February 29, 2012

Continually and Constantly

When I finished Marlowe's baby blanket, and it was rather surprisingly the breadth of a queen sized bed (which is rather inappropriately larger than a baby) I was happy, but decided that next time I went down the baby blanket road, I might practice a little more restraint. 

This time I really thought I'd done that, but here I am days late on this blanket, wondering more than a little absently why it's taking so long, and while I can't say yet for sure,  I think this might be another overshoot- size wise. Oh sure,  I could spread it out a little and assess it, but I feel like there's no point in knowing exactly how much there is left to do when I have to do it anyway.  It might be demoralizing.  It makes more sense to me to just keep knitting and let it be a surprise, even to me - which it totally will be, because I get up every day and think "This will absolutely be finished today" and then by the time bedtime rolls around I'm looking at it and thinking that it seems to have no end.  None.  It's perpetual, and worse than that?  I don't think I'm even making a dent in it.  That means one of three things. 
Either it's a really big blanket, I've become a really slow knitter, or I've been so busy that I'm not really knitting that much on it, I just think I am.  
This blanket needs to end, if not because I think it's just about got me ready to weep at the sight of it, but because Luis really needs it.  (Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.  I think his actual position may be neutral.)  I'm going to bust a serious move in its direction today and tonight.  Surely I'm almost there.

PS: The fact that I bought lots of yarn for it and still ran out isn't a good sign.

PPS: When I ran out I got four more balls and they're almost gone too. That's not good either. 

PPPS: Yesterday when I invited you to Sock Camp, I forgot to tell you one thing. There's a contest.  Every year there's a camp tee shirt, and this year we thought it would be fun to have a contest to design it.  The prize is a tee shirt, your design on all the camp shirts and $100 of yarn - and you don't have to be going to camp to enter.  Anybody can.  Rules?  Not many.

1. It has to do with the theme.  The theme is pirates. It’s called Camp Cast Away.
2. It has to say "BMFA Sock Camp 2012" somewhere on it.
3. The design can go on the front or back.
4. Anyone can enter, even if they’re not a camper.

Besides those 4 rules, the shirt design can be anything you like. Just words, words and a picture, words and a drawing, just a drawing, whatever pleases you. Go nuts.

The winner gets glory (their design on all the camp shirts) a camp shirt (whether or not the winner is a camper) and a $100.00 gift certificate for Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  Please email us your entry as a jpeg (You can send a low resolution version, we’ll ask finalists for the high resolution ones so we can see if they’re okay for printing) before March 10th.  You can send it to registrationATknothysteriaDOTcom (Replace the AT and DOT with @ and .) We’ll choose some finalists, put them up on The Blue Moon Blog, everyone will vote before March 12th, and then the winner will be announced on March 14th.

Go!  I'll be here knitting a blanket.

Posted by Stephanie at 2:23 PM

February 28, 2012

Returned

Yo Knitters! I'm back.  Thanks for your patience while we helped little Luis with his bumpy arrival. His mum had a very rough go getting him here, and needed several days of family help to get back on her feet - and despite his  otherwise perfection, little Luis seemed to lack some basic skills in the eating department. His fantastically committed and awesome mama deserved an effort equal to the heroic one she was putting in, so the Auntie squad was summoned, and we spent some time making everyone happy, welcome and healthy.  All seems well now, and his mama is doing a really great job, so it's home for us - which is a really great thing, because it turns out that I may have gotten older, or otherwise lost my knack for staying up all night - because Kelly (the other auntie) and I, were bleary exhausted morons by the end of it.  How one tiny baby managed to engage a multi-person full-time staff is a wonder, but I suspect that it may be his devastating cuteness that enslaved us all.

What would you do for that face? 
I've tried to plug away on the blanket while taking my turns with Luis, and while we had moments where he slept on my lap and I could knit over him, I have to say that the newborn commitment to knitting remains much as I recall it, which is to say that there isn't one. 

As soothing as I find knitting, Luis seems to be pretty against it, and as a matter of fact, after several days of being asked to wake up and nurse, nurse nicely and treat his mum well, Luis summed up his position around the demands being made on his time rather subtly, but succinctly.


