Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yesterday after work, I stopped at the garden center to buy grass seed.  I went home, mowed, spread the seed and watered.

As a reward, I also bought this:

Aster divaricatus, 'Eastern Star'

It's a white wood aster that blooms in the fall.  I've planted it under a tree in the backyard, in the same spot where I've killed two hellebores.  This plant is much larger, so hopefully it will fare better against the stray cat and the ducks who regularly tromp around that area.

Hello, beautiful.  You had me at "fall-blooming, shady site, tolerates clay."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another One into the Fold

Remember how I said that I thought Lisa had been hooked*?  Today I received this e-mail:

Hi Bonnie,

I am so sorry to bother you with this but I have really gotten into knitting (I am guilty of going out and buying a starter book and some needles and new yarn…I just jumped into this one!).  I of course have no idea how to incorporate another skein of yarn, or what to do when I finish, or how to start a new one.  The books have sort of confused me (the visual learning is best for me).  Help?  Suggestions? 

I told you that you might regret sitting at our table!  Haha  You were just so patient and a great teacher.  I really appreciated it.  And now...I'M HOOKED!
Thanks so much
Lisa (I’m the one with the short curly hair, hates pink, and really got into the knitting!...and the occasional smart alec)

This made my day.  Whom do I see about getting that toaster?

*No pun intended.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Misanthrope Goes to a Party

A couple months ago, I received an e-mail from someone who said she found my blog and wondered if I'd be interested in volunteering at a fundraiser.

I could teach people to knit.

It was for the Indy chapter of Glamour Gals, a not-for-profit whose mission is "to inspire and organize teens to provide ongoing complimentary beauty makeovers to elderly women living in senior homes."  It was called the Hot Pink Party.*

One one hand, I'm very introverted.  It takes a lot of effort to be social, especially when I know no one and the people involved pay attention to make-up.  My idea of volunteerism involves me in a garden (alone) or reading and recording books in a sound booth (again, alone).  Also, this is the busiest time of year at work and I'm a bit puddle-like by 5:00 p.m. 

On the other hand, pushing myself to do new things isn't a bad thing, it was a good cause, there would be knitting, someone I didn't know had actually seen my blog, and I could put on Lipgloss of Impermeability for protection.

I went.

I worked with four women.  Two of them had knit before and needed a bit of a refresher.   Ironically, they were both left-handed, and I had no idea how to compensate for that difference.  It went all right anyway.  The other two had never knit and were very enthusiastic and positive.  One of them, Lisa, had That Look by the end of the night.  She's going to become a Knitter.

Now, I need to go lie down.  I'm exhausted.

*I do not hold this against them.  When I attempted to find something hot pink to wear, I discovered that the only hot pink piece of clothing I own is underwear.  I wore them even though no one saw them.  It's the thought that counts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


After graduate school, I worked at a Unitarian Universalist church for three years.  I was their all-around office person.  I did the financial stuff and the publishing stuff and the explaining-UU-to-curious-people-even-though-it-wasn't-my-tradition stuff and the whatever-else-needs-to-be-done stuff.  I came back to the synagogue at which I had worked part-time throughout graduate school when they had a full-time position, and that was that.

I am so grateful for the time at the church.  The Minister and Director of Religious Education didn't have regular office hours, so often it was just me and the maintenance person who lived in an apartment in the building.  Going from an office with a strong core of people to an office with just me meant lots of things, the most important being:

  • Nobody's going to bring in muffins.  You'd better do that sort of thing yourself.
  • Nobody's available to unjam the copier.

I've been away from the church for five years,* and I remain grateful for what I learned during that time.  With no one there, there wasn't anyone else to fix whatever went wrong. I learned to figure things out, to research solutions, and to improvise.  I can't overemphasize how helpful that's been to me.

Last week, someone came to me and asked how to change the toner in the duplicator.  Do I know?  No.  Can I figure it out?  Of course.  She later came to me with questions about a program that was new to everyone.  It took two minutes to figure out how to solve her problem because the answer was right on the screen.  I certainly can't fix everything--I'm convinced wireless access is powered by fairy dust--but I'm willing to give things a try.

I sound like a self-righteous jerk, and I don't mean to.  What I'm trying to articulate is that I am grateful I learned to depend on myself and not on someone else.  Even as introverted as I am, I didn't like working in near complete isolation, and I'm happy to be back at the synagogue with my lovely, dysfunctional colleagues.  But I wouldn't give up that experience for anything.

I bow to the ground to that congregation.  And yesterday I brought muffins into work.

*Huh.  How did that happen?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Clockwork Orange...

and red and green and brown and yellow and some variegated stuff...

Colorful Clockwork knit in fingering-weight scrap yarn

A coworker saw me knitting at lunch and asked what I was doing.  Having just attempted to explain it to another coworker, I said I would just show her a picture.  When I did, she said, "That's adorable!  The picture helps.  I wouldn't have known what to think if you said you were knitting a clock cozy."*

Retrobaby's picture was enough to send me barrelling through the sock yarn remnants. 

