Saturday, December 13, 2008

A few knitted things

OK, but first, to my relief:

I am now the proud owner of a US driver's license!! My last one, from New Hampshire, had expired in January after a rather confusing go-round about what, exactly, "renew by mail" means. It does not mean "if you go abroad, and are in some weird limbo with no US address, and you need to renew your license and this here one is the last one you had, so we'll renew it by mail." Instead it means, "we'll take your $50, send you a 6 month temporary license with no explanation that in order to get the 4 year version you have to provide proof of address in New Hampshire." It turns out that as long as my US license expired within the past 12 months, I had to take only the normal knowledge test and not the road test! I can just imagine trying to pass the road test after 20 years of bad driving habits.....

I have been knitting a bit, although far less than I imagined when I planned a few months of "retirement" for myself while getting settled back into the US. I have several pregnant friends, so I'm working on some baby things. Here is an unfinished (needs the edging) and unblocked (obviously) sweater (from this pattern):

And the unfinished (needs edging and sewing up the back) and unblocked hat (same pattern):

And a baby blanket (Fiber Trends Estonian Lullaby)

I'm not so excited about the yarn (Reynolds' Hopscotch). I was really focused on finding a soft, washable, apple green, and somehow totally missed the fact that it was thick-thin, which I think makes the blanket way too busy with the lace as well, although you can't really see either (lace/yarn) in this photo. I kept knitting a bit and then putting it aside because of that, but I don't know what else to do with the yarn (which looks like some other baby effluvia...) and I don't really want to go buy even more yarn and start over. I'm deluding myself into thinking that once it's blocked it will magically become wonderful. ha ha. We all know what a great blocker I am...

And I guess I might as well show you my new couch, since it will be the background to all my knitting shots! It's leather. Kind of. It's the "Webster" sofa from JC Penneys, and it's made of "bonded leather", which is like the leather dust that's swept up from the factory floor and chemical'd into some kind of fabric. But it has 8 way hand tied springs, which are apparently the ultimate in couch technology, and it was on sale from $1000 to $400. Failing economy: score one for Andrea. I was really stoked to find a spring couch, since my $1000 foam couch from IKEA in Switzerland was already pretty badly worn after only 3 years.

My retirement has been quite as leisurely as I'd been hoping. It takes a lot of time (and money) to run around buying cheap crap at Target to furnish a whole apartment! I'm pretty well settled in, now, and very happy in my new place. It's the quietest place I've ever lived. I'm on the steep part of the learning curve, though, and it's a bit overwhelming to have 100% new appliances and living space, so I haven't quite got all the kinks worked out of the system. I keep burning my food because my (coveted) gas stove reheats things in about 4 minutes--I guess I got used to my stove in Zurich which took about 30 minutes to heat up, so I'd put on a pan and then go off and do something else! I also got really annoyed one day that I kept having to walk back and forth from the counter to the fridge (my new kitchen is kind of long and skinny) and then I had to stop and laugh when I realized that my "problem" was that my kitchen was actually big enough to walk around in.

My old boss in Switzerland keeps adding little things to my to-do list. It's really hard to "quit" an academic job because the "lifetime" of projects is 1-2 years, so I think it's going to have its hooks in me for a while yet! The idea when I left was that I would get paid for October even though I moved back at the end of September. That way there would be a month's worth of work "in the bank" for when the reviews come back on my last paper (submitted in September). But there are lots of other little projects I was involved in which keep cropping up, so I've put in about 2 weeks worth of work and haven't even gotten the reviews back yet! Hopefully they'll turn out to be minor when they do show, but we'll see.

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