Sunday, March 05, 2006

How to Find WBNM/PoMo Golightly on Bloglines

I've had a few questions about subscribing to the new blog via bloglines. As far as I can tell, the best way is to search for the URL, which is:

Hope to see you over there!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

100 Things About Me for Post 100. Be Sure to Read #100!

1. I’m named after my aunt.
2. My middle name is the same as my mom’s.
3. My confirmation name is Monica.
4. My mom almost named me that.
5. I like Beverly better.
6. I own far too many bags.
7. I used to own too many shoes.
8. Ok, I probably still do.
9. I learned how to knit English a month ago in order to finally make gauge.
10. I’ve been knitting for almost 10 years. I should have tried to make gauge a little sooner.
11. I’m an ovo-lacto vegetarian.
12. One of my favorite things to do is to watch a Shakespeare play, especially outside.
13. I’m perfectly good at math. I just pretend I’m not.
14. I learned to read in church by following my mother’s finger as the lector read the Gospel.
15. I became an Episcopalian in 2003.
16. I stopped going to church when I moved.
17. I still like to read my Book of Common Prayer. I think it’s well written and comforting.
18. I like that William Shakespeare also read the Book of Common Prayer.
19. I don’t believe you have to go to church to connect with God.
20. I hate working out in a gym.
21. I love getting my work out by doing something: kayaking, boxing, hiking.
22. I spent a summer at St. John’s College, Oxford.
23. I’ve rarely felt as comfortable and at home as I did then.
24. I haven’t had tv since February 1992.
25. I watch a lot of tv when I’m at Neal’s house. I won’t even admit to how much.
26. The avid tv watching usually only lasts a couple of days. Then I get disgusted with myself.
27. I watched golf with my dad throughout my childhood.
28. Now my favorite sport to watch is UCONN Huskies basketball.
29. I lived in the same town Hilton Armstrong is from.
30. I don’t know him.
31. I saw Richard Gere, Joan Rivers, Harrison Ford, and Kevin Bacon in Manhattan, but not at the same time.
32. I wish I had Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe. And hair.
33. I have subscriptions to Real Simple, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Creative Non-Fiction, and River Teeth.
34. I was born in a blizzard. I used to say I was a “lizard baby.”
35. Jonathan Safran Foer, Italo Calvino, James Salter, and A.S. Byatt are some of my favorite writers.
36. I didn’t get my BA degree until I was 28.
37. I taught college-level English in a maximum-security women’s prison for two semesters.
38. I count a dog as one of my best friends. The other dog is more like a child to me.
39. I have 13 nieces and nephews, but five of them are from my ex’s side of the family. But I still consider them my nieces and nephews.
40. I’m friends with my ex-husband. I still think he’s an amazing person.
41. The beach is one of my favorite places to be.
42. When I’m angry I cry.
43. That makes me even angrier.
44. I learned how to spin in the fall and bought a wheel of my own.
45. I want to raise alpacas some day.
46. I write about the same things over and over, but in different stories.
47. I learned to ride horses as a means to meet Prince Philip.
48. The plan didn’t really make sense as I lived in CT and he in London.
49. I like to be prepared.
50. I act really tough the first few weeks of the semester to try and get some students to drop.
51. After that I’m a soft touch.
52. I went to Australia when I was 19.
53. When I was in 4th grade my best friend, Denise, moved to MA. It seemed really far away.
54. I still miss her sometimes.
55. I’m tired of living alone.
56. Sometimes I really like living alone.
57. I was 14 before I had my own room.
58. I was a synchronized swimmer for three years as a pre-teen.
59. My first boyfriend gave me Of Human Bondage as a gift. It became one of my favorite books.
60. Even though D.H. Lawrence’s novels sometimes seem over the top, they are among my favorites.
61. I’m a better baker than I am a cook.
62. Bread is my favorite thing to bake.
63. I used to talk to a squirrel I would see as I walked between the train and work. He was missing his tail, so I knew it was the same one.
64. My cat Norman died when I was 12. It was my first experience with death.
65. New York City makes me happy.
66. I understood line after seeing a Sol LeWitt exhibit.
67. I like to mess around with watercolors.
68. My friend Linda Jean Fisher believes that we were once the same person. I believe her.
69. She taught me how to mix paint.
70. She also taught me to believe in myself as a writer.
71. I used to have a recurring dream in which these people, not merfolks, though, who lived underwater would urge me to join them. It was beautiful.
72. It makes me believe I will die by drowning.
73. That doesn’t stop me from swimming.
74. When in CT I walk the dogs by a beaver pond. It’s one my favorite places to be.
75. I have three tattoos.
76. One of them covers a Chinese symbol that was supposed to mean student.
77. I learned it meant Saturday.
78. I thought that was funny, but I covered it anyway.
79. Chewing ice makes me happy.
80. Sometimes I feel obsessive about it.
81. I don’t think I’ll ever have children.
82. I’m afraid everything bad that runs in my family would emerge in my children.
83. But then I think that everything good that runs in my family could exist in my non-existent kids.
84. That’s the most I’ve thought about children in months.
85. I made a lot of quilts between 1992 and 2000. Then I moved to a small apartment and didn’t have room to keep my sewing machine up.
86. The last quilt I made was for Julia, the daughter of a dear friend.
87. I’m learning to embroider.
88. Sometimes I like working with fiber and fabrics better than with words.
89. Mostly words make me happier than anything else, though.
90. Except my boyfriend, family, and friends.
91. My SnB group has kept me sane during the last two semesters.
92. I love to teach.
93. I cheated on my yarn fast.
94. But not as much as I thought I would.
95. I would like to have a little writing house, a room of my own as it were, some day soon.
96. I want to get married again.
97. If I could go anywhere in the world right now, I’d pick Iceland.
98. My parents always told me to do what would make me happy, and I love them for that.
99. The Artist’s Way changed my life.
100. I have a new blog: I’ll be posting there from now on, so change your blogrolls, my dear readers.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I Finished my Story, and I Opened the Boxes: A Contest

Sadly, though, my camera batteries died. I considered, for a brief moment, that I should let the batteries charge overnight and open the boxes in the morning when I would be able to photograph the big event moment by moment. But haven't I been patient enough, waiting for hours after I arrived home to tear into the boxes? Of course I have.

So now Miss Lendrum is put together. I practiced treadling, and I'm about to find some roving to start spinning. That shouldn't be a problem, as you know if you've looked inside my office closet.

My car's name is Clarke Sable. My sewing machine's name is Sally. My computer is Phineas (I know, no alliteration there, but I can't ever give that name to a child or pet...the computer won't complain, at least). What should I name Miss L.? Make your suggestions, and I'll send a skein of a festive, fun yarn purchased at Flying Fingers in Irvington, New York, to the winner.

By the way, this is my 99th post. Next post WBNM turns 100. And that post will have a big announcement.

Don't forget, bring out your Lenten projects tomorrow. I'll be bringing my St. F's Vest of Many Colors to share with my SnB. If you hear some crazy cackling around 7 p.m. Central time tomorrow, you'll know what it is. 'Cause there's a good reason this vest is unfinished. Really.

I'm going to go charge those camera batteries now.

She's here!

Yup. I came home from running errands after boxing (a trip to the post office to mail a SP package, then to my LYS to exchange needles, then to the grocery store for garlic and milk) to see some packages at my door. Right now they're leaned against the banco (sp?) next to my big ol' fireplace. I will not--I repeat, I WILL NOT open them until I get some writing done. I have to turn a story in to workshop tomorrow. So, no pictures.

There's something else I want to tell you, but not just yet. Patience!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Saga of a Girl Without a Wheel

Noelle has been joining me, her breath baited along with mine as we track the UPS progress of my Lendrum. It's in Albuquerque. Now. As I write this. But no apartment number was added to the address, so it is not in my possession. Nor will it be until Monday. I'm a patient woman, though, so I'm keeping calm about it. Really.

