Exactly so. I’ve not been being conscientiously diurnal lately and have let my schedule slew round to where I’m up at night. It just naturally does that. It just seems right to be up at night when it’s quiet and cool — or cooler, anyway. My mom is convinced it’s unnatural, and that there’s something innately wrong with it, or me. I have this theory that the time of the day you’re born at has an influence on whether you’re a “lark,” a morning person, or an “owl,” an evening person. Most babies are born in the early hours of the morning. They rest for hours after to recover from the effort, and then they’re awake I was born just after noon.
My mom is definitely a lark, is convinced that it’s natural and normal to be that way, that everybody in their right mind should be like her, and can’t understand why anybody would think otherwise. In other words, she’s human, bless her.
Of course, when I was working as a medical transcriptionist, I turned this natural “night owl” tendency of mine to my advantage. Hospitals are going 24/7, and medical transcriptionists who work for hospitals are needed 24/7. But, the whole rest of the world is on day-shift — spouses’ jobs, children’s schools. For people with families, working nights and weekends is hard. Nobody wants to do it. Employers offer “shift differential” and “weekend differential” extra pay as an inducement. Still, its very hard to get people to do it unless they don’t have kids and/or their spouse also works nights, or they’re single. But here’s me, with few real demands on my time, perfectly willing to work nights and weekends. Make extra money to be up when it’s my natural tendency to be up anyway? Sure. You bet. I worked from 9 o’clock at night to 5 o’clock in the morning, and had Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or Wednesdays and Thursdays off for almost 20 years — and loved it. I volunteered to work holidays (holiday differential). Pay me extra for working when nobody else wants to work? Yep. I’ll take it.
So yesterday I crashed out about 12:30 p.m. and slept until about 8 p.m., and dreamed about 90 mph the whole time, long involved dreams. Bobbed to the surface. Went back to sleep, again dreaming at a furious clip. I dreamed about my little grey girl when she was a kitten. I dreamed about my friend JT. I dreamed about bats and driving places at night. Long, convoluted dreams. Woke up about 3 a.m., and knew by feel that I’d slept enough and wouldn’t be able to sleep any more for a while.
So I lay in the bed and read some more in the book I’m rereading, The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wrecker. The fact that it’s a reread tells you right off I liked it enough to want to read it again. It’s a story set in turn-of-the-century New York City, and overtly it’s a story about the immigrant experience, European Jews on the one hand, and Syrian Christians on the other. It’s a very realistic and historically accurate story, except for the two main characters. One is Chava, a golem, and the other one is Ahmed, a jinni.
A golem is a creature out of Jewish folklore, made of clay and created to serve a master’s every whim. But Chava is a very special golem, a masterwork. She has hair and fingernails, and is able to pass for human. She was created for a man named Rotfeld to be his wife. So what happens when Rotfeld dies of a burst appendix within hours of awakening her? She’s a golem without a master. Now what?
A jinni is a creature out of Middle Eastern folklore, made of fire and magic, free spirits who ride the winds of the Syrian desert, able to assume any form they desire. But Ahmed has been imprisoned for an unknown amount of time in a copper bottle. It is Arbeely the tinsmith who unwittingly frees the jinni from the copper bottle he’s repairing. But Ahmed is not totally free. He wears an iron bracelet that he cannot remove which prevents him from assuming any other form but human, and which curtails his powers. Now what?
So, you have the story of a golem without a master, and a jinni without his freedom in turn-of-the-century New York City, and how both come to terms with their fates. It’s a fascinating story. Wecker treats each character as a kind of zeitgeist of their respective source cultures, and uses them as a lens to study those cultures, the immigrant experience, the human condition and gender roles. This book resonates on so many levels. If you like historical fiction and don’t mind it with a heaping dollop of fantasy, then you’ll like this thoughtful, well written book. And that’s our book report section for today.
OK. Time for the knitting news. I had a bit of a hiccup on the toboggan cap with ribbing that I was working on. I was at the part where you “hem” it — picking up each of the stitches of the provisional cast on and knitting them together (k2tog) with the working stitches when I dropped a stitch. Didn’t realize I’d dropped it until I had gotten a quarter of the way around the hat from it. Wondered why it looked funny just there, and realized what had happened. (That little blue padlock looking thingie in the picture above is a stitch marker I’ve used to grab and hold the dropped stitch to keep it from laddering (6) any further.) I had to “tink” (where you unknit work a stitch at a time) everything I’d done up to that point, pick the stitch up, then continue. Grumble, grumble. So glad I caught it, though.
So here’s that same hat nearly finished, doing the decreases by which you knit the top closed. I’ve decreased the number of stitches to the point I’ve had to go to double pointed needles because it’s too small to fit on my 16-inch circular needle. More of those little padlock thingies, stitch markers because in order to do the decreases, you have to divide the 90 stitches you’ve had on your needles since the start into 9 groups of 10, and do “ssk, knit to the next marker”until you’ve only 9 stitches left. Then you snip the yarn, pull the yarn end through each of the 9 stitches and drawstring it closed, and secure the loose end.
So I finally finished it this morning and I mostly like how it turned out.
However, I’m going to try again, and this time alter where the ribbed section falls. The “hem” is 4-1/2 inches deep. Instead of 1 inch of stockinette, 3 inches of ribbing and 1/2 inch of stockinette, I’m going to try 1/2 inch of stockinet, 3 inches of ribbing and 1 inch of stockinette, and see if I like that better.
Here’s what the inside looks like. The ribbing makes it fit much more securely on the head. But the ribbing is too far down and makes the turned edge look weird.
I’m trying again using that “Moda Dea Dream” yarn that’s half acrylic and half nylon that I got a whole bunch of when AM brought that huge plastic bin of yarn in. The yarn is an ersatz angora and it is very FUZZY! I’m using the black, which is going to be problematic, not because it’s so FUZZY, but because when you knit with black yarn, it’s hard to “read” the stitches, because black. This must have been really old yarn, because one of the skeins that had a paper band on it had a price tag of 43 cents. However, acrylic and nylon last forever. That white stuff in the picture is the string I’m using to do the provisional cast on around. The yarn is a lot easier to knit with than I was afraid it would be, it being so FUZZY and all. But it’s every bit as soft as angora and not the least bit scratchy.
I’m going to leave you with this blast from the past from the legendary Peter, Paul and Mary because its sly silliness.