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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Goals

I've decided to try something new this year. I've decided not to make any New Year's Resolutions, but rather New Year's Goals. There's something so final, so do-or-die about resolutions, that they become something to stress over, rather than something to help you prepare for the next year of life. 

Goals, on the other hand, are something to aim for, something to work towards. They aren't absolute- they acknowledge that sometimes you just can't do everything. And that's okay. So here are my goals for the upcoming year:

Academic Goals:
Attend a conference
Improve my Greek and Latin
Better my time management and study skills

Health and Fitness Goals:
Train for and run a 1/2 marathon (Disneyland? Never been to California)
Learn to eat better when eating out/at parties 
Start doing some cross-training besides running
Look into joining the fencing club at my school 

Knitting Goals:
3 stockings (okay- these are non-optional)
A Ravenclaw scarf for a friend
Not to knit any socks (That's one I shouldn't have a problem with)
A pair of glittens (Cut-off gloves with a fold-over top to make them mittens)
The sweater I bought yarn for last year
Start a Doctor Who Scarf (Someone stop me, please!)

Other Fibre Goals:
Finish spinning and plying my alpaca fibre
Spin something with Hazel's fibre
Learn to dye
Get a spinning wheel (Donations towards this goal are accepted ;) )

General Goals:
Keep my house both clean and organized (yes, there is a distinction- I can do clean pretty well.   
        Organized is a whole other kettle of fish)
Balance work and play
Stick to my daily Bible readings
Blog regularly (and actually get people to comment on my blog)

What are your goals and/or resolutions for next year?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Wishes (From the Tortoise and the Hare...okay, Turtle and Rabbit)

As a thank you to all of you for reading my blog (and even checking it on days I forget to post), this is a special post just for you*.


Take time to enjoy the season...




And have a Hoppy Holiday!


*No animals were harmed in the making of this post. Nor was any photoshopping involved. Really.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Symptoms of Exam Week

1. It has been so long since you did dishes that you are now eating and drinking out of coffee cups.

2. You are actually concerned about what you will do when the coffee cups run out. (and as you type this are wondering if they can properly be called "coffee cups" if they are not, in fact, being used for coffee or as cups)

3. "Study Breaks" are only for necessities such as eating and sleeping. And those are, to a degree, optional.

4. The highlight of your weekend was discovering that you had the Loeb of Plato's Gorgias and thus didn't have to go to the library to get a copy of it in Greek.

5. Your rabbit is eating better than you.

6. Your response to every inquiry is "after finals".

7. The idea of "after finals" has reached a position of religious reverence.

8. You have no idea what happened to the rest of the semester, or what you did to deserve this.

9. The idea of a 9-5 job is actually starting to have some appeal.

10. You missed your Friday blog post because you didn't realize it was Friday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bunny Pictures!

I had to write a paper today, and don't feel much like writing anything else. So, in the meantime, enjoy these pictures of Hazel.

P.S. I promise my blog won't be all about my bunny from here on out.

P.P.S. I posted one of these pictures on Facebook and received several questions about his actual size, and his breed. Hazel is an American Fuzzy Lop, and weighs about 4 pounds. He's on the small size of the rabbit spectrum (excluding dwarfs), but looks must bigger thanks to his long, fluffy fur.

P.P.P.S. Sorry the angles on the photos look odd. I took them with my webcam.




Monday, November 29, 2010

Bunny!

Today I want to tell you about a book. The book is called "Watership Down" and is written by Richard Adams.  It is, on the surface, a book about rabbits, but is really about different forms of government. I've read it twice, and enjoyed it both times, especially the mythology Adams created for the rabbits. (An aside to apologize to anyone who may have watched the cartoon version of the book and was traumatized by the sight of rabbits fighting each other. This book was NOT meant to be made into an animated children's' movie)

I mention this book because I'm starting to suspect that I and my Nanna are the only two people who have read it. The main character of the story is a male rabbit named Hazel. Male. Rabbit. Hazel. I feel obligated to stress this point because I have adopted a male rabbit and named him Hazel. This has prompted several people to ask me if isn't Hazel a girl name.

