Fourth Wall

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Drinking a pot of tea, and knitting a swatch in 50% wool/50% cotton on wooden needles.

(Sock two and I had some quality time on the plane, and is almost done.)

Correction: I apparently had not yet had enough tea when writing this post... the yarn is 50%wool, 50% silk... hence the luxury. Honestly, did you think I'd be so easily satisfied?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm going home tomorrow!

Did I mention that I'm going home tomorrow? In twelve and a half hours, I will be on the plane going HOME.

In other news: I wasn't eating there anyway, but they made BLTs for dinner at Theology on Tap tonight (a sad end to a series marked by vegetarian-friendly options). I walked in the front door of Calvert House and the smell of bacon was so strong, if I hadn't been fasting in order to receive communion, I would have promptly been ill in the foyer. Ugh...

SPEAKING OF VEGETARIANISM: I had lunch with the lovely Margaret on Friday, and met up with her outside the Reynolds Club. When I arrived, she was running late, so I settled down on the bench with the sock, taking note of the angry glare of the girl sitting across from me.

A few stitches after I had settled down, a young man came up with a placard with a picture of a pig and a picture of a cat, which read, "Which do you pet, and which do you eat?" He walked past me to throw away the string that had wrapped his pamphlets, and thus I became one of the first objects of his propaganda.

"Would you like information about a vegetarian lifestyle?" he asked me.
"Actually," I replied, "I am a Vegetarian."
"Oh, good for you," he said, "would you like to sign up on our mailing list to become an activist?"
"Oh, no thank you," I said, continuing my work on the accursed heel flap. "Not today." I didn't particularly feel like explaining the fact that a)I'm moving to Canada, b) I probably have very different reasons for my Vegetarianism than he does. (i.e. concerns for the Environment and land use.) I can tell you that he and I have very different reasons for our vegetarianism, because he was asking people if they wanted to live a "cruelty-free" lifestyle and shouting statistics about how many animals are tortured every year-- he tried this on me, too, trying to get me to become a vegan.

The only thing more shocking than how bad he was at engaging people in the real issues at hand, was the number of perfectly nice-looking folk who would deliberately provoke him. One woman, nicely dressed and pulling a toddler on a wagon behind her, responded, "no thank you, I like my meat" and then acted surprised that he redoubled his efforts. She then entered a conversation with the glowering girl, laughing at the vegan activist and asking, "animals eat one another. Why can't we eat them?"

"Animals also eat their own babies," he responded. "Would you eat your own child?"

At this point, I really had to suppress my desire to sigh loudly and perhaps break the third commandment, both of their arguments were so very contrary to my own views on the subject.

No sooner had this argument calmed than the angry girl across from me (who, by now, I had definitely decided I did not like) was joined by a companion and they began unpacking their boxes... of socialist newspapers. Margaret arrived just as they were arguing over who suffers more in this world... farm animals, or the proletariat. (PETA guy at least knew the population of humans in the world, and so was able to point out to the socialists that if their statistics about workplace death were correct, humans would be on the endangered species say the least.)

Oh, and... did I mention that I'm going home?

Do You Know What This Is?

You might think that it is the second sock.

In fact, it is proof that I have infuriated the knitting goddess with my hubris. There I was, knitting round and round for the leg, going so far as to knit while walking, or while standing on the red line, thinking, "I'm pretty good at this! No power in the 'verse can stop me!"*

Yes, so some of you should be seeing doom on the horizon right about now. At the heel flap, it became eminently clear that I cannot, in fact, keep track of a slip-one, knit-one pattern while doing anything else at all. After tinking back and reknitting so many times in the Chicago humidity, the yarn has begun to felt to itself (I didn't even know cotton could felt...) I triumphantly settled down to turn the heel.

Which went without a hitch (I was being lulled into a false sense of security) until I decreased by an extra stitch and had to undo all my picked-up stitches to undo the problem. I calmed myself, settled down to pick them up again, and...

