31 May 2008

Where's my Carrie Necklace?

Last night I had a crash course trip through the last five episodes of Sex and the City. We have a ladies night planned on Monday to see the big/Big movie and I couldn’t go in without doing all my homework. I was always a little late to the party on this one, watching it mainly via DVD box sets that my friends received years after the seasons were actually finished. But, as an age-appropriate single gal in NY, Buffalo that is, I was up on the lingo of Carrie et al. In fact, I even took the “which girl are you?” quiz and proudly sported a tight little “Carrie” t-shirt for one summer.

Just in case you’re rusty on the details, in the final episodes, Carrie takes to Paris with her older artist lover and spends her days shopping the City of Lights and eating enough pastry to stuff four of her tiny little bodies. Despite all the luxuries one could imagine, she’s miserable and just wants to come home to trusty NYC. In one tragic moment, she falls flat on her face in Dior, spilling her purse across the marble floor. When she’s bemoaning her losses back in her fancypants suite, she realizes that she’s lost something far more valuable than her credit cards… her “Carrie” necklace, the gold (or not so gold) trinket that she sported in many a scene, one of her fashion statement pieces that girls everywhere adopted (nope, couldn’t go that far, but I did have several floral broaches so I’ve earned my bandwagon stripes). She calls home to complain to Miranda, as she is wont to do as a true whiner, and reminds the viewers, who may not have all their trivia fully in mind, that she bought the memento at a street fair she attended with the girls and so, it is a symbol not only of herself (obviously) but of herself with them… in NY.

Later in the episode, when said fantastic lover makes her miss the one event she’s looking forward to in Paris, a book party for her French fans, and then ignores her once his own insecurities have been mitigated, she forlornly sits and attempts to smoke, digging through her vintage bag with the unfortunate rip in the lining. And we all see where it’s going… she finds her necklace as an overly wrought metaphor for rediscovering herself, she runs through the streets in what look to be 8-inch heels, missing her book party and discovering only a stained copy amidst the spilled wine and cigarette butts. She immediately ends the relationship and leaves to find herself again… only to be rescued by another man.

So, ultimately, the whole finding yourself lesson is a might bit chucked out the window or perhaps into the Seine in the show’s overly romantic ending which leaves the foolish girl unable to even find her own damn hotel room. And as to being alone in Paris with nothing to do… um, you’re supposed to be a writer, you silly dolt, pick up a pen and set thyself to work. But of course, that wouldn’t capture the attention of single girls everywhere who have to daily get themselves up, do their own work, pay their own bills and not rely on the Prince Charming to inevitably come along when there is big trouble. TV is fantasy after all, and when we’re schlepping to work in our Target shoes and Old Navy wardrobe, we all prefer to daydream about the Manolos and the Chanel and the man who will arrive in his black shiny car and pay for all those regular life nuisances like heating bills and groceries, not to mention great apartments in the city and carriage rides through Central Park.

But, putting all that aside and running with the painfully obvious symbolism the show throws our way, I was wondering where my own Carrie necklace is… and even what my Carrie necklace is. This past academic year has been wonderful, tumultuous, frightening, exhilarating, exhausting and super duper stressful. I resigned my own writing job, flew around the country doing job interviews and conferences, experienced some difficult family health situations and yet, at the start of my summer, I’m in the same exact place in a lot of ways. While there are still many concerns for those around me, for the most part, people are healthy, I have a job in Buffalo and I still have to finish my damn dissertation. To some degree, I have my Carrie necklace all around me in that nothing has changed, my life as it has been for years is with me, all around me every slow second of every day sitting with my books and computer. I haven’t lost who I am at all…

… or have I?

The necklace, after all, is more than just her circumstances. Yes, she could write and shop and go out for dinner and drinks anywhere, but not without her joie de vive, her spirit, her thrill for taking a mundane encounter and turning it into a self-reflective column… slightly like the one I’m writing here with the noted self-indulgence and fast and loose liberty takings with the symbolism and adaptation. I feel like I’ve been searching for my own joie de vive for far longer than she mourns her missing bauble. There’s nothing wrong at all and in many ways things are great and wonderful. Yet, there’s just something a little off.

But I’m looking in my holey handbag of life and don’t even know what I’m looking for underneath the silky lining of mundanity. Perhaps this is just the existential damnation of life, always wanting some new thing, some new experience, some new thrill to keep us bouncy and buoyant and not thinking about the futility of it all. But really, while I may be misanthropic, I’m not that morose. And similarly, while I’m sure my spiritual well-being could use some polishing, it’s not an emotional or intellectual or heart thing at all… for once. Sorry, U2, but I don’t need to be all emo to know that what I’m looking for isn’t a grand notion of the meaning of life. I think it’s actually a quality of life thing. My necklace is tarnished from not being used. Aside from the regular walks the little pooch has recently added to my day, I spend most of my time working on my diss… or procrastinating at the computer because I don’t want to work on the diss yet knowing that I really shouldn’t do anything else. That’s a lotta sittin’ and bein’ grumpy… even for me.

But perhaps I am just being a dolt in Paris myself. I can look at her experience and say that she is being whiny and childish, missing out on a wonderful opportunity to live in grandeur and use her days to do new writing or reading or pursue new interests. I could certainly be fine with Paris at my fingertips and hours of solitude a day.

Or could I?

While no one will mistake Chez Leslie for a grand hotel, I do have hours of solitude at my disposal and my own book to write, even if a diss isn’t exactly as fun as writing a book on fashion and boys and silly pseudo-psychological questions. But then again, I’m currently writing about a man who wore velvet pants, loved harems and wore too much bling. Um, that really can’t be that boring, can it?

I guess it’s a matter of perspective. The life that I’m looking for is shiny and happy and silly, a little carefree and giggly, full of pretty clothes and new shoes, apartments with cool furnishings and social outings that require multiple clothes-changing episodes and the consideration of at least twelve possible pairs of earrings. I just don’t know where to find the thing, the symbol, the object, the memento or experience to jump start my attempt to get that life going. I’m like a junkie jonesing for a hit of something but I just don’t know what it is.

What would a Leslie necklace represent exactly? What identifies me and the life I’m creating?

