the new year.

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This is what getting ready for a conference looks like, especially as I’m still working to put together appropriate academic “costumes” for myself.

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The conference I attended just after New Year’s was back in DC, which meant plenty of time to see dear friends. And admire bike racks outside coffee shops.

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No trip to DC is complete for me without Teaism. Its proximity to the museum I was working at last winter helped solidify it as the place for comfort food: really good chai, restorative spicy chicken noodle soup, amazing salty oat cookies. The polar vortex extended my DC trip, which mostly meant I ate more of all of the things at Teaism.

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I’ve been borrowing this sweatshirt for more than a decade. How crazy/wonderful is that? (Just when I’m visiting and cold.)

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A beautiful latte at the Tryst inside the Phillips Collection.

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And my lovely workspace inside Champ and N.’s fantastic apartment.

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The hat for P. wasn’t quite right (he tried it on in DC) so I ripped back and reknit it.

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I think it turned out even prettier the second time around, and I’m hoping it fits perfectly. I’m in between knitting projects right now — I need to find something simple and soothing to balance everything else going on in this week before the semester begins. So much to do!

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august?

Time for more apologizing. (And for getting used to a new version of WordPress. This is fancy!) I don’t know why I’m not knitting, and I don’t really know why I’m not blogging. But I’m not quite ready to give up on this space, and I hope you’re not ready to give up on me. I’m hoping to get back into a groove one of these days.

Until then, though, you get pictures of what we’ve been up to, both here at the lake house and further afield. Since I last blogged (in June?!), I’ve TAed an intensive 3-week summer course, joined my family for a week on the gulf coast of Florida, spent a weekend in the Catskills saying goodbye to a dear grad school friend who is moving/moving on to take a postdoc, given a paper at my first non-grad-student conference (yay!) and visited my younger brother in Colorado. (Whew!)

Want to see some of that? Here you go:

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During that three-week course, Boh spent a lot of time entertaining himself.

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And there were strawberries.

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Cuddling the papers to grade…

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Frolicking at a nearby park on our way to the farm.

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First farm tomato!

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Delicious.

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Writing.

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Bird-watching, coffee-drinking, breakfast-eating, all from the balcony of the condo my parents rented on the gulf coast of Florida.

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Seashells collected on morning walks with my mom.

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Beautiful beach.

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A snapping turtle greeting me (and Boh — see his nose in the lower left-hand corner?) in the Catskills!

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Catskills relaxation.

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And some more.

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Sam, my brother’s horse.

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Colorado National Monument.

And now — just today, actually — home again, this time for awhile. Time to settle back into lake house life, which I’m hoping will include lots of writing…

Thanks for reading, friends.

so, this is happening.

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It feels like I just got home, but I’m leaving for a month in Chicago on Sunday. And I’m packing my life into a big rolly suitcase and a tiny carry-on. I’m renting a mildy furnished studio close to the library I’ll be working at, which means I’ve been making tough choices about what to bring. (Believe it or not, my favorite cast-iron skillet is buried deep in my bag. (All of my backpacking/expedition planning has prepared me for this. I might have spent Wednesday pouring laundry detergent, dish soap, cleaning solution, and conditioner into tiny bottles…)

But you don’t want to hear all about that. How about some pictures of the last few weeks?

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My dear friend K. came to visit — and by came to visit, I mean showed up and took care of me. We ate delicious things, and she caulked the windows on my porch, sewed a curtain for the closet in my guest room, and cuddled Boh every morning.

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Her visit was just what I needed.

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Sweetness from this guy.

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First flowers from the yard.

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And then I took a quick trip to Philadelphia for a taxidermy lecture and demonstration, which was incredibly cool. (Don’t worry; I won’t post any pictures of that.)

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Home again.

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And then a whirlwind of a trip to New York for a dear friend’s beautiful wedding. And the Met, for their Civil War photography exhibit. And a treat: a manicure and pedicure with an old friend/gracious host.

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Boh seems a little anxious about May. He’s not coming with me to Chicago, but he’s got plans that are equally exciting. No fewer than three of my friends are helping out by hanging with Boh while I’m away, and I think he’s going to have a fabulous time.

And now we’re all caught up! I’m certainly incredibly excited about this research opportunity, but I’m also really ready to settle back in on the porch and spend my days writing, cooking, and taking breaks in the lake. That’s what June is for, right?

time = flying.

Instead of apologizing again for disappearing, I’m just going to share some pictures I snapped since last I posted. I’m feeling rushed in everything I’m doing right now, and I’m just not finding the time to knit, blog, and correspond. Out loud, I’m blaming commuting, but really I think it is just that there’s a lot of noise in my head, so much to do, so much I’m anxious about not doing, so much uncertainty all around. I’m finding it hard to quiet my head at the end of the day. Thanks for understanding if I’m not as present here as I’d like to be while I’m away from my home and regular routine. Sigh.

Want to see some pictures?

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Atrium linking the Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum. Already one of my favorite spots in DC.

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Sunset, with the Washington Monument barely visible behind this tree. Snapped moments after leaving work for the day.

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My new Constitution mug, a must-have for all Americanists — and a birthday present.