Crafty Friday was lots of fun. Liz worked on her Big, Bad Baby Blanket, Trevor started the Umbilical Cord hat (his first knitting in the round project). Cari worked on designing her fair isle hat (pink reindeer would ROCK!), and Noelle spun her gorgeous Neopolitan. Allen learned to knit, and maybe because he's a guitar player, or maybe because his gram taught him to crochet as a kid...but man, this guy had three beautiful rows of a washcloth done before he left. Great tension, even stitches. Dana worked on her cross stitch blanket.

Noelle's doll of a hubby stopped by at the end of the night with my favorite guest (sorry everyone else), Winter. Noelle gifted me with One Skein, which I thought didn't come out until April. It is beautiful, and there are a load of patterns that I'm excited to start.

Cari gave me a wheel warming gift, too, but I'll wait to post a picture of that goodness until it is on the wheel. Apparently the gang was all at our LYS yesterday shopping and visiting Scout.

I enjoy my Tuesday night SnB so much, and Crafty Fridays, while only a monthly event so far, are also a lifesaver. I love to write. I love to read. I love to read about writing. I love to write about reading. You know what I mean. But sometimes I feel like I'm too much in my head, and knitting and other creating gets me out of my head, makes me feel more connected to the world at large. I feel fortunate to have a great group women (and guys) with whom to share this connection.

Sew? I Knit

This came earlier in the week from Cia's Palette. I joined the Sew? I Knit sew-along, and I'll be making the Betsy Ross a-line skirt. I'm not confident about putting in a zipper or making an even hem, but I am so in love with this fabric that I'll figure it out. If I have a good sized scrap I'm going to make myself a needle case. That's how much I love this fabric.

I'm also using this for my March Project Spectrum project. And can I just mention that I think Lolly is a total doll? She comes up with the coolest ideas, including the Project Spectrum Postcard Swap. I'm going to get out my watercolors for this one!

Sockapaloooza Yarn has Arrived

Isn't it pretty? All shades of green. I ordered it from Celia in Australia, and it got here in less than a week. Now to pick the pattern. I've thought about Dublin Bay, but I also like Cascading Leaves from the Jeannie Townsend Knitalong group. I'm waiting for Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks before I commit to a pattern, though. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter

Ok, I seem to get myself in trouble with this. Here's the deal. My name, Beverly, means the meadow where the beaver dwells, or according to Behind the Name, beaver stream. Go ahead, have your giggles. I was adult before I knew there were sexual connotations to what had become my totem animal, and it's too late now for me to change my feelings. Beavers are industrious, they're creative. Last year while kayaking with Neal and Brian, we startled a beaver who was snacking on some ferns. He looked pretty ticked off at us, which made me like beavers even more. Nothing like seeing emotion in an animal (don't give me that worn out attitude that animals don't have emotions. I can't be convinced).

Now, I'm a vegetarian. Yes, I still wear some leather, and yes, I know everything you might want to say about that. My reasons for my eating habits are a subject for another post. I don't like the idea of animals being harmed or killed. But, man, am I ever tempted by this. Go look. It's beaver yarn. Kind of horrible and kind of fascinating.

I am more tempted, however, by this. You saw right. Socks that Rock has a club now. I may join for just one month. I want to join for a year, but my graduate student budget is getting in the way. For that matter, I'd like to join the Dizzy Society, too. I need me a yarn sugar daddy, kids!

2/22 ETA: Apparently beavers are decended from these neato prehistoric creatures. Love me some prehistoric freaky animals!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Where in the World?

I got curious about who might be reading my blog, and where those readers might be. So, although I don't have as wide ranging readership as my favorite TN LYS, it is cool to see some of the places:

Denver, Colorado
Palo Alto, California
Fresno, California
Tijeras, New Mexico
Auburn, Washington
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Point Harbor, North Carolina
Minneapolis, Minnesota
New York
Valley View, Texas (I once had a pen pal from there--is it you?!)
Boston, Massachusetts
Dallas, Texas
Vancouver, British Columbia
Andrews Afb, Maryland
Dodge City, Kansas
Oakland, California
East Windsor, Connecticut
Columbia, Maryland
Meriden, Connecticut
Huntington, West Virginia
Fairfield, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ozark, Missouri
Tempe, Arizona
Tallahassee, Florida
San Francisco, California
Terre Haute, Indiana
Coventry, Rhode Island
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Dallas, Texas
Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Plano, Texas

There's lots more, but I don't want to go on and on. I'm no Crazy Aunt Purl, I know, but it's cool to know that there are people out there reading. I'd love to have some of these towns posted on my Frappr map or get some friendly delurking comments.

In other news, I asked my local girlys about doing this, and now I'll send it out into the wider knitting world. As a way to think about the Lenten season, I'm going to pull out my oldest UFO, a complicated intarsia vest that I knit for my ex. We picked out a variety of colors, and I knit for months and months. When I bound off the shoulders, and he tried it on, it was WAY too small. I mean, small enough to fit a child instead of a grown man. I kept at it and wove in the roughly ten million ends, but got stuck doing the finishing work on the edges of the armholes and button bands. So I'm going to bring the UFO to my SnB next Tuesday to show it off, and the other knitters with UFOs will bring theirs. And I'll make a commitment to finish this baby and put it to rest. I'll post a picture on Mardi Gras for my readers from all over the country (and "hi", Canada!) to look at, too.

Monday, February 20, 2006

B Cubed in the House

Monday usually finds me a little worn out from my exertions with the Rev. Boxing exertions. We now have four fighting chicas in our class, and it might stun you to know just how violent we are under our sweet exteriors. Or it might nauseate you how girly we can be..."that was a really good left hook just now, D." "R, your kicks are great." "W., that's a good jab." All compliments and making sure everyone knows they're loved.

This Monday night, though, I am Bouncing Baby Beverly. 'Cause I got some news that has me dancing. My Lendrum is wending its way to me, even as I type. ETA is Friday...just in time for Crafty Friday.

Even more exciting ex-SIL is having a baby girl tomorrow. She was supposed to deliver on Friday, had a cold, and had to reschedule her C-section. Keep her and baby Shane in your thoughts, please. My gramps believed that if you prayed 12 Hail Mary's, 12 Our Father's, and 12 Glory Be's on a Tuesday morning that nice things would happen. A new baby sure is a nice thing, prayers or not, don't you think?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Movies according to Courtney

Noelle's Movie Meme is out of my league. I haven't seen a whole lot of the movies on it, but Courtney at Yarn Tootin' made up her own list. I've seen more of these, so I'll bold the ones I've seen, italicize the ones I want to see, then I'm going to grade student stories.

Now in Theaters
Brokeback Mountain
Walk the Line Loved this. Even if it was a Hollywood version of Johnny's life, I loved it.

The Sound of Music Watched this at my bachelorette party with Brian.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Breakfast at Tiffany's My new blog name PoMo Golightly (to be unveiled someday) is named after this one.

Kramer vs. Kramer
The Goodbye Girl
The Champ
The Way We Were
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

On Golden Pond
Say Anything the quintessential love story of my teen years. Lloyd rocks.
Legal Eagles
Top Gun
Ferris Beuller's Day Off saw this NINE times in the movie theater. NINE.
The Breakfast Club
Sixteen Candles
The Mosquito Coast
Men Don't Leave
Dirty Dancing saw this one in the late 90's. I was in Australia the summer it was big and missed. Own it. No one puts Beverly in a corner. Got that?
St. Elmo's Fire
Dead Poet's Society
Field of Dreams
Steel Magnolias
Dances With Wolves was this the 90's?
Running On Empty
When Harry Met Sally back before Meg started scaring me.

The Cutting Edge
Dazed and Confused
Father of the Bride (1991) the original is funnier...
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Jerry McGuire
Quiz Show
Sliding Doors
Scent of a Woman
As Good as it Gets
Reality Bites
Good Will Hunting
Kindergarten Cop
The Man in the Moon
Muriel's Wedding
A Few Good Men
Sleepless in Seattle
Strictly Ballroom
Before Sunrise
American Beauty

Jennifer Aniston
Office Space
Bruce Almighty
Along Came Polly

Julia Roberts
Pretty Woman Babs's favorite movie. She owns it.
Erin Brockovich
Mona Lisa Smile I didn't!

