Monday, February 12, 2018

Change of Plans

I bought some Mineville Wool Project Super Sock from Simply Socks. It's available in short runs at a fantastic price, and I really like knitting with it.

I was working on a pair of socks for Andrew, and I noticed that the sock seemed really.... dense. It didn't make sense to me. It was not a weird yarn. It was the needles I typically use. I have knit this pattern before. I mentally shrugged and carried on.

Simple Skyp Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Mineville Wool Project Super Sock, Winter Sunrise colorway

We all know how this story ends. The sock was unusually dense. Despite good yardage, I ran out of yarn a few rows before the second toe.

The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to change plans unexpectedly when you thought you were close to the finish of something. So, change plans and move on. It's fine, and it might even be fun.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Year the Not Knitting Wasn't

I was ready for the Not Knitting. Every January, it seems that I lose the desire to knit. Instead, I read. I've gotten used to it, and it no longer scares me that I'll never want to knit again and will have gajillions of dollars in yarn that I won't use.

I was mentally prepared for it this year. I worked to get physically prepared as well. I checked out extra library books. I bought an embroidery pattern. I read up on British mystery series I might want to watch.

Then this happened:
Christmas Diagonal Ribs (mine ravelled here),

And then this happened:
Plain Socks (mine ravelled here),

And now this is happening:

Simple Skyp Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Mineville Wool Project Super Sock in Winter Sunrise

Oh well. If the Not Knitting comes late this year, I'll still be ready.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Wisdom of Books

Awhile ago, I shared some quotes I'd written down from TV. Today I'd like to share some book quotes. These are all from Louise Penny's books.

Louise Penny's character, Armand Gamache, is particularly wise. This first quote is how I feel about knitting. I choose to do it anyway.
He walked briskly to the young couple and their son and joined them as they walked to the stall Old Mundin had set up. It was full of furniture, hand made. A person’s choices were always revealing, Gamache found. Mundin chose to make furniture, fine furniture. Gamache’s educated eye skimmed the tables, cabinets and chairs. This was painstaking, meticulous work. All the joints dovetailed together without nails; the details were beautifully inlaid, the finishes smooth. Faultless. Work like this took time and patience. And the young carpenter could never, ever be paid what these tables, chairs, dressers were worth. And yet Old Mundin chose to do it anyway.
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny 

Stupid people worried Gamache. They were unpredictable.
The Hangman by Louise Penny 

Gamache listened, but didn’t nod. Didn’t agree or disagree. He was bending much of his will to disengaging from Br├ębeuf, while still listening closely.
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny 

It isn't just Inspector Gamache that's clever, though.
Yes, I’m in debt. Never was good with money and now that apparently I’m not allowed to steal, life is much more difficult.
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny 

“Do you think he’d lost his mind?” Clara asked. “I think,” said Myrna slowly, “that Peter could afford to lose some of his mind. It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.”
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Quotes: Books

These are all book quotes about books, a glorious world within an already glorious world.
Bringing a book of your own to school was a no-no, and not to recess either, where you were supposed to be getting balls thrown at your head. Carrying a book was practically against the law at summer camp, where downtime was for forced mass song.
 Books are how cautious kids get to experience a kind of secondhand rebellion, a safe way to go off the rails.
(Years later, the literary critic Liesl Schillinger would dub these “mumblenyms”—words mispronounced by heavy readers who’d encountered them only on the page.)
 This is every reader’s catch-22: the more you read, the more you realize you haven’t read; the more you yearn to read more, the more you understand that you have, in fact, read nothing.
 It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I understood it was okay and even right to read what you wanted rather than what you ought.
My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul 

There was a universe inside every human being every bit as big as the universe outside them. Books were the best way Nina knew—apart from, sometimes, music—to breach the barrier, to connect the internal universe with the external, the words acting merely as a conduit between the two worlds.
The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel by Jenny Colgan 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Quotes: Funny

It's time for some funny quotes.

