my desk.

my desk.

So, I organized my desk.  And put up a new shelf.  Obviously, this chapter is just going to write itself now.  Oh lordy, fellow dissertation writers out there, it’s time for a little Anne Lamott methinks.  Bird by Bird makes everything better.

“Your day’s work might turn out to have been a mess.  So what?  Vonnegut said, ‘When I write, I feel like an armless legless man with a crayon in his mouth.’  So go ahead and make big scrawls and mistakes.  Use up lots of paper.  Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend.  What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here–and by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.”  (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (New York: Anchor Books, 1994) 32).

Can I get an amen?

Seriously, I’m no evangelist but this book has gotten me through more writing crises than I care to count.  It’s my everything’s-going-to-be-okay talisman. 

good grief.

Hey, how’s it going?  So, yeah, you might have noticed that I just up and disappeared again after telling you about all kinds of fun Nashville adventures, with very little knitting content.

Sorry.  mea culpa.  Or, rather, I blame the semester.  There have been conferences (yes, plural), prospective students, classes to teach, classes to attend, meeting upon meeting upon meeting, a trip to Vancouver (awesome) for a conference presentation of my own (phew.), work to grade, grants to apply for, a mindfulness-based stress reduction class (oh, the irony) … did I mention that I’m also supposed to be writing my first chapter right about now?  It’s been hectic and harried in that way all semesters become hectic and harried.  I’m not complaining — there has been some really great stuff going on, like meeting with an academic press about my project (!?!), winning an essay prize for a paper on embroidery (!) * — but I am worn out.

february baby sweater

Anyhoo, the last couple of evenings — despite all the nagging little things to be done — I’ve come home and knit.  Some friends just had their second baby, and since the first received a few woolly knits, I thought: what better excuse?  That baby needs a sweater.  Despite the fact that it’s summer in the south.

Considering the likelihood that spring is pretty much over, I started with some Lion Brand cotton.  Unfortunately, that version was pretty darn unattractive.  And who needs an ugly baby sweater?  So I moved onto some Plymouth Boku from the stash in lovely, bright rainbow colors.

february baby sweater

Maybe there will be a few cool evenings?  Maybe this will still fit in the fall (I really have no idea about relative baby sizes …)?

baby sock

I also whipped up one, lonely baby sock (in Koigu) …

index!

In other news, remember last year when I was complaining about all of that indexing?  Well, here it is!  My copies arrived — and, boy, is that a lot of books (the index is in vol. 6).  My part was very, very small — compared, you know, to the 25 years my advisor spent editing the edition — but it’s still exciting to see the finished project.

happiness

Happiness is handknit socks on the feet of very dear friends.  Perfect spring breaks should always be commemorated with wool.

Okay, it’s off to campus for me … but I promise not to stay away so long!  I’ve missed you guys!

____________________________

* I don’t mean to toot my own horn (well, only a little), but I’m so excited to finally have figured out what I’m doing with my life …  Mostly, it’s nothing more than an index of perverse perseverance, stubbornness, and the power of friendship to keep one going … it’s weird because people in Nashville really only see that I appear to know what I’m doing, without access to all of the years spent slogging through desperate unhappiness that got me here.  It’s like the hidden iceberg …

howdy stranger

So it’s been a while.  How about we start there?  March has been crazy busy in all kinds of good ways, few of which have had much to do with knitting … let’s recap:

I finished physical therapy, defended my dissertation proposal (!!), and then, as if by divine design, spring break appeared; I did nothing but watch Law & Order and knit until: friends!  Three very special ladies descended upon Nashville — and my apartment — for a seriously good time.  (They are now all bona-fide PhD professional ladies, so … I’ve kept the discretion to a maximum.)

First, there was hot chicken at the hot chicken shack:

pickle button!

Oh yeah, I finished my cardigan (Shalom in EcoWool) — just in time to add pickle buttons.

The next night there were fancy drinks downtown …

fancy cocktails

… followed by some honky tonking on Broadway.

Broadway

Robert's!

The Stage

It was one of the best night’s out ever: we bought cowboy boots from someone named “Brad Butter” (it was embroidered on his shirt), put on our best clubwear, and danced till the honky tonks closed.

After that, we pretty much decided to concentrate on eating as many fried/ butter-positive foods as possible.  Luckily, Nashville is that kind of town.

There was pickle tempura …

pickle tempura

… and, the next morning, delicious biscuits to go with country ham, plenty of bacon, hashbrown casserole, and other assorted side-dish staples for breakfast (at 3 in the afternoon).

biscuits!

Finally, I met my Waterloo: the sidecar.

sidecars; or, my Waterloo

The ingredients might look innocent, but don’t be fooled.  We toasted, we lounged, we watched It’s Complicated, I gave away almost all of my handknit socks to very deserving recipients …  And then it was time for everyone to get back to their real lives.

It was a wonderful, tiring, just-right long weekend.  Such reunions are made possible, and so much sweeter, by distance … but how I do miss easy proximity and that casual by-chance glass of wine on someone’s couch in the evening.  And how lucky I am to have had a weekend of nothing but laughter and fun and friendship.

[thanks to M. and B. for all the fabulous photos]