The Vicissitudes of Life

I have taken up knitting.

I asked my girlfriend, L, to teach me this winter. I want something I can do, something to occupy me, a hobby, that is slightly more social than reading and is less disruptive than watching tv or working out.

(A digression on hobbies. I used to be able to read anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances. In the last three years I don’t know what the hell happened. I can’t read anymore when people are talking to me! If there is music playing with words? I can’t read! If there is a conversation going on nearby? I can’t read! It is super-damn frustrating and annoying, and I wish it hadn’t happened. Moreover, I don’t know WHY it happened. Is this a sign of my brain aging? WHO KNOWS. At any rate, it makes reading a book while lightly supervising the kids’ chores a no-go. I want something else to do.

Watching movies and tv is another hobby that is not suitable for my life these days. It’s distracting to all other members of my house to have the noise and light of a screen. And if I put on headphones, it is super-antisocial.

Working out is a hobby I love. But it typically requires me to be physically in a different space that the people I am talking to or the children I am supervising. It’s not suitable for, again, lightly supervising the kids through their school and chores, if I am at the YMCA swimming. Does not work.

Hence, a hobby. Something small and non-disruptive that I can do while multitasking.)

Cooking is another hobby I enjoy. (Twenty-year-old me would be utterly mystified by the turns my life has taken, let me tell you. Twenty-year-old me had a number of notions about what she needed to do to fit in, and those notions did not include knitting. Or cooking.) So last night I embarked on two projects — making candied ginger, and finishing the second earflap for my prospective hat.

Candying ginger, as it turns out, is terrifically easy. It just take a lot of time. Peel and cut the ginger, boil it, make the sugar water, then simmer the ginger in the sugar water until the water is boiled away. The catch is, apparently the ginger goes from “not done simmering” to “burned to the bottom of the pan with the house reeking of burned sugar” in less than sixty seconds. I was checking the ginger regularly and frequently, and then, BAM. Burnt sugar.

So I leaped up from the couch, where I had been knitting the earflap. I dashed to the kitchen. I scraped and sorted and salvaged, and managed to retain about 40% of the candied ginger I had made.

I was miffed. I was frustrated, mostly with myself, over not paying closer attention. I was sulky and irritated. I put everything away, and stepped back into the living room.

Where the youngest dog, Jaime, was proudly sitting in a pile of tangled yarn.


I couldn’t really blame the dog. I was the human who had left a ball of knitting on the living room floor. I removed the dog and spent twenty minutes untangling and re-winding the yarn. I finished the last few rows of the earflap, and sulked for the rest of the evening.

Some days are, apparently, just like that.

Today is off to a better start for me. I made chai mix (using the candied ginger!) and I have some YouTube videos I am supposed to watch about casting on new stitches so I can continue the hat portion of my hat.

Onwards and upwards!


2 Responses

  1. Yes, some kinds of cooking are like that. I am planning on making spiced pecans this year as a less-sweet gift. All the recipes note that they much be watched closely because there is a short window between toasted and burnt.

    I don’t know what it is about yarn that is so attractive to pets. My cat will ignore the yarn while I am knitting or spinning. Probably because I trained her from a kitten. I have no illusions about what would happen if I left a ball of yarn on the floor for an hour. There are lots of yarn storage bags and devices made by creative people to address this problem.

  2. Ohhhhhhhhhh, I know!

    I am not allowed to buy anything for myself until after Christmas.

    In the meantime, I am making a LIST.

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