earth hour.

Last night, after a frustrating couple of hours at the coffee shop, I looked up and realized it was 8:30. I packed up, rushed home, found the lighter and gathered my candles, and turned off the lights to participate in Earth Hour. (WordPress doesn’t want to let me insert a link, so check out http://www.earthhour.org for details.) Basically, people all around the world turned off the lights at (their) 8:30 pm. I spent an hour reading Lois Lowry’s The Giver by candlelight in the kitchen. (One of my reading groups is discussing this next week.)

I should turn off the lights more often — I needed to be reminded of bigger things, to focus on something more important than this exam.

More glimpses of the week:

Brain food: Friday’s breakfast.

Boh and a pile of books.

Boh had the right idea this morning — to not get out of bed. I am so tired. I have a lot of writing to do today, because my hope is to spend Monday editing, formatting footnotes, and all-around prettifying this paper before I turn it in on Tuesday morning. Almost there. (Well, with the first exam.)

books and hummus.

Today: tortillas, hummus from the co-op, and a pouting pooch. And books. Always, books. My first exam starts a week from today, which means it was time for the requisite laptop scare.  (It slid, very slowly, off of a chair in a library cafe yesterday. It was inside its neoprene sleeve, inside my bag, and only fell about 18 inches, and woke up from sleep without any problems, but I still spent part of my morning  a) being paranoid and b) reading internet support forums and running diagnostic tests just to be sure.)

Everything appears to be fine. Still.

It was warmer (read: 45) and sunny today, which meant that I put on my coat and opened up the windows for a bit. Sunshine helps with everything. More soon!

terra, tretorns, and everything in between.

Literally. See, I finally uploaded about thirty pictures from my camera, and they start with my progress on terra’s lace, and end with my new rain boots, acquired in a ridiculous end-of-winter clearance. Let the show and tell begin.

Terra. I’ve got less than ten rows remaining, but these are some loooong rows. I am so excited about this shawl, but it’s probably going to be mid-March before I finish it. And I’m okay with that.

Homemade pizza with local swiss chard that I picked, blanched, and froze at the end of fall. Making pizza for one means leftovers!

Idlewood in action. Again. This might be the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit, and is part of the uniform I think I’m accidentally adopting. Part project fake-it-til-you-make-it, part I-really-hate-it-when-winter-slush-and-salt-soak-the-bottoms-of-my-jeans, I’m realizing that some combination of leggings, boots, shorter skirts or dresses and slouchy, layered sweaters seems to be what I’m wearing most days. Somehow it seems to fit with 29. I can’t explain it.

Boh has the right idea. Usually he gets up with me, but lately, as soon as I groan and turn off the alarm, he settles into some part of the warmth I’ve generated, and I get up to make the coffee. Cuteness.

Yes, that’s right. I received a valentine in the mail from dear friend E., and this is what I found when I opened the rather battered and clearly re-taped envelope. At least the candy thief opted to reseal and re-mail the envelope. The valentine is of course the part that matters to me, and the whole thing gave me a good laugh yesterday, which might have been just what I needed after a long day on campus. Plus, it gave me a great story to leave on E.’s voicemail.

Rubber rain boots. Necessary for spring. Also, for lake houses. (Yay!)

The madness of desk #2, above, is a good indication of how frazzled things are right now. I’m not sure about my posting frequency these next few months — I’ll be here, but there might be lots more of these disjointed “show and tell” style posts for awhile, and a little less knitting. And I’ve clearly been more than a little delinquent in the land of comments. I’m going to do my best, but I have no idea what I’ll have time and energy for. I’m planning to read until I can’t read anymore for the next six weeks, and then my exams begin. Let’s just agree that if all goes well, there will be lots more knitting, spinning, cooking, and blogging come May! Thanks for being here in the meantime.

“no licking library books.”

So now they are almost all on the table.

When I hear myself saying things like “Boh, no licking library books!” I realize that this dog and I really are kindred spirits. I spent a semester or two cataloguing acquisitions in my college library’s dungeon-like basement, and I think the experience solidified my love of the library smell: you know, that musty, secret, layered, hidden whiff of something you just have to learn more about that hits you as you walk through the stacks. Boh clearly likes the smell of old books, too. Which is a good thing, because we’re surrounded by them.

My mom’s Multnomah shawl has entered blob stage, and I think the SWTC bamboo is knitting up beautifully. I’m a few rows from beginning the feather and fan lace, according to the pattern, but I think I might just keep increasing until it feels substantial enough — maybe until I get to the second ball of yarn.

Back to the kitchen table, once I make room for my laptop.

silence.

“The creosote and tar smell of the railroad tracks woke him from the dreaming. The cinders made hollow crunching noises under his boots. He had come a long way with them; but it was his own two feet that got him there.” — Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1976) (My version is Penguin, 2006, p. 236.)

prewittrr

Do you ever read something that just takes everything out of you? I didn’t intend to just stop posting, but I read Ceremony this week and it stirred up a lot of things that I’ve been processing. Powerful books can be almost incapacitating. (This is good. Also, hard.)

boh knit corner

Boh started to worry about the knitting pile. He told me so.

bracken prog inc

As you can see, I’m making progress on Bracken. (You can also see that this Jo Sharp Classic DK wool seems to attract Boh hair.)

messy dumplings

I made myself a plate of very messy dumplings last night — the only wrappers I could find this week were enormous! I overfilled a few, and they ruptured in the cooking process…but they were still incredibly delicious.

cloud complex

(A few pictures from 2007 seemed appropriate, given Ceremony‘s mostly southwestern setting.)

vibrant colors.

