new favorite thing


The humble tuna melt. Perfect food for a gloomy day.
Now if only I could remember to buy tomatoes. Also this hipstamatic thing makes me feel like I have Nashville vision.


high jinks

… guess who was at Robert’s Western World last night?

It’s a place that never, ever fails to make me smile.  So much fun, so much music, so much Nashville … it’s always a good night out.

Also, this post is really just an excuse to say: ohmygosh, I must knit this shawl right. now.  Literary allusion?  Lace?  Wooly yarn?  Check, check, and check.  Now to decided what color … I’m thinking something lilac-y … don’t know why, but I really want a kind of bright purple giant lace tablecloth to wrap up in.


out and about

Happy summer!  Maybe it’s just because my birthday is coming up soon (hey, 31, how you doin’?) or maybe it’s because all the sunshine has gone to my head or maybe it’s all the ice cream I’ve been eating … but this summer is shaping up pretty well so far.

To start things off, Nadine and I met up in Berlin — which seems like a long time ago now, though actually it was only about 10 days ago — and what a nice welcome it was to see a fellow knitter.  She saw the sights, I went to the library, we both enjoyed dinner together.  Not a bad start at all.  (Though neither of us remembered to take pictures.)

Then I went to Switzerland.  It rained.


This church is across the border in Germany, on an island, and very old.  The weather played nice, the rain stopped, and we all — all seven of us — enjoyed a walk around Reichenau Island.


It was a lovely way to end a too short visit.  A visit that nonetheless managed to include a new bag for me:

this followed me home

It’s so pretty and green!  And made of truck tarps and seat belts!

My suitcase, however, proved decidedly less rugged.  The zipper broke just as we were leaving for the train station … uh oh.  A little engineering magic saved the day and nothing exploded on the night train.  In fact, the only surprise was that my “ladies compartment” contained four men.  And me.  So that didn’t go as planned.

I did, however, arrive unmolested and with a functioning suitcase.

this makes me happy

I was very happy to find “The Third Man” still playing in Vienna.

Today, I visited a museum then enjoyed some café culture, which included a little reading and a whole lot of sitting and watching the world go by while sipping coffee and enjoying Kaiserschmarrn … which is pretty much dessert disguised as a meal: a sweet pancake cooked in butter.  This time with plum sauce and lots of powdered sugar.



But the best part of summer?  Freckles!


I’m back home soon and, I promise, knitting will commence.

goodbye, Berlin


So this has pretty much been my view while in Berlin.  I would have posted some photos of the bonkers contents — including the crazy, possibly evil, certainly prize-winning clown — but I had to sign some scary German document wherein I promised to use the photos for private research only … so I don’t think putting them on the internet would be a good idea.

In any case, I went out with a bang.  Or, rather … um, with a sail?  I met up with a friend and our luxurious coffee (somewhere fancy with a real live German movie star whom I did not recognize) turned into a sailing trip.  I know!  So here’s where I spent the evening:


Beautiful!  The Wannsee was perfect for a very adventure-adverse beginner: very very little wind, no waves, no rain, nothing too strenuous, just a nice hour or so floating around.  Afterwards, we ate an obscene amount of pizza and drank some schnapps.  So, yeah, a good end to the trip.  Which also began with a bang …


just a little knitting


Just a little knitting in the Tiergarten.  Monday was a holiday and after a busy/ stressful/ tiring couple of weeks, I took the day off.  It was lovely: a leisurely breakfast, plenty of warm weather, a nice rambley walk to a different part of town.  Then I sat down, enjoyed my picnic, rested my feet, and did a bit of knitting in the sunshine.

As you can see, progress has been limited.  These stripes now seem never ending, they just go on and on and one more turn … then maybe you get to the end.  Maybe.  But I’m enjoying the relaxed pace and the constant stripey companionship.


I did not, however, take stripes unlimited to meet the my amazing adviser in her equally amazing apartment (books! everywhere!).  Instead, we discussed the archives and ate some ice cream.  She has the capacity to make me feel like I’m doing good work and anything is possible, even a dissertation.  I want to be like her when I grow up.

To that end, today the Never-Ending Stripe and I, we’re off to the Kunstbibliothek to look through some more old issues issues of bonkers lace-and-embroidery magazines.  Absolutely bonkers.  Articles on the “Psychology of Lace and Embroidery”, weirdo devotion to pillow cushions and tablecloths, crazy fold-out patterns of flowers and art-deco foliage that I’m going to try to copy … it’s really pretty delightful.

Also, there was a terrifying piece of lace featuring an evil clown.  It won 4th place (or possibly better, I don’t remember …) in some kind of contest.  Terrifying.


So, in the spirit of project spectrum I’ll end not with evil clowns, but with more green: a peaceful corner of the Tiergarten on Pfingstmontag.  Why did it take me this long to visit Berlin again?

snow day!

