Thursday, July 30, 2009

Married Life: The Male Sense of Humor

I married the fella knowing full well that he loves to tell the kind of jokes that are designed to make me roll my eyes and swat him on the arm. Whenever I do, he starts giggling like a little boy, and his shoulders do this shrug-thing that boys do when they are oh-so-happy.

Part of me wants to follow my mother’s grade-school advice: “Ignore them, and they’ll stop.” But it gives him so much pleasure, I’m not sure what’s worse: the fatigue of swatting him on the arm 17 times a day, or the strain of ignoring his ribald humor.

Example: I can’t say the word “balls” at any time without incurring said ribaldry. Soccer balls, tracker balls, pinball machines, ball bearings, fancy-dress balls, ball-and-socket joints... Can’t say it without him talking about his own. I am pretty sure he holds back at work, and I get a double-dose at all other times. He loves it.

Or another example: Yesterday he asked how much an article I’m writing will pay. “I’m not sure,” I said. “They do it by column inches.”

Maybe you have the imagination to figure out what he said next.


So I was talking to my parents on the phone the other night, and my dad made a comment that I am so not going to repeat here, but I can tell you he wouldn’t have made that comment if my mom hadn’t been on the phone. And that little sigh of resignation she gave after? Yeah. He freakin’ loved it.

Last weekend, the fella and I drove to Mississippi to visit my grandparents. At dinner on Saturday night, the fella made a joke at my expense. Not exactly gross humor, and not mean-spirited. But at my expense. My grandmother rolled her eyes.

My grandfather smiled at the fella with the biggest, most beatific smile.

This means that, among other things, I am most definitely screwed.

This is the magnolia tree in my grandparents' front yard. Its branches have been summited by many a cousin.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Sometimes, events take away every bit of what little power life grants us.

A member of an active Ravelry group in which I have participated for the past year recently gave birth. The baby died less than an hour later. There was no indication in advance that this would happen.

They named her Schuyler.

In response, several Ravelers in the group and some beyond have knit blanket squares. A big-hearted soul in Toronto will seam them together and send them to Schuyler’s mom.

As I worked on a square, I began to wonder what I was doing it for. Yes, to bring some comfort to Schuyler’s parents. Yet, is there perhaps some bit of superstitious selfishness at work, too? In knitting one, then two, then three squares for this blanket, isn’t there a small part of me that hopes if I knit these squares as best I can, then perhaps this sort of tragedy will pass me by?

But then, on each square as I approached the cast-off, I decided that no, that would not be the reason I made these squares. That would not be why we are all feverishly working to churn out a huge blanket as fast as our fingers and the post office will let us.

Death leaves us with so little ability to say or do anything. Let’s do the very best that we possibly can, and let the universe know.

Schuyler lived. She was loved.

That cannot ever be changed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Raccoon: The New Squirrel

I'm working through a shallow backlog of posts. Upcoming: blanket squares, Mississippi travels, sock ribbing.

For now:

This is a picture taken just outside the rental office of our apartment complex during the day. One night a few weeks ago, we saw a raccoon taking a drink from the fountain. Then, he blew our minds.

He hopped up on the pedestrian rail. Then, he proceeded to climb up the vertical stone column and onto the wooden beams above. He didn't scamper like a squirrel; he painstakingly chose each handhold and foothold and, just like a human rock climber, made his way up about six feet of vertical wall to where he wanted to go.

And you thought you were safe in Texas.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Best of Blog Blackout Excuses

Whoopsies. I had such a good stream going there.

I'll tell you what got in the way. Here's the culprit: Lists of Bests.

If you sign up for a free, spamless account, you can keep track of all the Great Books you've read, the movies you've seen, and the music you've heard. You can even create as many of your own checklists as you please.

I'm right up there with most of the planet in objecting to the "authoritative" best-of lists of world literature, since somehow it seems to be only WASPy men writing originally in English who dominate every single one of those lists.

But come on. Objections aside, who out there doesn't adore a little checklist action now and again? All you Ravelry fanatics?

It just so happened, however, that a sudden wave of reading lust overcame me when I learned that I've only consumed 26 percent of the MLA's 30 Books Every Adult Should Read Before They Die list (note the ungrammatical heading, can you spot the error?) and 15 percent of Penguin Classic's 101 Best Books Ever Written list. So I tore through Pride and Prejudice, finally finished Alan Moore's Watchmen, and have just begun Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Not a lot of knitting going on.

I did however rebuild my knitter's self-esteem after frogging the attempted triangle. Might just come back to it yet.

Let me know if you go nuts on the best-of lists like I did. I'd love to compare!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Knitting Geometry

So I had this idea to design a triangular scarf. It was a seriously good concept, people. You would have loved it.

I measured as I went, I checked all kinds of things, I wrote down things and charted in advance. I compared it to other triangular shawls. Tonight, I was so psyched. I finished the border, cast off, and set aside the needles.


This is not a triangle.

I know this because I have in the past taught geometry to high school and college students. For starters, I am fairly certain that a triangle has three sides. The sides, ideally, are straight.

It has to do with the increases, I think. I didn't want eyelet increases. I wanted another kind of increase.

So I've totally had my pride handed to me here -- and would be pleased to read all input in the comments section. I shall now frog two weeks' knitting and go back to the drawing board, which I hope will have lots of triangular shawl patterns on it for me to study.

I admit that part of me is holding out hope that there might be a market out there for people with strange shoulders, looking for just the right shawl.