Just back from a long weekend that included a magnificent hangout with the knitters of the Common Cod Fiber Guild, as well as time spent with my two lads, a lot of art, and a date with a ship I had to see.
I will forevermore be able to lord it over Hubbo that I gave a talk at MIT. (Thank you to @weijingsaw for this proof of event—Hubbo still doesn’t quite believe me.)
Building 42. That lecture hall in the way-back of beyond. I think MIT is designed for people who are not stumped by elaborate and wacky floor plans. It’s a test of mettle—if you can’t find the classroom, you shouldn’t really be at MIT.
I’d like to thank the board of the Common Cod Fiber Guild: Margery, Carolyn, Willa, Emma, and Sheeri. (Who was home hanging out with her six-day-old baby. Let’s all pause and think about the sublime miracle of a six-day-old-baby.)
Carolyn, Willa, Emma. (Sitting beside me so therefore not in this photo: Margery. Sitting at home with the baby: Sheeri.)
Could there have been a mistier, cozier evening for a knitting talk?
No, there could not.
Absolutely not. (Emma with the Fish of Door Prize Destiny.) (It frankly looks like a Speckled Trout of Destiny to me, but I wasn’t going to say anything.)
It was truly delightful. Thanks to everybody who came out—such fun.
I met Cathy of the Indigo Squirrel, who gave me some of her exquisite indigo-dyed yarn, such a treasure. Her indigo dyeing workshops are a hot ticket in the Boston region. And her indigo-dyed yarn is just waiting to be adopted.
Next month’s speaker is the amazing Brooke Sinnes, whose Sincere Sheep yarn is among my favorites. If you’re in the Boston area, clear your calendar for May 17—she’ll be running dyeing workshops that weekend, too. Details here.
What can I say?
David is a month away from graduating from college; Clif is dressing the world (if by “the world” you mean young people who favor anything pre 2003 and probably black) in Middleman. I feel irrelevant to any of this. The lads were so doting and kind to their ol’ mama. Twenty-three and nineteen, seems impossible.
David even let me attend a launch party for the new issue of Boston Art Review, edited by the extremely enterprising twentysomething Jameson Johnson.
I think they viewed me as an art installation.
“Somebody’s Mom, circa 1900something.”
(Lance Oppenheim at right will win an Oscar shortly. Get on the Lance Luv Train now so you can say you knew him when.)
The following day, we spent a good while at the Institute of Contemporary Art, hypnotized by The Visitors, the video work by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson—nine screens, not going to describe it just gonna say it’s a thing not to miss. I will say that it bored an earworm into my head that I cannot shake, days later.
I’ve been to Boston many times, and I’ve always managed not to see the USS Constitution. On Saturday, that all changed.
See, I’m obsessed with naval ships these days, and the USS Constitution appears as a character of sorts in The Fortune of War, the sixth book in Patrick O’Brian’s 22-novel series featuring Captain Jack Aubrey and his particular friend, the ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin.
The ships really are characters in these books—their flaws and strengths are integral to what happens to everybody aboard.
So when I realized that I had the chance to board the actual ship that is the star of The Fortune of War, well . . . let’s just say that we got our fill of Ragnar Kjartsansson then hightailed it across Boston Harbor.
It was a dream come true. It was spectacular. All the spaces that I’ve been living in via O’Brian’s novels are even more claustrophobic than I’d imagined. Here’s what a fourth lieutenant gets.
The rigging is astonishing.
The head clearance is brutal.
The hammocks really are 14 inches wide.
500 sailors in a ship this size . . .
PS I’ve been writing this with a window open to the Bald Eagle Cam in Fulton, Illinois, where three bald eagles are raising three floppy gray bundles that apparently will turn into bald eagles. It is so so so reminiscent of my days as a parent: the half-eaten meats piled up, the long stares into the middle distance. (Thanks to the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge for this amazing thing.)