Thursday, July 14, 2011


The family mythology on my mother's side was that we came to the U.S. as fine English gardeners to a rarefied family in Cleveland.

This summer, I was at my grandmother's and found this album filled with images that provided us with unprecedented access into their lives.

I followed them as they worked in the greenhouse...

Climbed up onto the roof...

Took part in a summer fair...

and danced around a maypole.

Fell in love...

and played.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Finished (and unfinished) Woolly Goodness

The LuniSolar legwarmers are getting there. But they've taken a backseat to a few other projects.

Like this hat.

A note on the silhouettes - the couple on the left are my grandparents, and the toddler on the right is yours truly.

How lovely is this hat? It looks delightful with the green trench coat I wear in spring.

I recently finished the colorwork turtleneck.

As a result, I'm increasingly grateful to designers for thinking out nitsy details like sleeve and neck circumference. These are the things that caught me off guard, since this project was the knitting equivalent to a solo jam-session.

I haven't taken it off since I finished it last week....

And why should I? It looks awesome.

Since I don't feel right unless there's a sweater on the needles, I started this modular sweater. Each pentagon is created separately, and knit from the outside in.

Someone at knitting made the comment that it was like book chapters, creating a natural place to stop at the end of an evening. I agree, but it still doesn't keep me from knitting past my bedtime.

It probably doesn't make sense to show it laid out like this, but it's a sweater, I swear.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


When most people create their 30-something fitness goal, it seems that it always includes running and ends in "-thon."

So not my style.

But yoga is my style and I'm at the point where strength is my greatest hurdle.
I also realized that I am a frustrated acro/gymnast/balancing artist.
With barely any balance to speak of.

I looked into finding a suspended yoga class, but alas, there are none that were easily found. What I found was aerial silks.

I've been at it since mid-January. We do it when we can, since the teacher is a medical resident and has a wonky schedule. But I love the class and it's motivation for building strength. I'm not too terribly impressive, but I'm learning...


Wrapping for something called "Man in the Moon"

Hip lock...


Crazy, right?

You all can keep your "-thons," I prefer to defy gravity.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I actually finished something!

Apparently I need an external goal to urge me forward these days. Something akin to, "yoga - on Friday." I finished these Thursday and packed them up to wear the next day.
I really love these. And tried my hand at a self-portrait the mimics those in the pattern book.

I admit that I am quite self-conscious about my legs. Strong and flexible as they are, they just don't quite look the way I'd like them to. It was a big step to willingly photograph and post these. But the final piece was so lovely, it eclipsed the concern I had that you'd all be judging my cankles. Please don't judge my cankles.

I did indeed start the Lunisolar legwarmers Thursday evening. They look beautiful so far, and the yarn is a joy to work with.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, the universe thrust some lovely red Madeline Tosh merino yarn in front of me and I did not ignore it.

I finished my dove grey legwarmers tonight, and love them so much that I decided to go ahead and knit another pair (I do attend two, sometimes three, yoga classes a week). Both pair come from my current pattern book of choice, Knitted Socks East and West.

So I will meditate on the coming year as I knit and send thought of luck, love, and abundance to all those I know and love.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Acute Startitis

Between the cold, the snow and the basement full of yarn, I developed a wicked case of knitting startitis. Instead of blithely working through to the end of a project, you find yourself casting on one thing after another, forgetting the truth that an idea does not a finished project make.

The most recent manifestation.

That's right.

I walk to yoga after work and I hate that I've not been able to wear my capri-length pants without looking like a fool or freezing.

So, legwarmers.
They'll look like knee-high socks, and I'm using an interesting pattern that I've modified for worsted weight yarn.

I've gotten fairly far on the new colorwork sweater. I have no idea what came over me to start something else, but I don't think it's worth analyzing. Either way, parts of me will be warm and stylish.

Warm AND Stylish.

Dig those pink plaid pants.

And the lovely cashmere top that's been eclipsed by a riot of color, lace and distraction.

Sorry - I'm come back to you.

I promise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The hazards of moral hazard

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about how, when or even if I will participate in another romantic relationship.

