About Me:

About Me: I've been knitting since I got bored one summer in college and made a raglan sleeved rag-wool sweater that still almost fits. My favorite things to knit are Scandanavian colorwork and lace. I don't like to knit socks or sleeves. Some years ago, I completed the Level 1 Master Course with The Knitting Guild of America. That's as far as I got, but I did learn a lot and I recommend it highly.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yule Log Cake Convergence - Marzipan Mushrooms & Acorns

In a moment of holiday convergence, my sister and I both made yule log cakes for our Christmas dinners.  This made for a hilarious Skype moment the other day.  Hers had espresso filling and was frosted with ganache, but mine had little marzipan acorns and mushrooms.  Here are some tips on making these shapes.

Acorns:  roll a ball of uncolored marzipan.  These were smaller than a cherry, but a little larger than one of those really big Michigan blueberries.  Now that I think of it, the size of an acorn describes it perfectly.  Once it is round, flatten out the sides to make more of a cylinder shape.  Gently pinch one end to make the tip.  It's not so much of a point as it is a little nub.  Next, take another similar sized ball of marzipan.  These were colored brown using regular food coloring - 7 drops of red, 4 drops yellow, 1 drop blue, and 2 drops green.  Flatten the ball into a disc, then gently shape it around the top of the acorn.  Pinch a tiny stem, and using a knife or toothpick, make "hatch" marks.

Mushrooms:  start with a small ball of uncolored marzipan, then shape it into a cone.  A second ball of marzipan flattened into a disc becomes the mushroom cap.  If you've colored the cap red, I like to put little white spots of marzipan on top.  The pictures above show that I also made a little snail, and a green holly leaf with little red berries.  The acorns and the mushrooms turned out the best.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Here are the tea towels I bought during the Spoonflower fat quarter sale.  They were a great bargain and so very very pretty.  I got them as gifts and didn't even know who was getting which one at the time because it was too thrilling to shop for them.  Feedback:  they arrived on light-weight cotton, not linen, which I knew, only now I see that they are also available on linen (maybe linen wasn't part of the sale, note to self for next year).  Also, it took quite a long time for them to arrive - maybe because they only print the fabric on order - but I didn't get the notice that my order had shipped for maybe two-three weeks.  The anticipation just about killed me.  Luckily it was worth the wait!

Wildflowers, pattysloninger
Birds & Berries, lisaekstrom
Here is the first one.  And here is the second one.  As you can see, was just too excited to take the photo that I didn't care the corner was hanging off my dining table.

The last one was a total bargain.  I have a passion for all things bicycled, and when I put a fat quarter of this towel fabric in my cart, the smart designer somehow popped up a message that said - buy a full yard and you'll get four calendars, plus two of them will be in a second colorway that is not available if you just buy one fat quarter.

Here is my prep for these pretty babies.  Cut the yard.  Wash, dry, and iron -- something I hate doing normally.  My advice here is to get an iron you will not swear at, and some kind of pretty ironing accessories so that it's not a total chore.  I always put on some cute movie to watch while I iron.

Tandem Bicycle - pattysloninger
Then hem them puppies.  I looked up a few how-to websites on hand-rolled hems but I also have the sweetest Singer featherweight with a special hemming foot that makes a very narrow sort of rolled hem.  I am going to use white or pale yellow thread especially on the hand-rolled hems because I don't want them to look ugly when I do a lax job.

Now just wrap up with a ribbon and sit back to accept the compliments.

Update!  Because the fabric I purchased was the quilting weight cotton, hemmed narrowly the towel was barely bigger than a large handkerchief.  I ended up using bias tape instead:  the color helped set off the image better and made the towel appear slightly larger.  An alternative would have been to use my wide hemmer attachment rather than the narrow.  But anyway, these were great gifts to make and give.  I will be back at Spoonflower very very soon.

Craftable Christmas - Greeting Card Garland

Holiday Greeting Card Garland
One day I was looking for a way to use up holiday greeting cards and I must not have had any tape.  This prevented me from making interlocking loops and I had to think of something else.  I came up with this idea, which I love because since the garland is not taped together it is easy to adjust it to whatever length you need.

