Monday, June 27, 2016

My Mother Made Me a Hat

So, the movers are coming tomorrow, and though I'm surrounded by exquisite disarray, I feel this is the moment to blog pictures (taken by Kevin) of a very special (perhaps even magical) hat. Because now is the time to celebrate beautiful things. :o)

My regular readers know that I knit. Well, my mother knits on the superwoman level.

She made me this hat.

Look at the hearts, the intricate designs that went into the making of this hat…

The adorable tassel.

Furthermore, it's some sort of special Scandinavian double hat, basically knitted as two continuous hats that you shove one inside the other, and actually quadrupled around the ears, not to mention that it is made of Icelandic wool, all of which means that I will never be cold again. But also, the first time I sat with the hat (which my mother had given me without comment), examining and appreciating it, I found myself wondering whether she had knitted any fancy designs into the inside hat.

So I pulled the inside part out…

And found a secret inside.

Upside down and backwards inside the hat she made for me,

my mother knitted my book titles.

Yeah, so. Thanks, Mom, for what's basically the world's best hat.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, June 20, 2016

Common Stories Event with Nancy Werlin and Annie Hartnett this Friday evening in Harvard, Mass

Hi all! If you're looking for something fun to do in eastern Massachusetts this coming Friday evening, please join me and writers Nancy Werlin and Annie Hartnett for a Common Stories event Upstairs @ The General, taking place at 7:30pm at the General Store in the town of Harvard, Mass. Each of us will read and answer questions, and then we'll be available for book sales and signing. There's a $5 cover charge and food and wine will be available for purchase.

Here's a press release in the Harvard Press, and here's the Facebook page. The General Store is at 1 Still River Road, Harvard, Massachusetts 01451, p: (978) 430-0062.

I'm in the middle of a hectic revision (again) and am moving house next week, so I will endeavor to read from one of my actual books, rather than accidentally reading from my master packing list, or bursting into tears (for example). :o) Just kidding. I'll be in great shape, really. Come join us!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"Look for the Helpers"

One of my sisters lives in Jacksonville, Florida, which is relatively near Orlando. She says the lines to donate blood go all the way around the building and the wait to donate is two hours or more -- at every donation center she tried.

Mr. Rogers says, in moments like these, that we should look for the helpers. That's where the hope is.

My heart goes out to everyone.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday Randutiae

A few links for your Monday...

Jon Almeda at Almeda Pottery makes the teeniest, tiniest stuff on his teeny potter's wheel. Here's his Instagram. Ack! So beautiful. (Thanks Alison!) ETA: Here's a gorgeous collection of pictures at Bored Panda.

In a similar vein, Althea Crome at Bugknits knits with needles sometimes practically as thin as a human hair. Her miniature knitting galleries are so much fun to peruse. Teeny, tiny knitting art! (Again, h/t Alison! ^_^)

The theme of the 2016 Met Gala was Manus x Machina and the clothing choices were appropriate. For example, Karolina Kurkova wore a "cognitive dress" with LED lights, the colors of which changed in real-time depending on the moods of users commenting on the gala via Twitter. Here are a whole lot of pictures (collected at the Huffington Post) of people dressed up for the gala.

I really liked reading Andi Zeisler's opinion piece in the Washington Post, "You can wear high heels and be a feminist. But please don’t write an essay about it." I keep trying to come up with a summary to share with you, but it's brief, and it's its own best summary, so I encourage you to follow the link and read it.

In Rome, women are meeting to discuss female priesthood in the Catholic Church. Says panelist Jamie Manson in this NPR article, "Imagine if a church of one billion people, with this charismatic, rock star pope, suddenly said to the world, that women are equal to men. Imagine the power that would have over cultures across the world, where this patriarchal idea of women's subservience to men is at the root of all that women suffer globally." I, for one, can say that if the Catholic Church suddenly decided to commit to the notion that women are equal to men, I might first die of shock. And then I would be happy to be reborn into this new world.