Well, I know there’s no Prince Charming pulling up anytime soon and really, I also know that I don’t want that kind of salvation. That dream kinda turns my stomach, to be perfectly honest. I wouldn’t even know what to do with an offer to be a kept woman in Paris! (Not that I couldn’t figure it out, should such offer come my way…)

I do think the key to the whole symbol in this little TV image turned into life lesson is actually the holey handbag lining. She finds the magic necklace while emptying out her bag of the latest Paris crap, namely the cigarettes that she repeatedly mentions are killing her. When the detritus is out of the way, she feels the strange lump and starts really poking around in there. I’ve started cleaning out my proverbial handbag already and think there just may be treasure stored beneath the dust bunnies and my own versions of cancer sticks. While I won’t get my own movie or book deal out of the discoveries of the material and written kind, I’m looking forward to pulling out the Leslie necklace.

16 May 2008


Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Bark

... not that she's spoiled or anything. Just to give all the details, she's a 7 month Pomeranian that came to stay at Chez Leslie Wednesday night. So far, she seems pretty calm, not a big barker (thank goodness), is house- and crate-trained and at least has some concept of following commands. Granted, it's pretty easy to master "come, Duchess, come" when she doesn't like to get more than two feet from me. And yes, she does have her very own doggy bed right at my feet beside the desk... and an old afghan that she claimed... and her stash of toys. She may be a bit of a hoarder as she likes to hide her dental bones down in the side of her bed (as if I'd want to take the nasty things) and spent a good 45 minutes yesterday working on burying her toys under the afghan. Fetch works about three times before she gets tired and takes her toys back to her stash rather than to me.
The leash is a new thing and she only took an hour and a half to walk the three and a half blocks to my friends' house last night. I was worried that she was going to be such a handful I'd never get any knitting done, but after her big expedition, she was so tired she didn't even want to be held. She took one long, dirty look at me for dragging her out that far and curled up on the other side of the couch. And no, I haven't started knitting her sweaters or anything... yet.

04 May 2008

Birthday Bag

My latest go-to birthday gift for the girls...

Pattern: Amy Butler's Frenchy Shoulder Bag

Notes: Two for others, none for me. Gonna have to get greedy on the next one! And gonna have to get the first birthday bag pictured in action as it got away before I got its close-up.
Easy to sew, although some of those finishing seams look a little bumpy because my machine has a hard time with all the interfaced layers. More incentive to save my pennies for a good one!

Well, after I go fabric shopping for a purse of my own...

03 May 2008

The Shawl that Broke my Elbow

Pattern: Zetor Shawl (found via Ravelry)

Yarn: 2/6 Merino 100% Wool, Made in Canada; 380 yds/skein – 2 skeins; purchased at Kitchener – Waterloo Fiber Festival, Fall 2006

Needles: Sz 4 Addi Lace

Notes: This was one of those projects of obsession from start to finish. For some reason, the lavender yarn was calling out to me this spring and it really, really wanted to be something lace... right! now! I went on a Ravelry hunt, found about 12 patterns I just have to knit someday, and finally stumbled on this shawl. My only modification was to knit only 8 repeats instead of 9. I don’t really blame the shawl for breaking my elbow, rather my obsessive desire to finish this as soon as possible paired with a big batch of rebellion against work I should’ve been doing. Add in a Law & Order SVU season I hadn’t seen and *poof* broken elbow.

I really enjoy having lace out of a heavier yarn. It doesn’t feel so “precious” and delicate, yet is very, very warm. When not serving as a complement to my decorative schemes, this has already been a good shawl to toss over my shoulders while reading or wear as a scarf under a jacket.

Thumbs up for mystery yarn and Ravelry pattern hunting!

02 May 2008

Starting at the Beginning

Once I knew I'd be staying in Buffalo for another year, I wanted to undertake some apartment re-do's. I moved into my current apartment under two conditions that aren't exactly conducive to good decorating: (1) Following a nasty break-up with the fella with whom you shared the last pad and (2) falsely believing that I'd be graduating and leaving the area... in just another year. Yeah, so that was maybe three years ago. Three years of just going with whatever, just dealing with the furniture in a liveable arrangement, just moving clutter from one room to the next to avoid actually dealing with it.

Well, I'm dealing with it now.

Actually, I've been dealing with the clutter a little bit at a time, tossing out a shirt here, a pair of shoes there. Some has gone to ebay, most to charity, some straight to the trash. After years of reading FlyLady, I'm finally starting to see some changes. I keep the apartment much neater, although there are still problems. I'm resistant to bring anything else into the space, at least most of the time. And most importantly, I'm finally inspired to take the time to decorate.

In part, this inspiration came about from one of the biggest sources of anxiety taking me away from decorating. I've been telling myself that there's no need to waste the time with HGTV-inspired nonsense, there's a dissertation to write, a job to get, a move to make. The irony here is that the dissertation that I'm constantly bellyaching about... it's about decorating.

Yeah, I know.

So while I've been out there trying to get that job with research based in part on interior decorating practices, I've had people constantly asking about my own living space. If I write about objects, what kind of objects do I own? If I'm obsessed with how authors create mood through design, how do I create a mood through design? It's pretty bad when my only answer was that my personal aesthetic was pretty much grad student trashy chic and honestly, the only mood you'd get from walking into my messy space is "freaked... out..."

I tried to avoid the actual words "freaked... out..." but you get the point.

So, I'm trying a slightly new approach. If I make a writing goal for the day or week, I get to play with decorating projects. Of course, these re-do's come with a catch just to make it interesting... no moolah.

Being all organized and anal, I started with the entryway. Symbolically, redecorating to allow new opportunities into my life, starting fresh, etc. Or maybe just because it's the smallest space with the least to do. 'Cause I'm lazy like that.



So this is partly deceptive in my cleaning practices as I just packed away the scarf collection for the summer (in a stupid move which I now regret it being quite chilly and all). I've got a functioning space for organizing mail, sunglasses and stacks of library books to be returned and get to show off some of the Fiesta dishes.

I get to brag about the curtain a bit as it came entirely from the fabric and ribbon stash. Sewing French seams with a double layer of that filmy stuff was a bit of a pain in you know but I'm pretty pleased with these. And the shawl tossed atop the mirror... coincidentally matching recent finished object which I'll post about tomorrow.

And the thing I get to brag about the most...

There's an empty drawer in that dresser. Shocking, I know!

Total Costs: $8.93 for the paint, American Accents Smooth Satin Finish in Espresso

01 May 2008

New Month, New Blog

Let’s give this blogging thing another try, shall we? There are elephants and deer and that’s fun, right? Who can resist blogging when there are elephants on your page?

