Monday, June 16, 2008

On to the next thing

(Update: Photos have been added; thanks for your patience!)

I'm home! Home, home, home. Where there's a cat to sleep on my legs at night, and no drunken college students shouting outside from 2-3:30 every morning, and coffee before I have to take a shower and walk to campus. You know, the small things.

We made the drive back down the state in good time yesterday, and were home by about 8:00, even including a stop in Westwood for dinner. I realized how blase we've become about making this long drive when we said something to the server about how we always stop at his place for Indian food on our drive from Sacramento (or Berkeley) to San Diego, and he just gaped at us. He insisted that we were joking, and we assured him that we were not. (It's true, too; on the way home, we usually end up hitting Westwood right about dinner time, and who wouldn't rather have really good Indian food than a fast food burger? Shudder with me now...) I later heard him talking to another server about it. They clearly thought we were nuts.

I wore my new skirt, which I am delighted with. I need to wear a slip under it, and I do have one, but I may put together a lining in a thin cotton (it is impossible to find a dark slip in cotton, I tell you), which would be more comfortable, and more in keeping with the whole "cool in summer" theme of the skirt. I ended up going with an i-cord drawstring waist, and I've left annoying little dangly bits of yarn, as I'm considering putting beads on the ends of the i-cord, but haven't decided yet. Meanwhile, the hemp/cotton/modal mix did, indeed, wash and dry beautifully as advertised, and I think this one is a keeper. Older Daughter and Younger Daughter have both politely and insistently begun the campaign for their own versions. I've said that Older Daughter's will come first, as she is out of uniform for the first time ever this fall, and will use it more. However, if I knit one in navy blue for Younger Daughter, she could wear it to school (I'm sure they didn't have hemp in mind when they described the dress code, but all they actually said was, "navy blue skirt, skort, or pants"; hooray for subversion!).

I got some good knitting time in the car, even though I did most of the drive (after all, Rick had driven up all by himself on Friday, and it was Father's Day). I finished the main part of the first of Anne's new mitts (these are for Older Daughter); there's just the thumb to go. These are knit out of my own handspun yarn (go, me!), and I'm delighted with how well they're turning out.

The yarn isn't perfect, but it's not that far off from other yarns I've knit with. And I love the way the color changes have come out; I couldn't have planned it. (Honestly, I couldn't have. I know some of you out there could have, but not I.)

I'm also working on the Brambler scarf, which is good fun. The pattern is small and short (six rows), so it's easy to just keep doing one more repeat, and then one more... The yarn ended up being more the color in this picture than it looked like in Anne's photos, but I like it in any case, and the way the yarn feels is wonderful -- warm and soft and crisp all at once.

My goal is to have both of these projects done before June 28th. Why, you ask? Well, because I'm leaving town again then. Where am I going, you ask?

(I'm so excited, I'm giggling over here.) Why, New Zealand, I answer.


A while ago, I saw a call for papers for a conference that I've wanted to go to for a while, and noticed that it was to be in New Zealand this year, which made it really, really tempting (Rick and I spent a month in NZ for our honeymoon, and loved it truly, madly, deeply). I dithered for quite some time about it, but with encouragement from various quarters (of whom more in a moment), I decided to go for it. The paper was accepted, and next thing I knew, I had plans to go to New Zealand. Rick can't take quite so much time off work right now (and, as much as he loved NZ in the summertime -- which would be December -- he wasn't too excited about going in the winter; as you might imagine, I don't get that at all), and I knew that I couldn't handle both girls while I go to a conference, but I decided to take Older Daughter. It was a tough call, as I don't like to do something this big with just one girl, and as much as I intend to take Younger Daughter on a similar trip when she leaves grade school for middle school, I've seen how that doesn't always work out for younger siblings. A lot of things can change in three years.

That encouragement I mentioned earlier is part of the reason why I decided to take OD along, though. See, Stella and I have been emailing back and forth for quite some time, having met through the world of blogging, and a while ago, we facilitated the starting of a pen pal relationship between her son and Older Daughter (of course, the modern world being what it is, "pen pal" means "email pal"). Stella was hugely encouraging when I was dithering about sending in the abstract (thank you, Stella -- I'm so glad you were!), so Older Daughter and I are going to inundate her whilst we're there. We're going for ten days, which means, more or less, three days in Auckland, three in Wellington, and nearly four on the South Island with Stella and her family (I hear that a stop at Ashford is on the list). Have I mentioned that I'm a little giddy?