In other news - now that I'm out of babyland and back to blogging and knitting and our whole world, I've got a quick announcement about sock stuff, and it's going to seem like bad news/good news to you, but I assure you that it's good news/good news to us.

Sock Summit grew naturally out of Sock Camp - it made total sense that if a little sock-ness was good, a LOT would be great, and it was. Totally great. So far both Sock Summits have been spaced two years apart, one year to plan, one year to recover - and it's seemed like great spacing. Then Tina and I went to plan this next one and there was a glitch with the Convention Center, and then we realized that we might be too superstitious to hold a convention in 2013, and then it was all clear.  2014.  That's when the next one will be. That's the bad news, if you're you (but it's good news if you're us) and the good news for everyone is that Sock Camp will still go this year, and it's going to be a lot of fun, and there are spots for non sock club people open now and you can sign up if you want to.
All the information is here, and registration info is here, and we'd love it if you came.  There's going to be Lucy Neatby, Carson Demers, whale watching, good food... sock madness, all at our beautiful Port Ludlow.
Think of it as mini-summit. That's good news.

Posted by Stephanie at 4:28 PM

February 21, 2012

If you will excuse me

I'm home. Made it back last night, a little late to greet my new nephew in person, but here finally. 

He's beautiful, and his blanket's not finished, but frankly, neither was he. Forces conspired against him, and he was born a little earlier than planned, and clearly (if you go by how annoyed he seems to be about it) more than a little against his will.  His name is Luis, and he's a wee speck of a thing - but beautiful beyond all reason - and far better looking than this crappy iphone picture makes him out to be.

I'll be spending a few days helping him and his parents settle in to being a family, and I hope you'll forgive my absence (if there is one, we'll see how much time I have) as I've decided to put him and his parents squarely first until they're well sorted.  He's the first baby ever born in this family before their blanket was finished, but I'm no match for the circumstances that dictated the timing of his birth - so I don't feel bad about that. I'm knitting like the wind now, because there's no doubt that a wee one born in Canada in February could use a blanket, and I want him to know how much I love him already.  As always, I know no way to say that without wool.

Isn't he perfect? Congratulations to Katie and Carlos.  They've made something awfully nice.  This auntie is very proud of them.

Posted by Stephanie at 4:14 PM

February 15, 2012

Zippy

This post is coming to you from my very own living room, where I'm drinking my very own coffee, and enjoying it as much as I can, since my other suitcase is now by the door, and I'm off to the airport again.  I've had about 10 hours at home, and there's a little voice in my head that keeps saying "Is this smart?" but I can hardly hear it for the rest of me that can't believe what we did on Monday, and that we would have missed it if I'd been the sort of person who thought a 10 hour layover at home wasn't smart.  (Please note: I am not saying I'm smart to have done this, just that I am the sort of person who thinks it's smart.) 


Monday morning, we'd planned to go to this place that somebody said was fun. Monkey Jungle Zipline. The fact that we'd even decided to go was sort of a surprise in a whole bunch of ways.  First, while Erin's the sort of tourist who might do this sort of thing, Mum's really not, and I'm definitely not.  I'm more interested in people and what they're doing than I am going to some theme park but there was something about this that captured my imagination when Erin pointed it out, and I was suddenly keen.  I've never been to a jungle.  I've never ziplined, and monkey's are cool.  I thought Hank would love it, and I had no idea if Mum would, but to ice the cake, 100% of the profits go to a clinic to provide health care who live around there, and the clinic's statistics are pretty amazing.   Erin and I talked to the guy and he said he would take us whenever.  My Aunt Yvonne was arriving in a few days, so we emailed her to see if she wanted to go, and she did - so Monday became the only possible day to go.

Sunday night there was a terrific storm.  Wind like nothing I've ever seen, and then the rain started and then we woke up Monday and it was still raining.  There was brief talk about cancelling and going another day, but since I was leaving on Tuesday, it meant going without me, which I was trying to be big about, but would have been super disappointing.  The troops rallied somewhat, and after a lot of conversation we decided to go - rain or not.  The mini bus picked us up and took us up in to the mountains.  By then the rain had mostly tapered off to sprinkling and misting.