Somewhere in there with picking up the stitches, I turned the work around and I've been knitting on the wrong side. This is an act of particular stupidity because it is a sock. It is knit in the round. I should have picked up that something was wrong when I had too many needles facing me.

I'm torn over whether I'm going to make myself a strong cup of tea and sit down to redo it, or if I'm going to leave the sock in time-out on the bedside table for the day, glowering at it intermittently.

For those of you who don't go for the knitting features, here's a little bit of North American history for you. The video is worthwhile, if your computer will handle it.

* Did I mention that the sock and I have been watching Firefly?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Overheard in my Apartment

S: "He's so hot and androgynous..."


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Notes from a Weekend in Canada

1. Toronto has black squirrels. They are very disturbing-- every time I see one I think it's a rat until I see the bushy tail.

2. Paging Veronica:

3. Whole milk is not called whole milk. It is called "Homogenized" and is abbreviated in the most unfortunate way.

4. I am, it seems, already a card-carrying member of the CMS "Team Catholic". There was, it seems, talk of a Team Catholic vs. Team Anglican Kickball game, until they decided that it would be better to partner up to play against Team Secular Humanism.

5a. Team Catholic tends to go to mass at the Toronto Oratory. It was gooood... Latin Novus Ordo with an English gradual (as opposed to responsorial) psalm and an altar rail. And a teenage altar boy who chanted the second reading. And several mantillas aside from those worn by yrs. truly and Emilie.

5b. It's refreshing to hang out with Catholics and Anglo-Catholics and High Church Anglicans who like good liturgy without necessarily being (crazy) Republicans. I feel like I have found my people. Unfortunately, these people say "eh?"

6. Team Anglican goes to "The Highest Anglican Church in Toronto". It is referred to as "Smokey Tom's". I laughed for about an hour.

7. Emilie is Emily's roommate. Predictable confusion ensues.


Yes. That is a missionizing bus advertisement with a quote from Karl Barth. It was on the bus to the airport. On the whole, Toronto (despite the famed diversity) was almost overwhelmingly Christian... a look at a map of the downtown area shows dozens of churches and one solitary synagogue, many of the University colleges seem to be attached to Theological programs or certain denominations, and I was greeted at the airport by an announcement stating that all were welcome at a Catholic Mass that was about to be celebrated in the airport chapel. I know we're in the majority, but it really *felt* like being in the majority. I wasn't a fan.

9. Let's talk about crossing the street. In Toronto, semi-busy crosswalks are marked with large yellow lights with black 'x'es which hang across the street. The protocol here is to push the button that makes the light flash, *then* make eye contact with the oncoming driver and point in the direction in which you are planning to walk. Stay calm: nobody actually does this "pointing" thing.

9. I finished a sock:

The sock greatly enjoyed meeting PhD candidates, visiting coffee shops, a sushi restaurant, and many a conversation over Emily/ie's kitchen table. (As well as trips to Jimmy's, the Med, and Cedars in Hyde Park.) It's partner has seen the blue line, the Pub, and watched Firefly with Tom.

Which brings me to the second topic of this post:




He loves it. Which is good... if he hadn't, I would have had to strangle him with it.

In other news, chick flicks lie: finishing the pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream straight out of the carton is not as therapeutic as they would make you think. I should have taken Ben (Alice E's boyfriend) up on his offer of a shot of tequila. Send hugs, but send them to San Francisco... I'm going home on Monday, and I'm so excited I just can't hide it.

Oh, and Anna: we saved you Giordano's. You were missed.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Three Things

1) I am going to Toronto for the weekend.

2) I do have mono.

3) I owe lots of people e-mails and phone calls. I'll try to catch up on that when I get back.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vanessa is Coming! Vanessa is Coming!

...and I'm trying to bring some semblance of order to the apartment before she gets here. This morning, the bedroom was so messy I actually had the following conversation with myself:

"Where do I start? Well, if I put on my shoes, that will be two things that aren't taking up space on the floor..."

