Syndactyl Salutations

Thoughts on writing, knitting, and the world around me.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Taking the plunge

I've been letting my hair grow for about three years now, and it's down to the middle of my back...until tomorrow. I've decided I need a chance, a way to redefine myself, and a new haircut should be a way to get started.

I've also been feeling frumpy lately and I think that all of this hair that I don't do anything with has something to do with it. I'm not going to go really short this time, just some sort of bob a bit above my shoulders, probably, with some new and interesting color as well, why not.

I read The North Carolina Experiment today and I swear my ex-husband is in the background of one of the photos from her trip back. Very strange, but not out of the realm of possibility, I suppose.

Racquetball again this evening. I wasn't exactly up for going, but I'm glad I did. The grip tape is still leaving black on my skin, and since I decided to experiment with switching hands this time, both hands got it.

Writing of the morning page and page long free-write variety only today, but it's better than nothing, and the two-year novel program starts on Thursday. I just hope I can follow through with it.

Oh, need to order ancient transcript to see what testing needs to be done for theoretical grad school application.

But at least a large swathe of space is cleared on my desk, the cats have a nice spot to recline in the sun, aren't I generous.

Saturday, December 27, 2003


Christmas was nice and relaxing. I got nice gifts, but I wasn't really focused on that end of it this time around. Not that I ever really am, but this year it was barely a blip. I enjoyed giving all of the women and girls their scarves, and they all seemed to enjoy them and the fact that they were made specifically for them. And I got all of the colors right, which made it even better.

I finished the last scarf to be given on Christmas that day, and my parents couldn't have been happier to have me sitting on their couch knitting while we visited. It was enough to get mom to pick her wallpaper box project up for a while too. They were even happier when I left the house with tons of calico for future quiltmaking projects.

I have come to crafts late in my life. I did a little sewing and other needlework when I was a child, but it never really stuck. I doodle from time to time, but I don't draw very well or very often. My main creative outlet for most of my life has been my writing, and most people don't see that. I've had a handful of pieces published, but those have been a few years ago at their most recent.

Suffice to say, they were impressed by my little quilt, and are thrilled that I am doing creative things with my hands. Along with the fabric, I took a small stack of decade-old quilting magazines and have spent the past couple of days looking through them and trying to decide whether I could actually make any of them and if I would have the patience to quilt one rather than simply tying it, and where on earth I could find room for a quilting frame. Like I said, obsessions.

I still need to make the scarf for my sister-abroad, in the event that she does come back here any time soon, or so that I can ship it off to her before July.

People kept asking if I was going to give the quilt I just finished to my new nephew. I heard something on Christmas that made me able to give a definitive "NO" to the question. My mother made my first nephew a beautiful quilt when he was born. She worked on it throughout my sister's pregnancy and put a lot of symbolic and hard-to-find fabrics into it, not to mention time and energy. Apparently it has either been lost or given away. Not by the two-year-old, mind. So, no, I won't be giving my first quilt to my brand new nephew. For all I know, they don't even still have the scarves I gave them a month ago.

I think I need to get bundled up and take a hike somewhere. I've been in the house all day, tense about whether there would be mischief. Now I am free and I think I'll take advantage of it.

Oh, saw Mona Lisa Smile yesterday. It was another weepy, but it was good. She may be smiling even if she isn't happy, post-WWII opportunities for women, etc. The girdle as a symbol of freedom. I sat in the dark, ate popcorn, got weepy, and laughed out loud a couple of times. It was a good afternoon.

Hope everyone to whom it applies had a happy and relaxing holiday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Cookie-mas

I baked cookies for seven hours today. My heels hurt and I don't even want a cookie. I was pretty good when it came to picking, actually. Maybe had a cookie-and-a-half total, maybe I'll want them more tomorrow. I made one batch each of pecan balls, chocolate peanut butter oatmeal (no bake!!), snickerdoodles, and cranberry ginger. We'll probably give most of them away. I got little tins while I was out during the first half of the day, I'll put cookies in them in the morning.

We're going to my folks in the morning for brunch, roasting a chicken for ourselves during the afternoon, and having his family over in the evening. Busier than we had originally intended, but that's okay.

I finally finished my shopping today. I only had a couple of things to get, really. There's one that I still don't have, but it's out of my hands and I'll just let the recipient know that it's coming and he'll have it as soon as possible.