When we got there, the manager did his level best not to be stunned at the Canadians showing up in the "rain and cold" we were told several times (by a couple of different people - all wearing hoodies like 24C was frosty out) that this was "Dominican Snow", which is  a really funny joke under those exact circumstances.   He said that first we would visit the monkeys, and we washed our hands, and he told us that they can touch us, but we can't touch them, and that he was going to give us a little cup of fruit and nuts, and that we could let the monkeys have it, but to be careful not to make sudden moves, or drop the cup, because you can scare or hurt a monkey.   Then he led us in to the massive enclosure where the monkey's live (it's not a cage, it's a several kilometer fenced off piece of the jungle - the monkey's are living very well) and within minutes, the monkey's had seen us, and were making their way through the trees, sweeping, calling and leaping their way towards us.  I stood as still as I could, terrified that I'd make a sudden move and hurt a monkey, and suddenly, we were beset.  I stood perfectly still- or as still as one can stand while monkey's walk on your cleavage.

I heard Erin say "Oh, no, oh no" and turned around to see a monkey on her head.

Hank's monkey waved Hola! (Hank was, of course, perfectly calm)

Yvonne squealed like a little girl.


My Mum, on the other hand - was very much less delighted with the monkeys. 
(I won't repeat what she said about them.  It's less than graceful.)


When we left the monkey area (or escaped the monkey area, depending on your perspective) we were hiked along a path to the place where they get you all outfitted for the ziplining.  At this point, I realized that one of the reasons it had been so unexpectedly easy to get my mum to agree to zipline, was because she didn't know what it was.  As she got kitted out in her harness, helmet, shoes and gloves, I started to wonder if she was really going to like it, but with every passing moment, she seemed more interested, not less.


They gave us a little class on braking and safety and then we hiked again, up to the first platform, and it was then that we started to grasp the idea of what we were doing. This place has 7 ziplines that total 1350m (4400ft) and are about 60m (200ft) off the ground.  The instant they strap you in at the top of this line you realize your mistake. At this point Erin and I both had a brief but neurotic conversation with our guides.  They explained (again) that we're strapped in two ways, that if for some insane reason one of pieces of equipment failed, there were redundancies, that they were going first, that they check the equipment before every rider - that even if you do it wrong they'll take care of you, that it's safe.  It doesn't look safe, but it is very safe.  Erin and I felt a little better.
Then we made the kid go first.

He whipped across the tree tops, smiling broadly the whole way, and braked expertly (although the "monkey guides" were waiting to ensure his gentle landing if he didn't.)

Erin went, then me... then my mum and I admit that I was a little worried about her. Even the suggestion that she might not be able to do something fills her with rage though, so I didn't say anything.  I hoped she'd be able to grin and bear it.  How long could thousands of feet of zipline take? (The answer is a couple of hours, but we didn't know that then.)  Imagine my surprise when my mum came whipping though the trees with a huge smile on her face.

She loved it.  She loved every minute of it, and she was wicked good at it.  We laughed and did the next run - a steeper one with a ton of braking and mum rocked that too.  Hank zoomed, Erin screamed, I was neurotic - Yvonne was - well- Yvonne had some issues.  On the first steep run she was too scared to brake, and came in so fast that I yelled "You're coming in pretty hot there Starbuck" while the guides ran around slacking the wire to slow her down and preparing to catch her, which they did adeptly.

(A quick aside to Yvonne's kids, who aren't going to believe anything about this: Mum, Erin, Hank and I are all willing to send you sworn affidavits indicating that the person in the picture above is indeed Yvonne, and that she did complete a zipline course, and that she was indeed sober at the time, although we decline to comment on any behaviour at the bar post zip.)

After that she braked compulsively out of sheer terror, which meant that she didn't make it all the way across one of them and they had to send out the "Monkey Taxi" to get her.  Still, it was impressive that somebody so scared finished the course at all.  I thought she was going to bail about sixteen times, but on she went, the brave little soldier.  It is possible, that beyond the sheer terror she experienced, the worst part was the dirt. Apparently the gears above you always stir off a little dirt and dust from the cables,  but  it was raining pretty good by the time we were done, and dirt+dust+water=MUD and that mud was spraying and dripping down onto us the whole time we were going.  For Yvonne, our lady of perpetual creams and accessories, this was a real barrier. By the time we were done, we were all dirty-


but Yvonne was particularly out of character.