In other news:

I finished knitting and blocking Tom's scarf. I'll add the fringe sometime in the next few days during a late-night conversation with Vanessa (fringe is kinda boring).

I went to the yarn store on Saturday, found a darning needle, and bought only a little bit of yarn (it was on sale). I spent about an hour sitting and talking to the women knitting there. One was from Canada, and she wished me luck. Turns out that if you're going to have a spell of nausea and need to sit down, a yarn store is a good store to do it in. Everyone was very nice.

Anna loves me. She sent me cookies. I've been eating them very slowly, due to the bouts of nausea. Anna, they did not melt and they're very yummy. Furthermore, you have better taste in boxes than Vanessa (We shall not discuss what kind of box Vanessa used to send me cookies last fall. I was amused.)

It turns out that, after a session alone in a room with a few professors and a chalk board, Patrick is indeed qualified to continue his pursuit of a doctorate in mathematics. If only those professors had asked me, I could have given them proof of his mathematical ability.

Exhibit A: A recipe card for Colcannon, which I was going to make for a large St. Patrick's Day dinner we threw second year.

Exhibit B: What Patrick produced when asked, "Patrick, could you write down the amounts for a doubled recipe, so we know how much to get at the store?"

As you can see, he doubled the potatoes, failed to double the cabbage, and then just...gave up. I just about died, I was laughing so hard.

Congratulations, Podraig. I knew you could do it.

Alice the roommate is my hero of the day for (after I'd spent an hour and fifteen minutes setting up our internet) dealing with the second crisis of the day, which was a blown fuse. And she brought me ginger ale for my stomach.

(The following paragraph may not be appropriate for those with great fears of blood and yucky stuff. Just to let you know, Heavens.)

In other news: it turns out that I'm allergic to latex bandages. Or something. Anyway, I have some nasty wounds around my blood-test bruise where the bandage pulled off the skin. It looks like someone spilled hydrochloric acid on my arm or something.

More stories to come, of course, after Vanessa's visit. I have plans, if she's not too busy looking at apartments. They involve both Giordano's and the Art Institute.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

It's Bastille Day! know what that means, don't you?

This little girl...

is TWO!

And I'm celebrating two years of being "Auntie" Alice. It's been a fun two years-- Poppie's a hoot and a half.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Sweet Smell of...Chlorine Bleach

Today has been, in context, a smashingly productive day. I mailed a birthday package to a certain be-hatted gentleman in New York (without the wailing and gnashing of teeth that usually accompanies a trip to the University's Postal Station), I had a checkup at the Student Care Center where they did take a blood sample for Mono (no wailing, some gnashing of teeth) and I simultaneously ran into the lovely Miss Pam and one of my favorite fellows of the Compton House variety. Then I went to University Market for Ginger Ale and a frozen organic/Vegetarian pasta dinner and took a long route home. When I arrived, 4/5ths of the items in the mail were for me. I love mail. I am a mail glutton. Sukie (or, if you want to be Welsh about it, Swci)'s postcard from Assisi has been added to my desktop decorations. I watched Chinatown and knitted the scarf some more (I'm at 17 out of 19 stripes. The end is in sight!). Oh, and I've been reading a spectacular novel. (Don't buy it on Amazon...go to your local independent. It's better for your soul/karma/soul's karma.)

Oh, and I cleaned the bathroom. This was because I was shamed into it when Everyone's Favorite Metrosexual Marxist (A.K.A "Dan") commented on the state thereof when he stopped by to check up on me yesterday. I was horrified that he said anything... I mean, I knew it was bad, but I'm pretty finicky. Today, though, I figured out what was so bad about it. Dan, you see, is male, and so had been required to lift the toilet seat. The residents of this apartment are all female, and no-one had thought of doing such a thing since the most recent male residents moved out (and those boys probably hadn't cleaned in there, either). I'm going to have post-traumatic stress dreams about cleaning that bathroom. Victory, however, is mine, as confirmed by the smell of cleaning supplies wafting through the hallway.

