unintended absence…

Hi, you guys! Apologies for what has been an entirely unintended absence from the blog! I made it to DC on schedule, but accidentally brought a pretty nasty cold/flu with me. My first week was a bit of a blur, and now that it’s been almost three (?!), I’m finally settling into a rhythm. Here’s a little bit of what that looks like:

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National Archives at night. Last night, in fact. Snapped this on my way to meet a dear friend for dinner.

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My office — and my new shiny piece of technology. (I bought an iPad mini, and I love it. It has already been more useful than I could have imagined for my work. I’m reading and annotating articles and drafts, and using it as a second screen while reviewing documents and making notes. Super awesome.) Also, that’s a bowl of tabbouleh. I’m still getting used to packing my lunch every morning. At home, most days I split my work between home and campus or a coffee shop, and head back to the house to walk Boh and make lunch.

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Birds! I don’t intend to share lots of work stuff here, but I figured that knitters might appreciate these gorgeous, vibrant birds. (One of the people I write about in my dissertation was a naturalist who collected a lot of specimens for the Smithsonian.)

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Yarn! Foxflat was in town, and we met up to do some yarn shopping and tea drinking. Hooray for internet friends who become real-life friends!

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Consider this proof of our lovely afternoon (and my inability to keep my eyes open in photos). I have plans to knit a spring cowl ouf of that super happy Quince and Co. yarn. Also, I’m totally psyched about that sweater Katie is wearing — she posted about it here, and it is even more fantastic in person.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for now. I’m embarrassingly far behind on replying to comments, but it’s on my to-do list. (Which, by the way, I’m working to digitize. I highly recommend Workflowy, and if you want to check it out, use this link, and we’ll both get a little extra space. No pressure, of course.)

Happy Groundhog Day — and happy weekend! More soon.

FO: floating down.

Which, incidentally, also describes my back pain: floating down in intensity. I’ve got a massage scheduled for as soon as I’m done teaching tomorrow morning, and that should make it a lot better. Thank you for all of your kind comments. I’ve been trying to take it easy while still getting  my work done. It’s going to be another busy week… (I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot this semester!) Anyway, do you want to see some handspun?

I thought so.

This is Hello Yarn 75% BFL/25% Tussah Silk in Floating Down, spun as singles. I ended up with just over 400 yards of this delicious stuff. What should I make?

Boh is excited.

Or not. (Silly, silly dog.)

We took a long, slow walk with a friend and her dog on Friday, which seemed to help with my back twinge. Along the way, we saw this bald eagle! (Apologies for the poor photo quality — I took this with my iphone, and zoomed in as much as I could.)

We also saw this Great Blue Heron. Boh and Madigan were too busy focusing on all the Canadian Geese to notice.

I got sorrel in my CSA box this week, and sauteed it with butter and onions and leftover rice. It was delicious.

And last night, I made a big batch of Heidi’s Millet Fried Rice, from Super Natural Cooking. I’d forgotten how much I like millet — and how much I like this recipe. Basically, you cook the millet, and when that’s almost done, you make a super thin egg pancake, by melting butter with some toasted sesame oil in a large pan, beating a couple of eggs as if to make an omelette, and then pouring in the egg. You swirl the eggs around to get a really thin layer, and then fold the eggs over on themselves once they are cooked enough to let you do that. Shortly after that, you remove the egg from the pan, and then stirfry whatever veggies you’re using in a super hot pan, and then you add the millet, some soy sauce, and then you slice the egg pancake into strips and add that, too. I topped mine with onion sprouts and some canned roasted red pepper, both from my spring CSA box. I might have eaten this for lunch and dinner today, too.

Also, last night was Earth Hour, and I participated by turning off as much electricity as possible in my home, and lighting some candles to read by. While I believe that lifestyle activism on its own isn’t enough, I like doing this, and it is nice to remind myself how much I enjoy turning everything off for awhile. I certainly recognize my own privilege in all of this –and that not everyone has the power to make this choice. Still, this is about mindfulness for me. I didn’t really plan ahead, in terms of what I might read, so I was scrambling for something as the official time approached.

I ended up spending part of my hour reading some Mary Oliver poems. The book I’m teaching this week opens with Oliver’s Wild Geese” as the epigraph, which I read to my students on Wednesday. It begins, “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees/ For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.” It was nice to read it by candlelight.

Looks like today’s photos are all in pairs. I like it. Also, Happy April!

angle of repose?

Boh and I have spent much of the last several days snuggled up on the couch re-reading some Wallace Stegner. I’d say Boh has found his angle of repose, wouldn’t you? (My Agnes sweater is perfect for reading late into the night.)

Also, I’ve been seeing a pair of pileated woodpeckers in the yard with some regularity over the last couple of weeks. I only had my phone handy, so this is the best I could do. Isn’t s/he lovely?

birthday sky.

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Wow. I didn’t even see all those birds perched on the top branches of that tree in my neighbor’s yard. Clearly the universe knows that today is my birthday — what a beautiful way to begin the day!

No big plans over here: took the day off from work, crawled back into bed to lounge with the dog, having lunch and dinner with friends, hoping to get a nice run in this afternoon…taking a rooster day.

I do have some knitting progress to share with you:

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It is official: I am a convert to the magic loop method. These socks are flying — and using a long circular means I am not searching under the couch for the needle I dropped. I also really like the way this pattern is working up. These are Schrodinger’s Twisted Tweed Socks, and I’m using Trekking XXL, the recommended yarn, which I happened to have.  I took this sock with my yesterday to my Democratic Party Ward Meeting to elect delegates to the pre-primary convention, which was fascinating. The protocol requires that you have to sit for 30 minutes after the meeting has been formally opened so that each ward can confirm the voting credentials of the folks who show up. I managed to finish turning the heel, all while participating in the democratic (and Democratic) process. This pattern has a short row heel, and I think I need some advice. Take a look at my first attempt:

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I am practically positive that I did the wraps correctly, and it looked very pretty before I put this on to take a look, and then these holes became evident. The pattern said that it didn’t matter how I picked up the wraps, so long as I was consistent. Maybe I should twist them? Advice on how to do this better on the next pair would be much appreciated. In the meantime, I am thinking that I can do some cheating on the inside at the end of this sock to sew up these gaps. I am approaching these as a “learning” pair of socks!