“There are only so many hours in the day, Simon. Two, three people—that’s all any of us have time for.”
“There are more people than that in your immediate family, Penny.”
“I know. It’s a struggle.”
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 

You and I…we despise almost everyone, which means we save all our love and affection for a small few. I don’t know how they put up with the intensity of it, but they do.
Neanderthal Marries Human: A Smarter Romance by Penny Reid 

Oh thanks be to the God she doesn’t believe in.
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths 

I don’t want to do anything. I don’t even want to start this day because then I’ll just be expected to finish it.
 Fangirl: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell

I have to admit that humans waste a lot of their time—almost all of it—with hypothetical stuff. I could be rich. I could be famous. I could have been hit by that bus. I could have been born with fewer moles and bigger breasts. I could have spent more of my youth learning foreign languages. They must exercise the conditional tense more than any other known life-form.
The Human by Matt Haig 
“I had enough adventure as a child,” Sophie said firmly as she poured. “I’m having a staid adulthood to make up for it.”
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie 
Shitsofuckit. This is just your life, your career, your world, my brain said to me. No reason for you to be nervous. Why are you such a pain in the ass? I asked. It’s the job of every neurotic artist to have a brain that tortures them, my brain answered. Well, fuck off, I demanded.
Rock Chick Reckoning by Kristen Ashley 

Why would she take one of her two days of quiet and solitude a week and spend it with people? Nice people, certainly, but people who wanted to talk and interact.
The Obsession by Nora Roberts 
“You’re a very unusual man.”
“I have no context with which to frame a reply to that observation.”
Memory Man by David Baldacci
Here’s a thing I believe about people my age: we are the children of Hogwarts, and more than anything, we just want to be sorted.
 Every single surface told a story. A long one. With digressions.
I felt the disorientation of a generous offer that in no way lines up with anything you want to do: like a promotion to senior alligator wrestler, or an all-expenses-paid trip to Gary, Indiana. 
 Sourdough: A Novel by Robin Sloan 
The railway hit Harrow on the Hill in 1880 and it’s been downhill ever since, culminating in one of those formless red brick shopping centres which artfully combines a complete lack of aesthetic quality with a total disregard for the utilitarian function for which it is built. As a result, your average shopper has only to spend ten minutes inside to be reduced to a state of quiet desperation
The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch 
We are all ignorant. There are beaches and deserts and dunes of knowledge whose existence we have never even guessed at, let alone visited. It’s the ones who think they know what there is to be known that we have to look out for. “All is explained in this text—there is nothing else you need to know,” they tell us. For thousands of years we put up with this kind of thing.
The Book of General Ignorance by John Mitchinson and John Lloyd 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Quotes: Emotion

These quotes are ones that explain some nebulous emotional state. When I read them, I understood them profoundly, but I'd never been able to put the feeling into words.

I'll read anything Rainbow Rowell writes. I bet even her grocery list is fantastic.
He sat back in the seat and looked over at her. “I wish you’d go away,” he whispered, “so that we could finally talk.”
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 
They’d even gone to therapy together after their mom left. Which seemed weird, now that Cath thought about it. Especially considering how differently they’d reacted—Wren acting out, Cath acting in. (Violently, desperately in. Journey to the Center of the Earth in.)
Cath couldn’t control whether she saw Levi on campus. But she could worry about it, and as long as she was worrying about it, it probably wasn’t going to happen. Like some sort of anxiety vaccine. Like watching a pot to make sure it never boiled.
Cath had tried to call Levi first—not because she thought he could help, he was four hours away—but she wanted to touch base. (The “tag” kind of base. The kind that means safe.) 
Fangirl: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell 