I have nothing wrapped and am not motivated to begin that task at this late hour. But if I don't do it now I will really be scrambling in the morning. Quandary.

My sister abroad is supposedly arriving on home turf with the next generation in tow any day now. Of course, with the terror alert level raised and flights being delayed and cancelled across the world, who knows when she will actually make it.

I need to remember to bring my quilt in the morning to show my family. Maybe I'll have time to do a little fabric "shopping" while I'm there. It's possible that that's what everyone will get next year.

Merry Christmas to all (as long as it applies and Happy Holiday of your choosing to all the rest), and to all a good night... to not-quite-quote "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"

I need to reread The Birds' Christmas Carol, it's been a couple of years.

Monday, December 22, 2003


I learned how to quilt, I've been knitting scarves as if possessed, and tonight I scanned my river sunset photo and made a holiday card to give to my coworkers. Okay, I printed twenty and tomorrow I need to cut and fold them, but you get the point. Wait, it gets worse. I'm considering making cookies on Christmas Eve, and this weekend I made a huge pot of soup. I don't know what's come over me.

I'm not ready for Christmas, but I don't think this is the year I'll be ready even when it arrives, so I may as well just go with it. I'll be ready enough and done enough, it'll be okay.

More racquetball, and we play again tomorrow. My shoulder is a little annoyed, but I'm getting better and the modifications to the handle did make a difference.

I actually put on a skirt for work, the first time in weeks, and all sorts of people commented. I guess I should dress like a girl more often. I am such a tomboy in a lot of ways, even now. I don't know how to put stuff together most of the time, so I just don't bother trying. Wonder if I can get fashion lessons somewhere?

I'm not touching politics here for now. I'm not crazy about a lot that's going on, but so many people have articulated it much better than I ever could, so I'll leave them to it.

We've seen The Return of the King twice already and really enjoyed it both times. Kids, on the other hand, are much harder to impress these days. Oh, and women rock.

I went out to the very cold concrete back porch this morning before my shower to take photos of the gorgeous sky. If anyone has seen Peter Pan trailers, you know what kind of sky I was looking at. Five minutes later it had faded and I was glad I'd taken the couple of minutes to catch it. Of course, since I have film cameras only, it'll be a while until I see exactly what I caught.

Saturday, December 20, 2003


I realized I hadn't posted for a while, didn't realize it had been an entire week.

Work is crazy at the end of the semester, but everyone liked my little quilt. I've had headaches pretty much daily and today is no exception. I'd take a nap, but he's doing a double today and we're just an hour and a half into 5+ hours of me and the boys. It's not going particularly well.

I need to pay bills and clean and I should make soup and I really should be knitting, and I haven't written for probably a week, but all I want to do is be very still in a quiet place.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Poor Hands

I finished my little quilt today. I decided to just see how things would go this morning, and they went better than I hoped, so I worked on it for most of six hours today and finished it. I love it and I'm going to keep it and I want to make another one.

My hands and my body ache though. My hands from making all of those stitches and poking the needle into the fingerprints, my body from sewing in a most unergonomic fashion, hunched on the couch with the quilt on my lap.

I watched a movie this evening with it spread across my lap, it's big enough to cover and it's cozy. Even the kids were impressed when I showed it to them, that made me feel good.

Nothing else was accomplished beyond sewing today, I didn't even feel the need for escape as I usually do when I'm home on a Saturday. My father is amused by my pseudo-step-domesticity. He figures I'll be a Cub Scout den mother next. I find that unlikely for a number of reasons.

I just saw the second Matrix movie and decided that Neo was basically the system reset button. Aren't I clever? It was okay, I wasn't completely thrilled or completely captivated, but I guess it had its moments.

Return of the King on Wednesday night, looking forward to that one, of course.

I should do something else, but all I feel like doing is going to sleep. That's what I get for an entire day of very low activity. I should have at least gone out for a short walk, you'd think I'd know better by now. Maybe tomorrow if we don't get much snow.

Too Crafty for Words

No, really, I've been knitting and sewing and barely writing. I've also been traveling with a camera in my pocket and taking pictures of the sunset in the police station windows. I didn't take a photo of the anatomically decorated skeleton at work, though I'm not sure why. Maybe I am just a little bit of a prude after all.