To be honest, I kinda lost the ol’ knitblogging spark. I haven’t been knitting lately partly out of respect to my poor, dilapidated elbow and partly because I’ve been focusing on other obligations, but you know, I just haven’t been feeling the love for taking photos and talking about yarn. It’ll come back, I’m sure, but I’m wanting to shift directions a little bit. I really enjoy the writing more than the photography and it seems like lately, to do blogging in the arts/crafts sphere, you have to have a mega-camera and mad Photoshop skillz, neither of which I have nor do I see having in the near future. So, I’ve got a few knitting things to post but I’m probably going to start doing more writing about a variety of topics that are on my mind. I don’t even know who reads this, if anyone, but I just wanted to check in and say that I think I’ve reached the point where I the blog needs to take a little bit of a different turn. I’m not sure what my “voice” is and what I want to focus on, but I think it’s time to expand a bit more into a general blog that will focus on crafty stuff but not necessarily exclusively.

And so, top o’ the month and all, time to take a little pulse check and record what’s been going on in Leslie-ville.

1. I recently submitted a contract for full-time employment come fall. I’ll be playing the part of a real, live professor at a local college… and that’s probably about all I should say about that.

2. I’m still writing on the diss. And that’s definitely all I want to say about that. Unfortunately, everyday when I sit at the computer to write on the da** thing, I have little more to say about it either.

3. One of my new goals, or a goal I’ve always had and ignored, is to cook more for myself. I kicked that off last night with a pizza I cobbled together from a variety of recipes. Mmmm… pizza…

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Followed recipe with exception of baking a few minutes before adding the toppings, per the review suggestions, and dusting my pizza stone with corn meal before baking.

Toppings were a conglomeration: minimal olive oil on crust, topped with fat-free ricotta, pepper and garlic salt, mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheese crumbles.

Overall pretty yummy but very, very filling. Started tasting a little bland after awhile so next time, I’ll use the crust with a regular tomato sauce and toppings with more zing. Will also only do half the crust and freeze the other half. I’ll be lots and lots of pizza this week.

4. Still working on finishing old projects and avoiding new yarn and fabric purchases. After some more Ravelry sales, I’m starting to see a difference in the stash. I may even be able to find the floor in my storage room by the end of summer. I’m not entirely sure if it’s from finishing things or just other cleaning that’s left me with new stash places to hide yarn throughout the apartment. Either way… floor is good. Of course, I’m off to the Guild auction tonight so we’ll see how long my streak goes. I’m pretty sure I haven’t bought yarn since December (at another Guild function… a bad omen). I’ve picked up a few fabric pieces here and there but nothing worth getting whooped up about.

5. One of my old projects has been revived… Baudelaires from the Tour de France Knitalong last summer. Christina and CJ are doing a CookieA knitalong and I invited myself to the party. Polite, no? Hey, at least when I invite myself I usually bring booze. Anyone up for a virtual manhattan or gin and tonic? If you get them really drunk they generally forget that you were rude enough to just show up. I’m hoping that if I really go wild and bring the Jell-O shots they’ll also forget that I started the socks before they did, yet will still be knitting on them when they’re on their fifth or sixth pair. Like fine wine, projects have to age a few years. That’s my philosophy and I’m sticking to it!

That’s probably enough of a catch-up post. I figure when I start yawning about my own life, it’s time to shut it up and move along.

15 April 2008

Knitter's Elbow

So about that injury, the bemoaned “knitter’s elbow.” I was joking…

My elbow didn’t get the joke.

I’ve graduated to some tingling in the fingers, slight swelling and inflammation and a strict order from my trainer to minimize my time at the computer and knitting and devote that time to ice packs instead. Ugh.

I’ve taken a no-knitting-till-May moratorium and am trying to keep the computer time restricted to work and only necessary Internet addiction feeding. Like I could go cold turkey with giving up both knitting and blog reading!

Don’t tell on me, but I did breakdown and do some crocheting this weekend and I can feel it. It’s so pathetic when your body tells you that you can’t even do the proverbial “old lady” hobbies without pain and strain! At least I burned through my stash yarn on the crochet project so as long as I can keep myself from buying more, I won’t be able to give in to the temptation of the hook. Here’s to hoping the no-yarn-buying moratoriam works its magic!

In the meantime, thought I’d post a few of the sewing projects I’ve finished recently. “Recently” being a relative term here. I think these first two were actually tackled in January!

Amy Butler’s Wide-Legged Lounge Pants from In Stitches

I think I cut these out about a year ago so thought it was high time to actually sew them up. There were many comments on these when they were the project of the month for AfricanKelli’s sewalong so I won’t rehash what I think is already out there in Flickr-land. They are really wide in the leg department, really wide, like wrap the fabric around you twice kind of wide. When you’re wrapped in that much flannel, well, you’re warm, but don’t plan on being as “fast as a cheetah and agile as a monkey” to steal Cousin Andy’s phrase.

As far as fit, well, don’t expect a flattering silhouette with all that fabric tying you up. On me, they fit in the hips but the drawstring waist doesn’t really cinch very well so I never know when they’re just going to fall to the ground. Thank goodness I live alone, right? Nothing sexier than standing there with yards of flannel around your ankles! The whole drawstring concept probably works better on lighter weight fabric but I think even quilting-weight cotton wouldn’t draw up enough.

So, they work and I’ve worn them (as evidenced by the post-washing nubbies that you get with cheap flannel) but I can’t really say they’ll become a staple part of my lounging wardrobe.

Shoe Bags Take 2

I made a set of shoe bags for a friend, also using an Amy Butler pattern, and set out to make another set for myself. I ended up just winging it and actually like these better than the Butler pattern. I think I’m going to try a basic tutorial to give you some ideas on how to use up your flannel stash, because I know you all have flannel stashes, right?

I have a few more sewing projects to share and even some knitting that didn’t make it to the blog before injury struck so again, I’ll put out the hope that I can actually get my hiney into gear with the posting. I’m also doing a little bit o’ spring cleaning and planning some decorating/renovating projects which should at least provide funny stories of breaking things and spilling paint. So far I’ve managed to clean out my stash of Martha Stewart magazines to post on ebay and seriously scrub my bathroom down. Does it get any more exciting than time with Tilex?

04 April 2008

Stress Socks

I suppose it’s appropriate to post pictures of these socks now that I’m FINALLY finished with my campus interviews. I’ve said this many times over the past few months but it bears repeating… I could so NOT be a rockstar. I’m tired of living out of suitcases and constantly having the pressure to perform publicly at a moment’s notice. I have had a wonderful year of searching and am thankful for the many experiences I’ve had, people I’ve met and places I’ve seen, but whew, this chickadee is ready for some stability.

