Sunday, December 11, 2005

The little stowaway

Welp, I'm all packed. Except for my carry-on bag, which is almost finished. The house is pretty much ready, the laundry's done, the perishables are out of the fridge, the windows are locked, my iPod is updated, and I've even cast on for the hat part of the hat and scarf set (I thought airport security might look more kindly on knitting needles that actually had knitting on them). So really, there are just a few more house-tidying things to do, aside from the slightly OCD checking and re-checking of the tickets and passport I'll be doing right up until I get in the cab tomorrow morning. There's just one tiny problem:

All together now: "Awwwwwww!"

Ivy doesn't want me to leave without her!

Posting on my blog will be sporadic at best for the next month, though I promise to write when I can, and to put up pictures if possible. But if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll just have to trust that I'm busy having a blast and collecting lots of great stories to tell you when I get back. Laters!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Traveling companions

Here is my dilemma. I find myself looking down the barrel of 18+ hours of airplane travel, as well as about four layover hours, on my way to India. The same for the trip home, although for that I will at least have some company. Technically, knitting needles are not on the TSA's prohibited items list, but I have heard of them being confiscated anyway, especially metal ones. I plan to prepare for this by printing out the list (which clearly states that knitting and crochet needles are allowed), as well as making sure I have a couple of postage-paid self-addressed envelopes with me, so at least anything they confiscate won't be gone for good. But I don't know how tight security will be on the way home, or if I will have to go through any checkpoints in either of the layover cities. Also, I can't figure out exactly how much knitting I'll need.

Please help me decide what projects to take! Here are the options:

-Merino Lace Cardigan (on Addi Turbos--this is the only one of the options already started)
-Merino Lace Shawl (on aluminum circs)
-worsted weight wrist warmers for me (will probably be on bamboo circs)
-dk weight hat and scarf for me in the "fiesta" colorway of this yarn (needle type will depend on results of gauge test)
-worsted weight wrist warmers for Mishmish (could be on bamboo circs)
-worsted weight tea cozy (on aluminum circs)

I am thinking that it will make sense to have three projects total, or four max, if most of them are small. I don't want to be bored, but I do want to have plenty of room in my luggage for all the goodies I'll be buying when I'm there. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Freedom isn't free

As of January 13th, 2006, I will have my freedom. Freedom from the two-hour-each-way Metro North odyssey that is my commute (and the almost $400 is costs me every month). Freedom from the nearly crushing boredom that has become my day at the office these past few months. Freedom from spending my time trying to herd metaphorical cats and spending my hard-earned graduate degree in International Relations writing cover letters and nagging e-mails. But, like all freedoms, there is a price to be paid for this. In this case, my salary.

Yep, I've been laid off. Budget cuts to the "unrestricted revenue" part of the nonprofit's budget, blah blah blah. At least my boss and everyone seem to feel really bad about it. One colleague even shed a couple tears when I told him, and I've been promised really great references from all the bigwigs around here. Money-wise, of course, it sucks, but it could suck a lot worse. And my family and friends have been unbelievably supportive. Taz even offered to fly home for the weekend. From India. And he was serious. Meanwhile, I'm busy getting in the holiday spirit, while also getting excited about leaving for India in 72 hours.

So, for holiday spirit, I've got this view outside my window right now:

Snowflakes as big as cotton puffs! Looking
northeast across 2nd Ave. at 43rd St.

And a couple days ago, I walked past Rockefeller Center and saw this:

I missed the lighting of the tree, but at least I got to see it!

Tomorrow, I also have a Christmas Tree party to attend, to which I am expected to bring my homemade apple crisp. The host loves it so much, I usually bring an extra one just for him.

Sunday, the whole day will be spent packing and getting the house ready for my absence. A quick peek into my head ought to give you an idea of my current adrenaline levels: ok, um, I have to remember to return those sweaters, and buy those other gifts, and go to PetCo to get pet grass for the cats, and leave a note for the cat sitter, and figure out how to program the stupid thermostat. I hope I don't forget my passport or something stupid like that. Will I have room in my suitcases for all this stuff? Will everyone in India like the gifts I'm bringing? Will they like me? Gee, I hope the security people let me take my knitting on the plane. I hope I can sleep on the plane. What books should I bring? I hope I don't get delhi belly when I'm there. The safari in Kerala sounds so fun. They told me Bangalore is cold. What clothes should I bring? Will all my v-neck tops be too revealing? What color sari should I buy? I wonder if Home Depot has timers for the lights at home? What if it's still snowing when I get home tonight and I don't have time to do all my errands? I can't wait to be on the plane. No, actually, I can't wait to arrive in Bombay. Most of all, I can't wait to see my sweetie.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Armpits, yay!