Bill Murray
Groundhog Day
What About Bob?
Lost in Translation

Supersize Me
Fahrenheit 9/11

American Beauty
Lost in Translation
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
In Good Company
Pay It Forward
Meet the Parents possibly the funniest movie I'd seen in a long time.
Meet the Fockers
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Saving Grace
Love Actually
A Mighty Wind
Garden State
Cinderella Man
40-year-old Virgin Surprisingly sweet.
Before Sunset
About a Boy
High Fidelity
Sweet Home Alabama
The Station Agent

So that's my take on Courtney's list. What's yours? I'll try to get up my courage to tackle Noelle's soon, too!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Jaycrawlin' to Bed

It's too late for me to drag out the camera and give you a picture, but while watching Must Love Dogs (yes, I'm a sucker for John Cusack in any and all situations--will any man achieve what Lloyd Dobler did?), I finished the heel flap, then turned the heel on my Jaywalker. I'm the gang's slow knitter, I'll be the first to admit it. C'mon, there's even a button for me. But I may very well have a sock done for the picture on Tuesday. Here's hoping.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Book Meme

I saw this on one of my UNM friend's blog:

Top 50 books from - copy it, bold what you've read, italicize what you plan to read. And if I haven't marked something that you think is a great read, let me know! I'll add it to my post- MFA list.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

Thursday, February 16, 2006

If I Could Turn Back Time

It would be Monday again, and I'd be at my boxing lesson. And I would box better than I did. I would not flop my elbows out, I would not give my opponent a chance to zing me one. I would throw my jabs more quickly.

I saw Cher in concert, you know. She was like a Barbie doll with lots of outfits to show off.

Monday will be here soon enough. I have boxing gloves now, just little practice ones, but they look super cool. I don't hurt my hand as much with them on. Maybe all this shadowboxing will pay off. Maybe I'll keep my elbows where they belong.

I tried to watch Broken Flowers last night, but was too tired. Now my chance at it is over...only get 24 hours with Movielink. If I could turn back time. I would have waited to start that movie.

Jaycrawler progress: almost done with that heel flap. May even finish tonight if I get off the darn computer. By finish I mean the heel flap. NOT the sock!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What's the Deal with Blogging?

Noelle posted about someone talking trash about bloggers, knit bloggers in particular. While I tend to walk away from this sort of ugliness (the trash talking, to be clear), I do think that it's sort of a super ratty thing to grouse about. I agree with Noelle. Click your mouse somewhere else if you are not interested in what is going on in someone's blog.

I've learned so much from reading blogs, about knitting, about books, about cool sites to visit. Blog reading is a nice part of my day. I don't have a television. I haven't had one in 14 years, with the exception of the time I spend at Neal's house. Knitblogs are my entertainment, and to be frank, much more productive and interactive than television usually is. We all know I'm hopelessly hooked on Netflix-ing Sex in the City. But I get more out of keeping up with the projects my local girlys are working on and reading blogs like Whip Up.

Blogs give me a sense of community outside of my UNM graduate student world. Does this community replace real life for me? No, but it is a part of my real life. Here's some interesting reading about blogs. Those of us writing blogs do so for a variety of reasons. We know we're opening up our lives, the part of our lives that we as narrators choose to reveal, to anyone who stumbles by. Those who lurk, or who like to read blogs and comment but don't have their own do so for their own reasons (btw, stop lurking. Join the WBNM Posse on my frappr map. Just for fun.). Those who are just plain ol' snarky, but keep reading anyway...I, a woman of great imagination, cannot imagine why. What do you think?

Monday, February 13, 2006

How Do You Know When You're In Love?

I remember asking my mom that question when I was a teenager (lo, those many years). Her response has always stuck with me. See, Babs washes the Donald's hair in the sink each night. After cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, she pulls a couple of towels out of the linen closet and puts them on the table. She puts the nicer one (you know how there's always a more raggedy towel) on top, to be used by the Donald. That, she told me, is love. When you want the best for the other person. You know what else she told me? The Donald always switches them, so the nicer one is waiting for her. There may be other ways to define love, but that's the one I cherish. And, heck, they're going to celebrate 50 years of marriage before too long. I guess they oughta know.

Happy Valentine's Day, my loveys.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Short Story Sunday #5: Read and Discuss

I don't get a big thick New York Times delivered to my door. I read it online. I miss the Sunday Times, though, and although I could easily have the physical paper in my hands, I'm going to stick to the online version while I'm in NM. Because, you see, I take most of the day to read the physical version. Sometimes most of the week.

Since I spent much of this evening on homework and fretting by the phone, I thought Short Story Sunday could have an "I'm Five" diversion. Want to join? Read this article, then post a comment about a book club in your life...past or present. The good. The bad. get the picture. Lurkers, this is a good time to participate. Don't make me call on you.

Here's my book club story. For 18 months in 2000-2002, I met with a group of friends--some of whom became friends through our meetings--each week to read James Joyce's Ulysses aloud. I had never read it and was determined to do so. We had the usual reference books to help us through, as well as the experience of a professor, lots of artistic folks, and a woman who grew up sharing a bedroom with her Irish gram. We rotated homes, always had good snacks, tried to meet in pubs (too dark and noisy), comforted each other after 9/11 (we met in Westchester. We knew a lot of people who suffered), celebrated New Years, birthdays, births, and anniversaries. We stopped meeting shortly after the book was finished. No one wanted to re-read it right away, and Portrait doesn't have the same "read me aloud" music to it. That group, Pam, Joel, Fred, Robert, Susan, Andy, Margie and me, plus the many drop in folks, has a bond that I feel for few other groups. Good reading. Good discussions. What more can you ask for?

New Anticraft is Up

Gee, a few days off the computer, and it's all exciting! The new Anticraft is up. Shall we explore? First off, kudos to the crew for dedicating the issue to those affected by cancer. Let's all think about those we know for a moment, ok?

Part of the fun of this issue is that it isn't all knitting. Gasp if you must, but let's be real. If you're a knitter, most likely you enjoy other crafts, too. But we'll start with the knitting. These socks would be a loving treat for any man. Like to cook? Try this recipe. I might try it without the chicken. I know Carole is going to make this. And while I'm not going to make this, I like the idea of a collage or diorama, or whatever you call it.

Other online fun...I came across this KAL. You know you've seen this bag, wanted, lusted, longed for this bag. Me too. While there are a few projects in line ahead of it, I joined the KAL so I'd be able to keep it in the front of my mind. I especially love the Mary Poppins button. She's one of my favorite characters. Possibly because my gramp and my oldest brother were chimney sweeps.

MP takes alot of yarn, though, and as you all know, I'm on a bit of a diet. Look: Weekend Getaway Satchel (Marta McCall)Reynolds Lite-Lopi (l00% wool; 109 yd [100 m]/50 g): #0005 black heather (MC), 15 skeins; #0434 crimson, 5 skeins; #0439 cherry red, #0414 burnt red, #0444 dark grass, #0240 golden green, #0435 goldenrod, #0443 bright blue, #0438 light fuchsia, #0436 pumpkin, #0442 royal blue, #0264 mustard, #0441 leaf (light green), and #0440 bright purple, 1 skein each. All colors are used double throughout. Yarn distributed by JCA Inc.

That's a lot of yarn, huh? So, I think this is going to be a summer '06 project.

ETA: My favorite knitting designer has a new pattern in the Spring Interweaves. Check it out. I want it.

FO and Waiting by the Phone

Is it wrong to embroider a onesie while watching Sex in the City? If it is, well I don't wanna be right! My ex-SIL is scheduled for a C-section delivery of her second daughter on the 17th, and I thought I'd play with this cutie poodle for a little gift. I like the fairly instant gratification of little embroidery projects. I'm such a slow knitter that I sometimes need the boost of a FO to keep me crafting.

There's snow in the NE, have you heard? I spoke with my cousin this morning and had a spark of glee when I heard that. Surely, I thought, Neal can't fly home in this. He'll have to find a flight tomorrow morning. But he's smart, my guy. He called me on my "yippee, it's snowing, I don't have to do my homework" attitude. If you grew up in a snowy region, you know what I mean. Well, if you grew up in the South or NM, it probably only took two flakes before school was cancelled. If you grew up in TN, a little rain seems to do the trick (so MB tells me).

