Archive | February, 2009

Happy Birthday, Little One!

26 Feb

Alex is a whole year old today. Wow!

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How time flies!

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Blogiversary… A few of my favorite posts…

17 Feb

Today’s my 2 year blogiversary. Last year I was a little too busy to blog what with giving birth (or close to it) and all. But this year I thought I’d give my blog a little more attention.

When I first started this blog, I really wanted it to be a place where I wrote essays about my daily life. No small thing was too small. Most of my writing I really wanted to focus on fiber, since fiber is what speaks to me no matter how long between projects. I spent a lot of time on my initial blog posts, hoping to hone my writing skills. I also wanted to post patterns and tutorials on my blog. My goals were to increase my traffic. My hope was that someone would ‘discover’ my writing and that I could parlay that into something larger.

But, two months into my blogging adventures, life suddenly changed. I got engaged, moved, pregnant and married all within the course of 6 months. I just didn’t have the energy to devote myself to my blog the way I wanted to. In fact I probably posted more blogs in my first month than I have this past year.

Oh well. C’est la vie. My life is so rich these days and I will always have a blog (or whatever will be around in coming years) to return to when I have more time.

For the moment, though, I thought I would post links to my favorite posts. The posts that really tell a lot about me and that might have gotten buried in a chronological sidebar archive somewhere along the way.

The people’s corn

11 Feb

Slovak Notes 1991

The cornfield across from our dorm at Jedlikova 9 was a maze of cornrows scattered with abandoned parts of machinery. Twisting and winding through them was a feat in and of itself. We used to cut through these state-owned fields in order to go to the restaurant at the local campground, called, of all things, Auto-camping. Doing this shaved some time off our trip (we’ve have to otherwise transfer trams, busses, and still have to walk). We usually used the cornfield as a place to get somewhere else, but one day during the summer, we actually decided to go to the cornfield – and pick some corn.

It was early summer and I had been out late the night before with one of my Slovak friends, Peter, and a few of his buddies. Peter, from a town outside Kosice in the northeast, was a total card. Blessed with a brilliant sense of humor, generous heart and an artistic eye, he had a talent for taking photos and for winning people over. I think I met him in the club room of our dorm and having befriended him, Brian and I would often go out with him. Over time we had developed a friendship with Peter – one in which we never knew what would happen next.

So, on this one hot summer day, while lying in bed recovering from the previous night’s festivities (or rather, in Slovakia at least, normal evening), Peter knocked loudly on my door.

“Katka, let’s go get some corn!”

Opening the door my slightly spinning head registered Peter standing with bag in hand and I thought to myself, “Hey, why not, a trip to the market would probably help me work the beer out of my system.”

In my innocence, I thought we were going to one of the vegetable stands that popped up during the summer and fall or a nearby village where they grow corn. But, as with so many things in Slovakia, that wasn’t the case.

We went next door, grabbed Brian, crossed the tram tracks, the soccer field, and headed into the cornfield across the street.

“We’re gonna get corn here???!!”

“Sure, everyone does it. It’s the people’s corn, after all!”

Brian and I exchanged uneasy glances with each other, pictures of guys with shotguns threatening to shoot us or of dark deportation cells running through our hung-over heads. Maybe it was because we weren’t really lucid that we simply shrugged at each other and followed Peter down the corn rows into the heart of the field.

We had gone quite a way when we heard a noise. It wasn’t anything like a bird or the rustling of the wind through the tall ears. It was a high-pitched human voice. Brian and I looked questioningly at each other, but Peter, ever fearless walked right up to where the noise was coming from where, there was, of all things, an old car parked.

Inside the car the windows were steamy and a young couple was…well…sowing their seeds in the middle of the day totally oblivious to our presence.

Giggling and cracking jokes we continued on our quest to pick corn. We passed row after row until we reached the spot where there was corn that suited Peter. It wasn’t like we were just taking an ear or two either. Peter had brought a big bag. Big enough to feed half the dorm corn.

As we chatted and filled our bags, we heard footsteps approaching. It was a cop whose job it was, we guessed, to safeguard the corn. Peter, totally unaware, kept picking, but Brian and I stopped, looked at each other somewhat fearfully replaying the picture of a dank Slovak holding cell in our minds. “Hey, Peter, there’s a cop!” Peter, totally unfazed turned around.

“Is that your car?” the policeman asked.

“Nope”, Peter replied. “But there was a couple in it. They were ‘parking’, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh”, the cop said. A pause. I could almost feel the cold air of the Slovak prison enveloping me as the seconds seemed to endlessly tick away.

The cop continued, “As long as it isn’t your car, parking isn’t allowed here.”

“Oh, we’re not parking. We’re just getting some corn.”

“Hmmm. Well as long as you’re not parking here, it’s okay.”

And with a parting wave, the policeman wished us a good day.

Peter slung the bag of corn over his shoulders and we headed back home. He never once flinched or seemed afraid of trespassing or illegally picking corn. I guess there must have been some sort of post-socialist understanding that stealing was okay – just as long as you weren’t illegally parked.

Copyright K. Datko

Next post…

11 Feb

This is a post about my next post (no witty or elliptical heading here…). For the past few years I’ve been writing essays about my life in Slovakia after the wall fell. I thought I’d post a few on my blog in hopes of getting feedback or ideas about what to do with them. (I’d love to get them published.)

So, if there is a post with no baby, political or fiber content, chances are it’s a crazy story about something that happened oh so many years ago…

Conundrum — Blog or Facebook??? — and Chaos

8 Feb

Okay, so for the past 2 years I have put off getting onto Facebook. I mean, the last thing I need is to try to keep up with one more thing these days, right?

But last Wednesday, admist the chaos that seems to be our constant state of existence these days (which is odd, because my life seems oddly monotonous, but oh well…) I decided to bite the bullet and get onto Facebook. It’s so addictive I can’t believe it! I found so many people I used to know and it seems so much easier than email to keep up with people. So, everything in my life has suffered this week because of a little social networking.

I know it’s just a matter of time, though, before it just becomes an easy routine and the newness of it wears off.

The chaos part is that we finally found out this week about Doug’s job. I could totally rant and rave about injustice (the kiss-ups in his office and the people who do little or nothing of course are remaining) but Doug has officially been (or will be) laid off. I was so sad and upset but we are lucky that Doug has a lot of contacts here in LA, a while remaining on his contract, and a really good separation package.

The good thing was that to keep things cool in the office, Doug got the rest of the week off. One of our favorite things to do on days off — especially when it rains — is to go to used bookstores. I had spied one in Covina, a town a few miles to the east of us, The Book Shop. They had a really nice selection of books and were reasonably priced. I found a really neat book on taaniko, which is a Maori-style of weaving that doesn’t use a loom. I can’t wait to read it and try this technique and will hopefully post more since there isn’t much on the web about it.

We also found a really cute little yarn shop in Azusa called All About Yarn. They have a nice selection of South American yarns (kinda like Malabrigo but less expensive). It was very cozy, and the co-owner, Pilar, was super friendly. I love how they had a mix of affordable yarns (for those of us on serious yarn budgets this year) and more expensive yarns. They had a lot of brands I hadn’t heard of, which is refreshing. This would be a great stop for westsiders if you are going to the Renaissance Fair or LA County fair — it’s pretty much right on the way.

Hopefully the next few weeks things will settle down a little. Job-hunting is never fun, but Doug seems really excited to dive into the fray and I’ve been looking for more freelance work in addition to my job grading English tests on-line.