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Category: friends

A Weekend in Blacksburg

My friend is studying to be a wild life scientist, a trapper and catcher of information about the world’s dwindling carnivore populations.  He’s approaching his graduation date, but I am only just now getting in a trip to visit him, because after two and a half years, I am finally ready to be separated from Baba overnight.

And so, I find myself on an airplane by myself.  It’s a puddle jumper, as Virginia Tech is only a two hour flight away from home, and the plane is so small that I have managed to get myself a seat that is both window and aisle.

Glorious time, for an introvert.  Two and a half hours of the kind of solitude that I have become accustomed to, the type where you’re surrounded by strangers who need nothing from you.  Although I should be writing, instead I read the last 40 pages of Elena Ferrante’s Those Who Stay and Those Who Leave, the third in her famous Neapolitan novel series.  Somewhere near the end of the flight, I close the book on the last page and sigh, knowing that I can’t check out the fourth and final book from the library for another week.

But then I look up, to see that I have been lucky enough to arrive in the mountains in late fall, where the land is carpeted in hundreds of thousands of trees that are all turning red and orange and yellow.  Suddenly it strikes me how little I’ve noticed the turn of the season and how few trees really live on my street, although one thing I loved about my neighborhood when I moved to it were the size of the suburban trees.  But compared to a real forest, the  paltry sidewalks plantings of the suburbs are nothing.

When I land at 6 p.m., it becomes clear that we are the last scheduled plane and the airport is closing for the night.  There are cafes and bookstores in the terminal, but the employees have shut off all but the emergency lights and they chat with each other in a way that doesn’t encourage customer interruptions.

It is a relief to be out of New York City, to retreat to a calmer place, where the accents are slower and businesses shut down for the night.

In the morning, we go to Virginia Tech, which is a glorious campus, with serene and stately stone buildings nestled among majestic trees that create a campus that feels more like a well-kept city park than a university.  But you can’t go far without running into a memorial for the students and faculty that were murdered here a decade ago.  It is a too-solid reminder of the attack on New York last Tuesday, which hit me and mine closer than any would ask for.  But we try to move past it, darting between buildings in the gray rain, and watching the Virginia Tech undergrads like zoo animals, because the 15 years that separates us makes them seem like alien creatures.

I am here for a short visit – not quite 48 hours – and most of it is spent on friendship, asking about people that no one else remembers, reminiscing about the people that we were when we were the same age as the students around us.  We can’t help but wonder – is the world less innocent now than it was then?  Are we less safe now than we were then?

Then the news of the Texas church shooting breaks, so we know.

 

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Dublin Airport Time

Dublin AirportThe flights to America leave from Terminal 2 in Dublin.  There was a time when arriving at the airport was a relaxing part of the trip.  It was a last chance to sit at O’Brien’s and have one last authentic fry-up, one last cup of well-brewed Barry’s tea before stuffing a real scone in my bag and heading back to the land of hot dogs and coffee.

Time has changed things.  O’Brien’s is not what it was.  The tea is a weak European blend that we don’t recognize.  The fruit is green and the sausages are no longer spiced in the Irish style.  The staff are eastern European, serving up a cheaper version of the Irish experience that has lost everything in translation without gaining any international flavor.  The beans are insipid at best.

But this barely matters, because we no longer have time to stop there for breakfast before our flight. New American security concerns mean that we must go through two sets of security screenings, as well as customs, before we even get to the gate.  Well over an hour later, when we’ve gone past all of that, we queue up for half an hour at the one restaurant in the American section of the airport, where I pick out a muffin that I don’t want because we no longer have time for the staff to heat up a panini.  The plane is already boarding, even though we’ve been at the airport for two and a half hours.  I swallow half of my cappuccino before throwing out the rest so that this time, thank God, we don’t end up running for the gate.  I burn my tongue.

It has been an exhausting trip, this trip back to Ireland to bury my brother-in-law.  I’ve cried a great deal more than I expected, while remembering more names than I anticipated.  My in-laws are a veritable tribe, a tribe that shows up en masse to major life events.  There are cousins and friends and adult children with children of their own, all of whom seem to remember my name.  When I ask my Beloved to clarify which cousin Mary that he had just referred to, he gives me a blank look at my dense incomprehension, then rattles off a string of names and relationships that I lose hope of being able to follow by the second sentence.  My family has been declining in numbers for a generation; I am simply not equipped with the skills to remember everyone, even after four years of marriage.  But I am getting better.