Plans for the rest of the evening/until I get tired? Eating ice cream, movie watching, and trying not to let the antibiotics get the best of me. (Dan: "I hate antibiotics. They give me Kafka dreams.")

ADDENDUM: (12:12 am) One of the few benefits of postponing my trip to see Emily in Toronto is that I get to attend the "Theology on Tap" talk on Sunday evening about Benedict's Eucharistic Theology. I'm trying to decide if it's worth my while to toss aside both Gilead and The Worm Ourobouros to try to read some of his Eucharistic writings so that I can be both non-bored and informed during the talk, but given that I just realized that my plan to finish the scarf by Friday really means that I need to finish it by this coming Monday, given hopes to travel to Toronto and Vanessa's Tuesday arrival, there's a good chance that such a project could result only in the aforementioned wailing and gnashing of teeth and/or spiritual indigestion on par with reading all of Story of a Soul on a four-hour plane flight from Chicago to San Francisco. Not that I've done that. That friend of mine...a girl I know...yeah.

Also, I think I need to return to Loopy Yarns to buy a darning needle in order to sew up the numerous ends in this scarf. I'm hoping to avoid having a yarn-buying accident, especially since I realized today that I do hate the yarn I bought for the hat and perhaps the hat pattern and don't really care what it turns into so long as it doesn't fit me. I don't think the yarn (Gedifra "Donatella") is spun so much as pulled-- it feels chalky and the thought of pulling it over my hair gives me shivers down my spine. Okay, that's probably more than any of you cared about my handcrafts. (Also, after a documentary on Ocean Life: 17.5 out of 19. I'm rocking this scarf.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Your Intrepid Correspondent is not in Canada

I was supposed to be in Toronto by now, hanging out with Emily and meeting other CMS students. Instead I am home in the apartment with the mystery virus. I'm hoping to get to Toronto next weekend, instead--and for those of you wondering, what with my lack of summer job here in Chicago and all, I am considering just going home for the rest of the summer. The only question that brings up is, what to do with all the boxes and boxes of stuff I have in this apartment?

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I have a lot of mix CDs... they're leftover party mixes from High School (embarrassing iawn, from friends like Ian ("Better Than Homework, a.k.a "Bad Music for Going A Wife-ing"), or from Patrick, or Veronica, or copies of CDs I gave to Patrick or Veronica. Now, none of them are from the period of non-backed-up music, so that's disappointing. But that's not the point of the post. The point is that I just found a mix CD that I have NO MEMORY of receiving from ANYONE. I was assuming it was from Podraig, because it looked like the same kind of CD... but it has Weezer on it (Patrick listens to Weezer?) as well as Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight," which I believe I told Patrick I hated the *first* time he put it on a CD for me, and "Puff, the Magic Dragon," (!?!) and "Brown Eyed-Girl". I'm many things, but I'm not brown-eyed.

I'm left with several options:

1) Somebody left me the CD and I slipped it into my CD case without ever noticing it/paying attention/listening to it. This is unlikely because there is a heavy romantic tone to the CD and recent beaux have not been of the CD-making or English-music-owning type.

2) Somebody made this CD for a roommate, and I ended up with it accidentally (does Devree have brown eyes? Kathleen? Jas does, but I'm sure Thomas doesn't listen to Weezer).

3) Somebody made me this CD to introduce me to some music I don't know, and the memory thereof has been fried out of my brain by the Chicago heat. (This is unlikely... Neil just passed me his USB key when he wanted to introduce me to Altan and Nickelcreek...and I can't think of anyone else who has tried to improve my musical tastes).

ADDENDA: This has a song from The Little Mermaid on it. I'm thinking Jasmine?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Now Returning to Previous Photo Functionality...

GOOD NEWS: Alice E. is back from Russia, and her laptop was NOT stolen. Hurrah!
BAD NEWS (in Ian H's preferred form:)
The Care Center Says
My Strep Test is Negative
Blood Test for Mono?