I got my first Christmas gift yesterday, my boss/whatever, gave me a copy of Stitch and Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook, by Debbie Stoller. Great fun, lots of projects which I will probably never complete, irreverent headings and factoids, and very well-explained and illustrated techniques. I'll probably stick to my fluffy scarves for a while, but there are a couple of nice sweaters in there.

I'm feeling like a fashion misfit again. I usually do, but even more so when my NY sis comes to visit. She is always so pulled together. She breezed into my office yesterday in her great grey coat, cute tan skirt with patterned tights and burgundy high-heel knee-high boots. Towering over me when she gave me a hug even though we're the same height.

She knows how to pull it off, I do not. My colleague was surprised to learn that she is my younger sister, but that has been the case with people since she was barely out of high school.

I need an updated look. I have one or two ensembles that make me look like I know what I'm doing, but that's about it. Don't quite know how to get around it, though.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Racquet Sports and Cat Wrestling

More racquetball and a little ping-pong. I was better at both than I usually am and got more exercise out of tonight's racquetball session than I did last week. More running around, and I played a better game all around, actually returning volleys that hit the wall and came back.

This weekend continued slowly, thought I did finish the first scarf and start the second one. No real writing, though, but sometimes my brain just needs a break.

End of semester, work is going to be nuts until we go on break. That period of time between Christmas and New Year's is the best benefit of this job, paid time off that doesn't count against holiday or personal time.

I'll try to do some odds and ends tomorrow while he's taking his finals. Or maybe I'll just wrestle Widget some more. He liked it, he just doesn't want to admit it.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Lazy Saturday

I did very little of value to anyone today, but I'm okay with that. His final was cancelled due to the snow and so was his run. Smaller paycheck, but he didn't have to worry about sliding off the highway, so neither of us complained too heartily.

I spent the morning reading and dozing, trying to figure out what to get various people for Christmas, still haven't reached any firm conclusions.

Watched a bit of My Fair Lady, but the small ones were being squirrely, so we stopped and I shot a roll of him to get album cover ideas. I'm trying to take the "the more you shoot, the better chance of getting something good" approach. There were some images with potential.

We made the short hike to the shopping center at the end of our street after the "shoot" and I dropped the film at the one hour counter then sat in the cafe and read while the guys headed home after a fruitless search for snow boots. There was apparently a run on them yesterday when it was evident that we were going to get more than an inch or two. (Their boots from last season were consumed by the dog that shares their house.)

I have been rereading Natalie Goldberg's books, and I continued that and did some writing in the same vein at the cafe. He called while I was there and requested laundry detergent. I contemplated the wisdom of a cell phone. I don't know if I'll get one, but I have been thinking about it more lately.

I ended up chatting with the owner before he left, another case of hands as conversation piece. It used to really embarass and bother me when people asked me about my hands, but it doesn't anymore. They probably get more information than they are looking for when they ask now. I don't like being simply looked (stared) at, but I'll happily answer any polite question, weird, huh?

Anyway, came home, ate dinner, read Budget Living, and here I am. Just past 9 pm and I'm wondering if it's too early to go to bed. I am just so sad sometimes. Oh, well, I'll manage somehow. And if I don't at least there will have been some nights when I got plenty of sleep.

I had film in the camera and the camera in my pocket, but nothing caught my eye as photo-worthy, and this after a week of spectacular sunsets and quirky photo-ops, oh, well.

Fabric shopping tomorrow? I feel another expensive hobby coming on...

Friday, December 05, 2003

Snow Day

Yep, sitting in the midst of the storm that's hitting the Northeast. Work closed at 11 so I'll probably spend the afternoon quilting or knitting, but not necessarily writing. I'd like to say I will, but snow tends to distract me. I keep looking out the window to see what the flakes are up to now. Yes, I know I'm odd.

My quilt top is pretty. It's not quite sqare because I was paranoid and didn't follow the teacher's instructions, but I like it. I'm going to try to have it tied this afternoon. I could have gone for machine quilting, but I like the way tied quilts look, and the whole straight seam thing tends to elude me.

I should spend the afternoon walking in the snow, I need to get more exercise, but spending time curled up under my project seems like a much better idea right now.

I need to find mittens. I don't know if I lost them or just put them in some strange spot, but I can't find them, and I was reminded of my need as I was shaving my car this morning to go in for my three-hour day.