But… back in December when I first started the Book Girl World Tour I needed some travelin’ knittin’ and what better than plain Jane socks? These are simple toe-up, 2x2 ribbing with a short-row heel done out of Trekking XXL. I did learn a few things along the way that I suppose I should record for posterity.

Yarn: Trekking XXL won in a blog contest – love it, love it, love it. It feels slightly thin to me after some of the hand-dyed yarn I’ve been using but I love the color transitions and the overall feel of the socks. It may be a little “crunchier” than some of the hand-dyed that I’ve found, but I actually like the crisper feel for socks. And the yardage can’t be beat. I made these socks a nice length and could’ve probably ended up with knee-highs had I wanted to mess with weighing the yarn and estimating halves.

Needles: Addis Sz 1 for Magic Loop - I think I remember reading that the Addi Sz 1 is slightly bigger than other US Sz 1s and maybe I should’ve gone to another needle. I’m worried these may be a little loose on the bottom of the foot and so may wear quickly. But, the Addis are comfortable with their blunt tip and flexible cable so they’ll always be my needle of choice.

Pattern: I didn’t really have one, just used Judy’s Magic Cast-on (or an approximation that I could remember in the airport) and increased to 64 stitches. The heels are actually different, one being a Sherman heel and one a short-row using Wendy’s directions. I definitely prefer the short-row method and finally was able to do it without too many holes. I’m not sure about the fit of the short-row heel though as it bunches a bit in the front of the ankle. I think on my next pair, I may try the toe-up gusset style heel just to experiment until I can get “my” sock pattern, a standard go-to pattern that I know works.

I’ve said this many times and have never stuck with it, but hopefully I’ll be able to do more blogging this month since I don’t have any trips planned until maybe June! Yay! Yes, I’m a happy homebody.

20 March 2008

Ain't Travel a Bitch?!?!?

Soooo…. I just got back from a quick trip to the homeland to visit the kinfolks. We had a wonderful few days of margaritas, fabric and first birthday parties.

And then I tried to come home to Buffalo…

I left at o’dark thirty in the midst of a downpour and threatening floods. I had to take it slow a few times, but ye’ olde trusty rental made it just fine. I even had time to enjoy a bit of latte and email at the airport before hopping on my first uneventful and uncrowded flight to DC. On top of all that, the good karma points were flowing as I bound off a pair of socks that have been my travel companion for the entire job search process. (I’ll post pics tomorrow. Let’s just say there’s a little bit of stress knit into every stitch.)

I get to DC and have time for a tasty slice of ricotta white pizza and another shot of Starbucks while passing the hours of my layover. Dulles was crowded and our flight was oversold. While the announcements and calls for volunteers to give up their seats made my fellow flyers groan, they made my mind start a’whirling. There’s a good chance I’ll be needing a flight to San Fran next winter and wouldn’t a free ticket be awfully helpful? The gate agents assured me I could catch a later flight and still be in town by 9 or 10 at the latest. Hey, if a girl’s got more sock yarn and free needles, what’s a few hours in an airport? I jumped at the chance and went to the customer service station to be rebooked.

And then…

I luck out and get the one agent who isn’t so sure how to run her own computer system, making me a little nervous when she keeps canceling me out of flights and writing down a list of other people she’s also kicking out of flights by mistake. (By the way, Mr. Fox and Ms. George, I’m really sorry if you’re still stranded without a ticket out of Dulles!) Finally, despite telling me that I’m flying through Rochester, she hands me a pack of tickets through Philly and tells me to run so I can make it to the next terminal. I barely have time to even notice that my last flight wasn’t supposed to get in until after midnight, but again, girl with sock yarn and needles… just another few hours to waste. I take out running and make the line for boarding with only minutes to spare. Ah, a slightly crowded but short flight and one step closer to home.

And then…

Upon arrival in Philly, I see that there are several Buffalo flights leaving earlier than my 11 departure so I take the time to wander through various terminals, hoping someone can get me home. Instead of a new boarding pass, I get news that all those flights are also oversold and they can’t even guarantee that I’ll be able to get on the flight I’m booked on. I nervously wander to my correct gate and try to combat the anxiety that comes from watching gate agents struggle with a jet bridge that won’t work, passengers that are missing connections from across the country and complaints about the most disgusting ladies restroom anyone has ever seen. (Really, it was truly gross. I get that airports are busy places and the cleaning crews are overworked and underpaid but this was a whole new level of nasty. Made me regret all that Starbucks every time I had to tinkle!)

And then…

My knitting elbow kicks in and I can’t bear to work on the socks another stitch. Truly tragic!

But, eventually the hours tick by and we start to board.

And then…

People start to come back into the gate, not out into the plane. Never a good sign.

And then…

The main gate agent grabs the microphone and offers a large sigh. Again, not a good sign. “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to be honest with you.” Uh, a really not good sign.

“The plane has been filled with too much fuel. At this point, we can either empty the fuel or take off passengers to meet weight requirements. We’ll give you information when we have it.” A really really not good sign.

And then…

Another sigh into the microphone and, “Ladies and gentlemen, you might want to get comfortable. The truck to remove the fuel is going to take awhile, probably over an hour. Go to the bar and I’ll come get you when we’re ready to board again.” When the gate agent tells you to go start drinking, it’s really really really not a good sign.

And then…

After another twenty minutes, the biggest sigh yet, “I hate to even say this, but we can’t find the truck.” Audible groans from the peanut gallery. “But maybe this is a good thing because we’ve located another truck that can take the fuel off faster and as soon as we can get it here from another terminal, we’ll be able to start the process. But in the meantime, I’m stressed out and need a smoke. Anyone care to join me outside?” When the person in charge throws up her hands, commissions a beeping cart and hauls passengers outside to get a smoke, it’s really really really really not a good sign.

And then…

We finally get the call to restart the boarding process. Woohoo! The drunk smokers which have recently returned start a raucous celebration and we all breathe a sigh of relief and gather up our bags. They hurry us onto the plane and we start to feel like the end is in sight.

And then…

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Thank you for your patience this evening. I’m sorry, but we’re going to need a little more patience from you as we now have to take care of the paperwork. I expect this to take another 15-30 minutes.”