Anyway, here are some of the photos I've collected since Friday:

(Oh, excuse me, Madam Sphynx... I did not mean to interrupt your repose by trying to clean the bathroom.)

Meanwhile, Worm has set up camp next to the bed (far enough away that she avoids my body heat, but close enough that I can pet her without getting up).

We watched "Winged Migration." It was popular with the feline members of the household.

Sphynx quickly grew bored, but Worm remained alert...

And tried to determine where the birds were...

And then she very kindly modeled the scarf.

Although they were somewhat confused by my foray into winding sock-yarn (I tried to explain this scene to Anna, but really only a picture would do it justice)

And this is my new sock yarn, in skein, ball, and swatch form. Thanks to Kathleen for not having me committed when I bought size two needles.

Good News/Bad News

GOOD: I found my BA in my sent e-mail folder.
BAD: I'm not sure, but I think they may have taken the other Alice's laptop as well (I never noticed whether it was there or not, I just noticed an empty keyboard shelf on her desk.)

BAD: I think I have strep throat.
GOOD: I registered for the student health fee today, and they allowed me to make an appointment for an hour from now.

Saturday afternoon post brunch with Pam just generally sucked (excuse me) in every way possible(I was sick, I got take-out and there was chicken in the soup that Ithought was vegetarian, etc.) What saved it was the arrival, through a Netflix trial, of Cars and Winged Migration. I sat on the couch, drank cranberry juice like it was my job, and worked on my knitting while the cats tried to figure out why they couldn't get to the birds on the television screen. Oh, and the Haberdasher'd One called and let me complain.

GOOD NEWS: Theology on Tap at Calvert House had a bunch of my friends there, and a vegetarian option.
BAD NEWS: Let's be honest. The talk sucked. There's only so long you can listen to a Licensed Clinical Social Worker saying things like, "well, as they say, 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'," and "women are cooperative, men are competitive," and "women are family-oriented, men are self-oriented," before you want to stick your eyes out with the pointy end of a thurible. (I was torn...if I had brought my knitting, I would have been less bored...but I would have been reinforcing his stereotypes.) I sat there thinking, "Oh my gosh, and he's friends with Father Pat... does Father Pat think this way?!"

GOOD NEWS: Kathleen and I went yarn shopping. There's no bad news there.

ADDENDUM: As you may have noticed, this whole Motu Propio business has entirely passed me by.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Why Don't We Have a Confession for This?

Yesterday was going to be a really happy post. I was housecleaning most of the day, and I was going to post about the smell of the sheets drying in the sun (we care about our carbon footprint over here at Fourth Wall) and happy clean bathroom floors and pictures of cats. Around 4, I took myself to the Bonjour Cafe for a croissant and to study Latin, and at 5 I went to the bookstore to look at knitting books. Louis, friend of the other Alice who has been checking on the cats, called me about 5:15, and asked me why the back door was open. I thought nothing of it, remembering that I had forgotten to close the back door that leads out to the porch, and told him that everything was okay.

When I got home, however, book purchase in hand and ready to blog about it, I couldn't. My laptop was gone, and in a sign of true proof that I had not simply misplaced it, the power cord was missing as well. (My iPod is gone, too, but the other girl's laptops are in place.) So I called the police. I called Louis, and confirmed that what *he* had meant was that both the back door *and the door to the porch* were hanging open. I called Mom, Louis came over to help me talk to the Police, and when everyone was gone I called Mordu and cried.

Remember that resume dance? Yeah, the resume was on the laptop. My BA was on the laptop. My pictures I have of Wales are backed up on CDs and on Facebook, but the pictures I took of my garden and the city when I was back in San Francisco are gone. So's about $150 worth of iTunes purchases (I know I should back these things up, thank you). And I spent last night tossing and turning over the fact that some stanger had walked into my bedroom with dirty laundry on the floor and taken my laptop off my desk with the nice peaceful postcard of a buddha statue and lots of cheerful notes to myself to remind myself to drink more water and do yoga and so forth and stolen my laptop with my music and pictures of my baby cousins and my cats and little notes from people in my life and my WRITING which is my LIFE and oh my GOD the browser was open to a KNITTING BLOG how non violent can you get and it's all my fault for forgetting to lock the back door before I left and not checking to make sure that the door to the porch was locked.