I want pretty yellow rain boots, but the place I knew that had them didn't have them in my size, curse my tiny, child-like feet! Oh, well, I could search more, or I could stick to my brown leather german boots that I pull out when the weather gets cold. I love these boots and they're finally broken in enough so that they don't rub the back of my legs raw anymore.

I have a cat nursing on my shoulder, seems like a sign that I should wrap it up.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Can't cut a straight line with a ruler...

Just one of the day's trials.

I cut my border strips at lunch, they're sort of straight, luckily this quilt is my first and not going to anyone else, but still. I don't know if it's lack of patience, lack of hand eye coordination, lack of fingers with which to stabilize tools... It'll be okay, though. I'll go home after work and sew the borders on to the top before rushing myself and all of my stuff off to class. Hopefully I'll have time for dinner, I didn't have time for lunch. Cutting took longer than I expected (doesn't it always?).

I didn't do this last night as I should have because I was exhausted. I went home, read in front of the evil box, and dozed off for a while, and still had lights out at 9:30. I think I'm coming down with what he's got. It was inevitable, he's been up sneezing and blowing his nose on and off for the past two nights, and he was still in sleep mode when I went to work today, which is unusual.

So, nothing got done last night, so I need to rush things before class today and hope I don't screw them up and still get nourishment. I bring it on myself, I know this.

Oh, and another chance at Hedgebrook lost, postmark date was yesterday. I only found out at the weekend, no way that was happening. But, PennWriters is putting their schedule up, so all is not lost.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Racquetball and other minutiae

I love our racquetball nights. We don't keep score, we don't pay much attention to who should be serving when, but we get a good hour's workout and we generally have a good time. Last night was no exception.

I was off my game, which isn't saying much, since I don't have much of a game to begin with. But I was adequately worn out by the time I went to bed, and I'm just the faintest bit sore today. I plan a 9 pm bedtime tonight, though. My lids are drooping already.

The grad school thing looks slim for the emphasis I want, the school's campus is farther away than I realized, etc. Oh, well, it was worth the dream.

I got all of my quilt squares sewn together yesterday, it's wonky, but not as wonky as I expected it to be. Today, provided I can keep my eyes open long enough, I will measure and cut the border strips and hopefully get them sewn. If not, I will sew them tomorrow before class. I'm actually making an itty-bitty quilt, all by myself. This excites me much more than it probably should.

I didn't do anything on the book yesterday, and as tired as I am today I don't know if I will again. However, FM has a marathon this weekend, so hopefully I'll redeem myself then.

Sunny and cold again this afternoon. I missed the snow yesterday by not looking out the window for an hour, silly me.

I wonder if the machines have been filled?

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


The gym I haven't gone to for ages, but which membership only expired yesterday charged me for this month. I was afraid they were going to; I just had a feeling. After many failed attempts, I checked my bank balance and they had. They are sending me a check today.

I hate using the telephone, except when I don't think too much about it. So I was amazed that I made not one but two calls concerning this charge as soon as I verified that it had, in fact been applied. Everything went smoothly and graciously. No raised voices, no accusations, I am inordinately happy when things work out this way. And that $25 a month will come in handy down the road.

I have not completely abandoned exercise, though it is much less of a priority than it has been at other times. Now I get to play racquetball with him once or twice a week, and if I got my act together I could do other things after work on my own.

There was a time when I got up before dawn to walk around the neighborhood. That time has passed, and I wish I could get it back. I'd like to return to the days in which dragging myself out of bed shortly after the alarm was not the norm.

Enough. I'll figure out my next move here, then take a walk for chili powder and oatmeal. Cold, windy, but gloriously sunny.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Hmm...Disappearing posts

I posted about my errands, yeah, exciting, I know, but the point is, it didn't post. I think it was because I tried to do it remotely, that never seems to work out well.

Anyway, errands accomplished. Return of the King tickets purchased, casserole prepared, quilt squares sewn.

I saw a green eurovan on my way home today, I see it fairly often, actually. When I first came back from Germany, every time I saw a eurovan I thought about being there, for split-seconds I would think I was there. Now when I see them I think of the one I saw a few weeks ago. It was painted pink and there was a Barbie (R) decal in the back window.

I love living in a town with a large artist population.