So now I have a couple of things that I do each year with the holiday cards I receive.  One is throw them into a box as I pack up the ornaments.  Some of them are still in their mailing envelopes, because I receive them from people like me who don't get their act together until the holidays are practically over, and they arrive pretty much when I've moved on to the most important birthday season of the year (late January - all hail those born under the sign of Aquarius and at the end of the Chinese Year, especially the Hinoe-uma Fire Horse).  But I digress.

By packing the cards away, when eleven months later I get out my Christmas decorations again, the stack of last year's cards represents all the people I will be sending this year's cards to, since I already have their addresses right there.

Secondly, I use last year's cards to add to the holiday garlands I hang in doorways, on the lintel, along the mantel.  It is a great way to keepsake any images you are really fond of.  And it's not a complicated craft, so the gratification is pretty instantaneous.
The paper clip-shaped cut

Here is the link to the Instructables page I made on this craft.  The steps are basically (1) cut out a bunch of circles and (2) make a u-shaped cut in opposite sides of each circle as if you were creating an un-folded paper clip and (3) slide the circles together.  They will stay linked like a paperclip chain.

Since posting, I advise against using 3M double-stick hanging squares.  I thought these would be an improvement over regular tape, but over the last several weeks I've had to re-hang my garlands almost every other day.  I don't know why it is so difficult to keep them hanging.  Perhaps the wall is too textured, perhaps the card is too glossy, perhaps the garland is too heavy, maybe there is too much air flow from my heating system.  Anyway, at this point I recommend using a heavy-duty stickertape or tacks.  You might tear one or two of the circles when you take it down at the end of the season, but do whatever it takes so you only have to hang it once.

I hope you like playing around with this idea.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Be That Person You Could Have Been and Might Still Become

Taking Purl this weekend to GeekGirlCon - the conference celebrating female geeks of all ages.  Neither one of us can boast having an ongoing or intense geeky interest, but I'm taking her anyway.  It's hard to explain.  It's not just that I want her to become an electrical engineer or computer code designer or to start playing hours of video games.  It's the breathtaking fierce emotional risk-taking of doing something that others don't understand that I want her to see.  I want to show Purl that you should always work with what you have, you know, bloom in place, and practice satisfaction.  But I want her to be fearless in exploring that space -- where you are should be a pathway to creativity, not an obstacle.  And that's important in a small town, where cultural conformity can feel suffocating (it's not, but you have to be courageous to combat that illusion).  It's also a trope to say it's small-town conformity, when it's really an American insecurity in general.  So that's why I'm going too.  It's fall, it's going to be a long winter.  Let's shake things up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A New Old Project - Beaded Knit Bag That is Taking 100 years to finish!

So part of my 3D creative life is working with things I inherited from my Aunt Jose:  her featherweight Singer, her WWII Red Cross patterns for knitting mittens with a trigger finger, scraps of fabric pinned with hand-written notes ("new tuxedo"), her fabulous lace wedding dress that I wore, and this awesome amazing box with a half-made beaded bag inside.

For years I would just open the box occasionally and touch the contents.  Everything in the box is from not later than 1920 or so.  I have no idea why she never finished it.  And since there were no marks on the pattern it was beyond me to figure out which row she stopped on.

A smart bag of ample size!
That was sometime around 1980.  I kept the box and kept the idea that one day I would finish the bag and have this awesome piece.  And then it was 1990, and I'd moved from Chicago to Seattle.  And then it was 2000, and I was in Montana.

Using the box lid for a bridge score
And then it was 2006 or 2007, and I was prepping to leave for law school.  I wanted to leave with as many loose ends tied up as possible, so I took the time I had to work on two full-size quilt tops, a few sweaters, a cake decorating course, and a woodworking class.  I took out the box and studied it.  I counted rows.  I took it to my knitting group and showed it off.  I knit one row.  Satisfied that I could do it when I did do it, I put it back.  (Did I make notes on where I left off?  Of course not, because I always like a challenge).  This is pretty much the only pre-law school project I never completed.

