Friday, February 27, 2009

In the "Useless Recommendation" Department...

I definitely recommend working from home (this is useless because duh, of course it's good, but not always possible... like the flight attendant who told the man next to Kevin and me on the cramped, endless flight to Singapore that he would have been more comfortable if he had flown First Class).

Anyway, it's lovely. Because rowing has not changed its schedule to accommodate me (and why not?), I still have to get myself out of bed and to the gym by 5:45 AM both days I work at home. But that's not actually such a bad thing, because once it's over, it's still early, so I go home, change into my running clothes (this part is key, because if I shower and put on real clothes at this stage, there's no chance I'll run later), and work till it's nearly lunch time, then run, shower, eat, and work some more.

The one downside is that I think I'm somehow knitting less because instead of knitting at lunch time, I feel compelled to do laundry, or the dishes, or eat while working (which I cannot do AT work because food isn't allowed in the archives). Probably that will wear off though!

Monday, February 23, 2009


How is it that I'm blogging less, even though I'm home more?

In any case, I've been knitting:

For all that I like to think of myself as finishing up projects in a timely manner, and not letting WIPs turn into UFOs (that's works-in-progress into unfinished objects, in Normal Person English), I'd let myself develop three or four extra projects, which I was essentially ignoring.

Here's what I was ignoring:
1. the wreath (have I shown a picture of the finished wreath?)
2. the shawl (which I know I haven't taken a picture of)
3. this sweater (which I started knitting in the fall, for the very patient Laura at Schaefer Yarns)
4. another design project, which I haven't decided what to do with

My "assignment" for this sweater was to make a cute baby project, using just one skein of Nichole. I picked the center cable pattern from one of the Japanese knitting books I bought in Singapore 2 years ago, and filled in with double seed stitch (moss stitch? double moss stitch? whatever!) and a little 3-stitch cable.

It was fun to knit (and I love Nichole), but it stalled a couple of times--when I couldn't decide what to do about the neck, and again when I changed my mind about what I'd done the first time. In the end, both shoulders are open, and close with snaps.

I've also been working on a Montana Tunic for my mom... since I can knit that without looking (it's stockinette stitch, on large needles), I work on that when I'm reading for some of the extra work I've picked up. I haven't been able to knit while reading for work in a couple of years, and I'd forgotten how well it helps me concentrate (I knit while reading for pleasure all the time--it helps me concentrate then too, but concentrating on fun books is not an impressive feat).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dear Jules Verne

Not every aquatic mammal is a cetacean.

Whales, yes. Dolphins, yes. Manatees, no.

(Also, in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I think you called sharks, fish, and squid cetaceans. That's just not possible! Squid aren't even vertebrates. Didn't you have Wikipedia?)


A Concerned Reader

P.S. Not that Jules cares, but I've finished the socks from the copyright workshop, made a scarf, and am about 3/5 of the way through another pair of socks, for the friend of my mom's who watched Moppet for a while at Christmas. Since the friend and her feet are in Ithaca, I'm not sure they're the right size--they match the measurements I asked for, but there's so much more to socks than foot circumference and length, ankle circumference, and cuff height.

P.P.S. Kevin ran a marathon this weekend--the Myrtle Beach Marathon (his parents live just north of Myrtle Beach, so we got to see them too)--and it turns out that I'm not quite ready to think about running that far again. I thought I'd be disappointed that I wasn't running, but nope--I was happy to cheer, and refill bottles of Gatorade.

P.P.P.S I continue to be entranced by erging, possibly because I am deranged. But distances go so fast when they're measured in meters (compared to hundredths of miles), and I love the illusion of progress--never mind that I'm not actually moving. Also, I'm totally fascinated by not being terrible at it.

The coach said we'd be on the water in 5 more weeks, which seems impossible (hypothermia, anyone?), but just in case I am thinking about knitting pogies (mittens but with holes on the sides for the oar to pass though, so you can still hold it with your bare hands). Thrums seem appealing... except that my hands--cold under normal circumstances--heat up when I run, so maybe thrums aren't such a great idea...


I spent 2 days last week in a workshop on copyright... in sock terms, 2 days looks like this:

Which is a little less than I thought it would be. Although, now that I think about it (and am looking for excuses!), I was knitting slower than usual because I was alternating colors every row, to make stripes.

Actually, it's worse than that--in order to avoid the weird tension that happened last time I knit 1-row stripes (by knitting 1 round with 1 color, then 1 round with the other), I worked 2 needles with A color, then 1 needle with color B, then 1 needle with color A, then 1 with color B, etc. So there was a lot more turning than usual.

I found my sock hoppity by changing techniques--when you're on your 37th pair of socks, magic loop and double points seem completely different!

And speaking of copyright: a copyright violation! The coach filmed in practice last week, and I put my video in Flickr.... but let's see if I can embed it here:

(Huh. I guess I need to publish this to see if it worked.)

Please ignore my right wrist, which is up to no good. And it's probably just as well that you can't see my left wrist, which likes to help feather (turn the oar), even though it's not supposed to (I'm making progress though--now I only feather with both hands about a quarter of the time).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Poor Moppet

Moppet is very lively in the morning, and just now she seemed like she might want to help take pictures of Pair 36 (for E, made of scraps of Anne from the socks I made for Kevin in the fall, size 1.5 needles, 36 sts around.)

Anyway, she seemed like she wanted to help.

