Friday, May 20, 2005

Project Number One!

My first knitted item! The picture is blurry, and the knitting is mediocre, but it's done! I even got fancy and put some stripes of stocking stitch in there, as you can see (yes, they were done on purpose, although I didn't quite get them to match up like I'd expected...something happened and an extra stripe showed up without warning...) But "Baby Ehwly," as Ruth refers to her impending sister, will have a knitted drool-catcher/scarf when she arrives. Whether she likes it or not, it is ordained.

There's something very calming about sitting with a pair of needles in hand, slowly turning a ball of yarn into a garment. I can almost convince myself that all is right with the world: that my nation is not actually detaining, torturing, and killing innocent people without trial; that an increasingly large group of my fellow Americans don't fervently believe I'm a traitor (and thus, presumably, worthy of same detaining, torturing, and killing) just because I vote Democratic; that "Christians" aren't really bleating about how persecuted they are in America, vowing to take control of the reins of government and turn the U.S. into a blessedly theocratic Gilead ("where all the women are meek, all the men are good-looking, and beating children is average").

Granted, as soon as I look up from my lumpy scarf all those things cascade into view again. But as long as I'm holding the knitting, it all feels more manageable and worth fighting. I'm working on carrying that feeling with me, unspooling it from my solid ball of conviction and working it into something strong and wearable--not mere feeling, but action.

And in the meantime, I'm calming myself and turning yarn into something. Hey, even Emma Goldman started out working in a clothing factory.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


One of my informal resolutions for 2005 was to learn how to knit. I've been crocheting for a few years, but knitting intimidated me. Two implements instead of one! Purling! Counting! It all seemed Too Hard for this bear of scattered brain.

About two weeks ago I picked up a knitting book at Powell's City of Books (aka the Heaven in which I'd like to spend any Eternity I encounter) in Portland. A beginner-level book, it had actual pictures of a person's hands and her knitting, instead of the stylized drawings I usually see. I bought knitting needles the next morning and over the course of the next week I successfully knitted my first garment, a scarf for my new niece (due one month from today).

It's not much to look at, and it's riddled with errors that I didn't yet know how to correct, but it all hangs together and I'm going to post a proud picture later. What's more, I've already started a light wrap for myself, using a lovely wool/mohair blend yarn I picked up at the yarn store down the street. The stitches are so large that it grows swiftly; I already have over three feet of it finished in just four evenings of work, and I can't wait to finish it and wear it this summer.

I like crossing goals off my list, and learning new skills. I'm a knitter now! And after next weekend, I'll be a canoe-er, too! I am so well-rounded.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


At work, occasionally I hear the rapid beat of a child's feet pattering down the hallway toward my office. When I turn around, a three-year-old, briefly escaped from his caregiver, peers curiously in at me from the doorway.

Now, our first floor is set up so that you can make a loop from the front lobby, down the east hallway, through the kitchen and staff lounge, and up the west hallway back to the lobby. So this child darts up the west hallway, sees his mother coming toward him from the lobby, and turns away from her, running back toward my office. I step up the hallway a few steps to cut off his access to the kitchen and the endless loop. Crouching at his level, I half-spread my arms as he gallops full tilt toward me.

I was just trying to corral him for his mother, but his exuberant three-year-old mind sees a smiling adult with outstretched arms, and he opens his arms and launches himself at me for the hug he thinks I'm offering. We giggle together and I take his hand to lead him, not at all perturbed by this abrupt termination of his escape, back to his mother.

Those are the best moments in my day.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


When I sat down, after a full day of rearranging furniture, to write an ad to give away a bookshelf on, I got a little silly. But it worked--the bookshelf is already gone!

Half a score of years ago, in the blushing spring of my own youth, my parents bestowed upon me a brand-new laminated particle board bookshelf to spruce up my very first college dorm room. It was a modest bookshelf, at 39 1/2 inches high, but its depth of 9 1/4 inches and its width of 22 1/2 inches easily contained the shiny new texts of my college education.

Many springs have passed since then, and the bookshelf has travelled loyally to and fro, through many moves from dorm room to apartment, steadfastly holding its full share of books without complaint. Its service to me has left scant markings upon it which do not betray its years to the eye of an onlooker.

But now, dear friends, the bookshelf must leave me to make its own way in the wide world. It has my blessing in its travels. Welcome it into your home, and suffer not your cat to scratch upon it, and it will bear your books for long years as it has borne mine.

Go in peace, good shelf. Long shall thy name be praised from the lips of those that knew ye!