Friday, January 27, 2006


Allergies to dust and grain
Still these allergies remain"
--Paul Simon**

About five years ago I found out that I am allergic to cats, dust mites, and ragweed (whatever that is). Now, if you spend any time at all on this blog, or talking to me at all, you may realize what a tragedy the cat allergy is (and frankly dusting is a pointless exercise in futility, so I have quite a lot of dust mites in my house as well, and I imagine that ragweed, whatever it is, will survive nuclear war and is unavoidable). Luckily, salvation was found in a pill. Claritin-D 24. It can be hard to find, especially now that everyone is afraid of the key ingredient (pseudoephederine), it can be expensive, but it made my dusty life with felines possible.

Until lately. In the last few weeks I have been headachy, had a slight sore throat, painful sinuses, something gross, and I've been *exhausted*. It has slowly dawned on me: The Claritin-D 24 no longer works. At. All. Ever.

I have an appointment with an allergist on Tuesday. Let's all hope for a fast resolution because I can't live like this (and neither can Len).

** The above quote is from "Allergies" on 1983's "Hearts and Bones", about which a friend of mine once called "the standard by which I measure all songwriting". Maybe a bit of an overstatement, but "Trains in the Distance" might one of the greatest songs ever written about love and loss. And what else is there to write about? Besides allergies. "Two disappointed believers/Two people playing the game/Negotiations and love songs/are often mistaken for one and the same" and "The thought that life could be better/is woven indelibly/into our hearts and our brains". Which is why, after all of the heartbreaks, the disappointments, the bad dates, the sorrow of it all, we keep falling in love. We keep coming back for more.

Could be masochism, too.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


And I didn't run out of yarn!

And here is Simon trying to help me block it. Actually, he thinks that there is a lovely green bed available to him, it will take him a few seconds to discover that it is soaking wet and not at all comfortable. I left the picture small because enlarging it doesn't improve it, it's a crummy picture, but it shows that there are two sleeves, so that's something. When the sweater is dry (since it's mostly cotton, I have my doubts about it happening anytime soon), I'll take better pictures.

Remember my knitting goals? So far I have finished the sweater, the scarf and have fixed the two pairs of socks. That's three out of five, not bad, eh? I've also started a pair of socks for Len and will work on starting a hat for him soon.

Monday, January 23, 2006

More knitting

Progress on the River Gansey continues. I'm not posting a picture because, well, not much has changed, looks-wise. Just click on the link and imagine the sweater with another sleeve, and there you have it. I'm about an inch from the cuff, then I have the neckline to do, then some weaving in of ends (not many, I have been doing that dreaded task all along), then I'm done. Love those seamless sweaters!

The problem is that I might not have enough yarn to finish. I'll stop by the yarn shop today in hopes that she has the Cotton Fleece in Jungle Green (and that the dye lot will be close enough). I have enough to get through the sleeve, but probably not for the neck. I figure if the dye lot is close, it won't be very noticeable (it's shadows, not a different color!)

Other news
Well, not really, more like non-news. There is still no word on the reporter kidnapped in Iraq. Jill Carroll is from Ann Arbor, I didn't know her -- she graduated from Huron (the "other" high school) and is about 10 years younger than me. It turns out, though, that my step-mother Linda worked for her father many years ago, she and my dad knew her and her sister as "cute, giggly teenagers". That detail along makes the story more than just a rotten news item.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Len is a social-phobe. There might be a better way to put it, but I don't think so. He is a very friendly, and in many ways very agreeable man. When you meet him, it's hard not to like him. But the thought of meeting new people or of being in a crowd (even of those he knows and loves) fills him with horror. He gives a lot of excuses -- he doesn't like people to see the house while it is less than perfect, he had to work 14 hours today, he will be dirty from his "toilet cleaning job" -- and while all of these excuses will be true to one degree or another, they don't really get to the heart of the matter. He finds being around People extremely difficult. There are a few exceptions, but very few.

He can be talked into gatherings, but it takes some delicate convincing, some putting up with complaining and moaning. At the end of it, he may say that it wasn't so bad, fun even. But it will be just as hard the next time. I hope that over the years, the process will become less difficult, that he will become less sensitive to the company of strangers, but I'm not really counting on it. He is who he is.

And the thing is: I wouldn't be with him if I weren't like him. I generally get my social fill at work and don't have a great need for more. I don't like parties, I'm not especially good at meeting and greeting, I don't know what to talk about. It can all be very taxing, and I am happy enough to hole up in my house and not go out for long stretches of time.

As it turns out, I am an exception in my family (my father is another). My mother and my siblings are all very gregarious and very social. My brother and sister-in-law have been known to host 15 people at the drop of a hat. Until Len, I've only had my own boundaries to protect, and I wasn't always good at it, but now I have his boundaries, too. This can leave me in a very difficult, very vulnerable place, one in which there is no right answer, and I am the one who ends up miserable.

I don't know how to mediate between the two. I don't know how to say "no, that isn't possible" without Len coming off as an asshole. I don't know how to say "yes" without Len's fears being masked by anger. How do I not be in the middle?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Random Judy Picture

Just because she's so cute!!

Monday, January 16, 2006


I took a short break from the sweater to finish my lace scarf. I'm quite proud of it, my mistakes are limited to those I can barely see (a few extra pairs of yarn-overs - the holes), otherwise I think this ended up being a really nice marriage of yarn (silky merino from Blackberry Ridge) and pattern (from Marianne Kinzel's Second Book of Modern Knitting).

This is before washing and pinning out (blocking). It's all scrunchy and the edges are curly.

