Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Hence the Noooooooooo.
The internet came back today after a week of server problems (apparently when the guy who deals with broadband goes on vacation, no one else at MTNL is capable of solving server problems), and I was wondering what the next crisis would be. Now I know. The most devastating part of this is the timing - I am supposed to finish proofing my copy edited manuscript by 1 December. Which basically means I am screwed.
Let's try to cheer ourselves up with some recent photos of everyday Indian absurdity, shall we?
But before '88 he was a really nice guy.
I guess we wouldn't want any vehicles running over those manhole covers.
And a recent photo of db - playing in our sort of probably clean enough local park, which is closed from 8 am to 6 pm. That's right. 8 am to 6 pm. Don't try to understand. Unless you want to go totally mad.
The Aviatrix hat is snug, but still wearable, and great for fending off intrepid end-of-season mosquitoes.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Oh, the grumpiness.
On October 3rd, my birthday, we had some friends over for pizza and scotch (it was supposed to be pizza and beer, but whoops, liquor store is closed on Sunday despite the fact that Sunday is not the primary day of worship for about 99% of the Indian population) and made fun of the Opening Ceremony for the Commonwealth Games. Earlier that day, my big special birthday breakfast at the imperial hotel was ruined by a call from the nanny saying that she had just locked herself out of the house. Leaving db in the house. Alone. So one minute Todd was lovingly piling his plate full of cold cuts and I was ordering my omelet and the next minute we were running through the well-appointed, jasmine-scented hall, crying (me), yelling for a taxi (Todd). In the cab, the driver said to me "Madam, if god is good, then baby is okay." Which he probably thought was reassuring but which actually just made me cry harder.
As it turned out, our nanny Sunita, who had come specially on her day off because it was my birthday, got locked out because although there are SIX locks on our front door (post for another time: paranoia in Delhi), not one of them allows you to simply close the door without also locking it. Sunita went out the door to call down to the building super to send someone to buy onions (we were out of onions, again not her fault but mine because I was still figuring out the delivery system for what seems to be the only organic vegetable dealer in all of Delhi), and the door closed behind her. We only have one set of keys because that is all our snakey, distinctly unlovable landlord gave us, so we don’t have a spare for ourselves, let alone the Sunita.
So this would have been a huge disaster had Sunita not put db in her crib/playpen – just as she should have – right before going to request onions. Consequently, db was alone in the house, but she was safe in her playpen, incapable of pulling the TV on herself, eating the mothballs that one has to stick in the shower drains in India to discourage bugs, poking her eyes out with stray pencils, etc. But I did not know this until we got home.
So in the end, everything was okay, though we couldn’t go back to The Imperial because there was a special event at one of my field sites that I had to attend, and at that point there wasn’t really time to do anything other than head off to work.
Other highlights of the past month included me being laid flat on my back for about a week with a terrible cold followed by a frenzied house-hunting stint because about two weeks after we moved into this apartment they began renovations in several of the other apartments in our complex. This would be a nightmare anywhere, but in India, where all construction work is done by pickaxe-wielding, barefoot, malnourished villagers from Bihar, even a relatively simple construction project will become extremely loud and more or less eternal. Then we learned that an elevator would be installed and they started cutting marble for flooring behind the building and I flipped and spent a long, hot, miserable, pointless week riding around Delhi on the backs of various barely competent realtors’ motorcycles (sans helmet, of course) looking at a lot of unsuitable places, after which we got the hell out of Delhi for the Commonwealth Games and went to Mauritius via Dubai for ten days of blue skies and ocean.
There was a large stuffed tiger in our hotel room. We don't know why.
And now we are back. After a bit of soul-searching, we decided that sticking it out made the most sense, and so I bought a HEPA air filter to protect db from any construction dust that might make its way into the apartment, and here we are. The uberpisser is that my book’s copyedits came back and now I have to spend the next month going through them, making final decisions on how my book will appear to the world, which is daunting and exhilarating at the same time – and how I will manage to concentrate through all the construction noise is completely beyond me.
And to conclude this inarticulate whine, I can only marvel at how I have no motivation to do anything other than watch movies we download via bittorrent. I have two knitting projects with me, including one for a new baby boy who will outgrow said project within three months if I don’t get going, but I just can’t seem to care. Ditto for writing. I haven’t done yoga in two months, either: I have become a big, boring, constantly tired and unhappy blob. Here’s to hoping I rally sometime before January.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I wish I could conjure up the energy to say more, but setting up a household in Delhi has basically rendered me catatonic, and all writing energy has been directed towards field notes. I considered setting up a blog for posting my field notes, but for now anyway I think that's a little more pressure than I need, given everything else.