We have confession to free us from our sins, but how do we free ourselves from the guilt of all the stupidities that aren't exactly sins? (My only comfort is that the computer was set for a Dvorak keyboard, so I hope it takes the thief one hell of a long time to figure out how to use it.)

There are no words to thank: Mordu, who a) let me cry to him and made his best efforts to send a hug though a telephone line and b) insisted that I call Hays and Kathleen to take care of me;

Hays and Kathleen, who a) picked me up at the apartment, b) served me a grilled cheese sandwich, organic cherry tomatoes, and Anchor Steam, c) watched a movie with me (the movie was "One Day in September," which was perhaps not the best choice for the mood but very informative anyway) d) took me to the Med for milkshakes, e) and let me sleep on their couch;

Pam, who ate brunch with me this morning and was, as always, full of love;

Mordu's mother, who has wished lightning down on the thief and for the return of my laptop. Don't mess with her.

If you're wondering if there's anything you can do to make me feel better, I have a few suggestions (I'm so not above begging):

1) If we've been somewhere together recently and took some photos (like, say, the Golden Gate Bridge), I don't have those photos anymore. E-mailing some of yours is easy and would be lovely for me.

2) If I made you a mix CD since December, if you could copy the CD and burn me a copy--that's the only back-up I have of some of my favorite music.

3) If you live in Wales, and can get your hands on a Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg window decal like this one, I will happily send you a present from Chicago or Toronto in exchange. I like having it to spark conversation with people about the Welsh language. That said, it was a hard identifying mark to explain to the police.

4) I have to re-write the resume. I may have to re-type my entire BA. Care packages of chocolate will be responded to in some kind and gracious way that I shall soon devise.

5) Pray REALLY REALLY HARD that the sore throat that I'm getting is not some sort of terrible disease that will require me to go to the emergency room since I haven't paid the summer Student Care fee.

I love you all, and I realize that I'm pretty lucky: I'm safe, the cats are safe, my jewelry, camera, checkbook, and wallet are safe, I'm not responsible for the loss of any of my roommates' stuff...but it still sucks.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Sleepy Post Before Coffee

So, yesterday was Independence Day (I bet you noticed. If you didn't, your dog/cat probably did.) and I celebrated by declaring my independence from all the little to-dos that I had been putting off for the past week or so. I wrote thank-you notes (Heads up to the SF Arts Stitch & Bitch Team) and did laundry and finished my resume. That may or may not have required a little dance at the end of it-- I'm not telling.

So, in the "I'm too stupid to live" category, I was writing thank-you notes and I had a very nice elk postcard (don't ask.) to send to our family friends John and Larry. Now, usually when I send cards to couples, I address it to "Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur McConservativepants" or, you know, "Mr. Joe Liberal and Ms. Lily Sunshine." But I'm not all that accustomed to the other options out there, so (like an idiot) I thought, "oh, I'll just make it plural!" and preceded to write out (follow the brain process here) "M...r...s... John...Killac...crap."

Yeah. So that was the end of the elk postcard.

Also: open letter to bratty Junior High School students at the Med Cafe: Do not, having just crammed your used ice-cream cup into your fathers hand to force him to walk all *twelve feet* to throw it out for you, smirk triumphantly at me. It makes me reevaluate my opinion of spanking small, bratty children in order to prevent them growing up to be like you.

Had dinner with the Newlywed Kathleen & Hays last night. In their great generosity, Hays loaned me their DVDs of House of Cards which, after the first two hours, I highly recommend, and Kathleen loaned me two crochet hooks. She and I are going yarn shopping on Saturday. Fear us.