So, after a few tears I admitted that he was right. Most likely, he would not be staying here that extra day. Now I'm waiting by the phone to hear he's safe and sound. Another hour or so. Fly safe, Delta plane, fly safe.

While I'm waiting, I may as well bask in the memories of our too short weekend. Dinner on my birthday (thanks, btw, for all the lovely wishes/cards/gifts) was yummy: rigatoni with artichoke hearts and lemon caper sauce. On Friday we bought paint for touching up a few marks on the walls and to FINALLY paint my closet doors (installed a year ago. Yup, I didn't once think I should tackle that myself). Friday night we met D&M for dinner at il vicino. At the risk of sounding all NY on you, it's the closest thing to pizza I've found in NM. After dinner we headed out to the UNM Works in Progress. My pals Carson and Allen both did strong readings, and then my teacher Dan made me laugh as I envied his skill. More important, he got Neal to want to read a short story. Neal's been begging off reading b/c of tired eyes, and this frustrates me. He went home with Dan's collection, How Animals Mate. My best birthday gift of all.

When we came home, Neal read the essay I'm working on for my CNF class. It was so great to be able to talk about my writing with him, to hear what he thought, to talk about all sorts of things. Sometimes phone dates just don't cut it. Face-to-face conversation with him reminds me how lucky I am to have him in my life. I'm gushing now. Sorry.

Saturday we returned to my puppy's home: Madrid, NM. I like going there, but it's starting to feel like Santa Fe South. I'm not such a fan of Santa Fe, can you tell? I bought myself an egg separator at Conley Studio Pottery. If you go to Madrid, stop in there to see some neat things. After a nap on Saturday (Neal painted closet doors, I napped), we found a little Albuquerque miracle: a beautiful meal. My girly Ramona's place Graze is worth a visit. Worth planning my next visit. Soon. Neal and I shared a Graze plate...such flavor! such perfection in portion size! Neal opted for a sea bass special, while I luxuriated in the wild mushroom orzo. With truffle oil...possibly my favorite taste of all time, and this, my dear reader, is my new comfort food.

Now...I'm waiting for the phone call that lets me know my lovey is home safe. How long until the end of May?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Drained, But Still Kickin'

I just got home from having my first creative non-fiction essay workshopped. I wrote about some things that have weighed on me for decades, some things that have been critical in how I see life. It was hard at times to listen to what people had to say. I have a renewed sense of direction, though, which is good.

I came home to find a letter from one of my neighbors urging me to take more of a leadership role in our Homeowner's Association Board. I'm on the Board, which I'm glad to do--I like to be involved--but I joined it with the explicit understanding that I COULD NOT take a leadership role. My instinct is to just do it, to make happen what needs to happen. But the fact of the matter is that I will be gone in May. What good does three months (two, really, as I'll be at conferences most of March) of leadership do? A bit of sticking my thumb in a dam, I'd say. I'm bitter right now. I sometimes feel like I give and give and then get asked to give more. Of course I can say "sorry, no." But in this situation, I'm feeling manipulated. The fact that I'm moving was used as a chip of sorts in this letter. As in, don't I want to make sure everything remains in order as I go to sell my place? Permit another moment of whining. I am about one responsibility away from collapsing into full-on freaked out mode. Ok. That's enough, Missy.

Countdown: 30 minutes until my big day. 16 hours until I pick Neal up at the airport.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Noelle made the comment that she and her sweetie pie hubby had a conversation in which my name, Post Modern, and Audrey were all mentioned. That set me to thinking about the what-do-I-call-my-blog-when-I-move question. PoMoGolightly it is, then. I'm setting a new space up for myself, and I'll be sure to let you know when it's ready.

In Stitch and Bitch news (bring it Sew Fast, Sew Sleazy. I got a right hook to knock your socks off), there was a record 28 knitters at Flying Star tonight. Shout out to the girlys! Scout gave us our "business cards," so if I see you knitting, I'll slip you one as a private invite a la Gertrude Stein.

Since I know my readership is as vast as the stars in a New Mexican night sky, let me ask for help here. I KNOW that somewhere I saw a picture/schematic of how to properly measure for the One Skein Wonder. I lucked out and sized the one I made for my little cousin just right, but this one is for a swap, and I want to make sure it's perfect for the recipient. Anyone know where that is online? I wish I'd bookmarked it like I seem to do with everything else I find.

Neal Countdown: 40 hours to go! Gotta clean and stock the fridge and catch up on homework. The time will fly!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Boxing Hurts Your Hands

Just thought I'd let you know. Can't cry during my workout, but...ouchy! My fellow boxing student couldn't make practice today, so it was me and the Rev. I hit some good punches. Muttering nasty things about people I dislike helped a lot. And realizing that I'm ambidextrous when I box helped, too. It shows up in strange places. Do you think that explains my inability to remember left from right without thinking about it (really hard)? Damn, I got a good hook. Left or right. Gotta work on that upper cut, now.

I'm off to a hot shower. These bones are getting old. I'm proud of the bruise on my left knuckle (call me quaint, biatch) and the scrapes on both hands (take that, smirking student). I can't wait for next Monday.

Neal countdown: 65 hours. Woohoo!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Happy B'day Maddie Mulligan!

My little girly is two today. Well, her grandma decided this would be her birthday, because do you ever really know when you adopt a little pup? This picture is of us the day after I adopted Maddie.

Maddie is my first dog. Neal's Tilly, who loved me through a hard time in my life, was the first dog I ever REALLY knew, the dog who made me think I might want a puppy pal of my own. Less than a month after I moved to NM, lonely and sad, my sister MB sat outside of Pet Smart, holding my chai and not at all annoyed, while I fell in love with the divine Miss M. Her name is short for Madrid, my favorite town in NM. Her loving previous owner (who was moving and not sure she could take Maddie a.k.a. Tickle with her) and I spoke on the phone, and I learned that Maddie was from Madrid. X, her first owner, had found her tied by a shoelace to a telephone pole. As if that isn't awful enough, she had over 300 ticks and shards of glass in her. Life picked up after that...I adopted her mere hours after X, broken hearted, gave her up. She's living with Tilly and Neal in CT now, learning to be a more obedient girl, and cute as an effing button. I'm so in love with her, I can't imagine life without her, even if I'm 2,500 miles away from her. Sometimes I hear her singing for her supper (she LOVES her some supper!) during my phone dates with Neal.

For her birthday, she dug in the muddy back yard, then took a road trip to Auntie I's to visit her pal Romeo. Neal's promised a sliver of cheese for a special nighttime treat.

Mama loves you, birthday girl! xx

Superbowl Challenge

Scout threw down the Superbowl Challenge gauntlet, and who am I not to step up to the task? I'm a slow knitter, but I like the fun of seeing what I can get done while everyone else is enjoying the game. I made a pot of chili to bring with me, so I'll be well fed and happy to have company for the evening. I don't give a rat's patootie about who wins. Me, I'm a UCONN Huskies girl.

Short Story Sunday #4: "The Third Thing that Killed My Father Off" by Raymond Carver

“The Third Thing that Killed My Father Off” is told in the first person point of view in thirteen sections. Although the title uses the phrase “killed off,” the first line of the story sets up the tale as what “did in” the narrator’s father (198). The expectation that the narrator sets up is that this is a story about his father, but to my way of reading, it is a story about Dummy. More than the meaning of the story, though, I’m interested in looking at the construction of it. Carver writes in what I’ve heard called The New Yorker style. This isn’t so much about the language or plot or characters as it is about structure. The story is broken into sections, which show shifts in time and/or understanding of information.
The first section sets up the entire story. If Carver were sitting next to me, I might be satisfied with hearing the first section on its own as a whole story. Sure, there would be questions raised, but the narrative arc is all there. There are no surprises for the reader. We know Dummy will die. We know the things that “did in” the narrator’s father. We know there are problems with Dummy’s wife, with his fish, and we know that the father takes the blame about the fish, at least.Curious as I am, though, I want details. The story in section one doesn’t quite satisfy because the information raises too many questions. How does he die? What’s the deal with the wife? The fish? Why does this do in the father?
Despite the straightforward language and linear structure, I find this a difficult story to navigate. I’m left with a lot of questions, which I don’t mind at all, but I do wonder if these questions are the mystery of the story. What, exactly, was it about Dummy’s death that did in the father? I can make guesses, but ultimately I think that the answer, for us as well as the narrator, is unknowable.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sometimes Pretty is Enough

Um, I posted and published, but the post has disappeared. So, sometimes pretty part deux.

