Thursday, April 30, 2009

After the boys of summer have gone...

The youngest sister made the trek up to visit me (oldest) and middle. Middle is currently employed as an administrative assistant for the local AIDS outreach group, and last night was their annual fundraiser, "A Taste for Life". In essence, local restaurants all agree to donate 25% of the proceeds for the evening to AIDS charities. Naturally, we all wanted to eat out for the cause.

Youngest has just finished her college program. She had to pass two sets of exit exams in order to graduate and be certified in her field, and passed them all in the first try. It's been so interesting to watch her grow through school. Youngest has never been an especially bookish or academic type, but as soon as she started in this program, she's been right on the ball. She knows more about the human body than I could ever imagine. Now that she's done she think she might take a gap year. She wants to do some volunteer work in Africa, and will be headed to Nicaragua with my mother in November.

I finished my first Ishbel last night. I made the larger shawl size, and I have to say, I don't love it. Now, I haven't blocked it yet, so that might change, but on the whole I think it works much better at the smaller, scarf size. Which is probably why everyone on Rav has made the small one. I've just cast on for the smaller one with my Three Irish Girls Finley Merino in Vintage Zinc. This yarn is incredible: soft, soft, soft, and such a depth of shade. This Ishbel I am going to love for sure.

Headed to the parents' again tomorrow--Dad and I are going to Toronto for a baseball game. It will be my first in several years, although I'd like to make the Stitch and Pitch later this summer too. I'm actually not sure I even know who plays for Toronto any more. Sad, really...there was a time when I could've named the entire roster and their stats.

There are 8 suspected cases os H1N1A in North Bay Rock City. I am not allowed to read Stephen King's The Stand until this is over.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Got $500?

V. – Thomas Pynchon

Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1963. 8vo. 492 pp. First Edition, first printing w. first-issue dj (table of contents on rear panel). Pale purple cloth with silver lettering on the spine and blind-stamped “V”s on the front panel. Top edge stained dark blue, gold endpapers. The price-clipped dj is slightly rubbed, with some chipping (esp. head & heel of spine) and a small tear in the middle of the rear hinge – a 1cm square tear at the top of the spine has been tape-repaired on the inside. The boards are clean except for a slight fading along the top edge, a square area at the head of the spine (resulting from the dj tear) and a slight discoloration at the heel edge, and very minor scuffing along bottom edge of front panel. Internally, the book is clean & sound.

Published in 1963 to critical acclaim, V. won the William Faulkner Foundation Award for best first novel, and immediately established Thomas Pynchon as a “Talent to Watch”. V. is a sprawling novel, filled with a colorful cast of characters whose various adventures and interactions range across a century.

My friend Mike is headed down to Toronto for the Toronto Book Fair this weekend. He sent me the evaluations of several books that he'll be offering for sale there, and it just made me itch to get my hands on some books. The language of selling books is simply incredible--I still dream of opening a bookstore some day, though it seems more and more distant all the time.

I read far too little of any consequence during the school year, so I'd really like to catch up on my reading this summer. Pynchon is on the list for this summer--what else should be?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

If I am good...

If I am good I will finish my large Ishbel today. If I am better I will work on Caitlin's sweater. It's a variation on a toddler sweater I made last year. Apparently grown women are much larger than two year olds. Who knew?

I am a packrat. While this has obvious implications for my home life, it also spills over into my professional life. In some ways teaching is well-suited for this kind of behaviour: the culture of entitlement forces me to hang on to things that should simply be binned or recycled, because if I get called up to prove that a student earned (or didn't earn) a certain grade, I need to have all of my documents in order. This year, I am throwing out everything from last year--I figure 12 months is plenty of time to hang on to things.

Once my office is clean (which should take a few more days), I am going to start on my craft room at home. It's sewing time, I think.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Warning: This post is long and yarn-related. If you're not a knitting type, please disregard.

Toronto's Downtown Knit Collective held their annual Knitters Frolic this past weekend. It coincided, magically, with my hometown's annual Maple Syrup Festival (reportedly the second largest in Ontario), so I was quite excited to head on home. I brought Girl Tuesday down with me, and we stopped at The Purple Sock in Coldwater. After deciding that money spent there did not count as part of the Frolic budget, I picked up some Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 2 ply in their Silver colourway, and a beautiful wooden shawl pin. The next day, we met up with Starlite75 to have the traditional pancake breakfast. From there, we headed to Toronto. Naturally, the Don Valley Parkway was closed for cleaning, so we had to take an alternate route, which we promptly messed up, but thanks to the marvels of GPS we were able to correct our course and arrive in one piece. We even managed to get a totally sweet parking spot right by the door.

Inside the Japanese Cultural Centre was pretty overwhelming. We decided to make a circuit of the whole thing to get an idea of what was available. I got to see a lot of stuff that I had not seen in person before (Malabrigo lace, Dream in Colour, etc.) and we saw both the Yarn Harlot and Amy Singer walking around. I would have loved to talk to them, but didn't want to bother them. There was some stuff that I didn't see that I had hoped to, like Berroco, Brown Sheep, and Rowan, but I did somehow manage to find enough to buy...

Like this:
rhi 139

And this:
rhi 142

And these:
rhi 143 rhi 145

And this:
rhi 148

And this:
rhi 140

And of course no yarn would be complete without:
rhi 149

I also picked up Kristeen Griffith-Grimes' French Girl Knits, and am quite pleased that I did so.

Return from the netherworld

It has been a long time, hasn't it? In recent weeks my job has all but taken over my life; I feel like I've done little other than mark, knit, sleep, and watch Battlestar Galactica in the last two months. Even now, when I ought to be at the end, I'm not--missing exams and a couple of INCs mean that I won't really be done for probably another two weeks, but classes and exams are over, and students are off campus, and there's only a month left to this contract.

In addition to the heavy workload, in the last few weeks there's been lots of fun personal stuff to deal with as well. I won't dwell on the negatives (let's say that owning a home and a vehicle really is as expensive as everyone says), but the positive is worth mentioning: the Boyfriend is now the Fiance.

This past weekend was wonderful: I made the trip down to Toronto for The Downtown Knit Collective's Knitters Frolic. I stuck to my budget, but managed to buy some pretty impressive yarns...I need to head back to the house now, but I intend to post a full report of the awesome. Hint: I saw both the Yarn Harlot and Amy Singer.