As for me, I must be out of the library now (no internet in the apartment, again) and off to find some coffee and do some Latin.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Maybe My Social Life Isn't So Bad...

E.F.M.M made sure that the earrings and I got out last night by taking us to... The Cove. Yes. Sunshine a.k.a. "Andy K." joined us late and we sat around talking about our hidden desire to (if we had not been two historians and a mathematician) be marine biologists. I find it a charming trait that if you get enough alcohol (and the correct company) into Dan (a.k.a. "E.F.M.M"), he starts talking about cute cat stories. Yes.

Also, Dan (there's no point in continuing this charade. You know which one of my Dans is a Marxist who wants to be an Historian of Science when he grows up) wanted to go to the Cove because "it is cheaper and less smokey than Jimmmy's."

There was irony there, didja catch it? Yes, it may well be less smokey than Jimmy's, but I couldn't tell because I was at table with two of the heaviest smokers in the bar.

We drank more beer than I had planned (but Dan was buying), Sunshine walked me home, and I think I've gotten the smoke smell out of my hair. I'm not sure where my purse is, so if that's you buzzing on my cell phone, I'm sorry. I'll try to find it before I leave the house to find a cafe in which I can study Latin.

In other news: Veroniquita, who is in Madrid for a month teaching English, has a travel blog. I'm comforted by the knowledge that 80's fashion is not as rampant in Spain as Voces y Vistas and other language textbooks would have one think.

AS FOR THE SCARF: I'm tearing out some rows because I was trying to knit and read blogs simultaneously yesterday evening, and that failed miserably. Meanwhile I'm drooling over this scarf. Someday, someday.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thoughts, Loosely Related

I can't sleep, so I'm going to blog. This makes sense, right? As if staring at a glowing computer screen would improve my circadian rhythms... because my sleep schedule has been screwed pretty much since I got back to Chicago. Either I toss and turn and kick the covers until 2... or I toss and turn and kick the covers until 1, and am then awakened at 3 or 4 in the morning by such things as:
1) a violent allergy attack
2) a prank caller
3) a locked out roommate.

Then I sleep in so late that this morning, when I awoke at 9:55, it was a minor victory. I thought about staying in bed and then going to the 5:00 mass, but then I came to my senses. My senses sounded something like this: "Alice, your internet is down. Even assuming you could sleep until noon, what would you *do* for four and a half hours?"

(Obviously, the internet, (by which I mean, the neighbor's internet) is hale and hearty again.)

I am trying to tell myself that I cannot sleep tonight because of the cats running up and down the corridor. Also the roommate walking up and down the corridor and then slamming her door. I might need to invest in ear plugs, but then I worry about not getting up in the morning. Investing in ear plugs is better than confronting the roommate (it's not that she's fierce, it's that she's so damned apologetic I feel guilty for complaining. Who wants to take a field trip to my psyche?).

And, you know, it's really not fair to blame the cats, who have been nothing but gray bundles of love. Well, gray bundles of love towards my down comforter of pillowy delight, at least.

(Saturday Morning. Looks just like Friday Morning.)

Well, that and taking advantage of their superior height when sitting on my desk chair to swat at my arse whilst I did yoga this afternoon.

Am I the only one who worries about the environmental/social justice impact of throwing out worn, tattered underwear? Worn, tattered, cotton underwear with the elastic coming out that one has had since maybe seventh grade? Is it a sign of some sort of insane frugality/concern with global warming/America's impact on world hunger/the fact that I may have somehow absorbed the spirit of my deceased, Depression-and-WWII-surviving, Rural Eastern Pennsylvania Grandmother, but in a 21st-century, dharma brat/neo-hippie sort of way (stop for breath and to remember where this sentence was orginally going) that I have thought about coming up with some way of re-using the underwear? And not just as cleaning rags? (After all, that's what I do with my holey socks).