Back in the 80s when I was younger than I am now, I would have identified my look as "vintage punk" or "thrift store punk." My prom gown was a swank black number from the 30s. I liked pretty with an edge. I still like that edge, although it's less about safety pins and irony than it used to be. Sometimes, though, all I want is to exude the class of Audrey Hepburn. Good luck, I know. Spring is in the air in Albuquerque. I promised Neal to go outside and look for buds on the trees. And spring, more than anything, makes me believe that indeed, pretty is enough.

Friday, February 03, 2006


I'm cranky from not sleeping enough during the last ten days. I miss my guy. I miss my pups. I miss the East. So...even though I know I'll be saying how much I miss NM once I'm gone, this here countdown makes me miss Neal and the girls a little less...

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I'm a sucker for Crazy Aunt Purl's horoscopes. Here's mine:

Would you like fries with that Quarter Pounder of Stress? Your commitments to school or work combined with the constant demands from your family and friends have you near the end of your rope this month. That urge to escape your life and run on autopilot is particularly strong near month's end. You might begin harboring serious fantasies of sitting alone on a mountaintop and pondering your navel. Take a deep breath, clear you calendar for at least one full day in February, and commit to some serious alone time before you become commit-able. You may long for a padded room ... but I hear that straightjackets make your butt look big.

Um, yeah. End of the rope. Maybe I'll take a day off in June. Sure.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Sure, I like February an awful lot. It's my birthday month. It's a short month, but it's jam packed with excitement. Including Sockapaloooza, which I dreamed about last night. I dreamt (see how I'm trying out both past tenses since our language is so plastic) that I got my sister MB as my giftee. Convenient since I promised her a pair of socks as part of her Christmas gift.

Today another beginning. The elegant, lovely Whip Up went live today.

And...the Neal countdown begins. Eight days. 192 hours, more or less.

Happy February!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Boxing and a Meme

Yup, you read it right. I started boxing lessons today. Reverend Chris Jones, a poet in the UNM MFA program is giving lessons to me and another school pal. We jumped rope. We shadowboxed. We embarrassed ourselves with bad punches. But there were a few good ones in there. And damn, did they feel good. Million Dollar Baby, I ain't, but I'm still serious about it!

We Abq SnB'ers get a hold of something fun and it spreads like wild fire. Take this, for instance, on Strange Little Mama's blog. Or Mama-E's Show Me Your Stash Monday. And this meme, which has been changing hands like a bad penny. But good. So, here goes.

Instructions: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.
Woman Obsessed
Scout's Knitted Swag
Wearing Black in New Mexico

I'm tagging Mama-E, Adam Knits, Cari, and Erin.

What were you doing 10 years ago? Living with my ex-husband in a moldy basement apartment, working for Teatown Lake Reservation and finishing up my BA at Mercy College. Despite the mold, it was a very happy time.

What were you doing 1 year ago? Starting my second semester in UNM’s MFA program. Closing on my townhouse.

What were you doing 1 hour ago? Finishing up “Silence,” my first Creative Non-Fiction piece to submit to workshop on Wednesday.

List five creative things you want to achieve this year:
1. Write a full draft of my dissertation novel, “Queen of the Tobacco Field”
2. Become an adept spinner
3. Keep a watercolor journal
4. Start my Etsy shop
5. Learn Cat Bordhi’s mobeius cast on method

List five snacks you enjoy:
1. ginger cookies
2. Milk crackers crumbled in hot tea with milk and sugar
3. hummus and carrots
4. ice cubes
5. whoopie pies

List five things you would do if money were no object:
1. Ride my bike across the country
2. Buy a villa in Tuscany and live there part of every year
3. Buy a beach or lake house for my family
4. Set up a foundation to support young artists
5. Go to the Globe every season for every play

List five bad habits:
1. Distracted from homework by the Internet
2. Don't hold my tongue when I really disagree about something
3. Forget to moisturize my skin (no biggie in CT, but BAD in NM)
4. Don't drink near enough water
5. Never listen to driving directions. If they're not written down, I'm not following them.

List five things you like doing:
1. Knitting
2. Reading
3. Chasing the dogs around the woods
4. Watching plays (especially Shakespeare. Especially outside)
5. Kyaking with Neal

List five favorite gadgets:
1. Pink i-pod mini
2. My laptop, which I use to play dvd’s, too!
3. The frother that makes my hot chocolate so yummy
4. Swift and ball winder
5. Knitting needlesN

ame one thing you like about yourself: I’m really forgiving.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Short Story Sunday 3: "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris" by Julio Cortazar

Today I decided to read a story from a collection recommended by my workshop professor from last semester. There were two she recommended from Blow Up and Other Stories by Julio Cortazar, and I chose "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris."

I'm not convinced entirely by this story. I always wonder when I read translated texts what I'm missing, and I just won't know unless I learn Spanish. The tone of the story is a bit formal, but the content is crazy fun, albeit disturbing.

You see, our narrator, the fellow writing the letters to the lady from whom he's subletting the apartment pukes bunnies. Yup, you heard me right. Walking up the stairs, there's a little fuzziness in his throat, and blechh, up comes a bunny. For some reason that I don't get, he's doing a lot of puking after he moves into the apartment. Ten bunnies, and a housekeeper named Sara from whom he's trying to hide the bunnies. Then tragedy strikes.

I'm not one to give away plots, so I won't reveal said tragedy. I will reveal that despite some problems with the plot--mainly concerned around my never feeling convinced about the odd upchuck--I did enjoy the language. Cortazar writes with a high level of particularity. The details and images are on the spot. That's worth spending half an hour with a short story, isn't it?

Tell me what stories you've been reading.

Happy Chinese New Year!

To celebrate, I've searched out my horoscope. Can you guess what I am? My compatibility with Dog is pretty high, which means that I will have a good year. Don't I always? I'm a Monkey, after all!

By the way, the contest to guess what I'm making on Sewing Sunday (aka Superbowl Sunday) is still open. I'll keep it open until Friday at 5 p.m. Then the closest guess wins!

In knitting news, I felted the swatches from my gauge experiment to use to finish up my fancy green felted bag. I'll have pictures by the end of the week.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Getting Ready for Sewing Sunday

Ok, I created this post here, copied it here, then here, but none of the pictures showed up on blogger. So go to one of my trial sites to see them, ok? By the way...what do you think, should I stay Wearing Black in New Mexico when I move? Or become Wearing Black in New England?

Last night I taught two women how to knit at Crafty Friday. Thanks to everyone who came over, including Trevor, Liz's dear hubby, who knits and tends the fire to keep us all warm. And carries chairs. Trevor rocks.
At Tuesday's SnB, Scout gave me this for winning her "two days to knit" contest. Nifty tool holder, don'tchya think?

I met Ramona at Village Wools, where I bought yarn for my Secret Pal. So although it was a purchase, it was not for me. I can't give my SP stash yarn, can I? Doesn't seem right to me. On my way home, I stopped and bought this 100% cashmere sweater:
I have two thoughts on how to use this. One is as a part of Sewing Sunday next week in which I will create products for the Etsy store I plan to open (stay tuned). The other is to frog it and use the yarn to knit something else. I guess a third is to try on the darn thing and see how it fits. Maybe it's going to be cute on.
I also purchased this fabric, which I think you'll see better if you click on it. There's a sweet green plaidish type of stuff, a plain muslin, a silky Oriental-ish fabric, and best of all, a fabu purple fake fur. See how my hand likes to pet it? First person to guess what I'm making next week on Sewing Sunday will get a prize. Ramona can't play!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Pros and Cons

I'm playing around with a new blog. Scout set this up for me over coffee this morning (well, I had coffee in my jammies...don't know if she was doing the same): Wearing Black in New England. Sad, but true. Someday, that's where I'll be sporting it like Johnny Cash. I've also been messing around with the free trial at Typepad: Wearing Black in New Mexico. That site looks a little ugly right now as I was trying to load the banner Carole made me, but got tired before I succeeded. Anyway, I welcome your ideas re: pros and cons of each platform.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

So I'm a Joiner. What of It?