So now, here I am again.  Check out the hinged metal top.  Check out the needle container, and the thread spool, and the box the beads are in.  It used to be fastened with a red rubber band, but that disintegrated.

Copyright 1924
Yesterday I took out the box when I realized I had a whole day in which to do nothing, and that I would do nothing if I didn't at least give it a try.  It took an hour to figure out where I'd left off four years ago, and another half hour to figure out that Aunt Jose had not followed the pattern because she didn't like beaded fringe.  And then another bit to correlate the row numbers in the pattern with the pattern rows in the half-finished piece, minus the twenty beginning rows that she skipped, to figure out approximately how many rows I had left.  Really, Aunt Jose.  Were you going to pick up and knit the fringe later?  Did you want to make a smaller bag?  Where am I supposed to put in the turning row for the bottom?

Cue the cliffhanger music. . .

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So Cino

Here are the rides I did yesterday and today, to get ready for Cino Heroica, coming up in just a few weeks.  Saturday  and Sunday

I am ready for this ride in spirit, because it's just the kind of ride I love.  Completely non-sensical.  My bike is a 1985 Trek 520 with upright handlebars and gearshifters on the down tube, and old-fashioned toe clips.  I am in no way ready physically.  I will post pictures of the bike soon.

This weekend's training was not just kind of a grind, it was a grind.  The route I took yesterday was south into a headwind for seven some miles, and then the third section of it was west into a headwind for about ten miles.  Not fun.  Today's ride was short, but included a long uphill through a canyon and down the other side.  But if I can work in a few more short rides this week, and then another two long rides next weekend, I think I have a chance of at least finishing day one without tears.

Now I am just pretty dusty and tired, and the bike is too -- something is squeaking in the back tire.  A brake or a chain.  I am also trying out some Hammer gel stuff to see if it helps on the longer runs:  HEED and Perpetuem during the ride, and Recoverite afterward.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nothing Up My Sleeve. . . Presto!

You, the two readers who follow this blog, you who have hung on my every recent word about the blue cashmere scarf as its bare materials were purchased, as it sat in my project basket and stared at me for many months, as it was knit into half of a really nice scalloped lace thing, then ripped out twice, placed back in the chest of craft-o drawers, and then eventually became the subject of several gripping episodes of prose, you are probably not pleased to hear that this post too, the one you were hoping would be worth reading, is again about that same damn fucking piece of wool.

The thing is, it's not a very bright blue color, it's a slightly lighter shade of a pleasing sky or robin's egg blue, and a lot more dilute.  The kind of color that says, I just don't have the nerve to pull off the color this really should be.  The kind of blue color circa 1950 awkwardly handmade baby boy garments with not a lot of style.

Adding that ribbon trim helped.  But still, what was it?  A table runner?  A granny shawl?  An odd scarf, the kind that people point to when they are trying to illustrate my eccentric, ecclectic. just a hair shy of a near miss kind of fashion sense?

Finally, thanks to another couple of evenings banging about with nothing in particular to do with my idle hands in my devil's workshop, I sewed the edges together about a third of the way into the center from each end.  Now it's a shrug, I think it's finally totally awesome with a white t-shirt or linen sundress (which now I have to make).

Here is Purl modeling it.  (Check back in a minute or two.  She hasn't agreed to do this part yet).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cat Control

I think I have learned how to outsmart my cat.  She has a fairly annoying habit of climbing up onto my chest when I am reading.  Not onto my lap.  My chest.  Right where the book or magazine is.  In order to keep reading I have to extend my arms all the way out and sometimes straight up so that I can continue reading without having to deal with the 15 pound weight on my chest.  And then my arms get tired.