No knitting has happened except the hour it took to put the finishing touches on this sweater, modeled by a walkin', talkin' ever-changing, ever-charming db. This was my first knitting kit: it was a gift from a friend and while I normally don't use variegated yarn, I am happy with the result. The yarn was, I think, misti alpaca sportweight 50 pima cotton/50 silk: nice to knit with amazing drape; it's also incredibly soft, and what I like most about it is usually a yarn this soft has pilling issues (Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, anyone?) but this one is wearing like iron. The pattern was Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos (aka Never Knot Knitting).
I hope I get my blogging grove back soon - I do genuinely love writing, but so much happens in a day here that I generally don't know where to start. That and after a while I find that speaking Hindi puts a real damper on English. Not that my Hindi is setting the world on fire, either. So basically I don't speak anything well at the moment.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
And knitting has, remarkably, been happening, though not on the 14-hour flight from Newark to Delhi. I actually put some knitting in my carry on and didn't even think about it - much less touch it - for the entire flight. I am not sure why I thought I would be doing anything other than keeping db from climbing me and the seat and all the other passengers as though they were here own personal Mount Everest.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
In the meantime, the Mossy Cardi is finished, and it is a stunner.
It only seems that this blog has been taken over by Brooklyntweed.
Still maybe not quite worth the $60 in yarn, but close. Which is saying a lot for a baby sweater.
It's extremely wearable, too - I tried it on db and the off-center opening really works - nice drape over the baby belly. The problem is of course that it's a little big on her, and she's almost one, and the baby for whom I knit it will turn one in May...best not to think too hard about this. Especially since I chose to knit the one year size. I guess I can blame it on sleep deprivation.
Oh, well. Just keep looking at the pretty sweater.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Excuse me. Db cut three teeth this month and each one of them took a great big meaty bite out of my sleep. In the past 30 days, while db was cutting three teeth and my babysitter was out of town at a yoga teacher training, I turned in my grades and completed an idiotic but totally necessary Institutional Research Board application so when I go do my research in India this fall, it will be with the approval of a small group of people who have never been to India and know nothing about it. Most importantly, though, I mailed off my manuscript to my editor at University of California Press! I think hearing it hit the floor on the other side of the mail drop wall at the local post office will be one of the moments that stay with me the rest of my life, right up there with the moment that db's head was out but her body was still in and I looked down at her and thought "cute head. lots of hair. boy or girl?"
Speaking of babies, an old friend of mine just had a little boy - or rather, his wife did - and I decided that I'd knit him a cute little asymmetrical cardigan. Behold the Mossy Jacket, a freebie on Ravelry.
The yarn is a beautiful Irish wool with a hint of angora - it's actually not that much fun to knit and even just thinking about hot water while standing within 10 feet of it might cause it to spontaneously felt, but it looks absolutely beautiful, and is perfect for this pattern. Officially, the yarn is Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Chunky, and at $20/skein it certainly lives up to its name. Last time I bring stuff to the counter without checking the price first.
It's being knit at the 1 year size - now that I have my very own baby, I totally get that there is very little point to knitting anything smaller than a 3-month size. Tiny babies look best in tiny baby onesies and they barf on everything, anyway.
And on that note, it's over and out. Db is asleep and it's time for her mom to take a nap.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
But then my aunt gave me a hand knit blanket that I had made for her son, and Todd's mother gave me the blanket made by Great Aunt Nettie and Todd's mother's friend gave me a hand crocheted blanket and THEN the mother of one of my oldest and closest friends gave me a jaw-droppingly stunning hand knit blanket.
The photos are from January, which is a sad meditation on how busy I have been these past few months. Anyway. How many hand knit blankets does one baby need, particularly given the fact that all we ever put her in anyway are those overpriced Halo sleep sacks because we are paranoid about SIDS?
I did make some limited progress on the silk alpaca blanket, but upon realizing that I had made a slight error 20 rows after the fact, I kind of lost interest and drowned my frustrated sorrows in a little worsted-weight instant gratification - so there was the aviator cap phase and also the pink top-down raglan, which is now finished and adorable.
Cute, eh? Db is currently obsessed with buttons, so I am leaving them off for the time being.
So I decided that there were better uses for my beautiful silk alpaca; currently I'm about 3 rows into this vintage-esque cardigan for me -
It's a freebie from Drops. I'm hoping that I finish it by Christmas.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Yeah, I know it's pink. In fact, it's two shades of pink. Technically, the colors are "Mulberry" and "Orchid," but I think we can just call a spade a spade here. Next thing you know I'll be buying db Disney Princess products. I'm so ashamed.