This is partway through the pinning process. I worked pretty hard at pinning it out evenly: I determined the width the scarf wanted to be (about 11") and drew a very long rectangle on brown paper (I have rolls of this stuff lying around from Christmas). I then decided the squares wanted to be 5" and pinned that interval. Then I pinned the center edge of each square (at the top of the leaf)....

...then I pinned pretty much every row, resulting in a lot of freakin' pins.

Here is Gwen "helping". Gwen usually thinks of blocking time as "love mememememe!!!" time. It should be sweet. But it isn't.

And here is a close up of the lace. Pretty, huh? (Happily, I managed to not take a picture of one of my mistakes!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mr. Karr's Rules

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the mark of a great teacher is when a student remembers what you taught 22 years later, and applies it every day. In my case, this was my driving instructor. Mr. Karr. Need I say more?

Today I found it necessary to apply the "never trust anyone who is waving you through" rule. My route to work includes a left turn off of a five lane road (including a left turn lane) which can occasionally be dicey. Today I got to the turn just as on the on coming traffic got very heavy. A couple of people tried to be nice and stopped to let me through. The problem was that the lane on their right wasn't stopping for anything. The second guy actually blinked his brights at me to indicate that it was fine for me to turn, meanwhile cars are whizzing by him on his right. He threw me a pretty withering look as he passed. Whatever. I might survive someone smashing my passenger side at 40 MPH, but my car wouldn't, and I like my car.

Some other Mr. Karr rules:
+ Don't go where you don't fit.
+ Use your turn signal, and use it correctly: don't turn it on halfway through the turn or a block and a half away from your turn.
+ Don't trust someone else's turn signal. They may not know the above rule.
+ Don't run red lights.
+ Pay attention to what is going on around you (my sister remembers him asking what color the car behind her was, while covering the rearview mirror).
+ Pay attention to the speed limit.
+ Don't tailgate.

If more people followed Mr. Karr's rules, driving would be a much more pleasant experience. This is not to imply that I am a great driver, my attention span is really bad and I do make some boneheaded moves, but I try to follow Mr. Karr's rules.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Boatload of Books

My mom gave me a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble. I think she muttered something about not knowing what TV Series to get me for Christmas so she went with a G.C. (I think the "C" actually stands for "Card", but, whatever...I still buy RECORDS forgodssake!) I thought their media (dvd and cd) were pretty outrageous, so I bought books. Lots of books:

(Click on the picture to see B&N's information about the book). Zadie Smith was on the Diane Rehm Show 12/29/05 (this was a rebroadcast). I actually wanted to get her first book, White Teeth, but neither B&N or Borders have it in stock (I had the same problem with another book: the author has a new book out, and I can't find previous paperbacks. Very irritating.)

I bought this one for Len (at his request). He hasn't made it through Infinite Jest (I'm pretty sure the title is a play on the length, it's over 1,000 pages!) but this is a collection of essays. Maybe I'll pick it up, too, but I doubt it (I have way too many others to read).

I love Jane Austen. This one looks like a pretty light read (which, after the carnage of Jarhead, might not be such a bad idea!)

I also bought Kurt Eichenwald's Conspiracy of Fools (Blogger isn't letting me upload the picture, for some reason). I'm looking forward to reading about the moronitude of people who have way too much money and think they are a whole lot smarter than they are (to their own downfall, and tragically that of their employees and shareholders).

There was one more, but I can't think of what it is at the moment. So now I am buried in knitting and books. What could be better?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Christmas Boot

How cool is it that I have a boyfriend who can pick out the prettiest boots on the planet? So cool!

Sweater Progress

Ok, I know you all have been waiting with bated breath: yes, the sleeve looked fine on it's owner (the cuff was pretty tight, so I took that out and re-knit it on larger needles), so I have now picked up the sleeve for the other sleeve. I guess that's sort of hard to see from the picture taken with the Not-So-Wonderful-but-FREE!!-Digital Camera.

Here is a picture of the finished sleeve. Gwen's feet are in the far upper right corner. By the way, if something goes terribly awry and my Dad can't wear the sweater, the cats will be very happy to make it their bed. Especially Judy. Judy loooovvvees the sweater.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Random Object

I found this outside of the Law School right before Christmas. And no, I am not too young to know what it is...and I am old enough to know better than to stick it in my ear!

Simon's Little Adventure

Simon (the big one in the picture) doesn't usually ask to be let outside. He likes to sit in windows and smell the air, he likes to greet us at the back door when we come in, and he spits at birds and squirrels in some demented effort to act like he is still wild, but he doesn't act like he realizes he could actually be outside. Outside doesn't seem like it's a place to him, it's a picture.

On the other hand, when presented with the opportunity, out he goes, where he likes to pretend like he knows what he is doing. But he doesn't really. 'Cos he's kind of a dumbass.

All of the cats had disappeared on New Year's Eve, what with the people and the dogs and the noise. Around 2:00 the next day, Len decided they had been in hiding for long enough and managed to get Gwen and Judy to come out and play. He could not, however, find Simon, and we finally determined that he must have gotten out; we searched all over the property, up and down the road (the main reason we don't let the cats out is because of the road), where he was not, thank god, lying dead. No where. He was not to be found.

Len was freaking out. While Simon has never been out for very long before, I wasn't as concerned because I have had cats who have disappeared for long periods before, so I knew he would come back. Len was blaming himself, since he invited the friends with the dogs and he thought they had chased Simon out. We had to go to my parents' house for dinner, while there we made Missing Cat posters, even though I fully expected him to be waiting for us when we got home (poor Len was not to be appeased).

And of course he was. As I walked up to the porch, there he was, crying pathetically underneath. I had to drag him out, but he was home, safe and sound.

Gwen yelled at him all that night and most of the next day and Judy...Judy was more enamoured than ever.