My sister-in-law brought pictures of my Beloved and his three siblings to the wake, one from shortly after the birth of the youngest and another from right before my Beloved left Ireland for good in the late 80s.  They are children in the first picture and barely more than that in the second.  The second photo hung in the family home for decades, becoming such an icon that my Beloved and his siblings retook it a few years ago.  I am so glad that they did now, though I remember being in a rush at the time, because there will never be another one with all four of them together.  That time in their lives has finished, long before we ever expected that it would.  So we passed around the pictures and told old stories to the new generation, while marveling at the changes in the family between then and now.  Baba wandered at our feet, pulling at the photographs and trying to find out what happens when you bend them.

My brother-in-law was buried on Saturday, so we took Baba and her cousins to St. Anne’s park on Sunday for some much needed downtime.  There is a playground there that is a Dublin institution.  The carved horses and cows had fresh paint once, but it has been worn off by generations of small hands climbing all over them.  Baba climbed up onto the Viking ship, which is far too tall for her, and her eldest cousin, who is a man himself now, reached up to keep her from falling.  We posed her with her two cousins, and tried to keep her still enough to get a good shot. She doesn’t understand why we would want to sit still in a playground, where there are so many things to climb and explore.  

Perhaps there will be a day, years down the road, where we’ll make another photo like yesterday’s, when Baba is old enough to understand, and marvel again at the impossibility of capturing time.

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Separation

montauk_seagullJune has been sneaking away from me, the days so filled with activity that I’ve barely noticed the blooming in my garden, the hotter days and the incredibly furry cat that stares at me intently, wondering when I’ll have a heart and take her to get her fur shaved off, for the love of God.

 

That would be scheduled for Wednesday.  I’m not a monster.

My Beloved has been in Ireland for a week and a half, with no return date in sight.  His mom is not doing well at all and I am very glad that he is with her.  At the same time, the space that’s carved out in our lives by his absence is obvious — all the things he does around the house, the noises he makes, the stories he brings with him — are all suddenly absent. There’s a certain silence where I am used to hearing noise.  I am listening, as I take out the trash and cook myself dinner, do the shopping and pass off the dry cleaning.  I drive around in his massive truck and find myself fitting into the spaces that he normally inhabits, which feels good, because it feels like a service that I can do for him when he is so far away and so worried about bigger things.  It always better to be doing.

Jason-Stomps-Love My house has had a steady stream of visitors to keep me company while he’s away.  These were planned visits, as we always get busy in the summer months, but I’ve appreciated the distractions.  Last weekend, I went with friends out to the end of the island, where we visited the Montauk lighthouse, ate like kings, and found a wonderful little bookstore–the rather directly named Montauk Bookshop.  They had a fabulous collection of books, with many lesser-known titles by classic authors, and a good selection of the backlists of more contemporary writers.  I picked up Mary Shelley’s Mathilda, Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and Tana French’s Faithful Place, which I have been meaning to read for years.  Stocked with more books than time, we went to find dinner at a place called Rick’s Crabby Cowboy Cafe because they served S’mores.  Wouldn’t you?

A good trip.  My next visitor comes from the U.K. in about three hours, so we’ve spent quite a bit of time this week pretending that we live in a much neater house than we really do. I’ve come to terms with reality and put away the paint supplies that have been sitting out since I started repainting the hallway back in May.  Plaster is a look, right?  In removing all of the stuff for the half-finished construction projects which aren’t likely to progress until the return of my Beloved, I’ve discovered that we have a lot more house than I thought we had.  Now that I can see my living room again, I’m really looking forward to the arrival of the couches that we purchased on Memorial Day.  The current couch has been slowly separating — the end seat is threatening to break off, like a polar ice cap, and has been in danger of floating away for some time.  That, too, is a look.  A look that will thankfully soon be gone.

Yesterday was the summer solstice.  In honor of the change of seasons, my yoga teacher asked us what the first thing was that came to our minds when we thought of summer.  Being in a room full of Long Islanders, nearly everyone named the beach.  Her answer, however, was time — the extra hours of sunlight in summer give us that extra hour in our day that we’re always looking for. This is the time of year that we play in the sun and spend time reconnecting with the people that matter. As I’ve slowly whiled away the weekend, napping, dreaming, writing, cleaning, I kept finding myself thinking about the gift of time that summer brings.  When my Beloved called yesterday for our evening chat, he mentioned that in Dublin, the sun didn’t go down until nearly 10 p.m.  Here, a little further south, the sun will set around 8:30 p.m.  When we were in the San Juan Islands at the beginning of the month, the evenings seemed to last forever, because we were far were as north as Ireland is. The light gave me energy and, above all, time.