Maybe my taste has been warped by extreme sleep deprivation. About three weeks ago, db's sleep pattern changed - basically, she no longer sleeps for more than 3 hours at a time and when she wakes up she almost immediately becomes hysterically upset. Teething, growth spurt, developmental leap, night terrors, hunger - take your pick. The almighty boob normally calms her down, but of course that has meant some pretty rough nights for the bearer of the boob.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Aviatrix, a Ravelry freebie, is truly an amazing pattern. I also think it may be the only reasonably cute baby hat that will actually stay on a baby's head. I knit it in Blue Sky Alpacas worsted weight 50 merino/50 alpaca - an absolutely lovely yarn. To get gauge for the worsted version of the pattern (which is written for three different yarn weights!) I knit the body of the hat on a 10 and the ribbing on an 8.
All that remains is to sew on buttons so it has a functioning chin strap - let's see if I manage to get a finished object photo posted. I hate to bet against myself, but I don't think it's going to happen.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I think I screwed up the thumb opening - or maybe there's something I don't understand about "work in pattern for 5 stitches, work 9 st in scrap yarn, sl 9 back to the left needle and continue working in pattern." Doesn't this essentially result in a grafting the scrap yarn into the knitting? And if so, when you remove the scrap yarn, how exactly do you pick up the top stitches? The bottom stitches are simply loose stitches - no problem. The top stitches, however, aren't really loose stitches, even though they are not stable, either. I just picked them up "doubled" - and k2 tog as I joined the yarn to make the thumb. I am sure this isn't clear but the instructions weren't either. I don't know what type of thumb this is (e.g. afterthought?), so I couldn't even look it up online.
But anyway, they are done and it wouldn't have been an exciting Olympic finish without the thumb crisis.
I'm most proud of the fact that I finished these AND kept db fed, clean, and happy AND kept to the editing schedule for my book manuscript AND did my regular teaching/meeting work AND kept to my usual yoga schedule AND didn't get in horrible fights with Todd because of all the stress.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I figure if I do 15 rows a day, I'll have my Wintergreen mittens finished by the time the gimpy Canadian Olympic torch goes out. This cold calculation doesn't make for much Olympian drama, though of course the chances that I will actually manage to keep to this schedule are minimal. Plus of course I have dramatic back story - the Mitten Comeback - to keep things exciting.
I decided that tara is right - if I did the original gray/cream color combination even though I didn't think it had enough contrast I would always and forever think about how I should have re-knit the mittens using better colors. So I've taken the cream from the originals and added a lovely natural brown - both Blue Sky Alpaca sportweight.
The brown alpaca/Browncoat tie-in is pure serendipity.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Loyal readers will recall my Wintergreen mittens tragedy, wherein I forgot the mostly-knitted project on an airplane and by the time I realized what I had done, it was Too Late. I did go and buy the exact same yarn for the project again, but on a whim decided to knit the Lillyfield mittens instead. Unfortunately, even though I was basically making gauge, it became clear about three quarters of the way through the first mitten that they were going to be immense, and so, after several months of denial, I bit the bullet and frogged the whole damn thing. For the record, Famous Knitblogger Grumperina actually had similar gauge problems with her Lillyfield mittens, and one of the reasons she is a Famous Knitblogger is she re-charted and otherwise rejiggered the entire pattern to make the mitten fit properly. I am not nearly that committed a knitter or, for that matter, blogger. Which may be why I am not famous.
I really did like the Wintergreen mitts, though, and I did pay for the pattern...you see where I'm going with this. My knitting Olympics project could be the Wintergreen mitts comeback - a potentially happy ending to a heretofore sad story.
The only question is whether or not I should use the yarn I have. If I do, I accept that the original gray/white wasn't quite high contrast enough for the Wintergreen design. In the interest of perfect closure, I should use my original yarn color choices, or should I keep the white and buy a new contrasting color? And should I play on the Yarn Harlot team or figure out the Ravelry Olympics scene?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I made these cute little baby mittens out of some worsted scraps in an effort to chase the blues away. My mood was not all that improved, but they are very cute and also very warm, thanks the fair isle motif. The pattern is a Ravelry freebie, searchable under "two colour mittens" by Abigail Welbourne.
I put one on db's hand and her eyes got very wide and then she began waving her hand around in the air, staring at it and giggling. She has clearly learned how to get on my good side.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
A recent trip upstate to visit my parents reminded me of my conservative roots, which I manage to repress most of the time here on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which is pretty much the bleeding liberal heart of the western world. So yes, I am aware that I've been away from Kansas for a while, but even still, I couldn't help but find this envelope - here photographed in the wild, sitting on top of my parents' stack-o-mail - a little disturbing.
Is it me or does that Eagle's beak look a little longer and more predatory than is strictly necessary? Ready to peck out the eyes of filthy illegal immigrants, perhaps? To feast upon the steaming entrails of freshly disemboweled MoveOn members? To pick clean the bones of Obama's dead on arrival attempt to reform healthcare?
On the bright side, The Land of Upstate is home to some spectacular winter sunsets.