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Posts from the ‘Musings’ Category

The Effects of Sunshine on the Soul

The sunlight is back.

I had an idea to chronicle all that’s happened in the 6 months or so since I last posted (um, since I had the baby), but in the bright glow of the March sunlight, I’ve found that I have no heart to drudge up the 5′ snowbank that sealed our front door off, or the 20 degrees BELOW zero (F) it was one morning, or the long john filled days of playing trains and nursing, and hot tea during naptime in a vain attempt to ward off exhaustion and cold drafts.

Somewhere in the last week that all became history.

It may have been SPA – a weekend filled with supportive friends, adult conversation, sleep, and fiber-y inspiration. My god, I love SPA. This year, Kellee made it happen for me, convincing Eric that it was the perfect weekend to get Tommy on bottles (she was right. No surprise there.)

There is something about SPA that is rejuvenating. I think it’s getting to spend REAL time with your friends, all holed up together in a hotel, for a big long sleepover. It’s not a quick knit night, it’s not a whirlwind barn-touring festival, it’s a big long pajama-fest with fiber. And room service.

Which is awesome, and certainly does a lot for the state of one’s psyche.

But today, today I am convinced it’s the sunlight.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t see past the day-to-day drudgery, I couldn’t figure out in my head how I was going to manage our jumbled schedule of conflicting family needs (work, class, meetings, trips… all a big puzzle of how to get who where, and hopefully on time).

But the sun is out, shining onto my desk, and across the play floor, and it feels like we’ve turned one big corner. I can see all the stuff before us, and it’s clicking. I can figure it out.

We may get more snow this winter. Hell, it was only 2 degrees this morning outside my kitchen window as I made my tea. But the sun is strong, and it’s been shining, and it’s all downhill to summer from here.

I’ve been knitting too. Here’s a preview of what I’m going to be showing off in the next few posts:

Preview

And a little baby love, because it really all does go by too fast:

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Scale

Courtesy of Holden’s new sidewalks, EJ and I walked into town, had lunch, and stopped by the yarn shop. It was lovely, although a bit of a trek (5 miles round trip). In NYC terms, that would mean walking from our apartment on the Upper West Side, down to Herald Sq, and back, which is something you would never, ever do. Partly because there is a perfectly good sandwich shop on practically every corner, and partly because the subway is just so much freaking faster.

Although in Holden, you don’t have to stop every 50 yards for a street crossing, a crazy person, or tourists standing blocking the sidewalk, so we had that going for us, which was nice.

Bogota, Columbia’s former Mayor says that the measure of a civilization is their sidewalk system, not their highway system, and despite the fact that a mere 10 years ago Bogota was one of the most violent cities on earth, I must say, he has a point. Being car-less recently, in an area where cars are not just a convenience but absolutely necessary to live, I have appreciated the ability to leave the house and access shops without walking my baby stroller down the side of a busy road for several miles.


Would you wheel this down a busy street?

Violence aside, I must give credit where credit is due: Bogota has one of the most progressive alternative transportation programs in the world. Out with the carjackings, in with the muggings!

Just kidding.

You can read more about it here and here.

In between walking insane distances for lunch, and googling Bogota, I have been knitting these:

Anklet socks of my own design, nothing special, just something to add interest to both the knitting and the finished object.

Almost done with the 2nd one, and I’m enjoying thinking about what I’ll cast on next…

One Month

gratuitous baby pic:

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My life is hardly recognizable for all the changes that have happened since I posted last. Hold on to your hats, while I take you on the ride that has been my life this past month.

Firstly, I have spent more time in MA than in NYC this past month. In fact, I am writing on my mother’s laptop, drinking coffee in the guest room while EJ naps. It’s actually quite lovely and peaceful, and I’ve been up here so much that our life in NYC seems slightly unreal.

Which I suppose is a good thing, because we’ve decided to move back to MA. Starting in June, EJ and I are going to be up here full time looking for a house.

In fact, we had started poking around the market and put an offer on a house a few weeks ago. Sadly, we were outbid – the house was perfect, the neighborhood was fantastic, in the town we love best around here. But it highlighted for us how difficult it is to house-hunt from a distance. So for now, the hunt is on hold, to be resumed in June.

(But I can still stalk the MLS site. I love looking at real estate. Love. It.)

And since I have no knitting pics, I will try to keep your interest with pictures of cuteness:

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Pedestrians everywhere, beware. I am back on the roads, and this time armed with a pretty, brand-spanking new mid-sized SUV. This is bittersweet – Eric and I have loved being car-free these past two years, and we recognize that there are more environmentally responsible ways to get back on the road. But the reality is we’re moving to an area that for 5 months of the year is pummeled with snow and ice, with roads that leave much to be desired, and anything less than 4WD is irresponsible from a safety standpoint. I’m pretty sure that mid-January in Central MA would eat a Prius alive.