I don't have a solution to that problem right now.  I can't just budge and get her off of me because she is a very mean cat and will hit me in the face with her paws so that I stay still while she relaxes on me, the human cat sofa.  Sometimes if she can reach she will bite my wrist too.  And she does still have claws on her back paws so when she does angrily jump off of me, she'll first push all her weight into her back feet and it will hurt.  The back paws are usually somewhere around my not rock-hard abs.  So the experience is oof - very heavy cat standing on me and preparing to angrily jump off, and then ouch - thanks for digging your claws into my not rock-hard abs as you do so.

Yes, I have to work on that one.  The problem that I have solved is this:  when she jumps up on my desk and sits right across my notes and this keyboard so that I can't type.  Well, here is what you do.  Can't tell the cat to move, because, see above - she will hit me in the face with her paws.  Probably shouldn't have encouraged her to box with us when she was a kitten.  She now uses that skill when she's just feeling meanly.  So what you do is get up and walk away.  Get a drink of water, start doing something else.  The cat will stay put for a few minutes in order to say:  fine, leave, as if I care, as if I even noticed you leaving, this is my space anyway and I called it and you can't have it.  Certainly not going to follow you to wherever boring place you're going.  But then the cat will begin to think:  I hope you don't think I'm sitting here waiting for you to come back, because I'm not, in fact I hope you don't come back because I don't need you anyway.  I'm not at all curious where you went, but I sure as heck am not going to keep hanging out here as if I don't have anyplace better to go.  So now that I see you not coming back, I'm going to go somewhere else before you come back just to show you that I wasn't waiting around.  At this point, walk back near the place you were, not right next to the cat, but nearby.  The cat will immediately leave just as you approach.

And so that is what I did five minutes ago, so that I could write this now.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Crafty Way to a Better Divorce

You can be happily moved on, married even -- and still some days it can still rise up and smack you -- you had to take a fully-loaded rat trap out to the trash, and it was difficult and messy and disgusting, and the person who was supposed to be there for you to help you with the difficult and messy and disgusting part not only wasn't there to help you with it, he was actually the difficult, messy, disgusting job you had to take care of.  And you can be enjoying a moment like a walk down the street on a Saturday blue-sky day in July when all of a sudden the thought of him and the phrase "You're such an Asshole!" or something similar appears.  I have suddenly muttered it under my breath or blurted it out loud on several occasions.

And it's embarrassing.  I mean, you're supposed to have moved on, and the emotional bruises are supposed to have disappeared, the scars just something that get touched languidly, thoughtfully, and no longer painful.  But at the same time it feels so good to just say it:  you, yes you, that guy I used to be married to.  no I can't remember your name anymore, but I just want you to know, because I never told you when we were married:  you're such an asshole.

Today's project helps externalize that sentiment in a productive, pretty way.  We must embroider our emotions whenever we get the chance.  Putting excessive detail on them helps define them more precisely, and can help distinguish what is healthy or rational from what is not.  And whenever I do reflect on what an asshole that guy was, and how sad it is that I was so patient and kind to him, and what better things I could have done with my time than stay married to him, I eventually reflect on how much money and effort I used up getting divorced, and how fucking worth it it was.  So it's a temporarily unkind moment, but the memory then leads to a great affirmation.  Someone else is stuck with him now, and the price I paid was one that allows me the freedom to say whatever I want.  (Happy Independence Day, by the way).

The materials for the project are available at craft stores like Jo-Anns, Michael's or Ben Franklin, and sometimes at bigger Target/Walmart types.  The towel is about $5, and the needlepoint work goes in a section of it that's woven in such a way that you can count squares and stitches easily.  The embroidery floss I used here was lying around from some abandoned friendship bracelet project of Purl's.  I free-styled the whole thing but if you are more of a stickler you can use an embroidery hoop and use a washable pencil or marker (make sure it is really made to wash out) to put your design right on the fabric.  I also typed up my phrase using a bunch of different types (fonts) to get ideas about how to shape the script-style letters.

Tip #1:  "Plan Ahea":  the original idea was to embroider "You're such an Asshole," but because I made the "A" so big, there was not room for the whole word.  I've justified the resulting "You're such an Ass ++++" as if I'd planned it that way, so as to be more spatially balanced, but that's just not true.  I ran out of room and then had to back up.