He runs off the airplane, leaving us with one of the ditziest flight attendants I’ve ever met. Ms. Brilliant decides that the best way to deal with a plane full of angry people stuck in the middle of the night is to pass around the bag of pretzels while she tells stories of how the crew decided to pass the hours of waiting. Seems our flight attendant realized that she could fit into one of the overhead bins and this would make a perfect place to hide to scare the pilot while he was running in and out of the plane. Nothing instills a sense of confidence in your flight crew like the reenactment of your flight attendant and pilot climbing into a luggage bin.

Although it does instill a sense of copycat-itis. Our friendly drunks decided that if a tiny little flight attendant can fit into a luggage bin, so can then… despite being beefy guys who can only marginally stand up on their own.

And then…

The pilot returns… with news that the paperwork is stalled in Indianapolis and he has absolutely no idea when we’ll get it and be cleared for take-off. Yeah, in case it wasn’t clear… a really really really really really not good sign.

And then…

We took off. Well, after another 45 minutes of waiting, but there was eventually a lift-off. I arrived in Buffalo around 3 a.m. and surprisingly, my luggage had been transferred through two different airlines and was waiting for me to drag it home on my way to dragging my tired body into bed.

Ah, my travel joys.

I get a whole week and a half before I have to get on another plane. And that’s cause for another big sigh…

10 March 2008


So... Much... Snow...

We had quite a doozy this weekend. I think I read somewhere that the city total was 21.5 inches. Based on how long it took to shovel out my car, I'm thinking that's on the low side of an estimate. Ah, Buffalo, how I love shoveling the side of the street street so I can get enough of a path to establish momentum to jump into the ruts in the center of the street. All just so I can skid around the block and park on the other side of the street where I'll have to repeat the process should I care to go anywhere today.

Shovel inserted for scale.

The snow was very pretty, in all honesty and if I didn't have to deal with practical problems like car moving, I wouldn't have minded our winter weekend one bit.

I've been hunting around for my next large lace project and after this weekend, I think I'm going to wait for the snow shawl to come out from Anne at Knitspot. Seems like the perfect project for a Buffalonian!

08 March 2008

White Buffalo

We're in the midst of a "blizzard-like" weekend here in the ol' Buffalo. While the meteorologists are making a big deal about the differences between "blizzard-like" and a real blizzard, I say whoopie-do, there's a whole lotta white stuff out there, like 10 inches of white stuff already and more on the way, so it counts as a blizzard in my world. I do realize the irony of the English teach telling people to be less specific about words, but really, it's a whole lotta snow and blizzard just has more zip now, doesn't it?

Provided I can get out my door, I'll take some pics for those of you lucky enough to actually see some spring weather. Speaking of spring weather, Joan is having a contest looking for green so if you've got grass on your lawn, you might want to enter.

This week I finally was able to get caught up on a few tasks that have been lingering for months. I left a job in December to give myself more time for writing and interviewing but, being incredibly rude and incorrigible... or maybe just overwhelmed and out of town, I've just now been able to return with thank you cookies to recognize all their kindness and support. Thought I'd share the recipe for my mom's famous sugar cookies. Simple recipe that always gets rave results.

Sugar Cookies

1 cup softened margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond flavoring
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Mix all ingredients. Chill for two hours. (You can also freeze the dough at this point if you don't have time to actually bake them now.) Roll out thin (1/4 inch or so) in a mixture of sugar and flour. Cut in desired shapes. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes. Cookies will stay crispy if left un-iced but will soften with icing. If you are going to ice them, let cool completely and store in air-tight container.


1 can cream cheese frosting
additional powdered sugar to stiffen
almond extract to taste

optional: additional cream cheese and butter
food coloring, sugars, decorations, etc.

I was a little aghast when my mom revealed her "secret" frosting was really based on using the stuff out of a can. It was almost as traumatic as when I try to learn to make biscuits and sausage gravy from my grandfather and he reveals what brand of mix he likes to buy from the store. My images of these master cooks was tarnished... until I took a bite and realized that even if the starting product is on the cheater side, it's the little touches that make it the food I love.

03 March 2008


.... or bowl?

Yeah, this one didn't work out so much. I used some icky, sticky, plasticky mystery acrylic and needles a size (or two) too small, hoping to get a warm, semi-floppy hat that would block the wind. No flop unless you count the whole project as a flop.

Oh well, chalk up another hat mishap!

01 March 2008


I’ve been running around so much I’ve worn holes in my socks. Life has still been coming at me fast and furious but, I do believe that I can take a wee bit of a breather and get caught up on the important daily activities that I’ve been neglecting… like blogging… and laundry… and well, I was going to add dissertating, but ugh, like I want to call that an important daily activity. Blogging is oh so much more important!

Anyway, so now that I get to celebrate two whole weeks without getting on an airplane or having to meet some hoity toity person who wants me to talk smart stuff, I’ve got so much to share here. Not that y’all don’t want me to talk smart stuff, just smart FUN stuff, right? As in fabric and yarn and goofy stories rather than books and books and oh yeah, more books. Bah, no books for a bit!

So, to start mending my blog deserter ways, much like I was mending my socks last night… get it? Yeah, I know, you’ve all missed my dorky humor, right? Just say you do so I don’t have to continue the mending metaphor any further… And yes, I really did spend my Friday night mending socks. Dontcha wanna come visit and hang out? I’m really fun, promise.

First things first, Christina tagged me for the 7 things meme. Hmm, since you know I how I spend my Friday nights, what other knowledge do you really need? Yeah, I really am that boring so I thought I’d give you 7 things inspired by some of the wacky things that have happened to me in the past few months of woopy do work.

1. At a recent conference, I presented a paper that used curry as a central image for the type of exoticist consumption that I study in my diss. (Basically, it’s a study of why English consumers in the 19th century bought foreign goods which were distinctly foreign, like shopping at the local Pier 1 for things which look like they’ve come from your recent vacation to Bali.) That night, we decided it was appropriate to go to a Thai restaurant and have curry while sitting on the floor at low tables in a room decorated with tiki lamps and murals of huts on the beach. While my mind (and my neighbor) was telling me to do a postcolonialist reading of our experience, my tummy was telling me that this was really yummy food and I kinda liked my first time sitting on the floor for dinner.

2. Although I study the “exotic,” I’ve never been anywhere “exotic.” Ah, grad student budgets. We can buy books about other places but only dream of plane tickets there. My foreign travels are limited to a few trips to Mexico and the good ol’ semester abroad experience of train and hostel hopping around Europe. Oh, and Canada. Does Canada count as foreign travel when you regularly just hop across the border to get Chinese food? When, if ever, I become a real grown up with one of those regular salary things and without those pesky student loan things, I want to visit either South Africa or India.