Chompity chomp chomp chomp.

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Better get used to that car seat buddy.

But it’s not all houses and cars around here. We’ve also addressed matters of the soul. We hedged our bets and had EJ baptized. Actually, Monsignor was very good to us, and performed a twofer: Eric and I are now married in the Church, and our son is now saved from the evils of Original Sin and has been welcomed into the community, destined for a life of guilt and penitence.

(Yes, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek there. I have a conflicted relationship with the Church, but the ceremony was truly lovely, and I am very glad we did it. EJ can choose to be a heathen later in life if he’d like.)

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The battle for his soul has begun.

So, my knitting is gathering dust, and our life is in complete upheaval again. I’m not gonna lie – I am so sick of moving, and of all the time and effort wasted each time we pack up, and then try to get settled again. Eric and I have moved so much that we actually have a 3 month rule. We have 3 months after moving to unpack, decorate, get settled, etc.. After 3 months, anything that’s not done is left undone. There’s no point in continuing, because we know our time is limited. So, the most appealing aspect of this next move is the idea that it’s going to be our last move for a very very very long time.

(Not to mention that we’ll be close to my family and all our MA friends. Which rocks.)

Good Bye Hedge Fund, Hello Serger!

Eric quit his job a few weeks ago, and Friday was his last day. This marks, without exaggeration, the end of an era of oppression around here. He worked for a large hedge fund with a slaveshop mentality, most recently imposing mandatory 14 hour days, 6 day weeks (“but you’d better not complain if it’s both weekend days, you’re damn lucky you have a job”) while cutting health benefits and compensation. This hedge fund has $20 Billion under management, not exactly working under a shoestring budget, so I find it hard for them to justify working their people to the bone and using the current economic situation as a whip.

Eric starts next week at a family friendly company, and we are both excited about his prospects there. But most importantly, he’ll be able to be home, mind and body, for normal chunks of time.

The past week or so has been a nice respite for me as well. Eric has been relishing the time he now gets to spend with EJ, which means I no longer bear the full brunt of holding him all the time. As you can imagine, this has been a win-win-win situation.

I haven’t really been knitting, but I did use my EJ-free arms to scrounge around in the closet and find my sewing machine. My first order of business was the make a supersized swaddle blanket – no more wussy swaddles for us. My next order of business is a skirt, naturally. (The Skirt, after all, is the Scarf of sewing).

In preparation for all this, I picked up Sew U by Wendy of Built by Wendy, and I must say, it is simply excellent. It is the first sewing book I’ve ever seen that has the Elizabeth Zimmermann mentality of empowering the knitter (seamstress?) to use common sense and boldly customize projects.

Love. It.

I also found a refurbished serger on sale at Overstock dot com and it arrived yesterday. (By the way, it’s like the Fates came together and determined it’s time for me to get my sew on. Don’t you think?) I can’t wait to unpack it and give it a whirl, which brings me to the question of why am I still working on this post?

There’s a serger waiting to be unpacked. I’ve been keeping an eye on sergers for 3 years now, and finally found a good one at a great price. I’m gonna get on that, right now.

(She’s lonely, and the only cure is more serger.)

Grant’s Tomb

I thought the inscription was fitting today. It is from the tomb of a man who was involved in the most divisive era in American history, and who presided over the 2nd half of the Reconstruction, emphasizing reconciliation, order and the protection of civil rights for all citizens.

Here’s to the power of Hope.

Last Hurrah

From here on out, Eric and I have agreed to begin what we like to call The Seclusion. No more plans, parties, lunches, drop-bys – just time at home to take care of the things we need to take care of before this baby is born.

The result is that for the next month we have a clear calendar (except for a few one-off baby classes), and the danger is in deceiving ourselves that we have plenty of free time. In making an exception because ‘we don’t have any plans’, or rationalizing we can just put up those shelves later in the afternoon – going out for breakfast won’t hurt.

It’s hard to say no to plans. There’s the obvious fact that we rarely get to see everyone we’d like to, and to pass up a chance to get together and do something fun (or just catch up!) seems silly. Less obvious is the guilt. The vague idea that because we have a clear schedule then we have no good reason to say ‘no’.

This past weekend was chock-full of plans, and they were wonderful. Eric went to a Halloween party with some of his college friends on Friday night, I spent Saturday with some fabulous knitters in Brooklyn. Eric and I had dinner out in the neighborhood Saturday evening, breakfast out with friends from Boston Sunday morning, and then some other friends simply dropped by Sunday afternoon for a few hours.