Tip #2:  Undo, Undo, Undo:  don't be in such a big hurry that you leave in stitches that you don't like.  If you don't make a mistake a project like this will take an hour or two, but this took about 3-4 hours for me because (a) I was free-styling and so I picked out several whole letters several times, (b) you want to get it right.  Just like you got your divorce done right no matter how times you had to re-work the settlement agreement.

So kick back and enjoy Independence Day, and if you spill your beer, you've got something to wipe it up with while smirking a little bit to yourself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Allergic to Change

Snuff, snuff, sniffle. . . I have emptied a box of tissues already this week, plus the one at home. It is impossible to figure out if I am coming down with something, and is it bacterial, or is there something in the air? One minute I'm fine, one minute I'm sneezing, and the next I can only breathe through one side of my nose -- no wait -- it's mouth only. My usually charming Midwestern nasal twang soweds moe lye-guh dis.

Wouldn't you know it though, this is what I went through nine months ago when I arrived here. First I thought it was road fatigue plus the dust from all my moving boxes. Then I thought it was pollen in my new neighborhood, plus poor local air quality. The week after that I tried the mold in my office theory, but that didn't work either. Nothing worked: over the counter, behind the counter, antihistamine, decongestant, histamine blocker, neti pot, herbs, nada. The acupuncturist said it was stress and I drank this awful tea tasting of Farmer's Friend throat lozenges for a week. Two rounds of antibiotics finally seemed to kick it in the pants, but that was right around the time when I got word about my Illinois bar results, so who really knows whether it was the drugs or the endorphins kicking my immune system back into gear.

So I'm complacent, thinking that perhaps my new move is bringing it all on and that it will pass. The uncertainty, the logistics, the pressure -- enough to make me want to curl up with some chicken soup and sleep until the whole thing is over. Some kind of psycho-somatic reaction to change, which my body sees it as threatening rather than exciting. What a drag, though -- it's going to be a few more weeks before I get all unpacked again. I'd like to be known as the wonderful new person in town and at the office, not the poorly looking soul with the red nose and watery eyes.

But if sniffling for the next week is the way to get there, so be it. I'll just take some zen-like action to address the problem indirectly (sudafed not doing a hell of a lot anyway, so my allergies can just bite it if they think they're going to get me down). A manicure. A massage. Several bottles of champagne. A date. Concert tickets. Nothing can get me down because I feel good, look good, and have great things to look forward to. Sniff, sniff, sniff.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Forgot to post -- last week the Montana Board of Bar Examiners saw fit to let me know that I passed the exam. Yea! Now I am double-barred -- Illinois and Montana.

The catch: the Board will let me know where and when the swearing in ceremonies will be held. . . as soon as I pay my fees. Kind of like being invited to a party but not being given the directions to get there until you show them a receipt for the present you bought.

Bonfire of my study materials has already taken place.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Finishing Touches

Fluffy blue cashmere scarf looked pretty damn blah when it was done. Fluffy, yes. Soft, yes. But bland. Pale, pale, pastel baby blue. Like a sky with a thin cloud in front of it. If it were a dress it would wash you out unless you had very dark skin to set it off. And I don't have that. So my choice was between finding someone with gorgeous dark skin to give it to, or giving it a contrast edge of some kind. Given that I live in Montana, where a diverse community boasts both Norwegians and Swedes, I set out to find an appropriate trim.

At Loopy, I found this great ribbon trim.

As I recall, only about $11 and I have quite a lot of it left over. Thinking I'll work the rest of it with some wire and make a basket for keys or mail.

A single crochet made sense, but if I just ran the ribbon along the edge one stitch at a time, a one-sided edge was created, meaning that the front of the scarf looked great, but the back of the scarf showed the stitches. So I ripped it out and started again.

This time I crocheted one stitch into a stitch at the front of the scarf (the line of stitches in the lower part of the image), and then crocheted a second stitch over the top of that. This prevented the edge stitch of the scarf from showing through the trim, and made the reverse (the line on the top of the image) of the scarf look as pretty as the front.