Yeah, in a fit of avoidance, I've become a real joiner. I'm avoiding school. I have a bad attitude right now, but I'm sure that will get straightened up by the weekend. In the meantime, I've decided that hell, yeah, even I, Albuquerque's slowest knitter, can get through a pair of socks between 2/1 and 5/1. So, I joined Sockapalooza. Sign ups are on through midnight.

I also joined Mama-E's call for public displays of yarn porn. That sexy button did me in. And didya notice, I have a boatload of buttons? And they all link, now, thanks to a tip from my pal Scout. Ok, so it was more like she made it happen than a tip, but I'm learning!

Back to work, now, missy. SnB tonight, and don't forget to boycott SF/SE. Me, I bought the A-line skirt pattern from Sew Betsy Ross. Now that my machine's fixed, I'm gonna sew me a spring wardrobe. Right after I knit those socks.

Monday, January 23, 2006

My SP, My Haiku, My New Book, My Closet

My East Coast (hey, I can't help but see that Buzzard Bay postmark! A Cape girl!) SP7 sent me a package, which I got yesterday. Sunday? you ask. Are you special, Beverly, that the mail comes to you on Sunday? Special, sure, but not quite that special. I forgot to check the mail on Saturday after my quest to find a book for school that lasted until 11:00 p.m. In this delightful package was a selection of tea bags (I'm boiling water right now), two bundles of mohair roving, a big bundle of merino/silk roving, a dainty spindle, and a hank of chocolate brown alpaca that she spun--I can't wait to knit something with it, and it smells delicious. There were also two little cards with meditations--one called "The Rainbow" and the other, "Artist Zen" as well as a cheerful note!

Thank you SP! I can't wait to try spinning. Your yarn smells lovely, btw. What do you set it with? I'm off for a cup of special

Ramona posted about this haiku contest, and I'm such a joiner, I had to send one in, too. Remember, kids, I write fiction, not poetry. Check out Jessie's sock yarn. I'm gonna get me some come May!

Ruminations on My Time

I crochet, knit, spin
When I should grade, read, or write.
Don't tell my secret.

Noelle is a good listener and a generous friend. She saw this, remembered I had talked about how much Jenny liked it, and picked it up for me. What a sweetie, huh?

A glimpse into my closet. There are files with all my teaching/school/grantwriting archives; notecards for the letter writing I like to do; a few special papers for making books; my newly mended sewing machine, an almost finished felted purse, my old quilting bag, stuff for embroidery; some of the gajillion journals and notebooks I have (everyone loves to give writers journals. And we like them!); some linens; a few boxes of misc. junk I can't throw out; and of course, yarn. Real Simple suggests using yarn to decorate. Group it together and it will look pretty. Ha! As if we didn't know that already.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Treats in the Mail

My SP6, Brianne, sent me this, along with a great book mark that she and her little guy Owen made together, and some adorable knitting notecards. MWAH! Thanks, Brianne!

Short Story Sunday 2: “A Stone Woman” by A.S. Byatt

Hot dog, you can read the story for yourself.

I’ve read this story a number of times, and every time I do, it seems more richly crafted to me. I like Byatt a lot. Possession and Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye both sit on my bookshelf, and I read one or the other every year or so.

What is so appealing about this story, then? Byatt, who doesn’t hesitate to lead her reader into the world of magical realism, makes me believe in Ines’s transformation from woman to…well, I gave you the link, go read it.

More than anything I love Byatt’s images. Her descriptive language is precise, and her settings are real to me. “In September they had several days of driving rain, frost was thick on the turf roof, the glacial rivers swelled and boiled, and ice came down then in clumps and blocks, forming where the spray lay on the vegetation.” Can’t you see it? I love that Byatt moves me to Iceland in the second half of the story. I flew through Iceland once, and I cannot wait to go back. The little glimpse of the country that I had was enough to make me believe that her magical story could have happened there.

I taught this to my students last fall, and they did not seem to like it, citing more than anything, the magical realism elements. How about you? Did you like the story? Do you like magical realism? I also wrote about this in terms of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millinneum (if you’re a writer and haven’t read it, go right now and pick it up). If you like Byatt’s story and want to read more about what I thought about it, let me know, and I’ll send you the article.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

How I Spent My Saturday Morning and Happy Birthday Dad!

I bought this. I should get it by mid-February.

I spent my Friday afternoon with Scout, who taught me about the pleasures and dangers of html. Dangers include ditching writing time to play with my blog. Must. Stay. Focussed.

Carole's been working on a new banner for me.

Things may be a little creaky as I learn my way around, but wbnm's gonna be a good looking site before we're through.

Best of all. Today is my dad's birthday...he's turning 68. My dad is the most gentle, kindhearted, fair person I know. He knows right from wrong, and he's good at giving the gentle reminder about that when needed. He believes in his kids with so much faith that I, for one, feel obligated to make something of myself so his faith is rewarded. But I know when he holds my first book in his hand, he'll have the same amount of love for me that he does when he opens his b'day package. Which contains these. He claims they're almost as good as his mother made. If you make them, they have to be sissy thin cookies here.

I'm off to spend the day with Noelle and the Knitters not Quitters gang

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Eddie Along for the Olympics

Stitch and Bitch!!!

I'm going to join the Eddie Along. Maybe for Clappie, maybe for Jaywalkers. I'll let you know.

Lendrum vs. Kromski

Stitch and Bitch

Now that's out of the way... I'm in the process of buying my first spinning wheels. Although I have a chance at an Ashford Elizabeth (not the II) at a really good price, it's a single treadle, which I don't like. Also, it's big. And I'm moving in May. My choices right now, then, are an Original Lendrum, which I've used at Village Wools and like. Plus, that's what my girly Noelle spins her fabu stuff on. She's vouched for it being a great wheel. The other option is a Kromski Minstrel. My spinning guru, Kay, has discussed it with me, and my personal preference aside, she thinks this is a good wheel, a good deal. The double drive attracts me, and I also tried a different Kromski and felt like I was a pro. I haven't tried a Minstrel, though, and I don't know anyone who has one.

Any feedback? I'd like to order something in the next few days. I may be agonizing too much over this, but it's a big purchase for me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Knit Bloggers, Unite!

Stitch and Bitch
Stitch and Bitch
Stitch and Bitch
Stitch and Bitch

Chant it with me, sisters and brothers. Learn more here.

I propose that any knit bloggers who think this whole case stinks like last month's garbage start every blog entry for the next week with the forbidden words, just like Scout: Stitch and Bitch.
If you want to see what Stitching and Bitching is all about, visit Scout and Carole to see pictures of eight of us casting on for Jaywalker at the same time, and two of us paying tribute to Johnny Cash. We walk the line, baby, but not if you're getting our yarn in a knot!

Day 1: Yarn Diet

That's it, the last yarn purchase until the end of the semester. I plan to make the Loop-d-Loop Paisley Carpet Bag with this. Aren't Noelle's yarns yummy? I may add some pink to the mix.

I like Jenny's check in method for her resolutions. I think I'll follow her lead, there. BTW, she's the inspiration for my semester-long yarn embargo.

I'm going to start cataloguing my yarn, too. I have another blog, which I don't use for much other than keeping track of my projects (ok, already, I don't know much about sidebar stuff, but strange little mama's going to help me! ). Anyway, I'm going to take pictures of each set of yarn, along with my plans for it. Any I don't have plans for, I'll probably sell or trade. I'm moving in May, remember? And I don't think there's enough room at N's for my entire stash!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Jaywalkers OTN...

Maddie: Mama, what you been doing?
Mama: Knitting, baby.
Maddie: Mama, what you been knitting?
Mama: Jaywalker socks, baby.
Maddie: Let me see.
Mama: Shows tonight's knitting
Maddie: Mama, that don't look like a sock.
Mama: It will be, baby, it will be.

