It’s been a while since I felt the kind of displacement that comes from spending a few weeks on someone else’s floor and hunting down guest Internet connections in a city that’s theoretically home. In what I’m finding is a fairly regular alignment of the stages of various things in different parts of my life, the BrewFest vacation, my computer projects, my knitting projects and my academic projects are all simultaneously in conjunction, contributing equally to this odd feeling of disjointedness. It’s both encouraging and a little unsettling, since displacement comes from change and change is usually a varying combination of fun and scary.

For a long time when I went back to Portland, I slept in the house that had been home since before I was a self-supporting life-form. The last several years, of course, the sleeping quarters were my own and when I flew somewhere, coming home really was exactly that. This trip came at the transition point, where the new city wasn’t quite home in the real sense of the word but the old city didn’t have quite the familiarity it once had. Even though the old haunts are still there and the things newly discovered just before our departure a year ago are still making their imprints on the psyches of the people who walk by everyday, the simple act of scanning for an open public wi-fi network brings with it a certain amount of other-worldliness.

As much as we all long for excitement and the thrill of the undiscovered, there is something to be said for predictability. I just never figured that Bloomington would be the latter and Portland the former…. My knitting group has a lot do to with that.

The knitting itself, however…. I’m working on a new sock design, which is unusual for me. I knit a lot of socks and I futz with sock designs all the time, but I rarely think about designing socks for publication, much less designing a cables-and-lace pattern from scratch. Still, a new heel turn method (yes, more teasers) deserves a completely new pattern. And this is what it looks like right now:

With help from my knitting group (Thanks, Huan-Hua and Nicole!), I have a substantial part of the charting done on an exciting and very knittable sock pattern. In a desperate effort to get the damn thing done quickly, I’ve set it up as my Ravelympics project.

Out of the desperate effort to get a sock pattern done also comes a desperate need to redesign my pattern stylesheet, and that’s where the current computer project comes in: a complete reinstall. Again.

Thanks to Adobe’s shoddy programming and inability to mandate the use of case-sensitive code, I’ve had to reinstall my OS for the second time in six weeks. Fool me once, etc., etc., etc.

In any case, the reinstall prompted a rethinking of my computer set up, and boy, has it changed. Unfamiliar computer surroundings apparently translate to real-world unease. Weird. Though I do have to admit, as I was transitioning my Time Machine backups from one hard drive to a bigger external hard drive, that I was perversely disappointed by the fact that my old backups were only 50K short of 2 million trashed files. Two million! (Ah ah aaah! Maybe I should change my nickname to The Count?)

Of course, before the knitting starts, and before the sock design really gets underway, we have the academic projects to tackle. I use the royal we because first-person discussion is much harder here. I have a total of four paragraphs in 8,000 words that are dragging down an otherwise fantastic project, and once I solve the problems in those four paragraphs, my life will take on a very different shape. These are the key paragraphs; they define the framework of a Big Project, set out the methodology for what I want to do for the next few years, and I can’t fix them because I can’t quite justify the building of mental research walls yet. I don’t want to have a focus because I like futzing with a wide variety of things, but I can’t move on to the next stage of Big Project until I focus on this one and just get it the hell done.

On the other hand, the socks are coming along nicely.