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The Elephants Stand

AmericanCraftsmanWhen I walk into the house of my oldest friend, I notice that there are three wax elephants on her mantel.  They’re in complimentary colors that I knew that she would like — dark and rich burgundy, maroon and gold. I don’t remember when I bought them or for what occasion.  Christmas, perhaps?  A birthday? But they have moved with her again and again, from Boston to her new home of Portland and, a decade later, they march across her mantel, as still as ever.

It makes me smile.

We are in Portland, Oregon, at the end of a short visit before we drive up to the San Juan Islands for a week with my family. This is a city that suits her perfectly and, although I miss being able to easily visit with her, I know she belongs here just by looking at the houses. My city is a city of apartment buildings, sophistication, grime and intensity.  This city seems to be built of the American Craftsman style, with often eclectic paint jobs and overflowing rose bushes and azaleas, butterfly bushes and lilacs.  It rains a lot here, which you can see in the fecundity of the suburban landscaping. Plants dominate, their growth seemingly unstoppable.  It’s a beautiful place to walk around and watch the melt of nature and art.  I have never been here on a rainy day, and everyone tells me how lucky I am, but I can easily imagine that this is still a beautiful place even when the skies are grey.

Yesterday, we sat on the banks of the Sandy River for most of the day. There are so many parks here that it’s easy to step into nature.  We cleverly bought two large umbrellas at the local store, which meant that we spent a beautiful day with our heads in the shade and our feet in the sun, watching all the adventurous Portlanders willing to go rafting in an ice cold mountain stream. The comfort of old friends is that we slip back into each others’ lives so easily, the conversation quickly ranging from past to present to future.  I love fitting into her life here and seeing her friends, some of whom have become my friends over the years, and watching as her community and her home grow into something even more beautiful every time that I visit.  I am very proud of my friend and proud to be her friend. I feel this way about most of my friends, as I watch us all growing into older, wiser, slightly greyer versions of ourselves, but the geographical distance that makes our visits rare makes it so much more obvious when I do see her.

Last night, my Beloved said the most beautiful thing to me, which was that he liked Portland and would love to come back.  I’m glad that he thinks so, because I miss this town already.

 

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Survive and Thrive: Christmas

The last few weeks have been a delightful buzz of activity, as the weather has gotten colder and we have actually had a few snowy days.  Not snow days, mind — this is, after all, New York, where trains make it much more feasible to go to work on days that a car would never get you there.  We have been operating under a fairly fractured family schedule, with My Beloved working the night shift, and our House Teenager (who is almost not-a-teenager now, yikes) working all sorts of crazy hours since he’s working retail in December.  Yet, despite our inability to all be home simultaneously, we have managed to put up a tree, get it decorated and put some lights on the front of the house.  That even happened as I was writing my big term paper at the end of the semester, which makes me particularly proud.

Sometime in the middle of that, it struck me that this is the first Christmas season that I’ve actually just enjoyed without making an express effort to do so.  Usually this is a very challenging time of year for me, when I have to remind myself of my philosophy of conscious positivity pretty much daily.  Both the holiday season and the sudden onset of cold weather contribute to this, and I do not have a great history of dealing well with either one.  For many years, Christmas not only felt like an empty holiday for me, but almost like a personal attack as I took in all the media showing the perfect day with our perfect extended families in beautifully decorated perfect houses.  My reality was more typically a day spent with myself or a friend, because my relatives were all far away, having their Christmas celebrations together.  Before I moved to New York, I would sometimes spend it with my mom, but that had its own challenges.  She dealt with the season little better than I did, between her own conflicted feelings about family and her depression, and my time spent with her was always filled with criticism.  Christmas has always been associated with the sense that I just couldn’t do it right. I have a picture of her from my 21st Christmas, where she’s pointing at a price tag that I left on a present that I gave her.  I remember this picture better than any other picture that I have of her, because so often that is what our relationship felt like.  Look at your mistakes.

I regret so much that we didn’t have more years together, because our relationship looked like it was going to improve.  She died so young and so suddenly that I’ll never know.  And I regret that my main memory of her involvement in my adult life was that I never did things to her satisfaction. I often get feedback from even my closest friends that I do things too well — that I have a superhuman ability of life accomplishment — and I sometimes wonder how much of it stems from never being good enough for the two people who were supposed to always accept my failure.  I suspect that most overachievers have a similar understanding; that we must always be doing more because what we have done can never really be enough.  If we’ve managed to accomplish the thing, then it must have been too easy to be meaningful.  I got a 97% in the class I took this last semester — instead of being proud of that, I thought, “Well, the professor must be an easy grader.” An A, of course, was the bare minimum, but scoring so highly must have been a fluke. It is not actually very satisfying.