You can see here that the edge is curled or bubbled a bit, because I was stitching into each row of the edge. Once I realized that was going on, I started working every other row, and it lies flatter as a result.

As an added bonus, the trim gave just enough weight to the edge of the scarf that it now falls very nicely around my shoulders.

My last knitting project in town before I move up north. Happy to be finished.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Got Nuthin

In a big limbo vaccuum-shaped area. Waiting for the kids to call for their ride. Waiting for the day to end. Waiting to start a new job. Waiting to hear from the state board of examiners on my bar exam results. Not really anything I can do to speed any of it up. Yuk.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blue Scarf! Fluffy Blue Scarf! and Thoughts on Timing

I have had a weekend of dead space, dog days, killing time, dead air, pregnant anticipation, and so lots of time to at least knit to make the time pass productively. I'm in the middle of a month of moving, a time when there is lots of time that can't be spent making the move happen, because I don't have boxes yet, or a place, or a place to put them in. So I have to just wait until the timing is right.

Meanwhile, that endless blue cashmere that I bought at Loopy in Chicago the summer of 2009 has finally transformed itself not into a lace scarf, because the pattern just got too fine and crazy, but a nice wide shawl. I just can't stop touching it, which does make the knitting go slower.

I ended up just knitting 100 stitches in garter stitch.

Plain as plain can be. But the wool is so fine that it's airy and open and bubbly. I will finish it up in a few more rows today.

Then after I drive back to Mizzou with the Estrogirlz for a few days of roller-derby parenting and work, I will find some really awesome trim yarn and crochet the edges. Maybe a nice mint green ribbon, or silver. Who knows. Something smooth and silky.

Knitting is great for when you are stewing about something. Like teenage girls. Who make you wait for them while they are brushing their hair for the nth time. Or make you wait for them because now they're not coming with friend A, but with friend B and C, and now departure isn't at 4:00 but 5:00 and did I mention we have to pick up friend D first, and my bag is at friend A's house so can we go there first? I love the concept of parenting but the actual practice of it makes me want to grind my teeth. Really? as if I don't actually have things to get back to, people to see, money to earn and make. Really? as if I should just sit here and. . . and. . . and. . .get the knitting done that I have complained about not having enough time to just sit and do.

Knitting is great for making the timing right on this, that, and the other thing. This scarf was not timed right earlier, when I had to pay so much attention to the pattern and had to rip it out twice. The timing has been much better in the last few months, when I come up to this ski town on the weekends and run Purl to her social events and then come back to my host house and. . . knit because I didn't make social plans of my own, and didn't want to, because I really wanted to spend my time catching up on hulu shows and knitting.

So now I have that thing finished - and I get a trip to the store to pick out trim. Yea!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You're Such a Loophole

I wonder if "Loophole" could ever catch on as a euphemism for a**hole. Or if Loophole could be a euphemism for "lawyer" which is generally a convenient euphemism for a**hole. Or perhaps, more specifically, "male lawyer." Or just men in general. It must be a benefit of testosterone that it makes you unaware of how inconsiderate and insensitive you are being.

Like yesterday, when we made tentative plans for this morning and then you didn't call me at all this morning to confirm or even communicate "I'm on my way." And truthfully, because I was running a little late, I was relieved that you didn't call and I could assume that you weren't really holding your breath until I arrived with this awesome coffeecake I made. But really? When I finally did call you to see if we could still do the (also previously planned) dinner, you made it sound like I was the one who was supposed to have called you. And man, I've been there already. That whole thing where if I really want to see you then I have to call, and that you will call me after a few days to see if I've fallen behind the sofa and can't get up, but you won't call me to say, "hey, are we still on for coffee?" Because a girl I was supposed to meet for coffee would totally call if she didn't get a call first, and we'd both act like there was a mutual responsibility to communicate. And I was trying to give you your damn space because you're always so busy. I'm not sure if I should use a euphemism here. I'd like to put it down to simple male-female dis-communication, but I suspect you might be a. . .

