Thursday, April 16, 2009


We're just back from a restful visit to St. Lucia. Normally I wouldn't spend a week in such a conventional vacation spot, but this year I figured what with the pregnancy, locations involving jet lag, malaria, and/or dysentery were out, making Caribbean paradise a reasonable choice. The view from our guesthouse:

We stayed at La Haut, a guest house and (I use the term loosely) restaurant on a working plantation. (What makes it a "plantation" rather than a "farm" is not clear to me).

We had a tiny rental car - much to the fancy resorts' chagrin, all beaches in St. Lucia are public, so we just drove from La Haut to all the local beaches and managed to not get sunburned while snorkeling. Todd, whose first snorkeling experience in the Dominican Republic was marked by barfing in the water and then not even being able to effectively swim away from his own vomit because he didn't have a prescription mask and was therefore totally blind, reports that snorkeling is much more fun when you can (1) actually see the fish, thanks to a new prescription mask, and (2) are not totally sick from a boat ride on extremely choppy water.

The grounds of La Haut, as the name implies, are carved out of the mountainside; it actually reminded me a lot of the place we stayed in Coorg, minus the leeches and, alas, the good food. Inexplicably, though the colonial history of St. Lucia is French and, subsequently, English, the only tasty thing on the menu at La Haut were the solidly Germanic potato pancakes. Seafood was, ironically, out because the three types of fish they serve to tourists are numbers one, two, and three on the Forbidden list, meaning they all contain enough mercury so that even thinking about them too much would be enough transform an otherwise healthy fetus into a stillborn thermometer.

Other than the food, St. Lucia has very little to mock or otherwise revel in - the requisite roaming catamarans full of sunburned drunken tourists were somewhat in evidence, of course, but otherwise St. Lucia is ho-hum, beautiful and boring like my Noro Scarf.

Slightly quirky highlights included the resident donkey family: Killer, Nunchuck, and baby Kiran. Or I think those were the names - on the first or second day a grinning plantation worker came up to me and introduced me to them, but he had a very thick Creole accent and that was what the names sounded like. Baby donkeys are ADORABLE.

In theory, the island is tropical. I say in theory because I did not see a SINGLE flying insect on the island, and that includes a rainforest walk. My theory is that the pesticides they use on the banana and cocoa plantations are a little too potent.

No disturbing bugs. Except for this ant band.

Fear the ants.

And finally, on the beach that fronts the actually somewhat tasteful $500/night Hilton beach resort (imported white sand!), a little English girl noticed that I was drinking coconut water - I had just purchased a coconut from a random, sweet and I think a little bit retarded older local guy - and as I was sitting there, she came up to me and asked:

Little English Girl: Does he (indicating the older local guy, who at this point is walking away down the beach, presumably towards his pile of coconuts) have any more?

Knitcrit: Probably - why don't you run and ask?

Little English Girl: (pause; then, having considered other practicalities:) Can I charge it to the room?

Friday, April 3, 2009

In this case, even I, Knitcrit, can't find a reason to be critical

Ladies and Gentlemen, my first book contract, from one of the best academic presses in the country, has arrived!

Delighted doesn't begin to describe it - and because I actually managed to negotiate in an uncharacteristically savvy fashion, I seem to be on my way to getting a counteroffer from another one of the best academic presses in the country, which means, I think, hope and possibly also pray, that I may be able to dink a few things in the contract a bit more in my favor. But even if I can't, this is the document that will basically get me tenure and which will also bring a project I dearly love and believe in to a wider audience.

Also, on an unrelated note, unbloggable gift knitting has led me to conclude that I hate duplicate stitch and will never use it agian.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I would knit this if I weren't pregnant

I recently discovered a semi-new zine called Metapostmodernknitting. It's run by a group of friends who are librarians at some fashion library in LA, and many their patterns are inspired by/ knock-offs of designer pieces. I like this one a lot.

Knitting something for myself in my current state is stupid, right? Then again, if I started it now, at the rate I knit it would probably be finished by the time I get some semblance of my old body back.