So I keep throwing myself against new challenges, hoping to find that one that some day will mean that I have done enough.  I’m sure you can see how the Christmas madness just feeds into that — the one thing that you’re not supposed to have on Christmas is an empty house.  To not be surrounded by your loving extended family on Christmas means you’ve failed — and I’ve only ever been around my extended family on Christmas twice in my life.

People with childhood backgrounds like mine have to make their own families.  We make them from friends, largely, though I’ve been blessed to be able to get to know both sides of my family better now that I’m an adult.  Neither of my parents made it much of a priority for me to spend time with my relations, who all lived at least half a country away, and I didn’t have the sort of growing up experiences with my cousins and grandparents that so many people do.  Christmas, of course, enhanced that isolation, as I was often shuttled from my mom’s house to my dad’s house to have two different lonely celebrations.  Yet some of my fondest memories of my mom are from when I was little and we would prepare for Christmas.  I remember making ornaments out of construction paper, decorating the tree, baking cookies for Santa.  I still put out the Yule log every year that we bought when I was fourteen — and each time I pull it out of its storage box, I think about that day in the mall, trying to convince her that we needed it– and then the glee when she decided that she would buy it for me.  I put up her miniature tree and put on the reindeer antlers that belonged to her.  All of these memories, at last, have no sting at all, because now I have made my own family, which is now just an augmentation to my blood family that I have come to get to know.

This year my house will not be perfect.  Our decorations aren’t as nice as they’ve been in some years past.  I won’t have cookies baked, punch made or carols sung.  But I will take my little family to two different households of friends on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day and celebrate the connections that I’ve created in my life, which are giving this holiday new meaning.  It took a long time to drop my baggage, but I think I could maybe even come to love Christmas.

But we’ll just leave that one for next year.

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The Writer’s Birthday

My birthday snuck up on me this year, hiding behind the projects that I have going on this month. Somewhere around the halfway point of the month, people started asking me what I would like for a present. Each time, I was taken by surprise, because I’ve been so distracted writing for Camp Nanowrimo. Real world details like birthdays and dates and obligations have had very little impact on my consciousness, because they don’t have anything to do with medieval Iceland and the people that live in my head.

I had set my birthday as a loose target for having the first draft of my manuscript finished, but I am not there and will not be by the end of my 50,000 word goal target for Camp Nanowrimo.  That’s a little disappointing, but it is because the story has expanded in ways that I couldn’t have predicted at the beginning of April.  It’s going to be for the best, I think.  I hope.  We’ll find out in draft two.

There’s a point in each yoga class when I am reaching the end of my energy and I have to reach deep within to do what my teacher is asking me to do next.  I breathe, reaching into my body for some hidden reserves of strength and then move into the next pose.  I’m at that point with the first draft – I am so close to being complete and I have been working so intensively on it for the last month that I am running out of reserves, but I know that if I keep pushing and looking for more strength and creativity within myself, I will find it.  I will finish it and, and as a (belated) birthday present to myself, I will at long last have a finished first draft of a novel.  It’s an achievement I’ve been dreaming about for years, but this year, I will have done it.

It’ll feel so good, if I can just get there.  Camp Nanowrimo is winding down to a close and I have a few thousand words left to write to reach my goal, which feels like it shouldn’t be hard at all at this point, because I’m in good practice.  Even if I didn’t finish the first draft, I have doubled the length of my manuscript in a month, so it’s been a worthy task.  I can walk away proud of that.

As for my birthday, it was a quiet and lovely day, capped off with a fabulous evening out with my family.  We went to a restaurant called Akbar in Garden City that has some seriously delicious cuisine. It doubles as a banquet hall, so the facilities are top notch, which appealed to my inner Taurus. Since it was my birthday, I decided that I would ignore the food preferences prejudices of my family. The Kid turned into a fan of Indian cuisine seconds after the chicken lollipops arrived, which was just an added birthday present.  A good day all around, with good work done (both at work and outside of it), good people, good phone calls and good food.  That’s what it’s all about.