Now the other guy, he showed up for beers on time yesterday, but I had to listen to a lengthy story about a crazy plaintiff, representing herself, of course, who made a fool of herself at a deposition by accusing the opposing counsel of deliberately clearing his throat and rolling his eyes in order to distract her. Despite what I believe to be this mostly true story, I suspect my friend falls into the category of -- loopholes -- who really enjoy it when otherwise competent professional women self-destruct; it reassures their little insecure selves that women in general are not a threat because they're either not as smart or as awesome as men are, or they're crazy.

Now I know that lawyers are supposed to be ambitious and tough and aggressive, and I intend to be all of those things, but I was really hoping that in this phase of my career I wouldn't have to be such a -- Loophole.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Last Loophole

OOH! I'm off to an interview in a new town! My old town, to tell the truth, the one I've been visiting every weekend for the past six months, a 120 mile drive each way. Telling people that I want to move up here, and now. . .if this interview goes well that plan could be a reality.

Let's hope this is one of the last hoops I will have to jump through for a while. It's as if I've been in this transition for such a long time. People say, "well, you just have to get through it" without realizing how long the "through" can take. Sometimes jumping over the threshold is all it takes, but sometimes it takes holding your breath and diving into a long, dark, underwater tunnel. And so I was thinking last night, shouting at my cat actually, that I really don't like having to go through this just to get to someplace else. Never have. Want to just be on the other side already. And really, don't really want to have to be on the other side, or even on my way there. I want to be back on the starting side -- back before I had to make my own decisions, back when things that didn't go well were someone else's fault, and not mine. Yes, I get a feeling of personal accomplishment that no one can take away from me by being here and doing this. But there's still that lingering feeling, that line from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, where the one guy (Guildenstern) says to the other (Rosencrantz), "There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time."

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Montana Loophole

This week I am jumping through the loophole in Montana lawyering that says I cannot get a license via reciprocity between our two great states. No, I have to drive to Helena, stay in a Motel 6, blog this from a Starbucks, and show up at the testing site for a day and a half of essays.

Yep, I'm here. Alarm didn't fail to go off, car started, didn't forget my keys or my ID or my spare contacts. I'm here. Ready to go. Three extra pens, one from the bank, just to be on the safe side.

Before I went to sleep last night I couldn't help but notice that the ceiling on my darkened hotel room looked so much like the ceilings of all the other rooms where I've slept the night before something big. A great big dark space of waiting for something to happen. Including in that somewhere a chance that it might not, or that it might turn out worse than I am hoping it does. A great big edge. What I notice is that despite the edge, the things will happen even if I don't dive into it, or jump, or run. I can wade into it, I can float until I just feel like letting go of the edge, until the wave washes me on. What I can't do is cling and hope that when the sun comes up it all won't be necessary.

Wow, I really need to get back to my index cards with the future interests in property notes, or I just may write a crazy stream of consciousness passage in my essays about the best interests of the child, or the business judgment rule. But anyway, those were the abysmal thoughts that visited me as I drifted off to sleep last night. Today, with more coffee, I'm just ready to start.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

I think I'll take up Crochet. . . on second thought

What is it about our work as lawyers that makes us despise ourselves, our work, our co-workers? Is it the shark jokes? Is it our fear of having our incompetence unveiled? Why is it that on a weekly basis I have one day where I can drive the boat and the rest of the time I'm bailing ALL THE TIME? And even on that one day, there's usually about an hour or more when I feel like I'm going to sink?

I am having one of those weeks, weeks I have regularly. I doubt at times that I am even using the English language properly, the way people look at me when I attempt to transfer information or requests in what I believe is the most concise, direct, honest, and polite way possible. I imagine myself walking calmly back to my office, closing the door and the blinds, and then crawling under my desk to hide for a while until they all go away. Last week when I was not here, but working remotely (and make sure you put 'working' like this: "working"), I imagined never coming back. Why am I here again? Why am I doing this? What if I do just chuck it all and take up professional kite-flying instead; that would work, right?