In between it all, Eric and I took George for an early morning walk (2 hours! Mostly because my walk is more like a shuffle these days.) up to Grant’s Tomb:

…and somehow Eric even found time to shop for and hang new blinds, as well as install my nightstand shelf.

It was busy, it was fun, and it was a great way to enjoy our last weekend before The Seclusion began.

Can you tell I’m ready for it? (And yes, those are thrummed mitts I’m sporting. I heart them.)

Nesting

For the past 8 months, I’ve been hearing about “Nesting”, and how as I get closer and closer to having this baby I’ll be overcome with the urge to do wacky things like iron socks and scrub walls… the product of (wacked out) biological impulses to prepare for this baby.

Supposedly, the more wacked out, the closer the baby is to coming out.

I’m 6 weeks away from my due date, and something has started to kick in. I wouldn’t call it Nesting per se. More like a sense of urgency. I might have 6 weeks until my due date, but I’m only 2 weeks away from being considered Full-Term. We’re still getting our bearings from the move – and what we’ve managed to sort through and unpack has only been replaced by a wall full of baby things, waiting to be sorted though and unpacked.

This weekend, all weekend, is our birthing class.

I have Thank You notes out the wazoo, begging to be written.

But all of this urgency is being channeled to my stash. It’s strange, because I was never one to be anal about that sort of thing. Historically my yarn has been stored wherever it could fit, usually in whatever order it was purchased. Eventually we bought a dresser for it. Then the dresser moved to storage (the yarn stayed with me).

When Jess was talking about her idea for Ravelry, way way back, she would talk about how she envisaged a stash organization tool, and I distinctly remember thinking about people who catalogue their stash in Excel (again, this is pre-Ravelry) and how I would never, ever be one of those people.

(I do really love the stash feature of Ravelry though.)

But now I am. I am finding solace in organizing my stash. I have a wardrobe of fiber, organized by source. Tupperware and baskets and boxes of yarn, each dedicated to a certain brand, or purpose (Rowan, Lamb’s Pride, sock, lace, handspun, etc.)

Each week I find myself combing through my “Current Projects” basket and cleaning out, updating for what has been languishing, ripping out doomed projects and re-storing the yarn in its appropriate place, filing patterns, putting away unused needles.

I can no longer relax if my yarn is in a state of disarray. It’s kind of freaking me out.

What should have been a simple “take out of bag, put into basket” operation, turned into an hour long “All Systems Go Reorganization”. The swift and ballwinder came out. So did the hole puncher. I contemplated setting up the sewing machine to make a needle-case for my circulars and dpns (I have one for my straights).

This is NOT what I should be doing with my time (even if I can’t physically put together a crib by myself, there are still the thank-yous) but it’s what I’m compelled to do. I felt GOOD when I was finished, and I even pulled out the vacuum for a bit to ice the cake.

These were the 2 meager stash additions, purchased at Rhinebeck, that caused this ruckus:

Socks That Rock – Mediumweight (Mossay)

Brooks Farm Mas-Acero (colorway unknown, but no less loved for that)

Totally worth it.

T minus 2

DSC_0095 by you.

When in doubt, post yarn.

Yarn.  Pretty Pretty Yarn.

My first shipment from Sundara’s Seasons club.  The colorway is Roasted Persimmon over Green Papaya and the crappy light (I tried, I really did, but I spend almost all the daylight hours in an office building, or en route to/from said office building) does not do this yarn justice.  It is much less pink and much more red than the picture indicates. 

The deep rich reds with the faint nips of green/yellow peeping through actually remind me of the gorgeous autumn foliage in New England that’s happening about now, and is making me simultaneously homesick, and wanting to carry the yarn everywhere with me.

I love it so much that I think I need to veer from my narrow Stockinette or Jaywalker sock policy for this yarn.  Right now the Twisted Tweed pattern is leading the pack, however, I am open to suggestions…

Rhinebeck

Rhinebeck is only 2 days away.  I have so much to do between now and then that it hardly seems like just 2 days, but I suppose that staying busy will make the time fly.  (It has been.  I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already?!)

Admin

For some reason, comments are being sent to my old Yahoo email account.  I’m still trying to figure out how to fix this… the inefficiencies of moving are killing me (sigh).

No, I’m not talking just about moving the blog.  Tonight I have about 8 storage bins that need to be sorted through before Eric makes the trip to his parents this weekend to clear out things we don’t immediately need from our new apartment.  Yes, it’s for a really really good reason – we need a place to put all the awesome baby stuff – but it’s amazing how much TIME and ENERGY is expended (months and months worth) every time you move.

And we’ve moved 4 times in the past 4 years.   Consider my wanderlust (completely and one hundred percent) satiated.

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