3. I often consider myself travel cursed so perhaps you want to think twice about volunteering to join me on my world explorations. It’s remarkably odd when I get to and from my destination without a delayed or cancelled flight, lost luggage or some really horrific experience… like having a dirty diaper dropped on my head. Yup, it happened on a flight. Yup, it was as gross as it sounds. My only recent kerfuffles have been a cancelled flight out of Atlanta which prompted an overnight stay without any luggage and a road trip on a borderline flat tire which had to be constantly checked in the snow and slush while wearing a suit and heels. I considered myself lucky when I only had to air it up once. Despite all this, I love to travel and am generally up for a trip at a moment’s notice.

4. I went to San Francisco to visit dear friends and had my make-up done at a Bare Essentials store. I’m considering switching to mineral make-up although I’m still not convinced. Anyone use it and have recommendations?

5. My first make-up session was at a Merle Norman store. My mother and grandmother took me to get my first make-up lesson and my ears pierced for a birthday present although I don’t remember the year, maybe when I was 10 or so. I remember being horrified when the b*tchy old woman sniped at me for not really knowing how to put on the lotion. I also remember being terrified of her plastic fake nails as I just knew she was going to poke my eye out with those talons. Maybe this is why I’ve always been a bit intimidated by Sephora stores, like the scary girls who tend to work there will come out and get me for not really knowing what to do with all the potions and gimcracks on the shelves. Despite all this, I enjoy make-up and wear it daily, something I recently realized isn’t the norm in my chosen profession.

6. I hate the smell of bananas. I think I’ve shared this before but it bears repeating. Hate ‘em, don’t want to be in the room with ‘em, can’t watch someone else eating one without feeling nauseas. Every boyfriend I’ve ever had has taken sick and twisted pleasure in calling me every time he ate a banana outside my presence. They all get the same response. “Better buy yourself a toothbrush and use it before you see me because you’re not getting so much as a handshake until you’re disinfected.”

7. Early last week I was feeling all gung-ho and ready to get back to reality after all this interview/travel nonsense, planning to start my week off by getting up early and even blogging some pictures of some recent crafty projects. But… I was instead rudely startled out of bed by the horrifying sounds of a car accident. Seems one of Buffalo’s finest residents "borrowed" a car, sped down our street until he hit a parked car, totaling his own car. He then tried to drive away but since his "borrowed" car wouldn't work and people were starting to come out to see what was going on, he jumped out and ran. The parked car he hit skidded 10-15 feet into my car, innocently just waiting to take me to the library or somewhere equally boring. The police searched the ‘hood for a few hours trying to find the jerk who, knowing my luck, was probably hiding out under my back porch or something.

Then to just add some spice to the story, we find out the “borrowed” car has already been impounded by the police so they’re not real confident anything will come of our insurance claims, so unconfident, it seems, that they goofed up the report numbers and I had to chase police reports down at multiple precincts until I was finally told that in my ‘hood, something like a hit and run accident is low priority unless it involved death. Then I discover that the tow truck that showed up was a little questionable and I may be out $250 just for the privilege of having to get a friend to take me to an even more delightful ‘hood to rescue my poor little dork-mobile which really only has a few scratches that you can’t even see under all the snow and salt and uck that covers everything in the B-lo for eight months out of the year anyway.

I tell ya, that’s what you get for being gung-ho and ready to get down to business.

Seriously, I complain a lot but life’s been pretty good, if hectic. I’ve had wonderful opportunities recently to see old friends and meet new ones and have managed to finish lots of work, both official and crafty. It feels great to be getting things back onto a regular track and I’m looking forward to blogging more in March. Thanks for reading and hopefully tomorrow I’ll have pics to share.
I'm supposed to tag 7 more people but I think this one has gone around. I'll have to get caught back up on my blog reading and see if I can hunt down 7 folks who haven't played yet.

12 February 2008


I seem to have come down with my annual late winter illness. It's no surprise really as I'm tired, run down with lingering stress and unable to face the rising piles of snow and ice that continue to block my path to my car and apparently, to energy. Yes, B-Lo, you've worn me down and spit me out. I bow to your winter greatness. Now please, please, please find me a job where the sun shines!

Anyway, cough, cough, I've spent today on the couch under a pile of blankies and most likely will be there tomorrow as well. I even feel too tuckered out to knit tonight, if that's any indication.
But in my recent finish-up-old-projects impulse, I tugged out a baby blanket that was never gifted (oops), ripped out the edge, finished off the rest of the purple yarn to make it bigger (and yes, just to clear it out of the stash) and added a floofier edging fit for a little princess who I hear also could use some snuggling under blankies time. I may not be able to trudge the block and a half to the post office for another few days (months) but at least there's another one ready to wing its way out my door.

Just to pretend this post has a little actual yarnie content, the eyelash yarn is Plymouth Flash and was really nice to work with. Well, aside from a few tangles when it knotted back on itself, it's soft and smooth and feels great paired with a cheap-o white acrylic, probably DK or sport weight. I'm seriously debating actually making a scarf of this combo for myself. Maybe the one skein crochet scarf from Happy Hooker or whatever the Stitch n' Bitch crochet book is called. Think I could get away with saying I'm being retro by bringing back the fun fur craze of yesterday?

09 February 2008

Searching for Simple

Homespun Afghan
Originally uploaded by ldgraffnu

When my mind starts whirling, I feel a choice… go with it and spin wildly out of control with possibilities, questions, ponderings, excitement and daydreams… or block it all out, looking for simple, predictable, easy, steps from here to there. I suppose I run by oscillating a bit between the two, riding the high that comes with big, huge change and chance while searching for the stillness to figure it all out, make sure I’m going about it the right way, think through my thrill. Is it odd to accept that manic is part of my nature? I do sometimes wish it was a little more even keel around chez Leslie, a little more routine and consistent but that’s just not in the cards right now. No, it’s all jokers and aces around here, no stable 8s or anything of the sort.

The past few months have been all about this oscillation. I’m either running like the wind on adrenaline, stress and caffeine or lying on the couch, regretting that I ever discovered coffee. Well, actually, that lying on the couch… um, not so much. Not nearly enough, that’s for sure. I guess my polar opposites are more like freaking out about all the stuff there is to do and just buckling down and working through one step at a time into the wee hours of the morning. Let’s just say I know the exact hours that the local Kinko’s and Office Depot open and close.