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Garden Trellis Mitts, More Photography

Work is continuing apace on the kitchen and we are definitely in the home stretch now.  (That’s going to be it for my sports metaphors.  I know very little about them.)  A window was put in this weekend and now we are waiting for the cabinets, which are set to arrive on Tuesday.  It had been a bit of a down weekend for me for kitchen responsibilities, so I invited the lovely Maya over for a sleepover.  I was determined to have an utterly sterotypical sleepover, so I bought nail polish and spent the evening utterly failing to manage to do my nails properly.  I ended up repainting my left thumbnail no fewer than four times because I kept trying to knit before they had fully dried.  On one occasion, I managed to grab the wrong nail polish and painted it a totally different color from the rest of the my nails.

As you can see, I am extremely good at this.

Kindly, Maya agreed to be a model for my 365 photography project, so I spent Saturday morning fussing with lights and playing with props.  Our torn down kitchen is actually a brilliant photography backdrop, since the walls are cream and we now have lots of natural light.  As there’s no cabinetry up, there’s very little in the background to detract from the subject.  I don’t have much experience doing portrait photography, so it was nice to have a willing and patient subject to allow me to fool around with lights and readjust at my leisure.  It was my first time working with a model willing to sit for longer than five minutes and I think that it was a good learning experience.  I haven’t invested in a lot of tools for photography, but taking Franklin Habit’s photography class at Vogue Knitting last year definitely paid off in making me so much more aware of how light affects a photograph.  I am pleased with the way the sitting went.  I also have a few items on my very short list, because hanging drop lights off of temporary ceiling fixtures is likely to result in a house fire.

Garden Trellis MittsThe rest of the weekend has been extraordinarily lazy.  I watched no fewer than four movies in a 24 hour period, which did result in nearly finishing the Garden Trellis mitts, which is a nice pattern that knits up quickly.  I’ve been working them in a Rowan Tweed, which is one of my favorite yarns of all time, and have enough leftover yardage for a hat and cowl.  Cleverly, I’m working them in a dusky blue, which means that they will not actually match any of my colorful collection of winter coats.  What they will do, however, is work nicely for being able to operate my camera outdoors in a New York winter.

 

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2011 Holidays

Christmas was a quiet affair filled with good friends and family, which is what it’s all about. I made out with some very thoughtful loot and ate slightly more than my body weight in cookies.

But I have prevailed; the cookies are all dead. In my belly.

I enjoy the week between Christmas and New Years an awful lot because it is so quiet. After all the hustle and bustle of lights, tree, cooking, family, etc., it becomes almost necessary downtime. The trains are quiet, nearly everyone is gone from the office, and I have no excuses for not getting a great deal done. As a productivity nut and worker bee, this makes me very happy. As a person with an exciting life to write about, well, not so much. But it’s been a nice quiet. I’ve been able to conquer the world in Civilization get some writing projects done, master some Bach and finish some big projects that have been hanging over my head at work. It’s a nice feeling.

I see other bloggers out there doing lists of what they’d like to do next year. It’s made me think about some of the highlights of this year. This year, I:

– got engaged to the love of my life (this is a celebration, not an accomplishment)
– actually managed to get good enough at the piano to be able to sight read stuff where the left hand does more than play chords. Slowly, mind.
– learned how to fox trot, to rhumba, to merengue
– learned that if fox trotting, rhumbaing or merenguing with a 6’3″ man, heels are a good idea. Otherwise, neck injury occurs.
– (self)published a knitting pattern
– had the realization that not being my skinniest weight ever does not, in fact, make me a bad person
– watched my ward pull in grades higher than he thought possible on his report card, despite having skipped most of two years of school a few years back.
– adopted a house hippy. Everyone should have one.
– learned to rip up carpet and stained all the wood for a new staircase in a weekend
– went to a spinning convention and actually learned how to spin yarn that looks like yarn
– fell in love with the mountains of eastern Oregon and took some awesome pictures
– bought a cowboy hat
– knit multiple sweaters, learned to not hate knitting socks and designed a few more things on my own
– have actually done a little bit of wedding planning, despite hating it like you wouldn’t believe
– actually genuinely enjoyed the holidays for a third year running

It has, all in all, been a good year. We are all safe and happy and the family grew again this year (see the house hippy aspect). I am filled with gratitude and can only marvel at my good luck. Life is good; my only goal for next year is to keep it good.

Happy New Year everyone. Let’s make 2012 even more filled with light than 2011.

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Visiting Time

When I went to your town on the wide open shore,
Oh I must confess, I was drawn, I was drawn to the ocean

It is summer and we live by the ocean, which means that we’ve had a steady stream of visitors for the last month, which is an excellent thing indeed.  I’ve also been doing my share of visiting, having popped down to Virginia in the beginning of June to meet one very excellent baby.  I’m afraid I have fallen rather in love and have been compelled to knit and buy small things.

