Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tropical Woodins

About two weeks ago, the final knitted gift for the final May baby was finally finished, boxed, and shipped to Singapore where it arrived just in time to help its recipient hone her hand-eye coordination skills.

Woodins was Knitty freebie from a few years back and while I absolutely love the finished product, knitting the log got a bit tedious after the novelty of being able to tell curious subway commuters that I was knitting a log wore off. The woodins themselves also got a little tiresome after the 3rd one, but since I knit them after the log I was motivated to finish mainly because the thought of all that log knitting going to waste was unbearable.

I lightly felted the log and the Woodins - it was a little awkward doing it in our building washing machines because you can't control the wash cycle, so I had to run two complete loads and just fish the Woodins and log out of the machine just before the spin cycle started. I was of course using hot water which meant that I needed a variety of tools - chief among them a pair of kitchen tongs and a long metal pole from an ikea shelving unit - to fish the pillowcase containing the log and woodins out of their scalding hot bath. The process of fishing the items out of the machine got me several aghast (and therefore rude) stares from someone who turned out to be the mother of one of the building residents; feeling awkward, I tried to explain myself and ended up in one of those totally annoying situations where I realize that my conversational attempts to be pleasant and diffuse an awkward situation have in fact made me look like an idiot.

The Woodins were supposed to have very cute little leaf tails, but I knit them up and then looked at them and realized they were very cute little choking hazards and decided not to sew them on.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baby Pope of the Fuzzy Purple People, Pray for Us

We're just back from the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Montreal. Having db at the conference was a lot easier and more fun than I thought. People sure do love babies - I had the distinct impression that, if given a choice between attending a paper session or kissing db's tiny soft adorable baby feet, probably about 99% of the conference attendees would select the latter, without hesitation.

Somehow, we had made it to November without a handknit winter hat for db; I briefly considered buying one for Montreal, but quickly realized that were I to put something store bought on her head, I would regret it forever and secretly regard it as indicative of my failure as both a knitter and a mother. Plus of course I love knitting dorky hats for babies too helpless to resist having them put on their tiny bald heads. So I bought a ball of the fine 50% merino/50% angora Cloud Nine (Cascade Yarns) and by the time we pulled up to our friend's house in Montreal, I had produced a hat that kind of makes db look like the child-pope of the fuzzy purple people.

I couldn't stop laughing at for the whole first day it was on her head, and had Montreal not gotten unseasonably warm and therefore not good fuzzy hat weather, I probably would have continued laughing over the next few days, too.

Speaking of weather, the friend we stayed with is a climate scientist who so completely embodies the absentminded scientist archetype that he had seven, count'em, SEVEN expired jars of aspirin and ibuprofen in his medicine cabinet.

The collection ranges in vintage from 2002 (an excellent year for ibuprofen) to 2008 and had been moved from at least one apartment in New York City to two different apartments in Montreal.

The internet (so reliable...) says that the US military (again, so reliable...) has done tests on ibuprofen that indicate that the medicine retains full potency for at least a year after the expiration date and that older medication loses potency but does not turn into deadly poison (which was our concern). Todd went for the 2008 ibuprofen; he's still alive and well as of this writing.

I had a job interview at the conference, about which I am deeply, deeply ambivalent. My current job has a crap sabbatical policy and a high teaching load, but other than that, I am very happy at it. The potential new job is at one of the richest and most selective liberal arts colleges in the country, located in rural Vermont in between the Green Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains. The nearest real city is Montreal, actually - three hours by car. In terms of cost of living and school for db, the job would be a real improvement, and the teaching load is much lighter and the sabbatical policy much better. The school is so rich that it OWNS ITS OWN SKI SLOPE. Anyway, I think I interviewed very, very well and now I am afraid I am going to have to go give a job talk in January. It's too early to be having this crisis since they won't announce their short list until mid-December, but I can't help but wonder if I would adjust to the rural life and vastly improve my skiing skills or go absolutely out of my mind because the nearest good sushi would be a 3 hour drive away.