It was, without a doubt, one of the craziest things we've ever done - and worth it just for the moment that night that Hank said, when I pointed out that the people who had loved it the best were the oldest person and the youngest person, and Hank said that it was because he and Gramy were both courageous.  It's something they have in common, he feels.  He's right of course. 

It was pretty amazing.

Posted by Stephanie at 7:16 AM

February 10, 2012

Wildlife

Calvin is the gardener here at the small building we're staying at - or that's his official title but it seems to us he does near everything.  He speaks English with the same fluency that we speak Spanish, which is not at all.   It turns out though, that some things don't need words. 

Hank had heard from another Canadian family (this place is filthy with Canadians) that there was a turtle living near here.  We searched for a few days, having only the clues from someone else that it was a turtle, and it was in some sort of box, somewhere off the path.  Mum looked, I looked, Erin looked - and we couldn't find a thing.  Naturally, it was Hank who had the tenacity to keep looking, and he eventually found the box, which was more of an open concrete square.  (This is one of the troubles with us trying a few Spanish words, and them trying a few English - things can get slightly shifted in the translation.  Last night at dinner the cook told us that the dessert had "scratched" coconut.  Turned out that he meant "grated" which makes sense, sort of, and is exactly the sort of mistake we would make in the other direction.)  Hank was pretty sure that he'd seen the turtle go under the water there, but after we'd all squatted by this pool for a bit, we were seriously beginning to doubt him.  We were asking all those insulting questions that grownups ask kids.  "Are you sure it was a turtle?" "Are you sure it wasn't something else? Maybe a plant?" (When I think about it now, I'm not surprised that kids sometime lose their patience with us.)

We went back to the pool nearby, and only Erin hung in there with Hank, and after a little while, Calvin happened by and saw them lurking there in the bushes.  Maybe he remembered being a kid, or maybe he just knew there was only one possible reason why a kid would be squatting by a fetid pool of water, or maybe it's the way that no matter where you go in the world, it seems like kids are just better understood and more welcome than they are in North America, but Calvin walked right over and reached down into the water...

and came up with the turtle. 

Hank was thrilled and vindicated.  Today's Spanish word? 

Tortuga!

Posted by Stephanie at 9:28 AM

February 9, 2012

Nobody is Scared

There is a gecko in my bathroom. 

This is more or less fine with me, and absolutely fine with Erin and Hank.  It is not, however fine with my mum, who was briefly cornered by said gecko.

When Erin told her that she couldn't believe she was afraid of something so small and harmless, my mum replied in true McPhee form.

"I am not afraid of the gecko.  I am simply very uncomfortable around him."

Posted by Stephanie at 10:14 AM

February 8, 2012

An Adventure

It's fun to be here with Mum and Erin, but I have to say that for the pure adventure potential, you need yourself an 11 year old boy, and Hank's my man on the ground.  Yesterday we decided to go on an adventure, and after slathering our pathetically Canadian winter skin with sunscreen, off we went.  We had only two goals. Find out what was beyond the little point near our beach, and buy some food.  We're cooking for ourselves here for most meals, and that means adventuring to find out what people here eat,  what it's called and how to prepare it.  So far we really only had coffee, tea, the box milk,  bread, cheese and three apples that we're pretty sure came from Canada, they were so old and yucky.  Apples, clearly are not a Caribbean thing, but we were so tired and confused that first trip to the supermercado, that we bought them just because they were familiar. They were expensive too - so yesterday I was on a mission to find out what produce was local, cheap and good.

Hank and I struck out for the point - walking along the beach and seeing all that we could see.  In the afternoon the wind comes up here, and the kite surfers come out in throngs.  Hank stopped periodically to survey and count them.

(If it matters to you, as it did to Hank, you might like to know that there were 56 kite surfers) On the way we found a stand that sold iced tea (which is nothing like at home, but "still very good" according to Hank.)  When we got to the little point, it turned out that there were three big rocks, and a guy selling shells.  This was not at all disappointing, since for some time as we walked towards them, we thought there was just rocks.  Rocks with shells was very impressive, comparatively speaking.