I know that armpits are not something most people celebrate, but you gotta understand. Remember how Sami, Zarzuela and I have all been going through increase hell on our respective Merino Lace Cardis? For, like, 20 billion 385 thousand years? Well for me (drumroll, please), it is finally over!! My sweater now has armpits. Witness:

Yes, I am fully aware that no one put a gun to my head
and forced me to knit this with laceweight yarn.

OK, so maybe it just looks like a wrinkly pile o' stockinette to you, but to me, it is a dream come true. I actually sat down and did the math. The longest row (well, actually, there were technically three longest rows) on this sweater contained 508 stitches. 508! No matter how you cut it, that's a ton of stitches. Makes the 272 stitches I'm doing in each row now (below the armpits) seem downright speedy.

Almost makes me believe I can finish the thing before I go to India next Monday. Or at least before I arrive. Right? Right?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

No slow death for me

A few days ago, Lía posted this Pablo Neruda poem on her blog, and being a chilenophile and a lover of poetry (his in particular), as well as a lover of life, I just had to share it with you all. Below the Spanish is my own clumsy attempt at an English translation:

NOTE: It seems that this poem might not actually have been written by Neruda, but rather a Brazilian poet named Martha Madeiros. Either way, it's good!!

Muere lentamente quien se transforma en esclavo del
hábito, repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos, quien
no cambia de marca, no arriesga vestir un color nuevo y no
le habla a quien no conoce.

Muere lentamente quien evita una pasión, quien prefiere el
negro sobre blanco y los puntos sobres las "ies" a un
remolino de emociones,
justamente las que rescatan el brillo de los ojos, sonrisas de
los bostezos, corazones a los tropiezos y sentimientos.

Muere lentamente quien no voltea la mesa cuando está
infeliz en el trabajo, quien no arriesga lo cierto por lo
incierto para ir detrás de un sueño, quien no se permite por
lo menos una vez en la vida, huir de los consejos sensatos.

Muere lentamente quien no viaja, quien no lee, quien no oye
música, quien no encuentra gracia en sí mismo.

Muere lentamente quien destruye su amor propio, quien no
se deja ayudar.

Muere lentamente quien pasa los días quejándose de su
mala suerte o de la lluvia incesante.

Muere lentamente quien abandona un proyecto antes de
iniciarlo, no preguntando de un asunto que desconoce o no
respondiendo cuando le indagan sobre algo que sabe.

Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas, recordando siempre
que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor que el
simple hecho de respirar.

Solamente la ardiente paciencia hará que conquistemos una
espléndida felicidad.

-Pablo Neruda


English version:

He dies a slow death who becomes a slave to habit, repeating everyday
the same paths, who doesn't change the mark he leaves, won't risk wearing
a new color, nor talk to people he doesn't know.

He dies a slow death who avoids passion, who prefers
black on white and dotted i's over
a whirlwind of emotions,
especially those that bring a shine to the eyes, rescue smiles
from yawns, hearts clumsy with feelings.

He dies a slow death who doesn't upend the table when he is
unhappy at work, who won't risk a sure thing
for the uncertainty behind a dream, who won't allow himself
at least once in his life, to flee from sensible advice.

He dies a slow death who doesn't travel, nor read, nor hear
music, who doesn't laugh at himself.

He dies a slow death who destroys his love for himself, who won't
let himself be helped.

He dies a slow death who spends his days complaining of his
bad luck or of the neverending rain.

He dies a slow death who quits a project before
starting it, not asking about what he doesn't know, or not
answering when asked about something he does know.

Let us avoid death by gentle insallments, remembering always
that being alive demands an effort much greater
than the simple fact of breathing.

Only firey patience will allow us to conquer
a splendid happiness.