I still live!


I’m teaching more than usual this fall, and the workload snowed me under. Fork on another crisis or two and the aftermath of the last one, and I collapse into bed every night and limp to the finish every week. This is a temporary situation, I know, but I do long for a time in my life when temporary situations last a few hours or a week at most, rather than for months and possibly years. Viewed that way, this whole life is a temporary situation, and I am not yet at an age where I can think to myself, boy, it’ll sure be a relief when this is over.

I’ve been knitting. I’m 3/4 of the way through a pair of Phalangees in the green-and-gray colorway, which are coming out nicely even if I’m having trouble keeping my gauge loose enough. I’m also 3/4 done with the Hudson’s Bay blanket and aiming to put that one under the tree for the baby’s Christmas. Though I know he’ll never know the difference, it still helps me to be motivated by the deadline. I spent a lot of hours knitting that blanket while my husband was in the hospital last spring, and it’s something I feel like will be an important part of my younger son’s history. It’s occurred to me more than once that he won’t ever remember what his dad was like before the stroke. To him, there is only After. I hope he isn’t affected by such an unsettled year as we’ve had. It’s been tough on the kids, to be sure. We work hard to make everything steady and routine and unworrisome, but they know. They see. It can’t not be scary. I’d have been scared when I was their age. My older son worries, I know, but it never comes out as worry. It comes out as severe irritation that owing to Hurricane Sandy, trick-or-treating will be this Saturday instead of tonight.

I’m not feeling the Halloween this year. I usually like it better, but between the storm and unscheduled hospital time, I’ve got enough real fear happening that I don’t need to make any up. But I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble with Thankful Month. Or Tongue Awareness Month, depending on whether you observe (though it’s almost impossible not to…now).

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This place is missing something, and that something is wool.

I’ve spent my morning absorbed in the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book, and this is how you know I am perpetually late to the party. Yes, I know it’s not new, and no, I haven’t been reading the blog all these years to make up for it. I finally listened to enough Knit Picks podcasts (yes, from 2009! Leave me alone! I’ve been busy!) to get curious about all the Modern(e) Baby Blankets Kelley was always making, and I heard an interview with the MDK authors at one point, and when some Christmas funds came my way, I bought it.

Gushing follows: this book is full of the things I’m dreaming of making right now. I love sweaters like anything, but these delicious, soft, bouncy-looking home goods in the pictures are making me look with new dismay at my house, which is primarily decorated in cat hair and clutter. It’s always been kind of an issue, but our tenure in this house is approaching the seven-year mark, and that means that whatever charms it had when we bought it are becoming obscured by the need to repaint and gussy and renovate, little of which we have time or money to do right now. Plus, with this odd, late, balmy winter, it is finally getting cold enough that I’m chilly at night and worrying about the warmth and comfort of my one-year-old, whose distaste for sleeping is matched only by his propensity to remove his socks and, if possible, his pajamas, during his crib safaris. So much of mothering is based on the “I would just feel better if…” model, and right now, I would just feel better if I had a wooly blanket to tuck around those little bare feet when he finally lets go and sleeps.*

There are also patterns for rugs, which I love, especially since I have long since gone from the rubberized-acrylic bath rugs to the machine-wash-cotton-towel style. I never have enough of those; they always seem to go straight from the clean-laundry basket to the shower rod, to await the next contestant. For a while, I was looking for a crochet rug pattern, but I never found one that satisfied me, and a few purchases from Kohl’s let me put off the project for a while. But now…! I have a lot of cotton leftovers to use up this year, and cotton is nice to work with when it’s too hot to have wool on your lap in the summer months. The commitment level of rugs and towels is about right for me now, too.

But it’s winter now, and that means wool. Wool is so marvelous. I’m grateful that none of us are allergic. As I grow older, I feel this continuing and inexplicable urge to put wool on myself and my house and my boys. The Wisconsin relatives sent my mother-in-law some wool hooked chair pads to use at their beach place, but she put them on the kitchen chairs right away, and it was amazing how, in that chilly house, the wool chair pads made you feel warmer just by parking your butt on them. Of course, that’s true of most things this side of an actual ice floe, but still. I am chilly; I have wool. The course of action seems obvious from here.

It’s a good book. Leaves you feeling mossy. I recommend.