Cast on 20 stitches.  Knit in garter stitch for awhile.  (Mine was 22".)  Pick up 20 stitches from cast on edge and kitchner ends of strip together.  Stretch around clock.  Hang on wall.  Admire your own cleverness.

I've already made two of these, and there's a third one in my immediate future.

*For the record, the other coworker said, "Well... I guess clocks get cold."  Sigh.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gray Galore

I have no idea why I never posted these pictures.  They just sat in an unpublished blog post, ignored.  These socks deserved better.

French Quarter socks knit in Alpaca with a Twist's Socrates yarn in Charcoal colorway

Anne Hanson has written a lovely pattern on teeny-tiny needles.  They're beautiful.

In a variation on a theme, I finished Andrew's socks, also gray.  These were knit in a much heavier yarn on bigger needles.  They flew.
So Simple Silk Garden knit in Knitpicks City Tweed DK in Orca and Morning Glory colorways

It was a 3-1 ribbed pattern with a little cable thrown in to keep the knitter from going to sleep and drooling on the yarn.  Bring it on, fall.  We're ready.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today I Forgot

Today I forgot that I liked my job.

I forgot that the majority of people are doing the best they can, and it's not worth worrying about the rest.

I forgot that doing things well is not a burden.

I forgot that everything is an opportunity for spiritual practice, whether I recognize it or not.

I forgot that nasty people are secret bodhisattvas.*

I forgot that I'm helping people in their spiritual path through the mundane tasks I'm doing, and that makes them sacred.

I forgot that ultimately it doesn't matter if people know I'm right. 

I forgot that it doesn't matter if I'm right at all.

I forgot to give people grace.

I forgot to give myself grace.

I will try again tomorrow.

*Read books by Geri Larkin for more.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Not So Big Foot

I finished the socks my mother-in-law asked me to knit for her best friend.  I used a new yarn and a tried-and-true pattern.

I mentioned that this woman has long feet.  My m-i-l said she wore a 10.5 or 11 shoe.  I knit and knit and knit.  After I finished them and washed them, they seemed... quite long.  I tried to ignore it, but last night I was lying in bed and the doubts came back.  I got out of bed, grabbed a tape measure and the socks...

They were about 3 cm too long.  That's too long to fake.  This morning I ripped out both toes and a bit of the foot and then reknit the toes.  I'm trying not to focus on the fact that it took three hours to do.  Hopefully they'll be fine now.

The yarn is some I've never used before.  It's shiny, very splitty, and soft.  It's also supposed to be machine washable and dryable.  I am a believer in handwashing and drying knitwear--too many hours go into knitting to be blase about the care.  I don't know if the recipient has the same feelings, so I'm glad these should be very easy to care for.* 

I've moved on to socks for Andrew.  They're knit in dk weight yarn, so they feel like they're flying!

*Speaking of, did anyone else find this bit of The Office very, very funny?  I also believe my handknits should be handwashed without water.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mental Floss!

Yesterday evening Brandy and I went to the Mental Floss Trivia Show.  Here is a smattering of the things we learned:

  • Mr. T and Teddy Roosevelt both had photographic memories.
  • An opossum has 13 nipples.
  • There were 7 Police Academy Movies.
  • Bill Clinton sent a grand total of 2 e-mails while in office.
  • The Wonderbra was originally sold by Sara Lee.
  • Dick Cheney worked as an intern for Ted Kennedy.  (Well, sort of.)
  • Hawaiian Punch was originally served as an ice cream topping.
We had a nice time, and I came home with this t-shirt:

Brandy got this one:

She also was given a t-shirt for fixing the co-founder's audio issue from the audience.  Her power is great.

If you don't currently read Mental Floss, you should start.  I'm not just saying that because of the t-shirts.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some Random Stuff I'm Thinking About

I know the post should be called, "Some Random Stuff About Which I'm Thinking."  I wish that didn't sound so awkward.  Prepositions, you are funny things.

  • I love to classify things, including myself.  For example, I'm a white, middle-class, liberal female Democrat.  I work with some people who also fit this description, and yet we are very different.  This is fascinating to me.
  • People can be jerks.  Pretentious, arrogant, obnoxious jerks.  Turns out that walking quickly on the treadmill helps me get rid of my anger.  This is good because I would undoubtedly be fired if I treated said jerks as I wish to treat them.
  • I don't know why I've never read Bram Stoker's Dracula.  I'm reading it now and enjoying it, although I admit to putting it aside to read a couple other books.  I pretend that's because I needed to read library books before they needed to be returned, but that's only partially true.  Although I'm enjoying it, the sexism in the book is making me crazy, and I am stunned by the characters' stupidity.  Of course Mina is going to get bitten.  You're living next door to Count Dracula and he knows you want to kill him, you morons.  
  • Are there other classics I really should read because they're actually good?
  • It's September 1, and this is the busiest month at my work.  This makes me anxious and sad.  I may not completely exhale until September 28 at 2:30.  I look forward to that moment.
  • I'm halfway down the foot of the second sock for my m-i-l's bff.  I'm planning to start a pair of socks for Andrew when the current project is finished.  We have two days' worth of family stuff this weekend, and I hope to knit at both.