Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's been how long?

I just looked at the last date I posted, and it's been nearly two weeks! I was asking myself where the time went, but then I realized that I know exactly where that time went: to the conference in New Orleans, and then family and Thanksgiving. I suppose that's enough right there to take up all of that time, not to mention work, and the usual other things that come with two kids and life in general.

New Orleans was absolutely wonderful. We got in late Thursday night (the week before Thanksgiving), and I was at an 8:00 am panel the next morning. But it was a fascinating panel, on languages in Louisiana, so that was worth the early morning; it certainly gave me some interesting ideas for changing one of my classes next semester. I actually ended up at 8 am panels all three mornings of the conference, but as they were all interesting, I decided that it was worth the pain of that alarm (remember, NO is two hours later than California, so it felt a lot earlier than it was). I survived my talk on Saturday evening; no-one laughed, people seemed interested, and there was a knitter in the audience, waving her knitting at me when I talked about knitting during meetings. This is the second year in a row that someone has come to a talk on knitting to knit in the audience, and I can't tell you how much it means. Both times, the person was gone before the Q&A period, so I didn't get to say thanks, but it's a friendly thing that makes the room feel warmer. I could tell when I started my talk that people were doing that thing that people do when knitting comes up, sort of crossing their arms and preparing to weather the next fifteen minutes until someone talks about a more interesting/important topic, but when I mentioned the 2700 respondents to my survey (thank you all!), there was a stirring in the room as people sat up, and when I talked about what happened with Tina at BMFA a few years back, there were gasps. I got some interested questions at the end, too, so all in all, I'm declaring it a success.

The conference also gave me some knitting time, and I finished my New Orleans socks; they're Gothic enough for the part, don't you think?
I even wore them on Sunday, at the second half of my panel. I think I'll wear these a lot; they fit beautifully, and they look nice.
These are really fun socks to knit; the lace at the top provides a bit of interest, but the rest is really simple to remember, so they're perfect for knitting at meetings, or other places that require some attention. I knitted the lace bit of the second sock on the flight out, so I was perfectly set up to finish them on Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday, I cast on for a pair of socks for Rick that I am working my way through right now.

But conference attending and knitting was not all I did in New Orleans, oh no! We listened to live music every single night we were there, even though it made those early-morning alarms harder to take - and it was absolutely wonderful. I adore live music, and I love jazz, and New Orleans has plenty of both and to spare. We also ate and ate, and I got to try every single thing I'd wanted to eat. On Friday, Rick met me outside the conference to grab some lunch, and we headed off to a place that came up on Yelp when he looked for lunch spots in New Orleans. We got there, and there was a group of conference attendees waiting, but I took one look at the menu and saw things like lovely little spring salads with blue cheese and took Rick aside and told him that I had one word for him: gumbo. Or po' boys. Jambalaya. We were in New Orleans, and there was no way I was eating food I can get in any big city! He is a good man, and promptly found K Paul's where I ate a shrimp remoulade and fried green tomato po' boy, with a cup of gumbo on the side. Now that's what I'm talking about!

And it only got better from there. We ate gumbo and jambalaya, po' boys and beignets (a word to the wise: do not eat beignets outside in the wind while wearing black jeans; ask me how I know), crawfish etouffee and grits with mustard greens, all washed down with good local beer and topped off with bread pudding and pecan pie. Man alive, it is impossible to eat badly in a city like that. We met a guy on the flight home who said he didn't like New Orleans because the food was no good and he didn't like the jazz. I about cried.

We also went on a post-Katrina tour, where I also about cried. We saw the places where the levees broke, and went into the Lower Ninth Ward. I am still coming to grips with the fact that, five years later, there are still houses standing empty and destroyed, with the spray-painted marks of rescue crews on the walls, cheek by jowl with the empty lots that were once the homes of New Orleanians. I wonder why it is that we have funds for reconstruction in other countries, but we have not yet finished the reconstruction of one of our own great cities and ports? I wonder if there's any reason anyone could give me that I would find compelling enough. I wish I had the right words to convey the sense of outrage and sorrow I feel, but I don't know that I do. I do know that I want to know more about what happened, and what's happening, and that I will find out.