Looking at today’s photos helped me to link the day’s activities together in my brain. While reading, knitting, and heading out to the farm for my veggies do not necessarily seem intrinsically connected, today has been filled with bright, buoyant, truly vibrant colors — and particularly now, when I am not feeling quite so buoyant and vibrant on the inside, it seems important to be able to see these things all around me.

I spent the morning watching the colors of the first skein of kureyon reveal themselves in the stripes of my growing sweater.

stripesprogress

Stripes! is one of those patterns that teaches you things as you go, and today I learned to do the math to add waist shaping tailored to high-waisted, rather boy-shaped me. (Yay!) Here’s one of those awkward sweater body-in-progress shots:

stripes waist shaping on

I hope I can keep up this pace, as I am itching to wear this sweater! We’ve had cooler, cloudier weather of late, and part of me hopes it will stick around a tad longer so that I can pull this on and sit outside on a breezy summer evening…

Today I picked up a beautifully written, thoughtful book: The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone and Sky by Ellen Meloy. (Find it on amazon here.) Meloy’s prose is artful, at times surprising, and the way she intertwines memory with story, past with the book’s present, is evocative and beautifully complex. I’m about a third of the way through, and am finding myself particularly moved by Meloy’s exposition and exploration loosely centered on blues and greens.

Lastly, today marked the beginning of my CSA’s season. Check out this week’s haul:
csa haul

In those beets and radishes, and even in the greens, I see the colors of my sweater. Red beets, chiogga beets, radishes, spicy white turnips, komatsuna, spinach, arugula, kale, oregano, thyme, mint…I braised some of the komatsuna in olive oil with some chopped garlic, and then sauteed some radishes in butter at high heat for a beautifully colorful plate — ravenously consumed before documentation could occur.

Settling in for some more stripes-knitting.  I hope your day was punctuated with moments of bright color too.

friday.

mar-28.jpg

In a bit of a hurry this morning — heading to work early — but I glanced out my window and saw this. Also, Hilary of The Yarniad tagged me for a book meme yesterday. Apologies for my lack of links — if you want to know more, these should all be easy to find on Amazon or wherever.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I am between books at this split second, and am enjoying this week’s New Yorker, but next on the pile is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I should have read this a long time ago — no excuses. A new friend shared his copy recently, which has rightfully moved it to the top of my reading list.

2. When you think of a good story, what are the first three books that come to mind?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close — Jonathan Safran Foer

This is perhaps the most moving book I have read in recent memory. Relevant, heartbreaking, beautiful. Sometimes I catch myself being snobby about books, particularly more recent fiction. This helped me to break through that. Foer’s storytelling is excellent, and it is heightened by his attention to style and po-mo elements of narration/the relationship of the author to the reader. The way the words are presented on the page enhances their impact. I bought several copies of this book when I first read it and mailed it to everyone I swap books with.

Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West — Cormac McCarthy

This is not a happy book; in fact, it may be the most violent I have ever read. A professor in college cited this, along with Lolita, by Nabokov, as the most important books in 20th century American lit. That isn’t why I keep coming back to it, though. This is why:

“The jagged mountains were pure blue in the dawn and everywhere birds twittered and the sun when it rose caught the moon in the west so that they lay opposed to each other across the earth, the sun whitehot and the moon a pale replica, as if they were the ends of a common bore beyond whose terminals burned worlds past all reckoning” (86).

Haroun and the Sea of Stories — Salman Rushdie

This is pure magic — a perfect read aloud book that children can enjoy, but is really very much for grownups. Water Genies, Processes too Complicated to Explain, Disconnecting Tools, Oceans of Notions…really. What are you waiting for?

What 3 books would you recommend for summer beach reading?

First of all, I’m swapping beach for mountains/high desert — which is where my current job takes me each summer. Secondly, I’m including poetry. Sorry if that means I am breaking the rules.

Harvest Poems — Carl Sandburg

I always look for this in used book stores — it is the perfect collection to share — great for tossing into a bag to take with you, no matter where you are going. My copy has a broken spine, and seems to attract pine needles, campfire ash and the occasional postcard from a friend.

Black Mesa Poems — Jimmy Santiago Baca

More poetry — my summers require that I pack light, which means I often choose books I will want to return to over and over again. And because, unfortunately, this name is lesser known beyond these parts, a line from a poem (titled, “What Could Have Been and What is) to tempt you: “Had I not become a poet, I would have been a bandit in the mountains, her eyes say.”

The Stars — H.A. Rey

Because the summer sky is like none other. I always say I’m going to learn more about what appears as the evening turns from blue to black, but I rarely do. This is a book I remember from my childhood — a sea-faring (and far more sky-knowledgeable) friend and I purchased copies for ourselves 5 years ago as inspiration to be able to do more than ooh and ahh.

4. Any knitting books you care to share?

Reading? Not so much. Drooling over for inspiration? Yes indeed. Current favorites? Knitalong, by Larissa and Martin Brown, and Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush are the ones I was flipping through last night…

I gather that I’m supposed to tag more folks — and as I like reading suggestions, here are my three: Mick at Much Adored, Macoco at Craft Pirate and Mel at Pipe Dreams and Purling Plans.

Happy Friday!