Friday, June 16, 2006

duty and pleasure

I've been on my lonesome this week because the husband is (again) out of town at a conference and he's doing a bit of research collecting as well. Summer is both conference time and research season for biologists, so I have to keep my own company. Now, when I hear that someone is on their own for a week, I'd invite that person to dinner or to do something with's the right thing to do socially, and it's usually fun. I'm just saying, it's the right thing to do, in the list of duty-obligations. Right? Well, nobody's invited me to do anything. In fact, when I volunteer that Jeff is away to folks in town, no one even asks me how I am getting on by myself. The dogs bark a lot, but aren't much on the dinner conversation. Before I start the pity party with the smallest violin in the world, let me mention what really brightened me up.

I had a call from Iraq this week. One of my former students (who is now a friend, Hi Brian!) is in the military and his tour of duty in the south of Iraq will be up in July. Brian is only 6? years younger than I am, he was a senior in high school when I was teaching, just out of college. He has kept up with me for 8 years and I thoroughly enjoy his company. He can't say much about what he is doing--he's an undercover sort-- but it was wonderful to hear his voice, and to know he's all right. Let's hope that continues.
Luckily, my work duties aren't dangerous, (I'm not even teaching in the inner city anymore) but sometimes they require fortitude. Last night I finished the back of my first sweater jacket for a set of designs I am doing for Knit Picks. The yarn is a cotton/merino blend, a lovely cocoa color, but well, 18 inches of straight stockinette knitting to the armholes. Something like 28 inches total in length. I did this in about a week, and if you assume that the back of a sweater is one-third of the total, I am now one-ninth of the way through these designs. (three sweaters total) If this one-third equation is wrong, please don't disabuse me of this notion, it's making me feel calm about this enormous amount of knitting. All three sweaters, knitted twice (must be tested, you know) and their patterns are due in September. I can do this. I can do this. Right? Why am I longing for complicated lace and other projects? I --can--only-knit this. Deadline. Deadline. Argh.

To reward myself for this first achievement, I took some time to spin on the backporch this morning, while it was still cool: The dogs took some time to bark. A lot. I'm amazed that none of my neighbors have tried to shoot us yet. Sally's attraction to birds and squirrels is piercing, to say the least.

The garden's doing so well! Here's some lettuce and our second sungold tomato. (I ate the first one right off the vine.) Brian says it's 120 degrees during the day in Iraq. I hope these veggies look cooling?

Right, I've got to go back to the designing/'s a pleasureable duty, as duties go. If I'm good and get something done, I may reward myself with a trip to the library later...dang, I know, it sounds sad as a reward, but I like going to the library!

So, if anyone wants to keep me company while I'm all on my lonesome, now's the time! Leave me comments. Reassure me that I'm still here. woof. Woof.


Blogger sarah said...

I'd invite you to dinner if I lived there or you lived here -- we've got knitting in common, I was an ecologist until I became a graphic designer, and I think we're both polite enough to get on for an evening even if we didn't :-) We could talk about gardening (the roses are fabulous this year), you could show me how to spin, he could make rude comments, we could listen to whatever music seemed right and you could stay until we started to fall asleep (usually about 2330). Home-made pizza and a bottle or two of red sound good?

June 16, 2006 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger jenknits said...

You are welcome at my house anytime, too! Harry and Sally as well! They would love Bagel and Mocha. My neighbors are too civilized to shoot, but I think some of them may take up target practice. And the knitting, fortitude, woman! I am spinning the same thing I was working on back in February. 3-ply sock yarn. It can't take THAT long, can it?

June 16, 2006 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Oh geez, Jen, it can take that long. Whew! 3 ply. You have my utmost respect..and I'd love to come play--imagine the barking.

Now, Sarah, pizza and a bottle of wine sound great. Where do you live again? I'll be right over. hah. well, who knows... but I do think we'd have loads to talk about, we do have a lot in common. Now, as it happens, if I stay up 'til 22:00 these days, it's a late night. Bird dogs seem to rise early--between 6 and 7 AM. I love the guys, really I do, but I used to stay up until at least 23:30. At least!

June 16, 2006 at 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Kerry said...

I'm going to be trying out a new squash ragout tomorrow night, does that work for you? 'bout 6:30? Bring the dogs and some homemade bread, ok? :-)

I'll even throw in a few rows of stockinette for you!

June 16, 2006 at 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

I wish we lived close enough to invite you over for dinner! You have a standing invitation should you ever venture to the South Sound area of PNW.

Is that a Majacraft Gem you're spinning on? Do you like it? I've been waiting for mine to arrive, though it looks like I'll be picking it up at Black Sheep instead (it arrived too late from New Zealand to ship in time).

June 18, 2006 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

It is a Majacraft Little Gem. I love it, I've had it since 2002. In fact, it is my primary wheel these's set up in my (cramped) office and I spin when I take a break from the computer or from knitting. I have an antique Canadian Production wheel, a Schacht, and an antique primitive Great wheel, too, but I can't remember the last time I used the Schacht or the Great Wheel...the young hyper dogs have reduced my spinning time.

Thanks for all the dinner invites! I had *one* tentative invitation yesterday, for today, but with no definite information, like a time to show up. Oh well...

June 18, 2006 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger CarolineF said...

Knit, knit, knit. How do you like that particular yarn??

June 19, 2006 at 7:42 AM  

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