We came home on Tuesday, met my aunt at the airport, and headed home, where my parents and the girls were waiting for us. They'd all had a wonderful time together; I'm surprised the girls were excited to see us at all, given how much my parents spoil them (their perogative, I think). We had 15 people here for Thanksgiving, all delightful company - it was a wonderful evening.

My parents and aunt left on Friday, and we've been slowly getting ourselves ready to face the week ahead. I avoided (as I always avoid) Black Friday shopping, except for one thing: my LYS was having a sale, so while the turkey stock was simmering, I headed over and got a few skeins of yarn and my coupon book for the year. I ended up with two skeins of Noro (I can't remember which kind), enough to make a hat and mitts for each of the girls, one skein of Noro Silk Garden for socks for me, and a skein of sock yarn to make socks for my dad. I started on a hat for younger daughter right away, and finished that and the first mitt this morning.
She could not keep her eyes open when the flash went, so it's either pictures with closed eyes, or bad color. I'm going for the good color, as you can see. It's completely unblocked, but I'm not sure I'm going to get it back to block it.
With luck, I'll finish the second mitt today, and she can wear them to school this week; it's been more than chilly enough for it around here!

And now I think I'm caught up, and with luck I'll be able to stay caught up as I make it through these last weeks of the semester; if only I could say the same about my grading...


twinsetellen said...

1 - I don't think it is ever safe to eat beignet in black jeans.

2 - New Orleans food. I am so in agreement. Leave the microgreens for Chicago and give me that etoufee. Better yet, mustard greens and grits hit me dead center. (and beignet, of course)

3 - The Norwegians often block their glorious sweaters on the body - just wearing them. At least I read that somewhere or other and I choose to believe it.

4 - Congratulations on the talk and thanks for continuing to hoist the knitting banner.

5 - And thanks for discussing the lingering plight of New Orleans. Keep us posted as you learn more.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

LOVE the socks! And that hat is too cute!

AlisonH said...

What they said. Totally.

And wondering if the Commander Inn ever came back to life post-Katrina? I remember the bouganvillea blooming brilliantly up its walls and along the railings and how very very good the food was. And the jazz. I need to go back someday, definitely.

Jane said...

Glad everything went well. The socks are wonderful, love the top edging. You've made someone very happy, she'll be all set with the gloves

lori said...

i love your socks!! and i'm so glad your talk went so well, that's a good feeling. when nothing else seems to do the trick, having lotsa data always works. :)

Willow said...

I'd love to hear exactly what your knitting talk was about. I've never been to NO--but I love me some mustard greens. And jazz.

Great knitting mojo going for you! When the temperatures plummet to the 40s we all start thinking wool might work even in SoCal.

Rachael said...

Congrats on your talk going well, woohoo!

I have never been to NO, the food sounds amazing, so glad you enjoyed yourself!

Nana Sadie said...

Missed you!
And am sooooooo glad that the presentation went well, and you had a (mostly) good time.
And I'm glad that if you were going to buy on Buy Nothing Day that you bought local!
(the socks and hat are wonderful, btw)

Cathy said...

Your trip to NO sounds like fun. And the response to your talk reminds me of what the yarnharlot said when I heard her once. It was just after the tsumani & she told her brother (who works for Doctors w/o Borders) that she was going to suggest to her blog friends that if they had any extra funds, they could make a donation. She alluded that he was a little patronizing about it...whatever her 'knitters' could give would be good. Then the money started rolling in...over $250,000 in 72 hours. That made him sit up & take notice! So much for us 'knitters'!

RobinH said...

Beignets! Po'boys! Etouffee! Jambalaya! Tell me you had muffalatos? bring back such vivid memories of New Orleans.

And I love the socks and beret--I wouldn't give it back for any reason myself.

EGunn said...

Glad you had a good time in New Orleans! It sounds like you got out to see a lot more things than we did. I definitely got the sense that it's a city with a split personality; lots of show for the tourists, but grime hiding not too far beneath the surface. It's sad how much harder it is to help poorer neighbors than strangers across the globe.

I love the color and the lace on those socks. Definitely fitting for New Orleans.

Welcome back!

Lynne said...

I love, love, love those socks!

Younger Daughter obviously loves her new hat!