May Day Morning Words

The last regular day of the semester was Tuesday and here I am, listening to Napster (test-driving a freak folk compilation called Folk Off) and getting ready to start a day of website writing and take-home exams. And coloring my prematurely graying hair, now showing close to an inch of silvery roots.

I can’t help but think it isn’t just the passsing of ordinary time but the passing (in more than one sense) of five long and taxing years of adult study that seems to have significantly altered my black-to-silver ratio. From what I can see of the roots, I seem to be working on salt-and-pepper temples and an honest-to-god silver streak just left of the center of my forehead.

My favorite thing anyone ever said about the late thirties is from my friend Randee (constantly mentioned here in the blog) who calls that time of life the old age of childhood.

Which is just how it feels from behind the wheel.

I can feel some real blog entries blooming inside me like flowers, but for today, with take-home final exams to work on, websites to write and evening plans, I’ll keep it simple with some ordinary life updates.

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Anyone else tried the new Google desktop? I like it so far, and love my weather updates that I set to include not only Asheville weather but temps and humidity in Chennai, Denpasar (Bali), Port Said (Egypt), Kuala Lumpur and brave Heather’s destination in barely a week from today, Cochabamba, Bolivia.

I love comparing the weather from all over the world!

Denpasar and KL are humid as hell (to this native of the famously clement mountain environs of Western North Carolina) and Chennai is hot as a biscuit. Cochabamba, meanwhile, is in the same time zone as WNC and also in the highlands, and has very similar temperature and weather to Asheville, though so far it seems to be more humid.

Right now in parts of Denpasar it’s storming, 76 degrees F and 98% humidity… Chennai is 90 degrees F at about 9:30 at night.

*******

I’m nearly done with Season 3 of Lost. LOVE it! (Minor spoilers ahead.)

It’s wonderfully cast with a very talented group of actors largely perfect for the role they play, and while the dialogue can be embarrassing at times, the overall story arc is extremely compelling, with an achingly expert slow reveal.

For the entire first year, the show is just about surviving on the island, with some very weird intimations that this is no ordinary tropical paradise. Season Two is spent slowly approaching a real encounter with the mysterious Others. Season Three (my favorite), where it all could have fallen apart, is about some answers at last about who the Others really are and what’s really going on on the island.

I can understand viewer problems with the tangled plot, but it just seems to me that the writers are merely employing the writerly trick of never giving the viewer an answer without posing another question. Crumb by crumb through the story arc. Apparently co-creator J.J. Abrams is big on creating mystery, on leaving questions unanswered and working the viewer’s mind into a froth of suspense.

You know how endings are never as good as the heady race of the thick of the plot? (No ending ever can be. I can count on one hand the books I’ve read that followed a breathless middle with a deeply satisfying ending. Something about human brains love the middle, and are never satisfied with the end.) Abrams exploits that human way of processing information, making you chase after him, begging for answers, always wanting more.

The refreshing and praiseworthy surprise of Season 3 is that the Others are as compelling as the original castaways, and their addition just makes the show that much richer and better. Plus the show constantly explores the main characters’ backstory, so Lost really happens on three levels, all of which work: the castaways in the present, the Others in the present, and everybody’s backstories (of which Locke’s is the most consistently compelling IMO — a great role, great writing, great actor, well-deserved Emmys all around).

Lost is great, and I am bummed I’m nearly done with the Season 3 discs.

On to Eddie Izzard and The Riches!

*******

Since I started knitting I am much more comfortable taking in a movie in the evening, which used to feel a little like a selfish waste of time. No matter how educational my DVD of choice, sitting still and doing nothing productive for two hours always made me feel guilty, even as I recognized my right to (and need for) a little daily rest and relaxation.

But now that I knit, that feeling is banished, for any movie is an opportunity to multi-task. My typical evening now includes either Lost or a documentary/Frontline DVD and a knitting project, and I sit and rest and take in stories and information without guilt.

And after a few years of knitting, I am at last making my first sweater. I picked Jared Flood’s lovely cobblestone sweater in an alpaca blend in a muted blue/green/brown.

(image from Flood’s website, Brooklyn Tweed)

It’s for a friend’s birthday and it’s coming right along, with the first sleeve 90% done. Now that I attempt what I always thought of as the Knitter’s Pinnacle, the sweater, I see that a relatively simple and unfussy sweater like this is actually easier than a lot of things I have already made.

Lace hats are smaller and faster but harder, as are socks, which are fiddly and require things like toe shaping, reinforced heels, short rows, kitchener stitch…all manner of greater challenges than the endless simple stockinette stitch of the typical sweater like this.

As I am a TV knitter, I welcome the simplicity of the pattern. And as I am a profoundly practical person, I welcome the usefulness of the everyday garment that is a good woolen sweater. I hope birthday boy will like it — it is a lovely color, a good soft wool and a handsome pattern.

*******

The rest of my month has included so far a leaky toilet, a fixed toilet that began leaking again in an unrelated way, a busted water pipe, a $130 water bill (for a household of one), tons and tons of homecooked Indian food, homemade double-chocolate raspberry muffins (I think I came within a hair of making them TOO chocolately; I had to eat a lot of them to be sure), and a gorgeous Appalachian spring that is this year completely untouched by frost.

My Japanese maple made it through last year’s freak 17-degree hard April frost at spring’s vulnerable and emergent peak, and has made a complete comeback though it lost all its limbs (it’s growing new ones!). As is more usual this time of year, the days are warm and pleasant, the nights are cool and restorative, and the earth is afire with green, green, green. What a world.

Pics of the garden and the sweater to come, and even some real blog entries, as my life decompresses out of college mode and I briefly become an ordinary freelance writer again.

2 responses to “May Day Morning Words

  1. Oh, but never ordinary!

    Welcome back, briefly, out of the college path.

  2. Hey you! It’s so lovely down here, I think of you rather guiltily up north where your weather is just now becoming what ours has been since March or so. I am glad you are getting your fair share of springtime at last. I know how badly I needed it, and I didn’t have anywhere near the winter or the wait that you did.

    Are you a sad case of a born New Englander who hates a cold gray winter? (I can sympathize, as an ardent lover of spicy foods with a sensitive stomach prone to gastritis.)

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