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Another birthday mug — my friends know me well. This one was accompanied by some fancy espresso powder for baking. Stay tuned for kitchen adventures with that!

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Birthday flowers from K., who is dear to me and far away. I’ve been enjoying them every morning alongside my coffee and cereal.

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Sculpture Garden. I love this tree.

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The Capitol on a sunny day.

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The Portrait Gallery at night.

Happy weekend — and happy knitting! I’m hoping to do a little bit this afternoon.

whoosh.

That, my friends, is the sound of deadlines passing. I’ve managed to stay on top of the stuff with deadlines set by other people, and I’m working on accepting that perhaps I was too ambitious in setting some deadlines for myself this winter break. Really hard to be in the right mindset to finish up a chapter draft while my house (and let’s face it, life) is in disarray. I do not like being in between. I know this about myself, and I should’ve been kinder to myself about what kind of writing was manageable during this period of transition. Lesson learned (let’s hope). In the meantime, I’ve got a head cold, and I’m mostly packed up. Heading to DC today, and hoping to leave the cold behind. Want to see some pictures from this week?

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Boh, contemplating the view from our friend M.’s window and wondering if anybody is going to fix him a drink.

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I finally blocked Agnes, and the neckline is more relaxed now (and so much more comfortable). The length is better too, though if I were knitting this again, I’d add a few more inches so that it hits at the hip when I’m not pulling it down with my hand in a pocket.)

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More Hudson Bay Inspired Blanket knitting. I love the way this is turning out. Endless garter stitch has been exactly what I’ve wanted to work on lately, so this is definitely coming with me to DC.

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Sweet, sweet dog. He’s settled in now at my parents’ house, and it sounds like all is well. The house has been so quiet without him here, and I’ve found myself listening for the padding of paws and the jingle of his collar. I know he’ll be much happier where he is, but this will be the longest we’ve ever been apart.

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A stunning sunset. Almost as if the universe wanted to leave me with a reminder of how much I’ll miss my cozy lake house. Fingers crossed that my subletter takes good care of it while I am away.

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Time to work through my last to-do list and hit the road. More from DC!

touch of mink.

That’s the name of this Plucky colorway. And I love it. I can’t believe this is my first time knitting with Sarah’s yarn. It’s awesome. (Thanks, Chris, for including it a prize package I won on your blog awhile back!) These are vanilla socks. I took the wound yarn cake with me on my research trip, cast on while waiting for my flight to depart, and then didn’t pick it up again until I was flying home. I hadn’t finished the ribbing by the time my plane landed, and since then, I’ve been knitting up a storm. (I’m turning the heel right now. Pictures of that tomorrow.) Anyway, despite showing up to my friends’ apartment with a 24-hour stomach bug, the trip was productive, fun, and energizing.

Last night I reheated one of the baguettes K. and I froze from our kitchen adventures this summer, and then cooked some komatsuna in olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. And then I knit some more.

Boh did this.

This might be my favorite picture from my trip, and fellow historians will understand why. I was looking at archival materials held in a place other than a formal archive — which meant I could keep my stuff nearby, and bring a latte to keep me company. Don’t worry — this picture is the closest that coffee ever came to that box of old stuff. After I snapped this picture, my lunch bag and my latte went to another table! I certainly understand why there are rules governing conduct in archives, and I am happy to follow them, as I like being able to look at stuff from a really long time ago. Days spent in archives, though, tend to be a little rough: I’m often strapped for time on these short research trips, and the rules mean I end up under-caffeinated, dehydrated, and hungry by the end of the day. It felt like a real treat to be able to fetch boxes myself, sip coffee at a safe distance from my materials, and interact with a wider range of people, by virtue of occupying space at a table in the middle of the office that was so kind to host me for a few days last week.

More (knitting) soon!

beginning again.

Long-time readers will recognize this yarn as the Dream in Color Smooshy that I intended to turn into a Baby Surprise Jacket in February of 2009 for my advisor’s youngest son. I did a less than perfect job of lining up the increases, though, so when it was super close to being finished, I ripped it out, put the yarn on a shelf somewhere, and knit a Baby Sophisticate out of Mission Falls 1824. (It was adorable, and the right idea, as the baby in question was a big baby, and I’m not sure the BSJ would have fit him for very long.) Anyway, lots more babies are on the way in my circle of friends, so over the weekend I found the Dream in Color Smooshy, along with Elizabeth Zimmerman’s brilliant BSJ recipe, and cast on. Right now this fits into a sock project bag, so I’m bringing it with me on my research trip.

And this? Well, it isn’t quite a beginning, but I had to share this picture of an enormous plate of dumplings enjoyed by candlelight on the porch. My cousin and her husband were here for a few days last week. They are in the midst of an epic year of traveling, and in a few weeks, they’ll wrap up the North American segment of their adventures and head to the other side of the world. They’re going to spend three months in Southeast Asia, so we made dumplings. (I’m hoping they’ll visit my favorite dumpling shop in Vientiane, Lao PDR.) I’m so excited for them.

Speaking of traveling, time for me to stop blogging and get back to packing for this week’s research trip. More soon!