Still, we hadn't found any fruit or vegetables at all and the gentleman and I figured that maybe there were only restaurants on the beach, not stores, and so we struck our way through a posh hotel, and out to the road.  (There is only one road in Cabarete, so if something is not on the beach, it must be on the road.) We walked along (discovering that the bushes next to us were chock full of a million spiders, which we decided to be very careful about, since, as Hank pointed out "we aren't from here and we don't know what's dangerous."  I was pretty sure they weren't dangerous, but a little danger is a good thing on an adventure, so I didn't disabuse him of the notion.)  After a while we both of us were surprised to come across chickens. 

Chickens, right there at the side of the road, walking around and doing whatever it is that chickens seem to do, with baby chicks in tow. (The baby chicks were a particularly good part of the adventure, and Hank took this picture so that we could show his Gramy and Mum.)

We both agreed that if we were chickens, we would think that the side of the road was a sub-optimal place to trot around with your babies, but again - we conceded that we know little of the motivation of Dominican chickens (or chickens in general) and that maybe the side of the road was the very best place to be.  "We don't know" Hank posited, "what is lurking off the road." 

We kept walking, and saw a little stand up ahead on the road, and as we got closer, we talked about what it might be.  Probably a food place, Hank thought (probably because we were looking for a food place) and we started thinking about what we hoped to find.  I wanted avocados (it seemed like they might grow here, and I love them) and Hank wanted a coconut.  "A coconut?" I asked him.
"Yes," replied Hank, with a great deal of seriousness. "A coconut so we can open it and drink what's inside. You can do that." 
"I know you can do that Hank, or rather, I know it can be done - but how do you do it? I don't know if we should buy a coconut.  I think they're hard to open."
"We could google it."
"True." 

We walked along the dusty road with the chickens until we were at the stand, and lo and behold, it was food.  There were eggs, sitting out in little flats, (that made total sense.  All those chickens had to be doing something) and there were indeed avocados, and tomatoes, and cucumbers, and little bananas, and pineapples. Little oranges, and something that looks not quite like a lime but might be (I don't think it is, but neither Hank nor I had any idea) and this pale green vegetable that we had eaten in a restaurant the night before that was really tasty.  I don't know what they're called, but they're used like potatoes here, even though they're not really all that starchy.  We bought one because we knew they were good, and we thought we could figure out how to cook it.  Most exciting of all.  Coconuts.  Big green fresh coconuts, sitting right there.   Hank and I immediately began to debate the merits of buying one (if you can't get it open, what's the point VS holy cow Stephie it's a coconut I don't care if we can't open it) and eventually the guy who owned the stand took the coconut out of Hank's hands, tapped it, taught him a new spanish word ("dura") and mimed drinking from the coconut.  Hank's face lit right up, and right there, the guy got a machete (machetes are very exciting all by themselves) and whacked away at the coconut, then stuck a straw into it, and handed it to a very thrilled Hank.

I paid for the fruit and vegetables (I think that when they tell me the price, I'm supposed to be negotiating. Haggling isn't really a Canadian thing, and it doesn't come naturally to us as a people.  Every time someone here tells how much it is,  I just give them the full amount, and then they all sort of smile at me like I'm a happy accident that's wandered into their day. Must work on this.) and we walked back the rest of the way along the road back to the house, where we showed off our spoils,

and were welcomed home like the conquering heroes that we felt like. 

We found out what was beyond the point,  We counted kite boarders, we found food, we saw chickens, and we got a fresh coconut.  It could not possibly have been more exciting.  Not in any way. 

PS.  Today's Spanish words: Dura = Hard (that one made sense, once we thought of "durable")  Pina = Pineapple (also made sense, once we thought of Pina Coladas.) Pollo = chicken, Cuanto = how much )

PPS. That was the best pineapple I've ever had.

