quotidian.

These days, I’m up well before the sun, and now that the semester is in full swing, there’s less time for lazy mornings. (For me, anyway.)

Morning oatmeal. I’ve been eating mine with a splash of milk, some agave syrup, and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter.

Agnes. Perfect for weekend work.

A Bon Jovi pencil. Necessary for writing comments on student papers.

Rutabaga and turnip soup, with New Mexico chile powder.

Boh behind my desk chair, keeping me company.

Pasta with green olives, garlic, and crushed tomatoes.

Resting (Boh) and knitting (me) on the couch. Knitting pictures soon! (I just want to let something I put in the mail yesterday get to where it is going.)

thankful.

For so much, but these days, especially for this dog. This has been a weird semester for me: I’m not teaching, and I’ve been traveling a lot, which means I’ve spent a lot of time alone, working (or trying to work). Trying to both get my research done and make sure Boh is happy while I’m away has been a bit of a scheduling challenge, but I wouldn’t change my decision to add him to my family 4 and a half years ago for anything. His routine — and companionship — have been incredibly important for me, especially these past few months. And since this is probably the month of his birth, and he’s turning five this year, I’m taking a moment to be thankful for his wrinkly face and his place in my life.

There are so many people friendships moments words that I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. I’m so lucky to have so many reminders in my life — of what’s good and true, of what’s worth fighting for. And in focusing on Boh in this post, I don’t mean to downplay those at all.

But this year, this fall in particular, I’m appreciative of what it means and how it feels to have the company of a sweet dog during a mostly solitary semester.

Boh and I are headed to my parents’ house tomorrow morning, and we’re taking along the hap blanket — so stay tuned for more actual knitting! (The wedding, by the way, was lovely. A chance to laugh and reconnect with dear friends, and even to get some quality hang-out time with the groom, who easily makes it onto my list of all-time favorite people.)

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating this week, and safe travels.

shake it out.*

A slow start today, folks. Yesterday I managed to get some serious revision done on the prospectus. (The trick? A five o’clock latte. I think I’m starting to resign myself to the fact that I need an afternoon change of scenery and a fancy espresso drink to get shit done and feel good doing it.) Boh looks like he could use a latte, and it isn’t even noon.

I’m making slow, steady progress on that BSJ I started a few weeks ago. I love this shade of green — so bright, so happy.

Here’s the side view of that sweet pout. Looks like somebody needs to give Florence and the Machine’s new album a listen. Seriously. I downloaded it yesterday, and it got me through a whole sink of dishes. There’s something about Florence Welch’s particular brand of big and epic that I love. (*”Shake It Out” is the second track on Ceremonials.)

fall.

I meant to post these earlier in the week, when they were still an accurate representation of fall here at the lake house. It is colder now — we’ve had a first dusting of snow, all the plants are now on the porch to avoid frost, and I’m back to wearing my uggs as my around-the-house shoes. There’s a sweater on the chair next to my bed, so I can slip on a cozy, warm layer as soon as I’m out from under the covers. I even trapped a mouse (using a jar and my bench scraper) and let him go at the edge of the yard.

Oh, and I made this amazing cauliflower earlier in the week, maybe the same day I snapped all these pictures of the dock and the yard. I think you should drop everything and make some at your house. Seriously — a friend on Facebook said this recipe changed her decades-long dislike of cauliflower. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. (And I didn’t even add the yogurt sauce or the pomegranate seeds.)

And then there’s this guy. Silly, silly dog. I think he’s pretty happy that I’ve declared November a research-trip-free month. I’m hoping to get into a rhythm, finally, of everything: writing, knitting, cooking, walking with Boh. I think we’re both creatures of habit, and I’m ready to settle into a balanced routine.

Happy weekend!

the ninety-nine percent.

I know you don’t come here for the politics, but bear with me. I’m not in NYC, but today I participated in a virtual march together with #occupywallstreet and a whole host of organizations supporting the folks down at Liberty Square. For more, try here, here, and here.

My sign?

I am 29. Grad student. No debt, but minimal savings. My parents paid for college — I won’t be able to do the same for my children someday. I’m not sure that there will be a job for me when I earn my PhD. I know that in many ways, I am lucky. But I am the 99%.

That college education? The most important gift I imagine I will ever receive. It made it possible for me to make choices about my life that had nothing to do with paying back loans. The future? As an academic, very scary. We’re practically tripping over articles and books about the crisis of the American university. I am well aware that the world I am preparing for is changing rapidly. The increasing adjunctification and corporatization of the university have me seriously concerned about what lies ahead. Despite these worries, I know I’m lucky. I grew up comfortably, with access to good healthcare and educational opportunities. (I’m also an adopted kid. Lucky.)

In a system that does not prioritize the needs of the majority of its people, I am lucky. We have serious inequity and injustice. Here. At home. And I appreciate those standing up, in New York and across the country, to advocate for the 99%. #occupywallstreet.

Now, did you want to see another picture of that sock?

I spun this CMF superwash merino in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds a long time ago, and it has just been sitting, waiting, in my handspun stash. Last night, slowly recovering from the stomach bug, I wound it up and cast on another unfancy sock: 64 st, size 1 dpns. I’m hoping I’ll have enough yarn for a full pair! (My notes say I have 325 yards. I divided the yarn into 2 balls, roughly, and I’m weighing it as I go to get a sense for when I should turn the heel. The answer is soon.)

Today’s breakfast. A good sign. I am feeling much better!

agnes in action.

