed me 'til the mornin' light

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn't destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first

First night of Hanukkah. Got two candles lit. I need a new box if we're to get through the eight days ... no olive oil lamps for us ... This year, I learned that the reason cheese is associated with Hanukkah, along with deliciously fried things, has to do with Judith, who is somehow associated with the same uprising as the Hanukkah folks, and who, most importantly, used cheese to get the enemy general thirsty enough so that he'd get drunk and let himself be seduced and ultimately beheaded.

Thanks, Judith, for blintzes at Hanukkah.

Changing track: What would happen if I was honest all the time? Honest to myself, honest to others, honest in general? My dad jokingly told me a few months ago that he and I are the shit-disturbers.

What if I really am a shit-disturber? I'm not convinced about that one. But I will consider the idea that maybe, honesty isn't as threatening to me as I think it would be. Maybe not much would change at all; other things would flip, of course.

Well, in the spirit of Garcia and Hunter's "Ramblin' Rose," you can take the rose out of the ramble, but not the ramble out of the rose: "Did you say your name was / (dun dun) Ramblin' Rose ... Ramble on baby / Settle down easy / Ramblin' Rose"

03 December 2007

Being a maker is, apparently, a cold-handed business. It also seems like it would need to be a self-employed business, hopefully for-profit, with a home office. Maybe someday Noah and I could rent an apartment big enough for all the rooms we'd like -- living room, bedroom, good kitchen and eating space, bathroom, office, maybe another office for me. He doesn't need much office room, but I would like his office to hold the elliptical machine ... and mine to hold more room for me. Mostly that would come down to my desk, a big table for cutting/stamping/sketching, a movable/foldable writer's/editor's desk, a good chair with ottoman ... a million shelves ...

I think the time is nearing. The time of me actually writing down a yarn budget. I don't need a drawing budget, or a fabric budget, or a budget for button-buying; I don't do a lot of those things. But yarn ... yarn.

The time of me unraveling sweaters and dyeing yarn is also near.

I am a hat-knitting fool. I finished a simple beanie out of Malabrigo worsted, oh so lovely. I finished the BAYBLES chemo cap, too. On size 3's, on a splitty yarn, with apparently another case of the loose gauge. Since when am I a looser knitter than the standard knitter?! I hate checking for gauge! But unless I want to keep making hats for toddlers that fit me, and chemo caps that come down to my CHIN (but do fold nicely, but still hide the prettiest cables) ... gauge time.

I am also a thinker who thinks about future possibilities a bit much. A bit over-thought. For example, maybe just thinking "Hey having my own office at home would be nice" can just stay there, rather than becoming "But when we raise kids I'm sure my office would be the one to go and isn't that just like the world? Trading children for making? What a stupid world! I don't want to trade anything!" blah blah blah. Let's get to that when it's in arms' reach. Not today.

I might want a different job. I might. Suggestions welcome. I have many criteria, however. And still, however, those criteria are dwindling.

Things I'm thinking of making today:
-- serious bread, of Peter Reinhart's lineage
-- Christmas cookies, specifically Swedish almond and spice/molasses
-- garlic/chickpea/spinach soup
-- schwabische spaetzle with cheese galore

-- my own wrapping paper
-- my own stamps
-- my own gift bags
-- my own gift boxes
-- my own book covers (like for binders) -- think cardboard with center cut-outs and designed paper wrapping them all, and maybe with inner liners, too

-- bulky alpaca double-knit scarves
-- some tighter and warmer fingerless mitts
-- a sweater. yeah. I want to make a sweater, I think, for me.

-- lightly cabled cuffs in kidsilk haze with beading wire for structure

um? Sounds like a full enough plate to me.