Posted by Stephanie at 10:09 AM

February 7, 2012

From Cabarette

We got up yesterday, my mum, my sister, Hank and I at 3am, and went to the airport.  We spent the day bleary and exhausted, staggering through Toronto, then Newark, then finally landing in Puerto Plata - and the minute we landed we all had our energy back - or what passed for energy until we could sleep, which was enthusiasm.  We were stereotypes of Canadians landing in the Caribbean.  "It's so warm!" "It's so green!" "Look! A palm tree!" 

We got in a cab, and immediately noticed two things.  One, we don't speak Spanish.  We knew this of course, but it was still a shock to realize that me, with my twenty or thirty words of Spanish, was going to be our resident and incompetent translator.  I have words like hola, adiós, Buenos dias, gracias, de nada, beinvenidos, como estas, aqui, agua, frio, calliente, cerrado, banos - which means I can get beer and bathrooms with a reasonable degree of politeness, but is absolutely not enough to say "We would like to go to the house with the pink front by the hotel near the beach after Cabarette" which frankly, is the address we had. (Not quite, but like I'm telling the internet exactly where I am.) Through a series of butchered Spanish words, we managed to get there, mostly rescued by Hank, who somehow remembered the word for "pink" and that nailed it. 
(I have a feeling we have Dora the Explorer to thank for that.)  The second thing that we noticed is that people here drive, by Canadian standards (which is saying something) like LUNATICS. They should all be dead in the streets.  No speed limits here, no rules, no nothing.  Just you in a beat up honda with all your luggage, speeding down the road and dodging guaguas (little buses, full of people and chickens and boxes) and people on little motorbikes, all weaving and shouting and honking.  Nobody is dead in the street though, so it obviously works for them and they have the skills to handle it, and we just have to breath through it. 

We got to the little beach house that will be our home for the next little bit, and marveled at the view, the green, the palm trees and the sea, and got a little bit settled, and then Erin and I got brave, and went to the supermercado (supermarket) in Cabarette.  (The  frightening ride in a cab is here implied.) We saw tropical fruit and a few vegetables we didn't recognize, and tried to buy milk, which turned out to be a little tricky.  There was white stuff in jugs in the cooler, but it turned out to be yoghurt, but after searching for a while, I remembered that the word for milk is leche, and asked for it.  We were pointed to sealed boxes sitting on the shelf next to canned beans. 

We ended up buying coffee, tea, boxed milk, sugar (that was confusing too) good bread, what we really, really think is cheese - then panicking and deciding to retreat until we could regroup - we grabbed six cold beers and left.  We'll do better today. We had a beautiful sleep last night, listening to the sea pound right by us, and this morning I've found a good knitting spot, and made wonderful coffee.

It's going fine and I love it.

Posted by Stephanie at 8:33 AM

February 3, 2012

Packing

My mum always said that the first year she was retired, there was no way she was spending the whole winter in Canada.  (She actually said something with more filthy language, but I won't repeat it here. The winter can get to people.) True to her word when my mum retired this year she promptly booked herself a beach house in the Dominican Republic for a month, right in the middle of this winter.  Then the campaign began.  She got my sister to agree to go with her for a few weeks, and then started on me. I declined.  Actually, I didn't decline, I flat out said No.  Absolutely not.

I told her that I already had to be away from the 15th to the 20th of February, because I'm teaching at Madrona, and that I had to be home for the rest of that month because I'm hoping to be around when Katie's baby comes.  I told her that I was away so much for work that there was absolutely no way to justify being away for play.  I told her that I felt okay about being away from my family when I was earning money, but that I wasn't okay with being away when I was spending money, and furthermore - we couldn't really afford it, especially if we were talking about spending it on only one member of the family.  I told her I was glad my sister was coming, that I hoped they had fun, that I would try to go another time, and I tried to bury the conversation.

My mum countered with some good arguments. She said that I hadn't had a proper vacation in fourteen years. (This is true.)  She said I could go for the first week, and still go to Madrona. (This was also true.) She pointed out that since I would just be paying for the flight, it was even the cheapest vacation I could hope for. (Also true, damn her.)  She said that I was a valuable member of my family, and that this was a good idea, and that she didn't think anyone in the family would mind me doing it for myself.  (I didn't think that would be true.) Finally, she said that if I was thinking about doing this with her at some time in the future, I might want to take a look at the birthdate on her passport.  (Also true, but I don't like to think about that. My mother will be fit, alive and travel-able forever.)  Then she let me bury the conversation.

