Nona has asked what we have next to us when we knit. Her picture, complete with numbers and legend, shows her with all her tools neatly arranged on little trays, drinking red wine from a juice glass and listening to NPR while also reading. I admire this sort of thing.

I do not intend to show you a picture of my knitting set-up, because it would not be attractive. I, like Nona, spent yesterday evening knitting. However, it was not organized or picturesque. Friday night is, by long custom, a night when I do not have to do anything. I had picked up boxes of chicken fajitas from the Drive-Through Dinner at the church (and I must say that I really enjoyed the girl who stood out in the rain with a red umbrella, directing drivers as though it were part of an avant-garde ballet). #1 son was at the high school choir concert, my husband was at a tournament, and #2 son requested that we have the TV on in order to avoid quiet. I would never want to avoid quiet myself, I love quiet, but I acquiesced.

I turned on something new — a program called “What Not to Wear.” In this program, if I understand it correctly from watching one episode, people’s friends turn them in for being badly dressed and ill-groomed. Then a couple of New Yorkers come to these people, cast aspersions upon their clothing, give them large sums of money to spend on new clothing, and generally remodel their look. And I must say that the woman in last night’s episode looked much better when they finished with her.

A while back, The Empress was lunching with some ladies and a girl walked by in something scandalous. One of the ladies said “Condaleeza Rice would never dress like that.” Now, Rice may be dishonest and ruthless, but you must admit that she is well-groomed. Nonetheless, it struck us as a hilarious remark. So The Empress and I make a point, whenever possible, of using that phrase. Just yesterday, for example, she decided not to order a particular poster because of the extreme shortness of the skirt in the poster, and I was able to pipe right up with “Condaleeza Rice would never dress like that.” You get so few opportunities to say this in real life… But I digress. 

In any case, there I was watching this bizarre program, and what did I have nearby me? Almost nothing. My knitting graph. The knitting itself. The newspaper my husband had left on the coffee table. That’s it.

I intend to do better today. I have a lot of house and garden work to do today, and the Schwann’s man is coming (I am doing some serious laying in of ice cream for next weekend’s house guest, who informs me through Pokey that he does not need any Roast Beast, not even a giraffe). Once these domestic chores are completed, I will set up some nice little still life of knitting tools and tea accoutrements, books, and perhaps a dish of potpourri. I will approach the afternoon’s knitting in a setting of preparedness and luxury. It might change the whole experience. I’ll let you know.

Here is the knitting, though. That zebra is still there, isn’t it? I have about five rows in which to change this thing into a flower. It does seem to me that some florality is beginning to show up. Perhaps it will be one of those pictures that you can see in two ways, like the one that can either be a young woman or an old one, or the glasses that can also be a couple of human profiles. If this results in people’s staring fixedly at my T-shirt in an effort to see both views, I will regret having chosen this design.