So, I cast on, and I got one complete round done and a second almost done. I'm a big slow knitter now, but I'm gonna get gauge, dammit.

A Lesson in Gauge

Remember the booty back in October? My gauge was a running joke with my AbqSnB girls, as well as my knitting pals back East. Now that I'm more interested in making things that need to fit (socks, sweaters), gauge needs to stop being a joke to me. Scout and Carole showed me English knitting, and although it felt awkward, I decided to give it a try.

Skip this if you already know the difference between English and Continental knitting. If not, the most basic difference is that in the English method you hold the yarn in your right hand--the left does no work other than holding the left needle--and you throw the yarn. In Continental knitting you hold the yarn in your left hand and "pick" it with the right needle. When I was first learning, this was the method that felt more comfortable to me. Very comfortable apparently, as I'm a crazy loose knitter (my stitches, folks, my stitches). One of the reasons, I've discovered, is that I wasn't wrapping the working yarn enough; I wasn't creating enough tension.

The first picture, in which my gauge is 4 sts/inch, was knit the way I normally knit. The bottom was also knit Continental, but I knit mindful of my tension, as suggested by Ramona, and it came in at 5 sts/inch. The picture on the right is of my first attempt at English. Sit down. Six sts/inch. That's right, my gauge changed a full two stitches per inch. I like having both methods in my toolbox now, and I may end up working in Mindful Continental.

Tonight I cast on for Jaywalkers for our AbqSnB KAL. I'm going to use 1's. Not 0000's. Mission Accomplished.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Swatching Away

I finished the Stitch and Bitch Nation Basic Cable hat on Saturday at Knitters Not Quitters. Byler Bear is modeling it in the back yard. He's from Pennsylvania Amish country. Doesn't he look dashing?

Cable Close up. Cables are fun.

Today I worked the Continental swatch as my sewing machine was being repaired (she's all better, thanks for asking) and started in on the English swatch. I'm starting to get the hang of this style, but it's still slow going. I took Ramona's advice on the Continental knitting--I pulled each stitch, and I was mindful of what I was doing. I also took the advice I got at Village Wools, which was to hold the working yarn wrapped around another finger.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Talking at the Vortex and a Plea for Help

If you're in Albuquerque, be sure to give yourself a treat and go see Talking With by Jane Martin at the Vortex Theater near UNM. My girly Martine has a role in it that will have you falling out of your chair, and the other actresses are pretty strong, too. I promise, it's better than Dancing with the Stars. And you know I love that show.

Here's my plea. I want to pretty up my blog. I'd like to add sidebars where I can list my "on the needles" as well as the projects I'm hoping to do. I'd also like the button area to be neater looking. The other thing I can't figure out is how to post pictures and have text under them, as a caption sometimes, other times just a little paragraph. Be honest with me. Am I gonna have to migrate from blogger to really get a more sophisticated look? And if so, what do you recommend, dear reader?

As an aside, my SP6 giftor, the sweet Brianne continues her sweetness...she's planning to pass on a good book to if she hasn't already defined generosity!

My final knitting news for the day. I met up with Carole, Ramona, and Scout today for an impromptu breakfast knit. I was swatching for the Jaywalker-along that we're starting on Tuesday. I, as we all know and are getting tired of hearing about, have gauge issues. I knit Continental style. I'm no snob...I don't think one way of knitting is better than the other, this is just what felt more natural lo those many years ago when I was a new knitter. So I was swatching on 0's, which I find super uncomfortable. Scout took a look at my growing swatch and told me, as she so often has to do, that my gauge is way off. She and Carole both agreed that I should learn English style knitting and taught me. Ramona, on the other hand, felt that I might be able to stay with Continental if I knit more mindfully, tightening my stitches more than I do. One of the girls said I must be the most relaxed knitter of all time! Ha!

Anyway, one of my knitting goals for 2006 is to master the Norweigan purl (which includes learning how to spell it), and I'm going to add to that a goal of getting my gauge to be closer to "on". To that end, I'm going to make two swatches, using larger needles than 0's, one Continental and one English. It may teach me a thing or two. When I have it done, I'll post pictures. Any other gauge tips are appreciated. I'm gonna win this battle!

Short Story Sunday 1: "Last Night" by James Salter

Dan Mueller and Julie Shigekuni, two of my workshop teachers, recommended James Salter to me after reading one of my stories, "Splinter." Dan thought his newest collection was the best purchase for me, so I sent away for Last Night. The title story is the last in the collection. In it Walter and his wife, Marit have agreed to assisted suicide rather than have her suffer a prolonged illness. Their friend, Susanna joins them as support for Walter.

This is one of the most startling stories I've read, and frankly, along with next week's entry, it's in my top five favorites.

Dan often reminds his students that stories should have plots that are surprising and inevitable--both are necessary for a satisfying reading experience. I sometimes struggle with that, unsure if what I consider surprising will also seem inevitable. Salter achieves that combination. His writing is uber confident, and while the story does not lack in richness of detail, it is a spare story, told with a cool distance...but I don't feel distant from the characters or the story.

That spareness is why Dan and Julie sent me to Salter. I'm trying to get to that in my own writing. I don't want to underwrite, but I'm intrigued by seeing how little do I need? How much is there without piling it on?

Here's a line describing Marit:

"She was almost a different woman from the one to whom he had made a solemn promise to help when the time came" (123).

And another one, from close to Marit's pov:

"The rest was a long nove so like your life; you were going through it without thinking and then one morning it ended: there were bloodstains" (122).

The dipping in and out of characters is another thing to admire about the story. We're close to all three of the characters at different times. And this is a story in which that's beneficial.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gonna Treat Myself Right

As you probably know if you're reading this, I've been worried about this upcoming semester. I'm taking 13 credits instead of the recommended 9...I took 12 last semester and it about wiped me out. Luckily I have a few good cheerleaders and some great knitting friends, all of whom kept me positive and excited about what I'm doing. So why the push? Sharon, my dissertation chair, agreed that I could work long-distance, which means that I can move back East in May. Why do I want to do that? Neal, the dogs, my parents. Trees. Green. Water. Sarey and Cae. Proximity to NYC, Cher, Boscobel, my Mercy pals, my NY bookgroup. Pizza. Fluff. Whoopie Pies. The ocean. No particular order there, just the people and things I miss.

In order to do that, though, I need to have all of my coursework done, only dissertation hours left. And, as you may have guessed, that is the reason for the impending insanity. I will have one more course to do in the fall, but one of my professors has agreed to do a long-distance independent study with me.

To top this off, I will need to sell my townhouse (it's super cute, great location in the North Valley, let me know if you're interested...) and get packed to move by mid-May. Neal will tell you what bad shape I was in for the move out here. Oh, he'll regale you with details about that, but he does exaggerate a little (such as when he's telling me how naughty my Maddie girl has been). I want to do a better job with the move this time. There's less emotional baggage to carry in this move...the last time around, I was leaving the first place I'd owned (ok, so the bank owned most of it), the place in which my marriage came apart, but where I still managed to find peace of sorts. The place where Neal and I first fell in love. Odd, that, to have a relationship crumble, and a new one grow, all in the same place, in the same year, but now I'm rambling.

I'm pretty certain that the only way I can make it through until mid-May without hysterical meltdowns that result in Rachel offering to pray for me and Randall offering the advice to go have a drink is to be disciplined and to take care of myself.

To that end...I've created a little chart on which I've filled in the hours of my week (there are 168, which I discovered last semester mid-breakdown) that are obligated in a firm way. Next I started plugging in things that I want to do to take care of myself--daily yoga in the morning, jumproping at night, morning pages, Knitters not Quitters and ABQSnB every week, zone out to Sex and the City. But I also need to do a good job with things like keeping the house orderly (chaos begets chaos, I truly believe) and eating healthy food. I existed on pasta with olive oil, salt and pepper a lot last semester, and that's not good in so many ways. My poor deprived taste buds! Anyone have good vegetarian make-ahead recipes? I'll be getting home late three days a week and will need quick heat-up meals...but part of my 168 will be spent cooking on Sundays.