At Christmas, my mum played dirty pool.  I hadn't told Joe that I'd been invited, because it was so completely out of the question (in my mind) that there was no point in bringing it up.  I'd made up my mind anyway.  Suddenly, we're all washing dishes in the kitchen, and my mum turns to Joe and says "Joe, don't you think Stephanie should come to the Dominican Republic with us?" and Joe turned and gave me a look. It was that "Oh, so it's like that again?" look that he gives me so often, and without missing a beat he turned to my mum and said "Absolutely."  Just like that, without knowing when, or for how long, or anything about it. 

I was furious.  I don't know why, but I felt tragically misunderstood by him in that moment, and as soon as we were alone that night, I brought it up.  I told him about the money, and the time and the guilt and that it was a TERRIBLE idea, and said I couldn't believe that he had sided with my mother - that she was a force to be reckoned with at the least of times, and now this?  Now I was going to have a big fight with my mother, and he'd destroyed at least half of my very good arguments.

Joe, the way he does, let me run on.  He listened carefully, and then thought for a minute, and chose his words carefully.  "Steph" he said.  You're batsh*t insane."

I stared at him. He went on.  "You're nuts.  It's a vacation.  People take them all the time.  It's good for you. You'd love it.  You've never done anything like this, and you should go, and it will be amazing.  Leave.  Book a flight.  Leave."

I asked him about the kids.  "I've got it." He said.
I asked about the money. "We've got it." He said.
I asked about the time not working and how it made me feel guilty. 
"You're not getting it." He said.

Right after that they all ganged up on me, and the bottom line is that even though I still feel funny about it, I'm leaving for the Dominican Republic on Monday.  When next you see me write, that's where I'll be blogging from, and so today I'm packing two suitcases.  My flight leaves Monday, and I arrive home on the 14th, and I have a 10 hour turnaround before I'm out the door to Seattle in the morning, so I'll come home, put down one suitcase - have a little sleep, and then go out the door with the other.  

I'm not so sure I'll be good at this, and I still have terrific guilt I don't understand, but I'm going to try. 

I'll have the blanket with me.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:11 PM

February 2, 2012

Randomly on Thursday

1. I just finished reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  I didn't love it, but I did like it.  Here's the thing though.  The book uses creative typesetting to convey a lot of what's going on.  Blank pages, pages with one word on them, four pages of numbers, a page where the text becomes closer and closer set until it's ultimately overlapping and illegible and is then followed by a few dark pages. There's different typesetting for different characters - for example, the grandmothers writing has more space between words and letters, each thought has it's own line... more like poetry really.  When the grandfather writes, there's little punctuation, seldom even indentation or separation for paragraphs.  There's even photos.  It's an interesting idea - typesetting in a way that's extremely graphic to further convey what the author intended. 

2. I am suddenly extremely confused about the people I know who "read" this as an audiobook.  I bet they don't even know that a big chunk of the book was graphic.

3. Does that matter? Is it still a good book? Is it as good as the author intended? What's missing? Is it even remotely the same experience?

4. I should really be knitting the blanket.

  

Posted by Stephanie at 2:43 PM

February 1, 2012

Bordering on Interesting

Last night I looked at the blanket middle and I decided the only reasonable thing I  could think at that point.  I decided that I was never going to finish, and that the sooner I accepted that this blanket middle was what I was going to be knitting every evening for the rest of my life, the happier I would be. I gave up.  I accepted my destiny. Resigned myself to boring little lace diamonds on garter stitch and let go.  I stopped even trying to finish.

Ten minutes later I was done.  It was like the blanket just wanted my humble admission that it was in charge and I was a mere puppet in the plan it had for our destiny, and as soon as I admitted I was powerless it released me. Tonight I start the border, and only other knitters will understand that after the monotony of knitting a big square, the idea of moving on to the border is as exciting as finding first a hundred dollar bill - and then a 50% off sale on your favourite yarn.

Things are looking up.

Posted by Stephanie at 12:22 PM