Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Things I will miss about Denmark:

Some of the kindest and smartest people I have ever met
A ridiculously welcoming and warm work environment (with the bonus of the best work-based christmas party ever)
The solitude--the haunting and echoing loneliness of being in this city of spires and no skyscrapers, where everything is quiet at night and the lights glittering on the far side of the black and isolated lake make it seem welcoming, but so far away.
The food--damn, can the Danish bake! They also have some mean shawarma places that VA doesn't do any justice to whatsoever.
The city's attitude towards the holidays. I think it encompasses the absolute best parts of the holidays in the states--tiny white lights glittering through the darkness, the smell of pine trees wet in the rain, christmas markets and hot wine, and the gathering of the ones you love.
The outdoor mentality--it's very much a city good for walking and biking, for spending time out of doors.
An excellent bus and metro system
The ability to go pretty much anywhere without it costing $3000 and requiring a visa six months ahead of time.
The wind that sweeps this city every day and makes lovely pulling sounds on the windows.
Lots of yarn stores.

Things I won't miss about Denmark:

Not being near my family and friends
Not having a cat with me.
Smokers. Everywhere. Can't wait to be free of them.
Not having a car.
Being alone.
How frickin' expensive it is to live here. In most cities you can get a quick cheap lunch for <$10 without much effort. Here, you are luck to find anything <$20 at any given time. Laundry costs me $5 wash, $5 dry.
It being gray all the time. Damn do I miss some sunlight.
Having to say "Sorry, I only speak English" every time any one bothers to talk to me--and also the fact that that so very rarely happens.
The way everything in the city closes at 5pm every day of the week, 3pm on Saturday, and all day Sunday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


does anyone know why my blog is down?

Monday, August 15, 2011

a storm is gathering its folds on the horizon, above a molten sunset. Cold wind licks the face of the building and whispers through the open window. The trees stir and toss, restless and sleeping. Gold fringes of dying sunlight gild the swollen surface of the clouds, glossing over the gray and scudding base of the storm. The first whistling drops of rain sound out on the tile roofs of this foreign city, hissing through the leaves, tousling poplar and birch and oak. A magpie launches itself from the garden, raucously objecting to the rain. Its cry and the flash of its blue feathers the only thing for miles and miles.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ah, my old nemesis, coffee. We meet again. mwahaha!

Friday, July 8, 2011

I will never be an astronaut

I will never be an astronaut
which is a dream I didn't even know I had until today. The last launch of the space shuttle was today, and watching the astronauts suit-up made me bawl. I don't know why. I hate heights, I hate flying, even. But to be able to taste that feral, untamed edge of the world, to see the positive curvature of the earth falling away, to have all the stars exposed and naked, to see the glow of the planet below cutting across a sky so black it aches...

I didn't know I wanted those things. But they'll never be mine now. And in 5 years, or 10, we'll go to space again, and I'll have missed my chance, and a whole generation will grow up without knowing what that dream is reaching for, without knowing what it means to break through the boundaries of human existance and fly just that little bit further into the vast unbroken emptiness of space.

Hubble is dying. That's the nature of a telescope--there's only so much maintenance that can be done, only so many repairs. Kind of like a car--eventually, even if you replace every component in it, it will fall apart. It's not a piece that's broken. It's everything wearing down. Old age. Chandra is dead, and Spitzer is dying. WMAP is running its course. We have reached the end of the great space telescope era, and that burns even more than the loss of space flight. To think of all the things left in the universe to see and to understand--to think of the inspiration, the portal into the most alien of realms that Hubble gave us, and to know that in 5 or 10 years we will not even be close to seeing anything like that again--that's a deeper, bitter hurt. The James Webb Space Telescope has had its funding slashed, fallen victim to the partisan politics that cater only to money. I know it's a small thing in the face of the poverty, illness, and ignorance that the politics also fosters--but it is a terrible blow to the future. I cannot think but that it is a bad idea to sacrifice the future for the moment.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Me and Knitting books

I have a secret affection for owning knitting books. I know I can find 1000s of free online patterns. My ravelry queue is more than 5 pages long and a single search for a particular type (say, hat) nets me 5 or 6 new ideas. I have 3 or 4 projects on needles and I keep thinking of new ones. But I really like the books because reading them absolutely drives my inspiration. I find all sorts of things I really love, and I think about changing them, and dream about the types of garments I could make if I had the patience to shell out for 12 balls of yarn.

The problem with this is that I'm frugal. I don't want to purchase a book that has patterns that I dislike. Since I've never encountered one book with 100% me-appropriate patterns, I've settled for a reasonable percentage. 50% to consider it. I'd like to say 80% to purchase, but I've bought a few books far below that.

This is especially a problem with the felting books I'm currently looking at. I am very interested in wool and the concept of felting, and I want to give it a try. I'm a scientist. I'm sure I can figure out how to do it from a minimum of research (and I already know it involves 100% natural animal fibers, hot water, and agitation) that I can do on the web for free, but I want a book because I want to read all about the complications in size, gauge, and color effects.

But every single one of these books (that I've found on Amazon) has felted balls.

I hate felted balls.

I'm sure they look really cool on some people as necklaces, or in some houses as decorations. I even understand the usefulness of starting with a simplistic project to teach me about not killing the washing machine, and the behavior of animal fibers under the hot-water-and-agitation principles. But to me they are nothing more than a cop-out in the pattern department. They're round balls, for crapsake! You're lucky if they're on a necklace and not just something you stuff in a bowl! They are not remotely useful. I know that it is a lot to ask for patterns to be useful, but I suppose I really mean, "something I would ever employ as a knitter." I don't need felted balls, and I really really don't need decorative balls that go in a bowl to look pretty. I don't have kids, but I do have pets--decorations do not last long in my house. Including them as one of your 10 or 16 patterns means that they are 5-10% of the value of the book--this is not fair!

All right, grumpy aside, I think I'm going to have to put up with them if I want to get a felting book. Maybe I can just cut that page out and pretend it doesn't exist. Yeah. Repression is the answer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

what to cast on next?

I finished a shawl! well, it's really more of a shrug, and I haven't blocked it yet, but it's done!

which means, *drumroll* I get to cast on another project.

Now the real test. what to do? Things I have in mind:

A Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmerman in greens and browns
mittens with that peruvian wool (but... they'll felt :( )
an apple discloth a la Mason-Dixon Knitting (here)
socks from my 5 or so possible sock yarn combinations
something vintage and tunic-y with that caron spa bamboo mix yarn
something with the noro I got on sale
a first major lace knitting project with that heinous scratchy ancient gray caron in sport weight? maybe it softens after washing!
another amigurumi? maybe the loch ness monster this time?
a cat bed with the heinous leftovers I have
gifts: something pink and lacy for Robin, something red and hatty for the WI senators, a buttonhole bag using up that scratchy yellow wool, or the tried and true lace-up wrist warmers

gahhhh! so much to knit! so little time!