Monthly Archives: February 2014

Feuerabend*

First of all, everyone is OK and my apartment is intact.

Now aren’t you curious?

Last night, Molly and I were just finishing up dinner when we heard a strange whooping noise from somewhere in the apartment. This was closely followed by a classic science fiction omniscient computer voice (more “Donna Noble has left the library…” than Scarlett Johansson’s Her) calling out “Attention! Attention!”

By this point I was thoroughly bewildered.

The TV wasn’t on, I don’t have a radio, and the sound wasn’t coming from any computer speakers.

It continued.

“A fire has been reported in the building. Please proceed to the nearest exit.”

The whooping resumed, alternating with Big Sister’s calmly delivered yet dreadful message.

Molly and I exchanged glances. This didn’t seem like a drill.

I blew out the candles and grabbed my phone, my computer, and my childhood teddy bear**. Pausing only to slip on shoes and jackets, Molly and I headed down the back stairwell into the alley.

That’s when it finally started to seem like this could potentially be serious. There was a whiff of smoke in the air, and although the sky was clear, rain was drifting down out of an upstairs window. Sirens pierced the air and the first of three fire trucks pulled up to the curb.

Then…nothing.

IMG_4176Neighbors and dogs milled about on the cold sidewalk while pairs of firemen sauntered in and out of the building. From their supreme lack of urgency, we gathered that the fire was fortunately not a serious one (I later found out that someone on an upper floor had left a pot unattended on the stove and it had either melted or caught fire). By this point, I was seriously starting to regret not having grabbed a pair of pants to pull on under my skirt.

“Does anyone here live in number —?”

The apartments surrounding (and underneath) the unit where the fire had caught were flooding from the sprinklers, and the firemen were trying to get in to shut them off.

More waiting.

Eventually we moved into the lobby, because by this point it seemed nothing was aflame anymore.

More waiting.

Finally, one of the firemen told us it was safe to go back upstairs. And that was that.

The whole drama fortunately turned out to be a relative non-incident for Joe and I (although it was a very bad night indeed for anyone whose apartment was flooded), but the experience was certainly an eye-opener.

Let’s just say I’ll definitely be taking a closer look at my renter’s insurance policy sometime soon.

Post-Fire Selfie*The German Feierabend signifies the end of work, but translates to something like “Party Evening”. Feuer is fire, so a Feuerabend is a “Fire Evening.”

**When I was a child, my biggest fear was my house catching on fire. So, every night as I lay in bed, I would plan escape routes and decide which precious articles I would rescue from the inferno. Polar Bear always topped the list. (To the right you can see us with a hot water bottle, trying to warm up after being let back into the apartment.)

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Knitwitchery

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I just completed my most ambitious knitting project to date.

A little back story:

Photo Credit to Rachel Sacks

Photo Credit to Rachel Sacks

I started knitting about a year ago, and my absolute favorite knitting blog (and the source of most of my patterns) is purlbee.com, which is run by Purl Soho in New York City.

Purl Bee patterns have provided me with Christmas and birthday gifts for many family members and friends, and their tutorials have helped me master a variety of new stitches and techniques, so I’m kind of a super fan.

I was very excited to finally be able to visit the store itself when I was in New York this past December. There I spent a delightful several hours browsing through yarns and patterns (my friend Rachel snapped a photo of me deep in thought next to their enormously colorful wall of yarn), and I eventually settled on the sweater dress shown here, which was certainly a larger, if not more complicated, project than I had ever undertaken before.

Fortunately everything went well, and I am proud to finally be able to show off the finished product!

For the curious among you, here are the details:

Colorblock Tunic: Frontenac Pattern by Julie Hoover made with Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino in Pale Stone & Dark Loam
Slouchy Hat: Target
Ankle Boots: Qupid
Seahorse Pendant: Scarlett Garnet (which is the source of most of my favorite jewelry)
Tights: Who knows!

And here are the detail shots:

I would estimate the project took me approximately 50 hours to knit, which gave me plenty of time to get almost all the way caught up on Doctor Who. Working with yards (miles?) of wool probably caused my hands to sweat a bit, and I may have dripped a few tears on it when Amy & Rory’s time with the Doctor came to an end, but fortunately no blood went into the making of this sweater!

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Wherever you go, there you are

I have been hankering to travel lately.

This is not an infrequent phenomenon. I grew up a nomad, bouncing back and forth from coast to coast – California to Maine to New Mexico to Florida to Washington State to Virginia and back up to Maine – before ultimately landing somewhere in the middle.

Map of Moves

The constant exposure to new places and the need to constantly assimilate into new environments has influenced me in a number of ways.

  • I am closer to my family than I might have been otherwise. For most of my childhood, my brother was often the only friend close to my age that I had (and certainly the only one I could depend on to still be around the next year). Also, Robert and I spent probably 300 hours in the backseat together during all of our cross-country drives; while there were frequent spats, it was in our best interest to get along.
  • I am much more outgoing than I would have been otherwise. Funny how having to make a whole new set of friends every year from the time you’re 5 turns you from someone who hides behind your mother’s leg to someone who craves new social experiences.
  • I rely less on the approval of others than I might have otherwise. Now, my parents certainly did their best to cultivate my independent streak, and I have always been one to Know What I Want. However, I credit my perennial misfit status (I was never the cool new kid – just the new kid) for my ability to dress how I want and do what I want without fear of what people might think – even if that means knitting by myself in a bar. That said, I’m a human being, so I do still care what you think of me. LIKE ME! PLEASE LIKE ME!

Heck, all that moving has even affected the way that I speak!

Linguistic Map

I loved my nomad lifestyle (despite all of the last-picked-for-every-team pain it caused along the way), and embraced it even more in college. A new living space every year? Friends from big cities whose couches I could crash on? Opportunities to learn new languages and hone them during months abroad? I was in my element.

College was four years spent exploring new places and spaces, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that at the end of it, I opted for one more new experience – remaining in St. Louis while most of my friends moved away.

Instead of being the one who went, this time I was the one who stayed behind.

Now, this is all old news, and while the summer after graduation was a conflicted one, I am happy with the decision I made.

A year and a half later, however, my nomad instincts are rising again. Despite the fact that I love the city I have chosen and all it has to offer, despite the fact that my apartment is beautiful and my boyfriend more so, despite the fact that I am well employed and enjoy an active social life with people who challenge and support me, I am feeling a pull to…elsewhere. I can’t stop the sneaking fear from creeping up on me that I am becoming Stuck in One Place. (Did I mention that a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence is the last thing I have ever dreamed for?)

When this tide of vague discontent starts lapping at my toes and threatening to sweep me back to the East Coast, to Europe, to Anywhere But Here!, I try to think back to words happened upon in The Chronicle: Wherever I go, there I am.

It’s true. We’ve heard so many times – human beings are incredibly adaptable creatures, and the New rapidly (d)evolves into the Familiar:

“If we visited Mars or Venus while keeping the same senses, they would clothe everything we could see in the same aspect as the things of Earth.”

[Full disclosure: I have never read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, which is where this is from – I also snagged this gem from The Chronicle]

If I moved to back to Boston or Bologna (or even to Bogotá!), they too would eventually begin to pale. The curse of the New is that it cannot remain so long.

So, for now at least, I’ll content myself to experiencing the New in novels and non-fiction, art exhibitions and friends of friends, restaurants and weekend trips.

But I’ll also keep sighing over the Italian Instagrams that clutter up my feed.

#keepthedreamalive

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