I’ve a long history of not-so-good experiences with men. I view so many of them as negative because I have long maintained a core belief that relationships, at least the more serious ones, are basically an exercise in analytics and economic concepts. Efforts you put in place to ensure that the initial chemistry goes unsullied by fights about things that are actually fights about other things. It turns out I'm somewhat rare in this belief. Although not as rare as I would have thought...

Anyway, lacking a good base in economics, I only recently came to the realization that these were solid and established concepts. I would go to great lengths to develop metaphors in order to explain myself, only to have someone point out to me that the last half hour of baroque language could be summed up as "sunk costs."

Take for, example, Moral Hazard.

Moral hazard occurs when a party insulated from risk behaves differently than it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk.

Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not take the full consequences and responsibilities of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions.

This particular one resonates with me, not only because I tend to be a pushover with men when it comes to demanding much of... anything. But also because it gives me that high you get from righteous indignation. (Am I right?)

We've long since lost any sort of robust social infrastructure that disincentives bad dating behavior, so now everybody is pretty much free to be awful to everybody else without consequence. Aside from the emotional leftovers of last year, weakened moral hazard is big part of why I've sidelined myself from any opportunity - reactive and proactive - to experience romance. I just don't care to open that door right now.

And I just keep seeing example after example of individuals who are merely seeking to find solid ground in their relationship being... ignored, undermined, blown off, and sometimes outright disrespected, because their own perspectives and demands no longer carry weight and it's ceased to be acceptable for a third party (hopefully objective) to come in and point out the problem.

I assume we’re all equally guilty of suppressing that fantasy where you confront an individual in defense of someone close to your heart who is: taken for granted; used as a doormat; or being strung along. There are hundreds of conversations I’ve not had with the past, current and future partners of people in my life.

I can't help but wonder if maybe we were in the habit of holding people accountable for their bad dating/marriage behavior, maybe, just maybe, there would be less of it. Strengthened moral hazard = less weasely behavior.

In my earlier dating life, I would have dissolved into a panic if my friends or family dared to step in to my romantic life, but now, now I would love to have some panic button, some way to call out the cavalry, led by an imaginary southern aunt who would come face to face with the offending chap in a not-to-be-interrupted rant that would go something like this:

“Now boy, I hear you’ve been avoidin’ makin’ a firm commitment to our girl? Now why is that, pray tell? Is our baby girl not good enough for you? Do you mean to tell me that after months of pitchin’ woo in such a brazen and public manner that would dare to back-peddle about what the intentions of those actions truly were. Do you think I was born yesterday, boy? Now it’s one thing to change your mind about something, but I would like to assume you were brought up with enough sense to know when you have gone a mile too far and son, I will tell you that at this point, you done passed that mile about three states back and your horse is about to die from exhaustion. I know you weren’t raised up to be wild hooligan, so how about you make your momma proud and dig deep into that cavernous mind of yours and bring to bear some of the more gentlemanly behaviors we expect of our men folk ‘round here.”

See that, THAT, would be that kind of thing that would strengthen moral hazard.

But I do not have a southern aunt capable of letting my suitors know that I am not to be trifled with. And frankly, I do not see how simply adopting and enforcing stringent rules about what constitutes “good dating behavior” is going to turn me into anything but a ball-busting nag.

So I'm just staying out of the game for the time being.

But now and then, I do indulge in what I would want when I find someone new with whom I share chemistry. It would look something like this...

  • To be able to stop the inevitable emotionally-charged conversation with, "Wait. This isn't about ___________. Can we figure out what this is really about?"
  • To know that he understands that emotionally-charged conversations are fairly commonplace in emotionally-charged relationships, and frankly, represent a good way to quickly identify issues that could continue to cause problems.
  • To willingly face those issues as you would face any other challenge: with research, data, trial-and-error and logical decision-making.
  • To understand that doing this doesn't negate the chemistry and fun of a relationship - it tends to shorten the laundry list of Things That Cause Tension, which actually leaves more time and energy for all the fun stuff that we're all looking for from another person.
  • To think it's adorable that I want to distill the logistics of a happy and healthy relationship to economic concepts and understands exactly what I mean when I talk about how weak moral hazard leads to bad dating experiences, and then proceeds to tell me about the time when asymmetric information led to a truly awful first date a couple of years ago...