Now that I'm back in Pittburgh and all is well, I realize that I should have been focusing on the positive aspects of my trip rather than everything that didn't go so well.
My trip home, though longer than planned, allowed me to spend some quality time with my family. Here we are celebrating Mother's Day/a sister's birthday/a brother's birthday/a niece's birthday (with a family this big, you sorta have to share the party.)
See? Quality. (Blurry quality, but clearly we're all entertained by something. From the looks of it, my brother's boyfriend is telling a great story.)
And my trip to Wisconsin to visit a friend at my undergrad, although also longer than planned, allowed me to catch up with old friends, chat with my clarinet professor, talk to friends traveling to Bali this summer, attend a choir concert, an orchestra concert, a phenomenal recital by Ali Amr on the Qanun (there's a sound clip of him playing and singing on the first link), a lecture by a visiting ethnomusicologist on the relationship between music, nature, and liminality (and about how musicians are the most powerful and dangerous people on the planet), AND I was able to attend two gamelan rehearsals and see the beautiful new set that they just got.
I really don't think it could have been a better trip. So, although I did let frustration get the better of me by the end (and really, given the circumstances, I think it was understandable. I mean, it did add an additional 11 hours of driving to my plan...), lots of good happened.
But really (and this is an aside because we're focusing on the positive and not the negative right now), it was so totally frustrating to get back to Pittsburgh and then lose my power that night due to a thunderstorm AND... (and I'm woozy just writing this...) AND finding a wool m*%h in my living room. And let me tell you, I massacred the hell out of that thing and didn't feel even the smallest ounce of remorse. Nope, I am a moth-killing Samurai.
I haven't seen any more of them in this apartment, but the scare did lead me to better stash management. Before, I just had yarn everywhere. Really, everywhere. I sort of liked it that way, too. You know, going into the cupboard to get the cereal in the morning and, oh, what's this? Hidden malabrigo? Jackpot! And then, you know, you open the desk drawer to get a stamp and the sock yarn just leaps out at you. It's like an Easter egg hunt every day, except you didn't know you were looking for anything. It's like the stash is so excited that you're home that it rushes out to greet you. It's like...
It's like I don't bother putting my yarn away and simply throw it wherever is most convenient at the time (which only half explains how I found yarn under the bathroom sink the other day. When is it "most convenient" to put yarn away in the bathroom? I must have been comparing it to my eyes in the mirror and then just plopped it on the ground or something. And yes, I know it's weird for a guy (a colorblind guy, no less) to compare yarn to his eyes. Don't tell me you don't do weird things with your yarn, too.)
Wow, this digression just keeps going. Anyway, as I was saying, I found a wool moth not really near any of my yarn, which is sort of impressive considering that yarn is everywhere, and I squashed the thing and fled to Target ASAP to buy a trunk-full of plastic bins and then I began sorting.
I didn't know I had that much yarn. I know it's not a lot compared to some stashes (and you know who you are), but still, I was surprised. (Maybe that's why I hide it throughout my apartment - so I don't feel like I have an excessive amount of it. Putting it all together like this makes me looks a bit unreasonable.)
I inspected every single skein AND sorted through all my partial balls, scraps, and swatches and found nothing. No signs of the little evil pests. Now all of my yarn is neatly contained by weight in plastic bins (except Malabrigo, Cascade 220, and Knit Picks Palette. Those all got their own large bins. I love them too much to make them share.) where hopefully the nothingness will continue.
Ok, so now that I feel like that boy in fifth grade who had lice and no one talked to him for three years (really, it was just one moth, I swear. Please don't shun me. I'm so embarrassed...), let's continue the good by talking about how it's good to be back.
It's good to be back because I love the woods here. Really. I'm thinking about digging out a little den for myself and covering the entrance with branches and vines so that you can't find it and then just living there for the rest of my life eating berries and seeds from the nearby trees while the chipmunks frolic on by. Yep, that's what I'm going to do, but I'm not going to tell you where because then you might try to stop me.
The woods and birds go hand in hand and I have to say, I am always so excited to see new birds! I haven't been in Pittsburgh long enough to get used to seeing birds we don't have in Minnesota, and every day is so wonderful to me! I'm afraid a lot of the migrating birds have already passed through while I was gone, but I ran across a very dear little baby Robin and we had a bit of a chat.
He only knew one word, though, "Mommy", and I got sick of hearing it, so I left. I also never tire of seeing the little Tufted Titmouses (Titmice?), and today I even saw both a male and a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak! That was a first time for me and I almost fell into a stream out of excitement. I then spent some quality time with my good friend, Mr. Mallard.
We hung out for a good 45 minutes today. I was practicing my "be so still that you disappear" moves and he was just talking away about his day. I think he was a little lonely and just wanted someone to talk to because, MAN, did he have a lot to say. He's quite a handsome fella, too, isn't he? I mean, check out that tail!
He even showed me his wing patch.
Yeah, we're besties. But uh, between you and me, the dude's gotta work on his drooling issue... That may explain why there was no Mrs. Mallard in his life.
Then there are the plants. In all honesty, I'm not really a plant person. I'm always too busy chasing the animals, but I came across these flowers today and couldn't take my eyes off 'em!
I had no idea what they were, but they were so iridescent! I thought at first that the petals were just wet or covered with a fine powder like butterfly wings, but really they're just super glossy. I loved them.
My camera pretty much sucked at taking pictures of them, so these ones are from my iPhone (and also suck, but I digress). When I got home I looked up what they might be and found this website all about wildflowers in Western PA and after searching around for a while I've decided that they are Swamp Buttercups. Who knew?! (Well, I bet some of you did.) I don't think I've ever seen a Buttercup before and I was thrilled! Yep. Easily amused. That's me.
And one of the best things about the woods is that they make a great backdrop for knitting photos!
When I was in Wisconsin I had to stop in at my favorite LYS and say hello to the owner. After catching up I did a bit of shopping, but I decided that I could only buy yarns that I had never seen and/or worked with before (although that rule was sort of made after-the-fact to justify my purchases).
I bought a skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton, though clearly this skein isn't dyed.
I've never knit with cotton before (oh, except one dish cloth four years ago) and this stuff isn't super stiff or dense like other cottons. I'll probably make a hand towel or a face cloth or something. I know white was probably the worst choice, but I couldn't convince myself to pick any other color.
Then I got a skein of a Noro yarn that I had never heard of or seen before. It's Kogarashi which, according to one Raveler, means "cold wintry wind which blows the last leaves from the trees." Very poetic. And very beautiful.
It's 51% silk and 49% wool and I love it because it's not well blended and there are clumps of silk and chunks of wool and there's even bits of silk thread and stuff spun into it. I'm really excited to use it.
The last yarn I saw I knew had to be mine. It's really bulky and squooshy (it is too a word) and it will make an awesome cowl that will match my coat perfectly.
The yarn is called "Ushya", which means "soft" in Quechua and it's put out by Mirasol. 98% merino and it's not actually plied, but it's essentially knit up into i-cord.
So there you have it - the positive. Is there any positive in your life today?