Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The funniest thing I said all day

How English men hit on you:

"Ummm, ah...I HAVE COFFEE!!!!!


Monday, April 28, 2008


Sitting on a park bench
paper spread across my legs
the wind ruffles the page.

Looking up,
cherry petals drift off the tree
falling softly across
my upturned face.

- b


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dirty, dirty knots

I've recently been knitting some manly-type socks out of my single manly-type colourway (navy blue, with very small and subtle flecks of other colours). I'm using Trekking (XXL) for the first time, and all the way through the first sock I was very impressed. The yarn is not splitty, it doesn't get caught on my very pointy needles (KnitPicks circulars), it runs perfectly through my fingers onto my needles - I was happy. I was thinking that I'd definitely be buying it again, especially as I like using superwash wool for socks I'm making as gifts. After all, I know that I'll hand wash anything I make for myself (I think my flatmate is getting used to seeing wooly goodness dry in our bathroom) but other people tend to just throw things in the washer.

So. Happily knitting along, and finish sock one. I start sock two, and after no more than five rows (and possibly less) there is a knot. Oh well, one knot in a skein, that's no problem. Bad placement, really, five rows in, but I'm in a waste-not-want-not kind of place and so I do the starting-new-ball jig and continue on. Then, horror of horrors. There is a second knot. And this time, it's not in the best place ever. It's just as I'm about to start turning the heel. I've done the starting-new-ball jig again, but with the starting position where it is I'm a bit worried about how the join is going to wear.

To be honest, I'm a bit irritated now. The yarn is lovely, it is a squishy as ever, but two knots in a skein? I know I haven't been knitting for decades, but I've never had two knots in a skein before. It just seems...well. Like I've gotten the end bits of something. Like my skein is the pieced together remnants of several other skeins that they just didn't want to throw away. It's not horrible, just irritating. And means more weaving in at the end, which is my least favourite part.

I think we should start a coalition for no-knots.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The Mountain

I missed poetry Friday last week, due to a fantastically hectic few days (I got a new job. Squee!). So, today is both a late poetry Friday and also a few thoughts on something that every person living outside the country they grew up in feels.

Most days, living in Britain, are fine. I react mostly like an English person these days; I stand in my one-person-queue at bus stops, I refuse to remove my coat on the Tube even when sweat is running down my face because the temperature outside the Tube is still artic, I find it vaugely disconcerting when people talk to me outside of bars in public places and am slightly awkward in social situations that do not involve alcohol. Nonetheless, I'm not English.

On Saturday, I got into a discussion with an Aussie girl about what it's like to live in another country for any lenght of time that isn't your own. Today's poem perfectly describes, to me, what those days that aren't fine are like.

The Exile's Lament

Beneath the golden balm
Settling on the fields
Evening steals in calm
And farmers count their yields.

The bee is in lavender,
The honey fills teh comb,
But here a rain falls never-ending
And I am far from home.

- Jacqueline Carey

And right now, this is what I miss the most.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stopping time

Music has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. Certain songs bring back memories of Christmas or Easter, my senior year of high school or WWU, and specific people or relationships (Both good and bad. Let's just say that the person who gets Back to Black by Amy Winehouse? Probably shouldn't be happy about that one.). Take It Easy by the Eagles will always make me remember driving to work at Southcenter Mall on a hot summer afternoon with the windows rolled down, singing at the top of my lungs, and the guy in the car next to me in traffic looking over, laughing, and then starting to sing along too.

Most songs that hold meaning make you smile, or sigh, and then half-listen to them as they play. Sometimes you'll barely register that they've come on, if you're in the middle of something or distracted. But there are some songs that, when they come on, the world seems to shift slightly. You stop whatever you're doing because you simply can't continue really focusing on anything else (with the exception of things like driving, for instance) because this moment of perfection has dropped into your day and it would be almost sacrilegious if you didn't give it the consideration it deserves.

Ave Maria is one of those songs. It doesn't matter how many times I hear it - every time it comes on, things are slightly different. It's like the song makes me take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and realised that eventually everything will be alright. Listening to it transforms my usual slog through people at Finsbury Park station and on the Tube to work in the morning something different. I look up. I see people's faces instead of their shoes or the book they're reading.

This is what music should be, this beautiful transforming thing that makes the world change. When did the noise pollution in our ears make that change?

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Good timing

One of the bloggers I read posted a poem on her website on Wednesday, but being in the UK I didn't read it until Thursday. And it was exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. So, instead of posting her poem here, I'll direct you to her site.

A love note to you


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Shameless plug for cash

And it's not for me. This is pretty inspiring, and shows just how much difference one person can make to a community. Or rather, will be able to make, with our help.

This is one of those cases where even a £1 or a $1 will help, so if that's all you can afford then that's more than enough. Pass this on to your friends, post it on your blog, and lets see if we can make a dent in what they've got left to raise, shall we?

After all - we can make a difference too.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Snow day

This is what I saw out my kitchen window this morning, after being awoken by a text that read 'SNOW SNOW SNOW SNOW!! Go look out your window!'.

Can I just say that this view is normally much less white and snow covered? Very nice way to be woken up though, much nicer than irritatingly chipper bird. However, because the tree outside my bedroom window looked like this,

I am now concerned for irritating chipper bird's health. It does not snow this much in London, ever. Ever, ever. There was at least six inches piled up on the cars, and although it was melting on the streets it was still wonderful to see. I walked to Finsbury Park Station in the snow, and for the first time I can remember in London almost everyone I passed smiled at me and some of them even said hello. It might have been because it was still early enough on a Sunday that most people were still in bed, but it was such a lovely feeling to walk though streets that are usually full of people staring fixedly at the pavement and instead see some of the people I live beside.


It is April. Um...isn't it supposed to be spring? It was over 17' on Friday, warm enough that I thought about wearing a jumper instead of my winter coat out in the evening. I rather desperately need this country to have a summer this year after the abysmal lack of one last year, and this does not bode well people. It does not bode well at all.