He is, quite possibly, the fuzziest rabbit in the world. I will try to post pictures later this week, but don't have time to mess with my camera at the moment. In the meantime, imagine a giant, fluffy cotton ball. Now imagine a slightly smaller cotton ball sitting on top of that one, with a grey nose, and two grey ears. That's what he looks like.

He is very friendly, and immensely curious about everything that goes on around him. I imagine you all will be hearing a lot about him on this blog.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! My was fun, with lots of family, friends, and food.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am Thankful for... (Part 3)

...Being back in school.

I think I occasionally overlook how blessed I am to be in school right now, probably in part becuase being-in-school has been my general state of being for most of life.

But to be able to spend my time and energy studying the things I love is something I'm truly grateful for. While I sometimes get overwhelmed when I think about the years of schooling between now and where I want to be, while I sometimes feel like I'm doing the most selfish thing in the world by going to school and studying past cultures, and while I sometimes wish for the stability of a "real" job and home, I wouldn't trade the opputunity I have for anything.

I'm here in graduate school becuase of the support and aid of my parents, teachers, and friends, and I never want to forget that.

So now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get ready for my Latin class. Today is a "fun" day, so we'll be translating from the first Harry Potter book, which has been translated into Latin.

(I'm also thankful that someone has bothered to translate Harry Potter into Latin)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am Thankful for... (Part 2)

...the church and friends I've found since I moved.

When I moved off to graduate school, I was excited, but also nervous. I don't make friends easily, and I didn't want to spend two years alone with my books.

So one of my first priorities after I moved was to find a home church. I was expecting to have to do some church shopping, so my first Sunday here I went to the closest church to my house- it was walking distance. When I arrived, I was immediately welcomed and greeted as a visitor. People seemed genuinely happy I had come. All the pastors came up and introduced themselves to me, and then the sermon was about faith being like a marathon. I decided to come back the next week.

The next week, one of the pastors came up to say hello again, and ask me what I was studying. I said "Classics". The pastor started to ask me if I knew... But before he could finish, the person in the pew in front of me turned around, and it was Rachel, a fellow Classics student whom I'd already met when we discovered a shared interest in spinning.

The church has now become my home church, I'm involved in the Young Adult's Group, and play handbells. And through that church, I've made many friends here.

I truly feel at home here now, thanks in no small part to my church and friends.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am Thankful for... (Part 1)

In honour of Thanksgiving, I will be sharing what I am thankful for this week.


I am thankful for...
Being able to Knit

You often don't appriciate the things you have until you lose them. For example, I never really gave to much thought about my wrists. Oh, I probably noticed them a little more than most people, since I was percussionist in Middle and High school, and a Knitter ever since then. My wrists were the tools of my trade. But I never realy stopped to think how much stress I was putting them through, or how wonderful it was that they worked without pain.

Then I got carpal tunnel syndrom. And suddenly, I was acutely aware of my wrists. It started as small twinges of pain when I typed or knitted, then grew to where I could barely move them without pain. I went to the doctor's, got put on prescription NSAIDs for a short period of time, worked and slept in wrist braces, constantly dunked my arms in ice water, and prayed I wouldn't have to have surgery.

Well, I'm still sleeping in wrist braces, and I still ice regularily, but it looks like I no longer have to worry about surgery. You see, I'm typing this post right now without any pain. Typing! With no pain! A month ago, this would have seemed like an impossibilty. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to do every day things without pain.

But best of, Saturday night I was able to knit for a whole hour without any pain. There's not enough time for me to catch up and knit all the Christmas gifts I'd wanted to, but I can knit again.

And for that, I am grateful. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Not Dead....

...just in case you were wondering.

