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Archive for January 4th, 2006

Progress Report

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

Sunny EthiopiaWeather
It seems that the cloud sitting on Lansing likes it here. We have had two days in a row where you could not tell what part of the sky was where the sun might be. On January 1, we did see one part of the cloud that was brighter, so we knew that was where the sun was. Since then, no such luck. It is hard to feel awake when you can not tell what time of day it is! It seems to be twilight all day.

Yesterday we had lightning and thunder, and the piles of snow are almost gone. Funny, the grass is still green underneath the snow, it seems as if it never went dormant. Yesterday I had to brake in order to avoid hitting a very fat squirrel. He’s not slumbering, but he’s doing fine staying fed anyway.

This is the time of year during which I used to sit on the heat vent. With the new furnace, it’s not as warm and inviting as before. Today, however, I went up to bed and slept about 2 hours around dinnertime. Two hours! I have been sleeping strange and waking up before I’m quite rested enough, and with this low-light situation, my body took over. It was hard to wake up but Brian took me to dinner and now I feel fine. At midnight! This too, shall pass.

Sunny EthiopiaAttitude/Hoarding
I’m doing my best to throw away at least one thing each day that I’ve had too long. I’ve caught myself bellyaching a few times, mostly about lack of sun or the headache I got from the rainy weather. The things I complain about are so very minor! It’s good to be more aware of this.

I’m trying to allow myself to use things up, too. I especially hoard good tea and yarn, and old clothes that were once favorites. I’m working through a box of tea given to me by Cheanne, one of my local knitting comrades. I’m down to two teabags and I’m just enjoying them very very much.

I literally have one cupboard that is just for tea and spices. I mean, three shelves! I won’t run out of tea, even if I don’t buy one more bag for 6 months. I need to start using it.

Part of the problem is that some of my best tea is loose tea which requires a tea ball and teapot. I’m home enough, though, I could use this tea more often and really have some special moments. OK, that’s my goal for the next week. I have some green tea with cardamom I got in Montreal that is not getting any fresher and I will make at least one pot this week.

Dyeing/Kits
I’ve got a bunch of yarn dyed, and a bunch more skeined and ready to dye. Then I go and take a two-hour nap instead of dyeing it! I am not in charge, I guess. Next Sunday I start teaching again, so I need to hop on the yarns while I still have time at home.

Sunny EthiopiaMy three testers on the rolled-brim button hat are doing great. Two have sent photos and one is on the final bits of her hat. Now if I can only find good packages to hold the two small skeins, button and pattern, I’ll be doing well. The package needs to hold everything I want, look appealing, and not cost a lot. I want my customers to pay for content, not packaging! I’m still looking…

Knitting
I finished the knitting of the Bloom Shawl today and I think it will be good. It’s very warm and textured and colorful. I still do not know if I’ll keep it or give it to a friend whose name it keeps whispering. I don’t have to decide today.

Then, even though I swore I would finish the sample for my new sock class at Rae’s, instead I instantly cast on another Bloom Shawl. In Multicolor brushed mohair. Oh, wow… this one is mine, mine, mine. It’s floaty and glowingly pretty, and warm without weighing much. I have already knit 3 of the 18 sections.

Oh, and on the knitting machine… I started sewing the Funnel Neck together, and it’s more a hassle than expected. I didn’t know how to really work the shoulder stairstep-bindoff on the machine and it wanted to have huge holes. I got something decent but I hope nobody looks really closely at it! Now I’m trying to get the sleeves sewn on, but it’s going slowly. It’s not as portable as knitting!

Sunny EthiopiaI did one legwarmer out of the yarn Rae gave me for my birthday, also on the machine. It’s a 4st/in yarn and that is really pushing the machine to its limit, it prefers sport to worsted yarn. One legwarmer is done, and it’s nearly bulletproof on the loosest setting. It will be warm! I will like it warm! Now I need to knit the second one before I forget how I did the first one. I did take notes but I’m notorious for forgetting something.

Photos: A year ago today I was spending my last day in Ethiopia. The whole time we were there, 38 days in Africa, we saw a few sprinkles of rain one day in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) while we were in the car, and we had one day of real rain in the morning, in Alexandria (Egypt). The rest of the time it was sunny as you see in these photos. People use umbrellas in the sun, to keep it out of their faces and to stay cooler, a woman is holding one at the center of the first photo here.

Notice the wonderful smiles, the sunny sky, the colors everywhere. Also notice that at the market, most of the merchandise is moved on the backs of people who work there. In the third photo here, one man at left is carrying two large/heavy bags, and in the center back another man has three very large cardboard boxes or bales wrapped in brown paper, on his back. Wowie!

Folks, we’re lucky, lucky, lucky to have lives of relatively simple physical demands here in the western world. But trust me, people smile even when their bodies work this hard. These photos were taken my last week in Addis, Ababa, at the market and a small group of clothing shops.