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!

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kitchen playtime.

My allergies have really knocked me down today, so all I’ve got for you is a series of photos from my dinner prep (and enjoyment) last night. First, I made a mess in the kitchen. (And by mess, I mean Farro with Green Onion Sauce, Toasted Walnuts, and Asparagus, from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. I subbed brown rice for farro and lemon juice for the zest, and tried to stick to her instructions.) The outcome? A delicious, satisfying sunset meal (pictured above).

Happy weekend!

mirror, mirror.

Idlewood. Again. Clearly I need to make another — after my exams. I snapped this picture before heading to one of my reading groups, where we discussed an excellent graphic novel (Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home) and talked about memoir, history, and voice — and about what makes something not feel self-indulgent. Which got me to thinking about blogging, especially because lately I’ve been snapping pictures of whatever I’m wearing (knits or otherwise) and posting them here. (Which seems incredibly narcissistic.)

On some level, blogging is self-indulgent. Really, all writing is. And I’m okay with that. The question we were wrestling with on Thursday night had more to do with the reader’s experience than the decision to write (or blog), and we kept returning to things like empathy, linking the ordinary and the particular to bigger (in this case, literary) themes, leaving space for interpretation rather than limiting how the reader understands and situates a particular moment, encounter, memory.

I want to think more about blogging as a form and as a personal process. How do conversations about blogging connect with discussions about memoir? In these genres, how do form and content interact? Can we identify conventions particular to blogging? In my own work, I’m thinking a lot about how I use the first person — what am I signally by choosing the personal pronoun? Am I actually revealing something personal, or is it a technique to make the reader identify with the “I”? (I’ve taken to calling this the “pretend personal” voice.) How much do I protect or reveal — here? In my academic writing? Once I’m on the other side of these exams, I’d like to spend some time (and space, maybe here?) thinking through, or maybe more accurately, writing with these questions.

Time for another picture of what I’m wearing? Clearly.

No knits in this shot, just a scarf that hasn’t been in rotation for awhile. Still faking it ’til I make it, and most days, I think it’s working. I managed to grade 10 papers yesterday, all dressed up. (She says, still in her pajamas.)

I knit less than five rows on this sock, and soon I’ll be ready to start decreasing for the toe. Ideally, I’ll finish the first sock this week, cast on the second and get through the ribbing before my first exam. That way I’ll have easy knitting handy to help with hard thinking.

Finished the carrot soup leftovers yesterday. There is another pot of this in my (near) future.

boh knows.

That pretty much says it all.

I made a big batch of carrot soup from Super Natural Cooking tonight — I love this recipe, especially when made with homemade veggie stock and farm carrots. So good. And there’s plenty for lunch (and dinner?) tomorrow.

Another idlewood action shot. Just for fun. (Well, and for P., who has just cast on an idlewood of her very own!)

Are we there yet? (There being any number of places: bedtime, post-exams, lake house, summer.)

old sock, new sock.

Old sock — an On-Hold sock-in-progress from Socks from the Toe Up, initially begun for the KAL. (Looks sort of okay here, but the foot is baggy. I could really see the size difference when I compared this sock-in-progress to the superbly-fitting emerald city gusset heel socks I just finished.)

New sock. I love this yarn, which is Shibui sock in Ginger, and I’ve been feeling inspired by the (multiple pairs of) socks Lisa recently posted over at Knithound Brooklyn. This ribbed cuff is going to grow into a Gentleman’s Fancy Sock, from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush, with a few changes. Because these are definitely for me, and I want them to fit, I went down a needle size to 2.5 mm needles, and cast on 64 st instead of 80 to adjust the pattern both for my yarn and for my foot. Because I have less yarn that is called for, my pair will have to be a standard length, so I’m foregoing the (lovely) leg shaping included in the pattern.

No hurry on this pair — there are lots of other projects in my WIP pile that I’d like to finish up. It simply seemed ridiculous to not cast on for another pair of socks after frogging the old ones, and these will likely live in my bag and do their part to keep me company throughout the coming semester, which starts Monday.

Speaking of which, somebody (ahem) around here needs to be better about getting out of bed in the morning.

While this guy normally stretches, sighs, and stumbles out of bed mere moments after I wake up, today he wanted nothing more than to lay his head back down on the pillow and doze while I made the coffee, fetched breakfast, and the like. Life is so hard for Boh.

Finally, it seems it wouldn’t be a complete blog post over here at chez Rooster without a picture of a delicious dinner prepared from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking.

This is her Roasted Tomato and Paprika Soup, made with homemade stock based on her veggie stock recipe. This is the second time I’ve made this soup this month, and I’ll be making it again. (I’m also newly addicted to smoked paprika, and I blame this book.) Also, today over on 101 cookbooks, Heidi posted that she’s working on another cookbook! I’m glad to hear it, as this is one of my current favorites.

Off to bed — Boh is already there, of course.

curry and a heel turn.

I am falling in love with Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking all over again. She just seems to know exactly what I want to eat for dinner. And lunch. This is the Big Curry Noodle Pot — simple, flavorful, delicious.

Also, I turned the (gusset) heel of my second Emerald City sock. Hooray!

soup, a stroll, a sock, a seaman’s cap.

Yep, this post is brought to you by the letter S.

Leftover soup is one of my favorite things. It makes for the perfect lazy lunch. This is carrot soup (from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking) with smoked paprika on top, and beer bread (a fantastic recipe I got from Jodi, who found it here) toasted in the oven. I’ve made this bread three or four times already, and it is wonderful. After a cozy lunch at my yellow table, Boh and I headed out for a longer walk, thanks to the sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures.

Handknit socks in hiking boots — also one of my favorite things.

Sigh. (Also an S-word, if you’re keeping track.)

Boh made silly, sleepy faces while I did some reading, and then I made some serious progress on a toe up, gusset heel sock and my brother’s seaman’s cap. See?

Hope your Sunday involves (or at least invokes the spirit of) soup, strolling, sock-knitting, silly dog faces, etc. More soon.