As classes are winding down towards the end of the semester, life has gotten a bit crazy. I have exams and essays to grade, and exams and essays of my own to study for and write. And I decided that one way to make time for it all was to not blog for a while. I have, however, discovered that not blogging actually made me less productive.

Blogging is my way of staying accountable to myself. It forces me to stop and think about my day, and then lets me use some of my pent-up creative juices as I relay it in what I hope is an interesting way. Also, I've realized that once I decide it's okay to cut one thing from my regular routine, I start to cut others. Let me illustrate (with some hyperbole):

1. I need more time to do work so I cut blogging...and promptly decide this actually means I now have more time to sleep in.

2. I start sleeping in and consequently don't get on campus in time to get a good parking spot, so I end up  spending more time walking to class than getting work done in the morning.

3. Because I lost time walking to class, I decide to skip washing my dishes one night. Then another...then another...then another. And before long I have more dirty dishes than can fit in my drying rack, so I have to wash and dry several loads of them in one day.

4. To make up for the time lost washing dishes, I don't put my clean laundry away, but just stack it on my bed, which means I have to move it every night to go to sleep which takes up even more time...

and so on and so on. All because I stopped blogging. 

Morale: Blog regularly, or be caught in a never-ending down-ward spiral of irresponsibility. 

P.S. I found a spider's web between my yoga mat and my wall yesterday. I think think this is more a testament to my exercise habits than my cleaning abilities. 

P.P.S. I've decided to let the spider stay, as long as he eats bugs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Mid-Week Adventure

Today, I'd like to tell you about my Wednesdays.

Wednesday, as we all know, represents the mid-point in the work week. Back when I was in grade school, we had "Wonderful Wednesday"- which meant school ended an hour earlier on that day. I've also been told that my Alma Mater, Mercer, used to have their own version of Wonderful Wednesday, and that Wednesdays used to not have any classes. There is, I think, a good reasoning behind these practices, which is that come Wednesday, you need a little extra time to recover for the first 1/2 of the week, and a little extra time to prepare for the next 1/2.

Ever Wednesday my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m., like it does every weekday. And every Wednesday, I roll over and reset it for 6:30 a.m., like I do every weekday. But when it goes off the second the time, after struggling to consciousness, I remind myself that my class isn't until 11:15, and that as long as I'm on campus before 8:30, I can usually find a good parking place. Besides, I'm tired from staying up late Monday and Tuesday to finish work, and have everything finished for class that needs to be. So I reset my alarm for 7:00, and go back to sleep.

I get up when my alarm goes off at 7:00, and begin to slowly make my preparations for the day; brush teeth, get dressed, then head into the kitchen to make breakfast. At this point, it's usually around 7:15. As I walk towards the kitchen, there's something nagging me in the back of my mind. Something I've forgot. Then it hits me.

Monday and Friday, my first class is at 11:15. But on Wednesday, I have a once-weekly class that meets at 8:00. And today is WEDNESDAY!

I instantly become a flurry of activity, grabbing notebooks and stuffing them in my bag, searching for my reading glasses, packing up my computer, and reassuring myself that I can grab a granola bar from my kitchen on the way out for breakfast. I get everything packed, fill my water bottle, decide I can go one day a week without makeup for the sake of arriving on time, and rush out the door. I make it to school with minutes to spare, park, and run to class, always making it just in time. I sit through the lecture, then head down to my office in the basement where I make a devastating discovery: I forgot my granola bar.

The thing is, this hasn't just happened once or twice. It happens every. single. Wednesday. Now I ask, who would schedule an 8:00 a.m. class smack dab in the middle of the week? Hmmm? Someone who has it in for poor grad students, if you ask me. But at least it guarantees I have an exciting morning once a week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Teaser

I've had an idea for a short story in my head for a while now, and finally decided to start writing it. I'm not sure when I'll have time to start working on it again, but here's a (very) rough draft of the introduction.