Speaking of Sundays, another way I'm going to treat myself right is to commit to a little project, what I'm going to call "Short Story Sundays". I came to this from reading (haven't finished yet) Jane Smiley's Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel and from writing my morning pages, which by the way, changed my life a few years ago (the morning pages, not Smiley's book. C'mon, it was just published!). So here's what I'm going to do: each Sunday I will read a short story--either one recommended to me, one I'm reading with my students, a New Yorker story, whatever strikes me. I will spend time thinking about what I think works or doesn't work in the story, and I will try to figure out how the writer wielded craft in order to make me envious or disgusted, or whatever I am after reading the story. Then I will write a blog entry that will provide a link to the story or the collection in which it's found, a synopsis of the story, and my thoughts on it.

We need to read more short stories is one of the reasons I want to do this project. There are so many out there, though, so maybe this will help someone to figure out what story to read. I want to understand writing better is another reason. I'm curious is the final reason.

So, stay tuned for Short Story Sundays. And if you have story suggestions, let me know. And if I seem to have gone over the cliff, at least you'll understand that it is the damn 13 credits, that's all. I'll be ok come June!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

National DeLurking Week

I like to think more folks than, say, me and my SnB read this. Alyce, for one. You 'fessed up, yet I don't see Knoxville on my Frappr Map. MB, there's no TN there, now is there? Well, folksies, you hordes reading my every word, let me know you're there. It's national DeLurking week. Comment and go over to the Frappr Map. Let me feel that more than just three others exist in my posse, ok?

MWAH. A big kiss for being brave.

Hello Out There! I Know You're Watching Me!

I live in an adobe-style townhouse with a flat roof. There's something skittering around, and it's creeping me out. It's an animal, and its little claws are scratching above me. I'm sure it's not a monster. It's not a monster, right?

I'm sorely lacking pictures. I couldn't fit my camera into any of my bags, and I didn't have time before my trip to take pictures...but here's what I gave away as gifts this year, with links to patterns where and when available. Doesn't that sound formal?

--ipod mini cozy with Noelle's adaptations.
--mini felted tote (sorry, can't find the pattern or link).
--Kate Gilbert's Gifted mittens (sorry about that one freakishly long thumb, Brian).
--Another pair of mittens, knit in the round. I like knitting in the round better. I don't like seaming. But I have a little crush on K.G. Her patterns are so lovely.
--Garter stitch scarf.
--OSW for a 12-year-old. It fit. She loved it.
--Chunky garter stitch scarf for her sister. I don't think she loved it.
--Two spiderweb capelets. Both well received.
--Three airy scarves. Two well received. One lukewarm.
--Convertible shruglet in Noro Silk Garden. Quite well recieved.
--Promises for two pairs of socks. Happily anticipated. Neal wants silver stars on his, though, which worries me. I'll give him gray ribbing.
--Annah's easy neckwarmer, still to be gifted (pattern to be posted).
--A purse of my own random design. Not worth replicating. To be gifted.
--Black cabled hat, to be finished, um, tonight.
--Pink legwarmers. Not sure if recipient has picked them up yet.

As far as I can remember, that's my list. I have a cabled neckwarmer that I failed to send to the intended recipient. I still may. If I think I'll really make it to the post office. Otherwise, next year. I'm trying to think of what else I knit last year, and here's what I can come up with:

--brown and black legwarmers (also from the Sally Melville book. I used Cascade 220, and I only cast on 46 stitches for the pink ones. I felted mine as they were WAY too big. We don't have to mention my gauge issues).
--3-hour capelet for me in crazy pink and yellow superbulky. Still need closure. Like, ribbon or a brooch.
--Prayer shawl for my mom's birthday (pictures posted earlier).
--Convertible shrug for MB (hey, take a picture wearing it and e-mail me already, ok?)
--Gargantion hat for Neal. Gauge, gauge, gauge.

ETA: I also made two pairs of the Weekend Knitting fingerless mitts--a fast, easy pattern that taught me short rows; and the kerchief in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Although it took a hell of a lot longer for me to knit than the book suggests. I'll add whatever else I remember!

Can't think of anything else. I'm gonna keep better track this year. I'll tell you about my other resolutions tomorrow. 'night.

I'm Baaaaaccccck & SP7 Questionnaire

After some airplane snafus, I'm back in the Burque. I have lots to update, lots and lots of knitting thoughts. Since I'm not so slick with my computer skills, I'm gonna make a few differnt posts. Starting with my SP7 Questionnaire! Alot of the answers will be the same as SP6, but I'm gonna do it from scratch and see if any have changed in the last few months.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Yes, I'm a snob. A big snob. Well, not so big, but I love those natural fibers, and I'm nuts for handspun right now.

2. Do you spin? Crochet? Yup, both. I am saving up for a spinning wheel, which I hope to give myself for my birthday. Love spinning. More than just about anything. I do crochet, not that often, and for no good reason. I like some of the freeform stuff that I've seen...maybe I'll give that a shot.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a cute blue and white plant holder that the straights are in, and absolute chaos for the circs and dpns. I want to make a felted needle holder like Ramona did.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I started knitting in 1997 after wanting to learn for years. Martha Stewart Living had an article about it, and I "taught" myself from that. Classes in '98 helped. I think I'm intermediate. I'm not scared to try new things, but I haven't made a lot of bigger or more complicated projects.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yup.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Clean cotton, lavender.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I love cookies. Period. They are my friend, they are my foe. Oh, I like candied ginger a bunch, too.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I love spinning, and I'm interested in paper-related crafts; I'd like to learn bookmaking and I have fun with my "ephemeral journals". I'm not great at it, but I enjoy sketching and watercolor painting.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) My stereo right now is the cd drive on my computer and my ipod mini. I love mixed cd's. LOVE them. One of my students made me one, and he got an A+. Well, true, he earned it, but bribery never hurts. I like a lot of music, right now I'm listening to a lot of Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Bjork.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? Black's my favorite color. I also like chocolate brown and pink. I like muted greens and blues, just starting to have a relationship with orange.

11. What is your family situation? Single, but I'll be moving in with my bf in May. No human children. Do you have any pets? Two dogs...well, technically one, but Neal has a dog too, and she may as well be mine. They're all (Neal and the dogs) living in CT now.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I love mittens, scarves, and hats. Don't know about ponchos.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Manos. Right now I'm nuts for Manos. But I like wool in general, cashmere is a-ok in my book, too!

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Some of the fun fur things get on my nerves if they're too plastic-y feeling.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? I've just finished a grueling semester of Christmas knitting. I'm about to embark on a fun semester of sock knitting, starting with Jaywalker with my ABQ girls.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I did some mittens over break, and those were lots of fun...I like knitting stuff to felt, too.

17. What are you knitting right now? Here's the list, which will appear in a post of its own, too:
--Christmas socks for Neal and MB
--Stripes are Stars Sweater for me
--Cabled hat for Mike
--Clapotis for me

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? LOVE them best.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circulars, although straights have their uses.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Bamboo

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes. Thanks to Noelle, I have a winder to match my swift. MWAH, N!

22. How did you learn to knit? Martha Stewart, Janet at my Peekskill, NY, LYS, and Sue, also in Peekskill. I'm learning a lot from my SnB groups, too.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? Um, about seven or eight years old.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? I love the dog on Family Guy (yup, did a lot of tv watching on my break. I know what shows are on tv now!), and the "Get Fuzzy" gang always make me happy. My name means "Meadow where the beaver dwells" and despite the oft-naughty connotations, I adore, well, beavers.

25. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas, when I get to be with my family. Easter, ditto. My birthday, ditto. So, I guess, anytime I get to be with the clan.

26. Is there anything that you collect? Yarn. Beavers.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? None, although I may break down and order Interweave since I lust after every issue.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Blue Sky alpaca; cashmere to make Best Friend.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Cat Bordhi's mobeius cast on. I have the book but need to see it in person.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I'm starting to obsess about socks. I have a fantasy of wearing my own cashmere socks. My feet are cold here in NM, and I long to make them warm again. I wear a 7-7.5 shoe.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) It's coming up, baby! February 9th! Me and Mia Farrow.