I’ve been wearing Agnes pretty much since I returned home from last week’s research trip to the land of Mick. (How great is it that knitting friends live near archives?!) The weather has turned chilly and extremely fall-like, and Agnes is serving exactly the purpose I imagined for her: a cozy warm layer for mornings and evenings. (I’m wearing Agnes right now, and if I weren’t typing, my hands would be in the pockets.)

Stay tuned for some accidental socktober knitting — I’ve just turned the heel on my second unfancy sock!

uncle.

It has been quite a week, dear readers. Quite. A. Week. Broken window, injured pup, wasp sting, leaky house, waterlogged mattress, and today’s addition? Expensive car repairs. (The good news? My car is no longer squeaking/groaning in reverse. Which is important, because I’m driving it a lot this fall.)

Here’s my message to the universe: uncle. I give up. You win this week.

I recognize that all of these mishaps/messes/expenses are quite small in the grand scheme of things. I am quite lucky to have what I have, be where I am, and do what I do. I get that, and I don’t mean to just whine self-indulgently here about problems like these. So instead, I’ll tell you about that bowl of ice cream. Oooh, and that swatch.

First, the ice cream. Chocolate ice cream was on sale, so I bought some. Also, randomly, I bought a jar of peanut butter. (It wasn’t on my shopping list.) Last night, I thought to add a few spoonfuls of peanut butter to my dish of ice cream. I think you should try it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now, the swatch. It’s for Agnes, by Melissa LaBarre, and it’s from wool, book one, available at Quince and Co., with designs by Melissa and Cecily Glowik MacDonald. Honestly, I’ve been looking at this collection because of Avery, a gorgeous textured cowl that can be doubled up around your neck. But the more I looked at the pictures, the more I began to need Agnes — a sweet but simple pullover knit in bulky yarn — with pockets! This is a comfort sweater. And with everything that happened this week, last night I decided I needed one. The thing is, I don’t own any bulky yarn. I do have some EcoWool, but I wanted to knit Agnes in something with a little bit more color than the greys and browns I have. And I do have some Peace Fleece, which would probably drape nicely on bigger needles, but I want this to be both sheepy and soft, the kind of sweater I’ll want to pull on when I climb out of bed to make the coffee. Let’s face it: I pretty much knew I wanted to make this out of Beaverslide, and I’ve got plenty in the winter wheat colorway.

So I swatched. And while this stuff is lovely on 9s/10s (I think I thought I was swatching with bamboo and then metal 10s, but the metal needles are actually 9s), it does not want to be knit looser. So I looked at the pattern, and (famous last words from this historian) did some math. And I came up with my own numbers to make my 3.5 st/inch gauge work.

And then I started knitting. And I did some more knitting this morning, breaking my rule about knitting before coffee. (I may have dropped a stitch marker when I picked it up this morning, which meant my raglan decreases were off in one section. So I replaced the marker, and dropped down 8 rows to add increases every other row on either side of the marker. I was able to get three of the four increases in there, and faked the fourth. It is really tight, but I’m hoping when I block it that section will even out. If not, I can live with it. I just needed to keep knitting.) I also knit until dividing for the sleeves while waiting for the expensive repairs on my car this morning. And really, I’m only not knitting right now because I’m blogging.

And here’s what I’ve got so far. I hate things tight around the neck, so I cast on and knit the ribbing loosely. I think when the weight of the sweater is there, it will open up even more, and be just where I want it.

I repeat, this is not a mock turtleneck, even though it looks like one.

Bear with me. I managed to capture some silly Boh faces. Here he is, with his tongue out.

And here he is, mid-yawn. As you can see, the bandage is off, and his cut is healing very nicely. A few more days in the cone should do it.

Would you believe I’m still knitting from the first skein? Awesome. Time to wind another and keep knitting.

back to life/back to reality.

You guys remember that song, right? Okay, hold on, I need to Google it. Soul 2 Soul, Back to Life (However Do You Want Me), big hit in 1989.

Anyway, this jam (isn’t that what we used to call them?) popped into my head when I was thinking about how the routines are starting up again all around me, but that I’m not really going back to school (get it?) this semester. Instead, I have a semester of dissertation research and writing ahead of me, without any teaching obligations. (I’ll be teaching again in the spring — this time, my very own course.)

So instead of a back to school photo, you get a back to life/back to reality photo. This one’s not blurry. And it counts as a stripe-study-in-action shot! (I’m not sure it is actually cold enough to wear this out of the house, but at this very second, it is about 52 degrees outside. And on my porch. So I’m going for it.)

I’ve also got some baked goods to share:

This is Deb’s raspberry buttermilk cake (I know I’ve linked to it before) — super simple, incredibly delicious. I might have eaten it for breakfast AND lunch yesterday. Might.

And last night, when I got home from yoga, I scurried to get this tomato tart (farm tomatoes, local goat cheese, mustard, honey, thyme from my yard, and pie crust) in the oven. It took longer than usual because I was using a pie crust from a batch I made over the weekend rather than the tart dough that this recipe calls for, so I was pretty hungry by the time it came out of the oven. Leftovers for breakfast!

working like a…

…well, not like this dog:

To be fair, before he fell asleep on me like that, he did spend some time doing this:

While I did this:

This summer session of TAing is keeping me very busy, but I should be back to regular blogging after it concludes next week. I have been trying to dip my feet in the lake each evening after a full day on campus — and last night I may have woven in the ends of my stripey shawl. I attempted what I’ll call “half-assed blocking” — I soaked it, and then instead of clearing off a table, finding my blocking squares, and pinning it out, I just tried to stretch it a bit and then draped it over the towel bar on the shower door. More on that when it’s dry!

(Oh my goodness, I just hit return and then started to sign this post as if it was an email. Sigh.)