But I think she wanted to get under my feet:

Not model:

(Note: model was paid in dried cranberries, and seems to have no recollection of the indignity she suffered. Model will also accept raisins.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No Sock Hoppity

A while back, I saw a lolcat of a bunny (a lolbunny? But possibly bunnies spell better than cats?), completely flopped, belly on the ground, ears drooping, as though it had lost all its innards, with a caption about how hoppy bunny had lost his hoppity. (Now, of course, I can't find it, no matter how hard I google.)

Say hoppity aloud--see how satisfying it is? So naturally, Kevin and I now talk about having lost hoppity when we've lost motivation (as in "I've lost all my work hoppity. Is it time to go home yet?" and "I don't have any running hoppity. Maybe we could workout tomorrow?" ... too bad for us that in the land of marathons, you have to work out today AND tomorrow).

Anyway, I may have lost my sock hoppity. Or at least my "using up partial skeins before I start to make socks out of completely new yarn" hoppity, a little-known type of sock hoppity that is in very short supply, even under the best of circumstances.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Trip, Part 2

(MUST keep on posting about the trip, before I forget it all!)

The other place I most wanted to go in Cairo was the Egyptian Museum, so that's where we headed on our second day. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but it was kind of crazy--jammed with tourists in big, bus-sized groups, illogically organized, and crowded with objects.

We'd planned to rent an audio guide, but never did find the rental booth (and no one Kevin asked thought it existed), so we just went to the highlights as recommended by the Lonely Planet. The building is laid out around a central hall, with 2 layers of rooms around the outside--some connected and some not, some numbered and some not (some numbers in order and some not), so there was a lot of "Ok, so next door is 35... and we came from 21 before that, so this much be 17." "Wait! Do those portraits look Roman to you? Huh. So this much be 14." "Oh yes, I see the 14--it's on that wall."

But we saw what I wanted to see, and I even found the yarn:

And the spindles:

(We spent a lot of time with the bike guide in Israel, and after a couple of dinners, Kevin started telling him just how obsessed I am with knitting. By way of illustration, Kevin told him how I always find fiber-related artifacts--which the guide had never noticed, of course, and didn't quite believe in. But they're everywhere.)

That night, Muhammed, his family, and their other guests/friends had planned to go to something called Sound and Light (a light show on the Pyramids, with the Sphinx narrating the story of Ancient Egypt in various languages). Well, not go, exactly, because their plan was actually to go to a cafe with a good view of the pyramids, have coffee, and watch the show for free. Kind of like the houses in Wrigleyville where you can watch the Cubs from people's roofs.

Unfortunately, the government had caught onto his scheme (perhaps he wasn't the only one who'd thought of it) and installed incredibly bright lights between the pyramids and the cafes, pointing directly into the cafes' balconies. We tried to hang curtains to block the lights (without blocking the pyramids), but we couldn't see anything but the lights (and were too far away to really hear the narration). Nonetheless, we stayed for the whole show--no one wanted to be the one to admit it was terrible.

The next day (December 31), we paid a whirlwind visit to the Coptic Museum, where Kevin tried to find the Gnostic Gospels, then caught a plane to Luxor (further up the Nile), to see the Valley of the Kings.

Beneath the surface of our sightseeing, we had a series of problems: (1) we both felt really embarrassed telling anyone that we were going to Israel next, (2) and we still weren't sure how we were going to get there.

We'd bought a plane tickets from Cairo to Amman, Jordan, before leaving the US, which solved the "terrible Egyptian bus that might break down in the desert" part of our transportation problem, but only got us as far as Amman. Now, Amman is closer to Jerusalem than Cairo is (44 miles vs. more than 200... if Google is to be believed), but 44 miles is still too far to walk. And we weren't sure about any of the border crossings--whether they were open, whether they were safe, whether they were busy. There's a crossing more or less on the way from Amman to Jerusalem, which we'd planned to take--till some website or other said it was terrible, closed really early in the day, and should be avoided at all costs. Other websites, of course, said equally terrible things about all the other border crossings--every time we thought we'd decided, we'd find something telling us our plan would never work.

Finally, we got brave enough to tell Muhammed about our problem (the morning we left for Luxor), and he suggested that a friend of his, also in the travel business, might be able to help. Fortunately, it was the same friend who ran the company that was sending a driver to meet us at the airport in Luxor, so we should just explain everything to him, and he'd fix it.

Relieved, off we went.

In Luxor, of course, it wasn't so simple: the driver was sure he was also supposed to pick us up the next morning for our visit to the Valley of the Kings (he wasn't--we'd arranged that before leaving home), but once we got that sorted out he was still sure he could help us get from Amman to Jerusalem--he just needed to talk to his boss, so he wouldn't be able to finalize anything till the next day. Since the our tour was scheduled to take the whole next day, we agreed to meet him at the hotel at 7:00 PM the next night, and off he went.

Relieved that we might not have to move to Amman, we went for a run--the Nile is right in the center of Luxor, and all the Nile cruises stop there, so there's a wide sidewalk, with lots of shops and restaurants and street lights, and we ran along there. We were probably less noticeable because it was night (although the way was well-lit), but even so, every car we saw honked at us, and we had to fend off a number of very determined taxi and horse-drawn carriage drivers, who couldn't understand why we didn't want a ride.

Maybe they were worried because we were so blurry?

We thought we had to be up at 4 AM for a hot air balloon ride over Luxor (it turned out--at 5 AM, when we finally checked our email after waiting in the hotel lobby for an hour--that it's not light enough early enough in winter to ride a hot air balloon and still see the Valley of the Kings, so that didn't actually happen) and we aren't big New Year's people, so we decided to go to the hotel's New Year's buffet as early as possible, then go to bed. We thought it might be dire (but did it anyway because it seemed easiest), but the buffet turned out to be tasty, and off we went to bed.