[Triggers ahead for rape/sexual assault news.] Finally, as you may have heard, Brock Allen Turner, a 20-year-old former Stanford swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, was recently sentenced to six months in jail because, according to the judge, Aaron Persky, a longer sentence would have had "a severe impact on him." Gee, I wonder how long the impact on the victim will last? The woman who was assaulted by Brock Allen Turner has written an open letter to her assailant, and it's wonderful, powerful, irrefutable, compassionate, and completely admirable. It's also hopeful; it did not leave me feeling powerless, in case that helps any hesitant readers to decide whether and when you have the emotional fortitude to read it. You can find it here.

That's all I've got for now. This week I'm plotting, packing, and getting started on the job of buying a car (!! It's been years since I gave up my car!! But I'm moving to a place where I will benefit from having a car. Can I ever find a car I love as much as I loved my last car????). I'll report back soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Final Score

Heh heh.

Packing Catharsis + Scrabble Whinge

Getting rid of stuff is, of course, one of the great pleasures of a move. Just dropped off at the Used department of Harvard Book Store:

Copies of my books in lots of languages, including a few in English. They won't put everything on the shelves right away, so if you're curious if anything specific is available, ask at the desk, or email

Thanks to Steve, Emily, and Jenni for your help with my piles of books. Extra thanks to Steve for helping me lug them! Thanks also for the packing boxes :o)

In other news... I regularly play Scrabble on my phone, against the expert computer. Maybe I average one game a day (maybe more). When I first moved from playing the advanced computer to playing the expert computer (which is the highest setting), I probably got destroyed for the first ten or twelve games... but I learned from it. After that, I started to win. Now I win about half the time. But it has always been, and continues to be, a frequently ridiculous endeavor. Below, please see Exhibit A: my current game in progress.

I started by putting down "zooty" for 52 points. Great start to a game. Computer responded by putting down "epizooty." For 63 points. "EPIZOOTY." Come on! "Epizooty" is NOT A WORD!

Saddled with three i's, I then put down "pixie" for 30 points. Computer put down all seven letters, spelling "belonged" on TWO double word scores, for 86 points. At this point, after two turns, Computer's score was already 149.

So I put down "yeah" for 51 points, and still I'm losing. All three of my opening words scored at least 30 and two of them scored 50+, and I'm still losing! And now I have two v's!!!!! AGH!

At least Computer was forced to waste its k on a 19-point word. We'll see what happens next. But seriously. Epizooty???

epizootic, epizooty n
a disease affecting many animals at the same time; an epidemic amongst animals. — epizootic, adj.
 Good grief.

I hope all my readers are doing well today and that none of your animals are experiencing any epizooties.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Last Few Days in Pictures, Again

At the Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts, they keep the register on display, set to October 19, 1895.
One traveler on this list is from Ohio, but the rest are from sooooo nearby... my friend pointed out that in 1895,
Lowell (about 14 miles from Concord on today's roads) and Waltham (about 11 miles)
were far enough away that you might reasonably want to stop at an inn overnight.

In the skies above Vermont, I saw a cloud shaped like a pegasus.

At SkyVenture in New Hampshire, Kevin...

..and I did this thing called indoor skydiving that involved entering what is basically a spherical windtunnel...

where the wind holds you up and bats you around, and you feel like you're flying.

Kevin adopted more of a superhero stance

whereas I literally look like I'm about to attack someone and I'm way too happy about it.

It was fun, and interesting, and different. You can get a discount with a Groupon, in case you'd like to try it yourself.
BTW, some of you have been around the blog long enough to remember the flying I used to do regularly.
For comparison purposes, the indoor skydiving was fun... but no, it was nothing like this.

Closer to home, I'm trying to hide from myself that I'm about to move house. What? Boxes?
I don't know what you mean; I see my favorite winter scarf, which I've draped across the bookshelf,
as one does.

In my office, there is a big red blob that certainly does not have 20 boxes beneath it.

Just some Moomins. Move along please.

I've also knitted a turtle washcloth....
As practice for knitting my turtle blanket square.
Pattern, by SMARIEK, is here.

All seven buds are blooming on the orchid!

And I'm plotting, and, in free moments, still reading mystery after mystery after mystery.

*happy sigh*