Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hanh, reading "How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan, knitting mittens, and thinking about casting on a hat.

Friday, June 29, 2007

My Rose

“It is the time you have wasted on your rose, that makes your rose so important.” -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This week I've been acting like any red-blooded college student -- staying up until the wee hours, priming myself with coffee for another morning, slapping on the Clearasil (Washington, DC, water is hard on my skin, never mind drinking it). I have been passionately burning the candle at both ends, just not in the same way most students do.

How did I spend my all-nighter Friday? I partied with my Singer, making beautiful music together, or in this case, a beautiful dress for my sentimental daughter. Cass has an occasion that requires a white formal gown, and she chose a dress based on my Mother's wedding dress. How could I say no? It has started me thinking about the white wedding shawl I hope to knit someday.

I spent all day Saturday and half of Sunday getting drunk on Arans. I took Janet Szabo’s class on designing Aran Sweaters and her Cables World Tour. It is worth every penny of the classes’ bargain-guild-price just to see her sweaters. It is nice that a cable hangover does not give you a headache, just the urge to knit twisty delights for hours on end. Check out (she lives in Montana – Big Sky country) for just a shot or two. I am signing up for her newsletter, because she promised the sweater she was knitting while we worked would be published in the autumn issue. It was amazing. It was yarn perfection. I can hardly wait.

And I am still learning something every day on my internship. Today I learned that just a little every-day courtesy brings rich rewards in an otherwise impersonal city. This morning I stopped to compliment the gardener who cares for the rose bushes near the building where I work. I am sure many people walk by as if he is invisible. He was happy to talk about his work, and how he keeps his roses healthy and beautiful. Later that morning when I was heading out to lunch, he was finishing up and carrying a few cut flowers. When I asked for a sniff of the red rose he had, he offered it to me. It is sitting on my desk in all its completely aphid-free beauty, keeping me company as I write this.

His rose garden is like my knitting, or like any labor of love. Both the giver and the receiver are enriched. “It is the time you have wasted on your rose, that makes your rose so important.”

P.S. Sorry for the repeat, all you Prince William Purlers. The rose I received Monday is still sitting on my desk and still looks gorgeous. Maybe it is from the deionized water?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's the little things

I have always believed (and still do) that it's the little things that make a house a home. Still, now that I am away for most of each week, it has caught me off guard to find the things I miss. Of course I miss the Children (but listen, you two. That squabbling has GOT to go. When I am only home for a weekend, you could pretend to agree. It would be a nice gesture. It is OK if it is not sincere. Really. I am not asking for miracles here.)

The other things, things like a well-stocked medicine cabinet (would you believe I was caught without a Band-Aid?), a good reading lamp next to a comfortable chair (you can have one or the other at my place, but not both) or a generous supply of batteries in different sizes... these are things I would not have thought to miss. But the one thing that truly makes me feel edgy?

The absence of a decent-sized mirror.

Anyone who knows me knows I don't spend much time primping. Even the woman who cuts my hair knows I'm a "wash & go" kind of gal. It is not that I gaze lovingly at my reflection at every possible opportunity (although December's flower is the narcissus. The irony is not lost on me.) but I've gotten used to being able to check the whole package before venturing out into the world every morning. The little medicine chest mirror? Not so good for that. In some vague way, not being able to see if I'm trailing toilet paper has thrown me off balance.

And I've just discovered, as I was getting ready to make myself a tuna sandwich, that I also miss having a can opener.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I am the champion

I am the champion Toilet-Paper-Roll-Changer of the world.

I must be; I have evidence. Without me, the entire household just wanders around as if there is no pressing reason for putting the roll on the springy little spindle, as if wedging it on top of the empty roll is entirely sufficient, as if it didn't matter. Sheesh! What could they be thinking? And don't get me started on cleaning the lint filter on the dryer.

Besides changing toilet paper rolls, I've been busy this week.

Here are the 5" of "I can do this" scarf I've been working on. It has that unblocked lace, butterfly-just-out-of-the-cocoon look, but you get the idea. Candle flames, don't you think?

I've started a turquoise Lucy Bag for "bulk" knitting. It's perfect for group meetings. At the beginning of the meeting Friday, they were giving me the questioning, raised eyebrow look as if to say, "Can you really be paying attention?" But about an hour into the meeting, while I was still contentedly listening with hardly a glance at my fingers (that's the beauty of bulk knitting; after making 100,000 or so stitches, you can rely on muscle memory) while their eyes glazed over, I was feeling a bit smug.

And I've finally fixed my sidebar friends list to link to Knitters and Crocheters Care. Now if I could just get the spacing to work on Blogger today...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Room with a View

I just love an interesting view. It makes up for having to use an elevator.

Here is a view from last week:

That bright spot to the right of the Washington Monument is the moon. This photo is a weak imitation of what I saw.

And here is the view last Saturday:

At first, when I saw the street being closed off, I was curious. Security for some head of state? Someone moving a wide load? A parade?

Then the runners started by. After awhile I went down to see what the occasion was and asked one of the organizers I had spotted from my lofty perch.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. 46,000 people wheeled, jogged & walked by my window. (This was toward the front of the pack.) I watched for the whole hour and a half it took for them to pass by.

They were not as noisy as you would expect such a large crowd to be. I swear, you could feel the positive vibes. It made my hair stand on end. If you can cure cancer with sheer determination, breast cancer is on its way out.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

World Wide Knit In Public Day

This Saturday, June 9th, is Worldwide Knit In Public Day. The only officially listed site in our area seems to be at the Politics and Prose Bookstore & Coffee House from 11 to 1 in Washington DC. I won't be there

This doesn't mean that I won't participate. I knit in public as much as I can (in private, too, for that matter.) Just today at lunch I was telling a labmate about how knitters are a force to be reckoned with, how we care; how we raise money for charities like Heifer Foundation and Knitters Without Borders; how we knit for charities too -- hats for premature babies, scarves for Orphan Foundation and Serve and Santa Train, dishcloths and afghan rectangles... above and beyond the sweaters and mittens and shawls we wrap our loved ones in. Knit on! And this Saturday, try to do a little of it in public.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Week 2

Or "I will never look at tea rings in my mug the same way again."

Imagine that you want to put a nice, uniform, THIN layer of something -- say mud or jelly or teeny tiny spheres -- say, the size of bowling balls for Whos from Whoville (that live on a dust speck on a clover in Horton Hears a Who, so you know their bowling balls would be tiny) on a glass. How would you do it?

You might lay the glass horizontally and count on gravity and luck to make your layer of gold Whoville bowling balls uniform, but what if you put those bowling balls -- so teeny they won't settle out -- in a solution, stood the glass upright and let the stuff deposit on the glass as the liquid evaporated away? Just like when you make yourself a cup of coffee and get distracted and when you come back and drink a little, there's a ring inside your mug from the little bit that evaporated while you were gone. (It's worse when you drink your coffee with milk.) That is how I've been depositing teeny tiny 12 nanometer spheres of gold onto squares of glass. Making gold milk and letting the glass sit for 20 minutes or so.

It's a lot cooler than it sounds.

Meanwhile, my I-can-do-this-Scarf is progressing a little slowly. It's about 5". I don't think it will be 5 feet in 7 more weeks, but a girl can dream.

In other news, as I've been walking around town, I've found another small monument to inspire me: a statue of Benito Juarez who said,

"Respect for the rights of others is Peace."