There’s a significant chance that this whirlwind will die down in a few days, something I’m hoping and praying for, honestly, but until then, the winds of chaos stream ahead, disturbing everything they touch.

After I finished Lady Eleanor, I had to do some searching for a new project. I’ve got some simple ribbed socks on the needles as my travel project but here at home, I’ve had a strong desire to tackle big projects, not complicated, just big in terms of yarn used, space they’re taking up in the stash. Part of it is a desire to be free of this stuff, clean out just in case I might actually get to move in the coming months, have fewer obligations on my needles.

Odd how hobbies can start to feel like obligations. How we turn things into projects that we work on with deadlines and goals despite the fact that for most of us, knitting is a way to relax and forget deadlines and goals. I know that having goals is a kind of motivating strategy so we finish things rather than dallying around or picking up new yarn to start something else. But how often do we substitute our yarn projects for our “real” work as a way to legitimize our procrastination?

Well, I suppose I don’t want to really answer that because I’m afraid I too often use my hobbies and the demand to finish a project as a reason to avoid work I should be doing.

Much better to just keep to my procrastination strategies in ignorant bliss…

But I have been feeling an overwhelming desire to finish things lately, have them out of my possession. I’ve been looking for gift projects to work on because then I can have the release that comes with dropping off a package at the post office. Probably doesn’t take too much to figure out that I’m searching for a sense of “done-ness” in all areas of life, from the diss to the job search to my stashed projects. I’m also being practical in wanting to have fewer things to pack and haul across the country. But it’s become a kind of strange obsession that I haven’t quite figured out, the urge to pull out projects and be done with them right now…

Anyway, the first “big” project that I grabbed was this crochet afghan, a simple zigzag pattern out of Lion Brand Homespun, a little cheesy, a little tacky, a little cozy. I started this years ago with the intention of giving it to one of my male friends so I kept it color neutral so it could be gifted multiple directions depending on who needed to receive a present. Of course, I never managed to finish it on time so it’s been in storage, waiting on the impulse to do crochet with acrylic yarn. Can’t exactly say that the impulse was particularly for the crappy yarn, but it has been a pretty pleasant, mindless project.

And in this whirlwind of stress and anxiety, mindless is nice. I have a list of things that I’d like to be working on, some lace, a new hat or two, but for now, I’m looking forward to finally gifting this to someone and having it out of my house, out of my stash, and off my mind.

02 February 2008


So, yeah, um, there's been stress. Big events... big decisions... nothing terribly exciting to report, unfortunately, just lots o' work. But, there's a light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel and I'm hoping to be back to posting and maybe even try some of those things normal humans are supposed to do on a regular basis like laundry and dishes and sleeping without grinding their teeth and waking up in sheer panic at 3.30 a.m.

But until that illusive full night of sleep with happy dreams comes my way, I'll be reciting this, one of my favorite poems and one I'd like to share for the Blogger's Silent Poetry reading.

The Lake Isle
by Ezra Pound

O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
Give me in due time, I beseech you, a little tobacco shop,
With the little bright boxes
piled up neatly upon the shelves
And the loose fragrant cavendish
and the shag
And the bright Virginia
loose under the bright glass cases,
And a pair of scales not too greasy,
And the whores dropping in for a word or two in passing,
For a flip word, and to tidy their hair a bit.

O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
Lend me a little tobacco shop,
or install me in any profession
Save this damn'd profession of writing,
where one needs one's brains all the time.

May you all find your version of the little tobacco shop, perhaps filled with bright shelves of yummy cashmere piled up neatly upon the shelves.

19 January 2008

Foxy Lady

Pattern: Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style

Yarn: Silk Garden, 232; 9 skeins

Needles: Addis Sz 10

Dates: Fall 2007 - January 2008

Recipient: Moi

Notes: What to say that hasn't been said? Entrelac was a pleasure to learn. The yarn's color shifting was perfect. I was entranced by the way the colors would interact as the squares built on the row below. It definitely gets you the "wow" factor with very little struggle and although we say we aren't going for the "wow's," we know we are.

The colorway is perhaps a little bright to put this into daily rotation. I think with a dark, monochromatic outfit, I could pull it off tossed over the shoulder but for now, it's getting lots of wear as I sit at the computer and write in my jammies. I'll definitely give it a debut at an upcoming Guild meeting and then we'll see about wearing it with non-knitters. I love the rustic look of the Silk Garden, but do wish it was a little softer and cuddlier. I've seen some stunning versions with more subtle yarns and would easily put this project back in rotation were the right yarn to come my way at the right moment.

I really enjoyed the freedom that came with working with a "rustic" yarn on a project that has an element of the rustic to it. I didn't worry so much about being perfect with the way I picked up the stitches or obsessing over gauge. I tried to be as neat and consistent as possible, but it was nice to do a "low stakes" project that gave room for the homemade factor and even celebrated the quirks that would happen with the work. I've been thinking about this freedom from perfection lately and want to write more about it when I introduce my next project tomorrow.

I tried to learn to knit backwards to replace the flipping back and forth but found that it was more tiresome than the flipping. The project was comfortable in my lap and never grew so cumbersome that the flipping was difficult or problematic. Definitely use circular needles to save your arms and if possible, I'd suggest using a fairly long needle to give you more "wiggle room." The blunt Addis worked well with the yarn. I could see having problems using a pointy needle that might split it or a sticky bamboo or wood needle that might give too much grip. Finally, this may be obvious to everyone else, but when you do the fringe, hold both strands in your hand and do the overhand knot over both at the same time. I kept trying to tie them together like shoelaces and that was extremely fiddly and made for a few loose knots at the beginning.

And oh, the fringe... the fringe. I really think the dramatic finish makes the project. It's not quite so dramatic as lace blocking, but definitely transformative in the same way. I love watching how those final touches really make or break a project, especially when they make it!

N.B.: I ended up with four extra skeins of the Silk Garden. I believe it's a discontinued colorway. It's quite pretty and would make nice striped scarves a la Brooklyntweed. I'm going to list it on Ravelry but if anyone is interested, let me know. I'm not going to push hard to sell it as it could always be useful but at this point, I'd prefer to reduce the stash a bit.

17 January 2008

I Am Not...

... a spinner.

Our January knitting guild meeting encouraged us to start the new year by trying something new. A very talented spinner brought in bundles of fleece and spindles and let us give it a go.

I didn't really give it a go so much as let the stupid thing dangle pathetically in the air while staring with awe at those who were making yarn.