For those who have been keeping track, this is the trip I'm writing the paper for. It's also why I want the paper completely put to bed before I leave; Older Daughter and I have our days in Auckland before we go to Wellington for the conference, and I just don't want to be thinking about presentations while we're going around doing fun touristy things. I also am thinking that I won't be bringing my computer, so I'd like the presentation done and burned to CD (and copied to a thumb drive as a backup), and handouts made in case of electronic emergency, before we go.

It will be winter there, and very cold (hence the mitts for OD and the scarf for me), so I'm already working on the packing list. Of course, I'm also working on the "what to bring to knit" list -- any ideas? Socks for sure, as they're small and light, but how many pairs? As we fly overnight on the way there (and arrive at 5:15 in the morning)(!!), I probably won't be knitting the whole 12-hour flight, but then there's the way back, but I might have gotten more yarn by then (OK, that "might" should probably be changed to a "will"), so there's always that to knit... Decisions, decisions.


twinsetjan said...

Sometimes the best pictures are those created by our own imagination.

Bull crap...I can't wait to see the actual pics of the mitts and the scarf and the skirt! I'll try to be patient.

Rachel said...

Wow NZ - you and the older daughter are very lucky and I too can't understand what is wrong in going to the winter when we live in such summary places! I am waiting patiently to see your photos, especially of the skirt!

twinsetellen said...

How fabulous to travel with your daughter. It will be one of those formative events of your relationship.

And I know what you mean about appreciating the small things after a trip. I suppose the trick is to appreciate them before you leave, but I've never been all that great at that.

Anne said...

That sounds great! I celebrate your interest in sharing that time with OD -- I have a couple of friends who occasionally bring a child (almost never a daughter, though, interestingly enough) to an academic conference. I don't think it is something I'm ever likely to do, but then, my professional life is already split into unbridgeable paths and one more split into academic/mom is probably too much for me.

The skirt looks amazing and I love the mitts. Hurray!

anne said...

i LOVE the skirt! it's beautiful and so flattering!
i was wearing one of my handknit skirts the other day and it was SO comfy in the hot afternoon . . must make another one!

i'm getting excited for your trip, too!

Rachael said...

Holy crap I'm SO far behind. your blog isn't updating in my bloglines and I finally clicked to see if maybe something was up and here are weeks worth of posts I missed!

The skirt looks great!!! The lost language thing is both immensely touching and painful to read about at the same time, what a wonderful thing you are doing! And New Zealand, Soon! WOW!!!

Helen said...

NZ will be great and cold weather doesn't have to be bad weather. Younger Daughter will have a lovely time with her dad too, so she maybe won't mind as much as she thinks she will. And all that knitting time on the plane - bliss :)

Carrie K said...

Oh, lovely! NZ! I am so jealous. And it will actually have WOOL weather. Perfect.

Hemp skirt? Subversive you. And what's wrong with a favorite Indian restaurant on the way from San Diego to Sacramento? CA used to be All Driving, All The Time.

EGunn said...

The skirt looks great! And I'm so jealous of your trip to NZ. It sounds like it will be great!

Stell said...

oooo its official, if announcements in blog land have any status, and yes as some-one who has read thesis on uniforms and identity and dress and subversion - go on subvert as much as you dare :-)

KnitNana said...

What a great trip! Whoohoo! Congrats, and I'm sure OD will have a grand time, too...
Lovely skirt. Glad you were pleased with the results and it looks so nice ON you!

Gwen said...

What a wonderful trip! A treat for the two of you, and even better getting to stay with friends.

But the thought of the planning makes me shudder.

Bea said...

All teh projects look wonderful. Love the skirt. And your handspun mitt!! WOW. New Zealand. I haven't made it there but its totally on our list! I can't wait to see your pictures. I hope you take a bunch.

Lynne said...

Will you be allowed to knit on the plane? In Australia we are not allowed to knit, not even on domestic flights. If one attempts to smuggle knitting in the hand luggage, it's caught on x-ray and confiscated!

Lynne said...

Oops! I forgot to say, the skirt looks great. Not at all what I was expecting but fabulous anyway!