These are ones I've collected from various books:
So I guess you could say Neel owes me a few favors, except that so many favors have passed between us now that they are no longer distinguishable as individual acts, just a bright haze of loyalty. Our friendship is a nebula.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 
Decent people who were curious, interested, and even sad about Angie’s death, but felt it in a removed way. A protective empathy. If I feel bad for Josie Archer, then it won’t happen to my family.
Death by Cashmere by Sally Goldenbaum
It was like being rolled over by a steamroller made of flowers, Abigail thought. It didn’t really hurt, it was all very pretty and sweet-smelling. But you were still flattened.
The Witness by Nora Roberts 
And I knew the point of love right then. The point of love was to help you survive. The point was also to forget meaning. To stop looking and start living. The meaning was to hold the hand of someone you cared about and to live inside the present. Past and future were myths. The past was just the present that had died and the future would never exist anyway, because by the time we got to it, the future would have turned into the present. The present was all there was. The ever-moving, ever-changing present. And the present was fickle. It could only be caught by letting go. So I let go. I let go of everything in the universe. Everything, except her hand.
Kissing is what humans do when words have reached a place they can’t escape from. 
The Human by Matt Haig 

Seth’s voice stayed quiet, but his eyes—full of noise—stayed on Susan’s face.
The Obsession by Nora Roberts 

"I love it. I just… If you had scanned it in—I feel bad you had to ruin the actual photo.” 
“I didn’t ruin anything,” she insists. “I cut out the only two people I cared about in that class.”
The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer 

I hardly ever spoke to live people. It wasn’t that I was stupid (although a lot of teachers thought so when I first entered their classes), or that I didn’t like people. It was just that there didn’t seem to be a lot to say that someone wasn’t already saying.
Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech and Marc Burckhardt 
I squirmed in my chair. I didn’t know what to do. My mental hands were tied. I had been flung into a part of life that was over my head and I was in danger of drowning in ignorance.
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley
Dan and Dad’s relationship always had an edge to it, as if the two men couldn’t quite embrace each other’s ways and personalities. They were like two jigsaw pieces with the same bit of sky on, but which didn’t fit together.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick 

“I should enjoy that,” she said, stretching the truth so thin that really there was nothing of it left.
First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh 

All people are children when they sleep. There’s no war in them then . . . They . . . open their hands halfway, soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters. . . . If only we could speak to one another then when our hearts are half-open flowers Words like golden bees would drift in.
To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon 
Addison felt a deep-down, strangely detached sort of devastation.
A Darling Bay Christmas: Three Heartwarming Holiday Short Stories
--This one by Juliet Blackwell

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


I'm finding things hard.

News stories make me want to lie down in the road and never get up, but I feel guilty not listening.

I feel despair at the decisions our political leadership are making, and I feel like my letters are pointless.

Plus, should I really have to tell anyone, but particularly our elected leaders, that their job is to watch out for those who need it most? That they need to be most concerned with the poor, the jobless, the homeless, those needing extensive medical care? Isn't this obvious?

This is clearly not obvious, as evidenced by the bullshit form letters I receive back from those elected officials.

I am disgusted and appalled by Trump and cannot understand why there are those who are not equally disgusted and appalled. This then makes me feel badly because I feel I am living a double standard: I expect you to understand my position but I do not have to understand yours.*

I feel confident we're more fucked up than ever before, but then I remember mustard gas and Hiroshima and Vietnam and KKK lynchings. Then I just wonder if we're doomed to be a racist, violent, hate-filled species that kills itself off.

Personally, I'm having a harder time than usual with the short days. I bought a light therapy box, but I still struggle with feeling I should just sit on the couch and eat mac and cheese until March.

I then feel guilty that I'm struggling because I live in the first world, have a job, have good health, have a wonderful partner and friends, etc.

So many things in my life are great, but... it's just hard right now. I'm putting a lot of energy into life. I'm forcing myself to stick to my workout routine. I'm using the light therapy box. (I typed "life" therapy box. Freudian slip.) I'm making sure to get good sleep. I'm trying to eat healthily more often than not. What I want is to watch British murder shows and eat mac and cheese and not move. What I'm doing is quite different, but I'm so tired.

It's just hard right now. It'll get better. The only way out is through.

*Because my position is right, damn it. Sigh. Not helpful.