Friday, April 17, 2009

Warmth and joy

The hints of spring are tantalizing after so much damp cold and grey this winter. The thrill I feel at hearing birds singing when I head out to work in the morning and the joy of seeing early and late light on the flower buds are sweet distractions from the continuing rain and still chilly temperatures.

Blooming forsythia shrubs and blossoming trees remind me of the announcement of spring at my childhood home each year. A tour around my yard shows our magnificent Magnolia tree, some volunteer flat-leaf parsley, primroses, the prolific camelia and euphorbia, pungent winter Daphne blossoms, the last of our winter crop of carrots and leeks, and the rebirth of chives from Naomi. I decided not to show any of the much-too-healthy weeds.

I feel like a spring bud right along with the flowers, shrubs and trees - full of possibilities! My mind is sparking in several catagories, from gardening, cooking and reading, to music and movies, to sewing and knitting. I'll choose a sampling:

Several of my favorite authors are releasing books this season (and hopefully will come on a book tour!). I recently met a new author: Orangette's Molly Wizenberg (A Homemade Life). I love her book, her blog and her approach to food! I baked her French Yogurt cake for Easter dessert, and we all loved its humble appeal. She is charming and thoughtful and open and has much more to share with the world, I'm guessing. Her stories inspire me to think and write about things in a new way - such a joyful perspective! And George is looking forward to pizza at her husband's new restaurant, opening next month!
Joyful is how I felt watching Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent. My co-worker, Terry, sent it to me on e-mail and it was the first thing I saw when I sat down at work one day this week. I was and continue to be completely moved by what I saw and heard from her and from the judges. While I don't know the facts of this woman's life, I've been told that she cared for her mother until her recent death, and is now in a position to reach for whatever the rest of her life holds. I hope her guardian angel will help to avoid victimization by the sort of people who would take everything from someone who trusts. I love that the world is so delighted with her talent - I know I enjoyed seeing my expectations from her behavior and physical appearance dashed. I somehow feel hopeful that people who don't wear their abilities in the world standard of beauty can still have such beauty inside, such as a voice like that.

Joyful also describes watching the scene to Julie Andrews' singing surprise in the Antwerp train station - I'd love to be present for something so unexpected and uplifting. What a gift for those lucky folks! Terry sent me this one too!

Back to authors, Alexander McCall Smith is due back in Seattle at the end of April and I'm listening to The Good Husband of Zebra Drive in anticipation of the release of the next book in that series. I'm loving The No. 1 Ladies Detectivie Agency series on HBO - it's astonishing how near it is to my imagined characterizations from reading and listening to the audiobooks. This series will certainly be added to my list of knitting movies when it is released on DVD.
And Laurie R. King's next installment in her Mary Russell series is due out on April 28: The Language of Bees. I haven't seen her scheduled in Seattle yet, but am counting on it. My friend, Claudia, called me while she was reading her first Laurie King book (The Beekeeper's Apprentice). She said that she felt terribly guilty because she was so into the book that she didn't want to sleep, eat, or talk with anyone because she didn't want to stop reading. She went on to say, "This woman is a genious!" I think so too, and every new book re-confirms that belief.

Oh, I mentioned knitting movies, didn't I? I began with a list of a dozen last November - to clarify, they are not movies ABOUT knitting, they are movies one can watch WHILE knitting. And here are my next few titles, in no particular order:
  • Green Card
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Bottle Shock
  • Girl in the Cafe
  • Truly, Madly, Deeply
  • Saint Ralph
  • Waitress
  • The Illusionist*
  • The Prestige*
  • Benny & Joon
  • Chocolat
  • The Wedding Singer
*I admit that I have not seen these two, so am trusting the guidance of my friends. I tried Penelope Cruz's Volver last weekend - with the subtitles, no knitting was going on, but it was completely worth seeing! This weekend, I have Slumdog Millionaire, The Namesake, and La Vie en Rose, so I'll let you know whether I knit successfully through them.

Adding to my sunny frame of mind is the completion of three projects in March: my Comfort&Joy socks, then George's sweater, AND Cindy's Melody's Shawl. Here, Cindy is trying it out during our outing at Molbak's. Cindy is my movie aficionado friend, so she's a good fit for today's post. She spends part of her time in Phoenix, Arizona, so she says the shawl will be the perfect accessory for evenings there and recovery from hot flashes here.
Instead of immediately going back to works in progress, I picked up my pink Knit for the Cure sock yarn and started the Nutkin sock. And frogged when the gauge resulted in a very small sock. Increased the number of stitches and tried again... still too small. So the sock is now on US0 needles, and 78 stitches around in the Twin Rib stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. This delicate Trekking Sport yarn is actually creating a hearty, hardy sock. I'm now thinking that if I'd stayed on US1 needles, it would actually look sort of lacey. But warm is good too, and I have a couple of sock yarns left to try lacey. Like over 50. But we won't talk about that right now.