Saturday was a little dull around here, but it's my own fault, really. I hadn't yet e-mailed or called many people in Hyde Park. And I had an invitation, too, but as soon as the words "birthday party" passed the lips of Everyone's Favorite Metrosexual Marxist (hereafter referred to as E.F.M.M), I immediately thought of 1) the possible effect of alcohol on my then very hungry body; 2) the cost of public transportation in this city; 3) my extreme shyness at parties; and 4) the fact that I would be abandoning the scarf I am knitting to a night all by its lonesome. So, like an idiot, I did not say, "oh, what time?" but instead, said, "oh, I don't think I'd be much fun." Then I took myself out to dinner, went home, called Carolyn (definitely the highlight), sorted books, and watched a movie with the scarf. I wanted to watch "The Last King of Scotland," but couldn't get around the parental controls on the Playstation that is passing for a DVD player in this apartment. So I watched "The Neverending Story." Go ahead, laugh at me. The scarf, the cats, and I all agreed that it was far less confusing than when I last saw it (I was five), but a bit predictable.

SIDE NOTE: Cats who have never seen knitting before are like... well, the only metaphor I can come up with is, you know how the Dodos didn't know they were supposed to be afraid of humans, and let themselves be bludgeoned to death? Yeah. They don't care, because they don't realize that they're supposed to care. (Cats who have never seen Yoga before act like embarrassed teenagers, but they seem to be acclimating themselves. See above in re: arse-swatting.)

BACK TO THE POINT: The evening at home was all the more sad because when I was in SF, I bought the world's most fantabulous pubbing/party earrings, and I am itching for a chance to wear them.

E.F.M.M is right. I am anti-fun. (I don't share The Four-Eyed' Gremlin's distaste for proper names; I just have a lot of friends named Dan.)

So, this scarf. I am knitting this scarf for a boyfriend. Er, an ex-boyfriend. As a birthday/Christmas present. For Christmas, 2006. I mean, I was behind when I started because I bought the yarn over Thanksgiving break and his birthday is in October, but it made sense at the time. He is a Harry Potter fan, and would surely appreciate a Hogwart's Scarf in the appropriate colors (Maroon and Gold, of course). (And his ex had given him a quilted blanket and there was just no standing for that, now, was there?) There is nothing wrong with the pattern: it is mind-numbingly simple color-striping. It is, however, knit on round needles so as to be doubly thick, and it is really, really long. It has 19 stripes. I am in the middle of stripe 11. I have been knitting since November (given, I wrote a BA in the meantime.)

To add insult to injury, I have only read one Harry Potter book, and I really, really want this scarf myself. The yarn is amazing (8% angora...all I want to do is run my hands across the finished part of the scarf), the saturation of the colors is delicious, and... I'm the one moving to Toronto! But I will stay strong. First, out of honor. Second, because since November he has given me both the world's second most fantabulous pair of earrings (see picture)

*and* a deluxe edition of The Lord of the Rings that I shall not link to on Amazon because I don't want to know how much he spent on it. So I'm knitting as fast as I can, to finish the scarf, to finish the hat that I bought in SF, to move on to the next project which just might be...another scarf.

On another note: what do you get as a birthday present for the kippah-wearing New Yorker who has everything? It has to be soon, since it's looking likely that he'll be in a small Middle-Eastern country that I with my hippie, feel-good, DCS education cannot find on a map for the birthday itself. (I don't feel bad about my lack of geographic prowess, despite the fact that I went to the CA State Geography Bee in 8th grade: I study Wales.) If anyone says "A Hogwarts Scarf," I'll strangle them with circular needles. Electronically. I am that fierce.

By the way, I received the following e-mail from E.F.M.M: "I didn't wind up going to the party. I felt a bit run down, so I had an antisocial

He is NO LONGER allowed to call me "anti-fun" or make cracks like, "Alice, you meet fun in a vacuum and you both cease to exist." I still have to invite him over for dinner, though. He's the only person I know in Hyde Park tall enough to change the light bulb in the Living Room.