I just took a look at the archives and saw that it’s been over a year since I’ve posted. Sheesh! And to think it used to be like Grand Central Station around here. There is still plenty of traffic, though. According to my stats page, I’m still getting 150 -200 hits per day. An obnoxious percentage of those hits are probably from non-human visitors, but still! Not too shabby for such a quiet blog! So what have I been up to all this time? Lots!
Papa-ing the Twins
Hard to believe, but Ms. M and Mr. S are three years old now. The insomniac nights are behind us (or maybe I should say the child-induced insomniac nights are behind us. I still lose a night of sleep here and there, but now it’s my own damn fault) which, as any parent or medical resident knows, makes life much, much better. I’ve read that sleep deprivation, aside from turning you into a jerk, limits your brain’s ability to create memories. I believe it, because I can’t remember anything that happened during the entire first year of M’s and S’s life. I must have been around for it, because no one sued me for alimony, but it’s just not in the memory banks. This is probably a good thing. Anyway, the twins are starting preschool in the fall. Isn’t that crazy? Yes, it is crazy.
By the way, Z knit both of those sweaters, in case you’re wondering. Mr. S is wearing Zoom by Melissa J. Goodale, and Ms. M is wearing Teresa Cole‘s Springtime in Hollis. When it comes to whipping out the kids’ knits, Z has me way, way under the table.
In my pre-parenthood life, I had a part-time job, which left me enough time to write every day, and I’d close the occasional financial gap with freelance work. This model doesn’t work so well for raising a family. A year and a half ago, another part-time job opened in my department, for which I was all but recruited. Now, along with coordinating the medical student program, I also manage UCSF’s Fellowship in Family Planning1. Full-time hours are not my favorite thing in the world, especially when coupled with a one-hour commute, but the bills are paid and the kids have health insurance. The last time I had a regular, non-contract full-time job was . . . was . . . oh, the summer of 2001. I’m not really built for it. Then again, I don’t think anyone is. It’s how we do things here in America, though, so here I am doing it. As jobs that are not writing go, I could do a lot worse than helping to train the next generation of women’s health care providers.
Is it possible to have a love affair with fermentation? Because I’m having one (with Z’s full knowledge and support, of course). Making beer means I get to geek out over food science on a regular basis. It also means I get to drink lots of beer, share it with friends, and make my apartment smell like a brewery about once a month. I have no idea why fermentation makes me so happy. Whether it’s bread, sauerkraut, or beer, the knowledge that there’s a colony of single-celled organisms doing delicious things right in my very own house gives me a deep, mysterious, contented feeling. It’s right up there with the satisfaction of finishing a sweater. No wonder people have been making beer for 7000 years. Living on the west coast as I do, I’ve been brewing mostly IPAs with American hops. American ale yeast are really happy in my apartment, where the temperature is a near constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Except when the oven has been on for more than 15 minutes, at which point the temperature in the kitchen goes up to 71. I know this because I now have a thermometer in the kitchen. Not outside the kitchen window, in the kitchen. See? Total geekery.
Writing My Second Novel
Now that I have kids, when people ask me if I’m still writing, it’s in the same tone of voice as if they asked if I’ve recently attended a funeral. Really, I don’t know how anyone manages to write with kids around. I do it once a week by paying the nanny for an extra hour, going straight to a café after work, and profusely thanking Z for making dinner and putting the twins to bed, both of which are usually my job. At this rate, my second novel will be done by 2050. For the fact that I’m working on a novel at all, I have National Novel Writing Month to thank. The entire first draft was written between November 1st and 30th, 2011. The knowledge that there were 256,6182 other people engaged in the same crazy project was the push I needed. Now I’m using what all writers with children use to write: my own exhausted will. It will get done, though, and hopefully this one will fare better than my last one did.
Believe it or not, I am actually knitting. Here is some evidence:
That’s Sweet Peasy by Heidi Kirrmaier. I just finished it a few weeks ago. And just in case you’re worried that my kids aren’t fairing evenly on my needles, here’s another:
The Classic Raglan Pullover is an awesome pattern. It’s one of those meta-patterns that you can use to launch just about any sweater idea, for kids or adults. It’s a top-down construction, and Jane Richmond‘s technique for working the collar is ingenious. So ingenious, in fact, that I stole it for my latest design, which will hopefully be hitting the Knit Picks catalog later this year.
Oh, I’ve also been building websites, like Bren Ahearn’s — go check it out, fiber artists!
1 Do I have any readers who aren’t pro-choice? Don’t worry, I still love you.
2 This is the official number of NaNoWriMo participants from 2011. Numbers for 2012 are not yet available.