Monday, February 12, 2007

Pictures of knitting, Words about houses.

Pattern: Twisty socks (original)
Yarn: KP Essential
Needles: US2

This being a grown-up thing? I won't go so far as to say it's overrated, but it is certainly exhausting.

First, we spent all our free time for several weeks looking at houses, until we were certain that they were all either monstrously large, decrepit Victorian numbers or eeeety bitty shacks with not-quite-stylish remodel jobs. "Seriously," I kept saying, "can't there be anything in between?!"

Just when we were starting to get discouraged, we found a middle ground. It was cute, it was fixed up, it had two bedrooms, a bonus room, and a finishable attic. We made an offer... we spent three days in counter offers and negotiations. I hardly slept.

Pattern: My So-Called Scarf
Yarn: Something cheap and blend-y
Needles: US11

Then we had it inspected, and the adorably jolly man we hired for the job confirmed what I later realized had been a nagging feeling of mine from the get go. This house had been flipped in six months, and to say that corners were cut would be like saying that Ted Stevens has an incomplete grasp of HTML. There was literally a non-trivial possibility that the house could explode.

After much hand wringing and "well, maybe if they replaced the electrical panel...", I was about ready to cry. I didn't want to accept this house's flaws, but I was afraid we couldn't afford anything better. We were kicking ourselves for not jumping on a slightly more expensive but way, way better (dare I say perfect?) house a week or two earlier. We heaved big sighs and searched the listings again. And there it was, the perfect house, back on the market. I'm not a superstitious gal, but I'm just about ready to call it a sign.

So here we go again. We've backed out of the timebomb and are about to make an offer on the awesomeness.

And in the meantime? I've been trying to relax, and oddly enough, that hasn't meant all that much knitting -- I've been reading again, for the first time in weeks -- but I have finished up a few very longstanding UFOs.

Pattern: Sophie (one day I'll get around to felting it, too.)
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Amethyst, Sable, and Aran
Needles: US10.5

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bloggers' Silent Poetry Reading...

... of whose existence I was made aware by Ashley and Cara.

When I first saw this poem, about six months ago, I was too much in the thick of The Lady's illness to be anything but destroyed by reading it. Today I can appreciate it for a lot more than my own sympathy with its narrator -- for the history, the stillness, and of course, the trees.

University Hospital, Boston

The trees on the hospital lawn
are lush and thriving. They too
are getting the best of care,
like you, and the anonymous many,
in the clean rooms high above this city,
where day and night the doctors keep
arriving, where intricate machines
chart with cool devotion
the murmur of the blood,
the slow patching-up of bone,
the despair of the mind.

When I come to visit and we walk out
into the light of a summer day,
we sit under the trees--
buckeyes, a sycamore, and one
black walnut brooding
high over a hedge of lilacs
as old as the red-brick building
behind them, the original
hospital built before the Civil War.
We sit on the lawn together, holding hands
while you tell me: you are better.

How many young men, I wonder,
came here, wheeled on cots off the slow trains
from the red and hideous battlefields
to lie all summer in the small and stuffy chambers
while doctors did what they could, longing
for tools still unimagined, medicines still unfound,
wisdoms still unguessed at, and how many died
staring at the leaves of the trees, blind
to the terrible effort around them to keep them alive?
I look into your eyes

which are sometimes green and sometimes gray,
and sometimes full of humor, but often not,
and tell myself, you are better,
because my life without you would be
a place of parched and broken trees.
Later walking the corridors down to the street,
I turn and step inside and empty room.
Yesterday someone was here with a gasping face.
Now the bed is made all new,
the machines have been rolled away. The silence
continues, deep and neutral,
as I stand there, loving you.

--Mary Oliver