At times like this, I read this great blog called "The People's Therapist." He's a lawyer practicing as a psychotherapist. Fantastic blog. It keeps me right on track. Today's post was called "You do Law. No, You Do Law". His posts remind me of two things. First, no one really wants to be an adult. We want to stay home during the snowstorm and just play, drink cocoa and read a good book. But so many of us shovel the walk instead, or trudge off to work, and then resent our obligations instead of celebrating the fact that we are, for the most part, capable of carrying them out. There are so many ways of enjoying our maturity instead of resisting it.

Second, don't advertise your insecurity. Everyone else has bad moments, days, or weeks too. So vent when you can, but don't turn into the insecure office person everyone else has to boost up all the time. Think about what you're going to say, and hesitate just a little bit. And just let the feeling of insecurity pass instead of giving it voice. (Remember when we all thought Polonius was an old fool for saying "Give thy thoughts no tongue"?).

I'm back in the mood to work now.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Knit Wit

I'm going to insert a few new photographs here. The first is my progress with this Chinese cashmere scarf. I may end up making a shrug out of it.

The second is a really cool vintage sweater I found at the YWCA shop a few weeks ago. What I picked up was supposed to be a neat wool cardigan. Imagine my surprise (a phrase which here means "little did she know") when I got it home and discovered that I had actually purchased a pull-over that someone had taken a scissors to. Cut right down the front. Hadn't fallen apart -- yet. So I sewed some ribbon to the steek to preserve the edge. Purl immediately wanted to borrow it.

As a result I went out and bought a bunch more colored ribbon. Over the years I've bought wool sweaters and fulled them, and now I think I'm going to cut them up too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On the Job Injury

I can't type because I was making carrot juice tonight and neglected to use a proper cutting board, or pay attention, or sharpen the knife before I tried to chop up a really fat carrot so it could fit in the chute on the juicer. Earlier today I had been thinking about the index finger on my left hand, and how it's been hurting in the cold (it's 5 degrees here) and imagining if it would ever just get so bad I might lose it. And then I was in the kitchen, my brain trying to process a whole bunch of signals at once: oops, and what? and wait, I think I'm hurt and ow! and, but I never get hurt, and, I told you something was going to happen if you didn't slow down. And then, pull that knife out of there, and oh my god, what do I do?

I saw it briefly, a good sized gash below the knuckle. I thought about going right away to the ER. But with my right hand gripping my left, how was I supposed to steer, or shift? Not a great idea. I looked at the clock: 7:08. I've got pressure on it now, and it stings like hell, but if I keep it on for ten minutes, okay twenty, maybe that'll do the trick. Turns out you breathe faster at these times, and you get a crazy look in your eyes. Okay, keep it together. Call a friend who can come help you drive, or at least strap on the band-aid.

Okay, holding your left hand with your right, grab your phone with your left thumb and both pinky fingers. Put it on the kitchen counter. Dial with your right pinky. Place your head near the phone until your ear and mouth are lined up correctly. Sweet, she's home. Hi, are you busy? Um, well, I need some help with a cut I just gave myself. Can you come over soon, because. . . um. . . I have some brownies in the oven that I can't take out.

Now I have a cool blue split on my finger to keep it straight, following treatment with hydrogen peroxide and liquid bandage. I can't type though. And now I can't knit either.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The re-Bar

So I'm studying for the bar, and there should be a joke in here somewhere. I already studied for this test, I already sat for it, and I already passed it. And yet here I am again, sitting again in February. Yes, everyone does wonder why. Why on earth would I want to take a second exam? Why didn't I take the Montana exam first, like a normal person? As Lina Lamont would say, "What do they think I am? Dumb or something?

It's so pathetic, I can't even come up with a lame knitting pun. So far at least half of the questions I've reviewed for the state essay portion involve worker's compensation and construction site negligence. So much for my normal Montana bar exam joke that goes: my sharpshooting is pretty good, but I'm a bit worried about the calf-roping part of the test. Ugh!

For the Re-Bar, redirect here.