And I'm okay with that.

I've been resistant to the spinning trend which is kinda a small victory for me. I've always been one to jump right in and try the latest and greatest thing. As a youngster, I had to make my mom drive me to Girl Scouts and music lessons and sports camps. With every new club or hobby, came new "stuff," new equipment, new outfits, new guidebooks and trinkets. We even bought a calf because I was determined to do 4-H and lead the thing around a pen. I'm pretty sure that attempt eventually turned into hamburger.

Since I've been trying to curb my crafty expenditures to give myself room, space and the financial means to actually finish projects that I've already purchased, I didn't want to start buying spindles which would turn into wheels and fleece which would turn into more fleece and never, ever turn into yarn or even more unlikely, usable objects. I get how spinning could be quite pleasurable and even replace knitting and crocheting as a meditative, relaxing habit. I just didn't want to pick up something new with so much already on my plate. You've got to save a few new frontiers for the nursing home, right?

I suppose you could also say that I went in with a bad attitude which usurped any possibility of enjoying spinning. Probably true. I'm trying to think of it as being judicious with my crafty resources. I'll add spinning after I finish off the paper making, card printing, latchhooking, paper piecing, scrapbooking, beading, embroidery, quilting, needlepoint and needle felting projects already living in my craft room. Oh, and after the fabric and yarn stashes are down to a reasonable level. Yeah, don't be holding your breath waiting for handspun yarn for a long, long time.

14 January 2008


1. During my mini-hiatus after Chicago, I finished two denim and flannel quilts. I started these quilts five years ago and promised one to my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. I believe the card where I wrote this promise has since yellowed with age. This is the reason for another year of avoiding new purchases to finish the old, as if that will work.

2. I am finished with Lady Eleanor save for knotting the fringe. Lovely project but I fear looking like a jester gypsy while wearing it. I think I should have gone for a little subtlety in my color selection. I think it's a bad thing when The Boy asks if you're actually going to wear it in public or just drape it over a chair. I'm pretty sure he was hoping the answer involved the chair.

3. I'm at a little loss for where to go next in the knitting. I finished a gift knit for a friend and would like to make more for the gifting stash, but they're not exactly thrilling projects. Oh, and I'm really selfish and want to make something for me.

Pattern: Cupcake Dishcloth
Yarn: Cotton-Ease and button from stash
Needles: Sz. 10s
Notes: I added the bottom backwards. I like the stitch definition this shows, but prefer the look of the original pattern. I used Ravelry mods for the ruffle: knitting in the front and back twice rather than crocheting. It could be a bigger ruffle but I like the small size in fitting with the small cloth. I think this is just the size for dish washing as regular dish rags always seem too droopy when I try to use them.

4. Considering the above observations, it probably wouldn't take too much thought to figure out why I have such a difficult time finishing projects and getting gifts sent out in a timely fashion. But will I go work on more cupcakes? Yeah, we all know better than that.

09 January 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods...

... to job interviews we go.

'Tis the season of the job travels for interviews and conferences so I decided to whip up some shoe bags to protect the beauties gracing my friends' tootsies.

I used the Simple Leather-Handled Shoulder Bag from In Stitches by Amy Butler although I made the strip narrower. To make the cutting easy, I cut a 32" piece and then divided that into 4 strips length-wise. Theoretically, that would make my pieces 11 x 32" (44" flannel) but I didn't really even measure my width. I chose the flannel for its thickness and absorption for any wet shoes, although I also thought about using oil-cloth or some of the new laminated fabrics that are coming out. I see more of these in the future as a great way to use up some of my flannel stash for practical gifts that will hopefully see lots of wear in the very near future.

08 January 2008

Chicago Stole my Hat... and my Oomph

So should I make up a story about being whisked away in the Windy City, off on some marvelous but chilly adventure?

Or just tell the truth?

I ended 2007 with a trip to a very large, very scary conference/ job interview/ program reunion sort of event. 15,000+ neurotics stuck in the same four city blocks, hyped up on expensive coffee and forced to actually engage with people rather than books. It wasn’t necessarily pretty. Oh, and then add a good ol’ wet snowstorm to get a chuckle at the less-than-fashionable academics try and slide around in their heels and suits when we’re all used to wearing khaki pants from 10 years ago and shoes chosen for their orthopedic function rather than fashion. We really should just charge admission for people to watch the antics.

Anyway, I went, I talked, I showed pictures of camels and just tried to alternate my coffee and alcohol in the right order to keep myself going through the day and at least closing my eyes at night. (Sleep sorta became optional around mid-December and only recently returned to my life. I missed her.)

I knew it was going to be a doozy, but I didn’t really plan on it knocking me completely on my tuckus. Overachiever much? Not that I’ve been stressing about this very event for four or five years now or anything. I just kept saying that I could handle it. It was just a paper and a few interviews. I’d even be able to spend one afternoon shopping, maybe find Anthropologie or a yarn store for a little treat.

By the time my free afternoon rolled around, I tried to meet with the Lone Knitter and I think the poor woman ought to earn a patience medal for having to answer the same questions three times. It was like the brain was spending all my energy keeping myself from drooling that I couldn’t focus on actually having an intelligent conversation. Thank goodness she’s even lovelier in person and was quite kind about my mental fog.

Besides my dignity, I managed to also lose my new hat, the first one that I’d knit this winter and one I was actually happy to wear in public. The first day I really had to run around, the snow was coming down in hunks and I really didn’t want to do an interview with wet hair. I’m pretty sure even academics recognize that this is not a good look. I was whining that night when we splurged on pizza (mmmm… Chicago deep dish…mmm…) and jokingly, my former Dickens camp roommate asks if it was a black beret.

“Well, yes, it was. A black knit beret.”

“Were you in the Fairmont?”

“Yes, I was.”

“Ladies restroom?”

“Yes, second floor.”

“Around 11?”

“Dude, you saw my hat!”

Alas, she only saw it and left it there, never to be turned in or seen again. Le Sigh for Le Slouch. In actuality, it really needed to be reknit with a little more slouch so add that one back to the list.

And that was Chicago.

So now I’m waiting, trying to get caught up on life and sleep and laundry. Trying to write everyday and work on those New Year’s goals. Hitting the gym and the library. I took a week off after I returned, thinking I’d be able to whip out some major crafty projects. Um, not so much. I finished a few things and will post some pictures in the next few days but basically, I took a lot of time to just sit and not think about a single thing. How ‘bout that for a real winter vacay?