I love snow in Nashville.  In New Jersey, it was just something that happened and everyone went about their lives, with a few more layers, some boots, a snow shovel, and a bit of grumbling when it started to turn grey and dingy.  Here, it feels like a great adventure, like something that’s not supposed to happen.  No one quite knows what to do with: people go out without hats or mittens, drive too fast, slip around on the unshovelled sidewalks.  Everything seems to shut down.

It’s only flurries, but I’m sure the radio will keep me updated on any threatened accumulation.


Until then, it’s perfect weather for writing.  Which is pretty great: I have a paper to finish for tomorrow.  One of those “so close, yet so far” affairs where 5 more pages and tying up the loose ends seems like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  I would like to get this version turned in, so I can start revising it into something closer to what I had in mind.

Actually, I’d been feeling a little low, reading this absolutely spot-on essay by a former professor of mine (something about that “former” still makes me cringe inside) … how does she manage to write so clearly?  how does she get all of her ideas so forcefully formulated? how does she find a way to show me something I didn’t see, and make it seem so intuitively right?  Well, a footnote trail led to an important revelation: the article was at least a couple of years in the making.  So yeah.  I started to feel more confident in the power of revision and time.

Can I tell you how excited I am to have more of both next semester?  No more coursework!  (Again!  Five years later, it is much more bittersweet.)  ABD!  (This will be a first for me.)  Time to work on my dissertation!  (Again! Missing piece: I’m coming for you.)  I can’t wait to get started.

I wish I’d managed to do things in a different order — like getting ABD in there five years ago, where it belonged — but, well, sometimes things are messy.  I’m trying to be okay with that.


On that note, here’s my minimal, but decidedly un-messy, collar progress, done mostly during breaks, while watching Gilmore Girls (so good!) and Showgirls (I know).  I really want to knit more cardigans … mostly because I really want to wear more handknit cardigans.  Everyone wins.

In celebration of another weekend, with hopes that your Sunday is worth this word, I give you a favorite poem.  Alan Dugan, On A Seven-Day Diary.*


* In the spirit of my footnote revelation, I offer you one.  It doesn’t really have anything to do with knitting, the snow just makes me think of other winters in other places.  Feel free to skip right on over.

One of my most treasured, and most dearly missed, Princeton memories is the tradition of Friday-night dinner with friends: we sat around a big table in a tiny apartment, ate, talked, laughed, drank red wine … at a certain advanced point in the evening, S. would sometimes call (loudly, having to make himself heard over the din and the customary Dan Bern accompaniment) for this poem to be read.  All I remember is the joy of the moment when R. — our intrepid host — would oblige.  We laughed and cheered and nodded our heads in agreement.  At least that’s how I remember it.  It was probably totally different.

bird by bird

Right now, it’s bird by bird* here.  I’m pretty okay with that.  After all, it seems to work for knitting.  Can you tell the Terra has grown?  Only 20 more rows to the lace …


It’s squishy and wonderful and really the only thing that keeps me in my chair some days.

Inspired by Nadine’s recent peek at her home office, I thought I’d share too.  What you don’t see: the heating pad that is soothing my physical therapy bruises (the bad man found lots of places that hurt … made them feel better by poking really hard, then sent me on my way to await the inevitable = ouch).

bird by bird

Now, back to the next bird.

* If you don’t already know Anne Lamott, her writing is lovely.  Bird by Bird — and, well, Lucky Jim (but that’s another story) — have both gotten me through the tight spots.  Maybe Calvin Trillin and Elizabeth Zimmermann, too.  And countless detective stories.



Apple crisp was just the ticket.  I followed this recipe, but possibly added more apples (I had 8 smaller apples in 4 varieties!) and most certainly did not do any of the fancy layering.  Instead, I coated the apples with cinammon sugar and then (unceremoniously) dumped them into a deep-dish bowl, covered with a think layer of buttery-sugary-oaty crispy crust.  They did not seem to mind in the least.

The different varieties were just different enough that the flavor is quite interesting and not at all boring … a little tart, a little sweet.  Perfect, really.


In the end, the crisp was the perfect way to go.  I am very particular about my apples — tart and crisp, thank you (4103 Braeburn is my trusted favorite) — and these, while a nice sampler of new flavors, colors, and textures, were all much too mushy for my very picky taste.

And just in case you’re wondering, I did a little research into the question of crisp vs. crumble.  According to wikipedia the difference is largely geographical: crisp in the US, crumble in the UK.  There does, however, seem to be a general consesus on the interwebs that the crumble crust tends to be finer — like breadcrumbs — using only butter, flour, and sugar, while the crisp crust tends to add oats and is thus chunkier.

Thank you, chowhound.  Now, if it could just find me some good Szechuan food around here.


In other news: pretty yarn!  My dear friend here in Nashville has requested a selbu modern for her birthday (thankfully not until February).  I had this combination in mind, which she recently approved, so now I just need to get started.