This was followed with a far too short but excellent visit with a very old friend and a new friend, where we spent most of our time on the beach in both bad weather and good.  There are some friends that you can just pick up with after any amount of time away and the time spent together is so restful.  Too short, but incredibly wonderful.

Last weekend, my aunt came for a visit, where we went to see lots and lots of art in jewelry format.  The jewels were so scintillating that after two rooms, I actually had eyestrain.  I found the exhibit really inspiring from a knitting design perspective; I have some ideas in my head that will be hitting paper soon.  Then we took a day to wander up to Boston, taking the Port Jefferson ferry over to Connecticut, then stopping for lunch in Mystic.  I got to tourist Boston for the first time – despite morning thunderboomers and storms, we made it to Fenway Park (and I sat on the Green Monster) and walked quite a lot of the historic trail and waved at Sam Adams’ grave (why yes, that is my beer of choice) and went shopping at Quincy Market (where I proceeded to get overwhelmed by a cosmetic purchase, which you’d think I’d have gotten down pat by the age of thirty-one).  Dinner was excellent Vietnamese, which sent us off to sleep, only to awaken to a day at the Science Museum, which is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Lightning bolts and amazing ship models?  In one place?  Awesome.

The social life continue this weekend with some more very dear friends coming up for a visit and barbeque and FIREWORKS IN THE BACKYARD.  We’re not all that patriotic, but we sure do like setting things on fire.  Just hopefully not ourselves.

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Spring

Spring has officially sprung. If it weren’t raining, I’d be running out taking pictures to show you my daffodil that finally put forth a nice yellow bloom. Our Asian pear tree #1 has also sprouted flowers this year, which is a new development. It is now two years old, which means that this is the year we should see fruit, providing that Asian pear tree #2, which is a bit runtier and slower on the uptake, manages to pollinate it properly.

I wonder if it would be weird if I dig up the pear trees and take them with me when we move. Or, y’know, pollinate them manually. Is that legal?

We’re also on year two for strawberries and raspberries, but year one for blueberries, so we should alternate a bit. I think this means that I need to plant some more two year fruiting plants this year, but I’m told that the remaining part of the garden is going to tomatoes. OR ELSE.

Hey, I know which side my bread is buttered on.

It’s been the loveliest weekend ever. My birthday is tomorrow, which means that I’ve given myself full permission to not be productive, which I generally fail at. (Note: took up knitting in order to be able to sit in a room with others while they watch TV.) This morning I took a big long bath in our big long bathtub, while reading The Intentional Spinner, which is clearly some kind of sickness. I was on the chapter about how people harvest gossamer, which is a word all of the readers in the audience will have heard of. What they might not realize is that this means *spiders*, which is not really what I wanted to be thinking about while in the tub located in the basement. But I did learn that spiders make no fewer than five different types of thread, one of which turns into gossamer. McCuin gives helpful suggestions on which bit of the web to collect. I am not squeamish about bugs (unless discovered without a proper introduction, but I believe no one will look down on screaming in *that* situation), but I think it’s going to be a very long time before I go out with a used toilet paper roll and start collecting.

But as it’s filament, not fiber, all you need to do is ply it, rather than spin singles and then ply. But it did come out of a spider.

I spent part of the afternoon sewing an eye pillow. I finally got my sewing machine back up and running, after some disasters with breaking the needle on it and trying to find the correct replacement. I went through a period where I made eye pillows and sold them, as they’re pretty fabulously easy sewing. There wasn’t much profit in it, so I gave it up, but I had a request. I was reminded about how much I hate sewing, which is probably because I just don’t know how to do it very well or easily. I took a class when I was about eleven, but I’d be interested in taking another one to try and learn a bit more. Of course, I need another hobby like a hole in the head, but I keep accumulating a basket of masculine clothing with holes that I’m apparently expected to fix and it’s starting to take over my desk. I’d also really like to sew some dresses for myself. Dresses that fit and cover all relevant parts (which includes knees, in my book) and are sold commercially are basically nonexistent.

We finished off the night with a giant and delicious Easter dinner the house of friends, which was delightful. I’ve been working on a Shipwreck Shawl on and off for the last year and have finally gotten down to the netty bit, which I somehow failed to realize meant fifty rows of YO, K2tog. Yawn. But it’s great knitting for sitting around a living room while digesting your carrot cake and Fragelica coffee.

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