Undestined

It was Fortune Day. Most towns had coming of age rituals, but the one here in Dagrosa was unique, as unique as it’s people. In a world of magic, the Dargrosians stood out. It was commonly said that all great Heroes came from Dagrosa. Mind you, not everyone from Dagrosa was a Hero, but if one was a Hero, it was certain you came from there. For the people of Dagrosa each had a Destiny. Oh, often enough it was simple: to be a good cook, to make gardens grow, to sing away people’s worries. But every now and then, Dagrosa would produce a Hero.

What is important to know about Dagrosa is that not only did each person have a Destiny, but each person knew it. That was what Fortune Day was all about. All the children who would become adults that year gathered at the small cabin of the Seer, and she would look into their eyes, into their souls, and tell them what their Destiny was. And today was Fortune Day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Field Guide to Graduate Students

Graduate students are a unique class of students that can be found in many major universities. While they are a varied group, there are certain characteristics by which one can identify them. Should you for some reason wish to identify these students, the following guide has been designed to help you.

Appearance: Of all the characteristics belonging to graduate students, appearance is probably the most varied. Graduate students range in age from anywhere from 22 on up. Most of them, however, are typically in their early to mid-20s. Their clothing often resembles their status -- somewhere between student and professional. Jeans worn with a nice top are typical, and reflect this dual status.

Habitat: When not engaging in "study breaks" (see Behavior),  graduate students can typically be found in one of four locations. These are, in order of frequency, the building that houses their department, the library, in class, and their apartments. I say apartments, though some graduate students also rent or even own houses. The majority of grad students, however, rent one-bedroom apartments. Graduate student living spaces are typically better furnished than their undergrad counterparts, and generally contain a large number of books concerning  their area of study.

Dietary Habits: The dietary habits of graduate students are wide and varied. They are typically healthier than those of undergraduates, but not necessarily. Often, they are a mix of quick, easy meals, and healthier, more involved meals. Breakfast is often the meal given the least amount of attention, as can be attested by the large quantities of granola bar wrappers that can be found in most students' cars. Lunch is typically a packed sandwich, leftovers for dinner, or a quick meal purchased on campus. Dinner ranges from frozen microwave meals, to proper meals with a meat and vegetables.

Behavior: Graduate behavior consists mainly of two activities- doing work (AKA "studying"), and avoiding work (AKA "study breaks"). The term "study break" covers a wide range of activities, from eating meals, to parties, to taking naps. Such behaviors are typically reserved for the weekend, and most graduate students spend their weekdays trying to get enough work done to justify taking a study break at some point on Saturday or Sunday.

Disclaimer: This is by no means a comprehensive guide, and the author takes no responsibility for its use. Please be aware that approaching a graduate student, especially one engaged in "studying" can be dangerous. Approaching a graduate student on a "study break" also carries it's own risks, including, but not limited to, being engaged in an in-depth conversation of an obscure field, witnessing a nervous break-down, and receiving a lecture on why one's chosen field of study is, in fact, "useful and important". 

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Teacher Becomes the Student

I've taught a lot of people how to knit, and a couple of people how to spin. I'm pretty used to be one of the most experienced knitters in the room at any given time, which means I do a lot of knitting "troubleshooting". A couple of weeks ago, however, the tables were turned on me when I mentioned that, despite being shown how to by several people, I've never properly learned to crochet. I mistakenly said this in earshot of an avid crocheter. And now...well now I have this:

A crocheted dishtowel, in Lily's Sugar & Cream in Denim (it's a variegated blue, you just can't tell in the picture. The colour pooling made an interesting design, though).

It's not perfect- if you look closely you can see I added a stitch on the edge of the left side. But I've been assured by my teacher that it's good for a first piece, and that the stitches are even and not too loose or too tight. 

It was interesting being the student and not the teacher when it came to a fibre art. I found myself struggling to get my hands to twist the right way to crochet, when they wanted to twist like they were knitting, and I kept trying to wrap the yarn around the hook in the wrong direction. I also felt the need to check with my friend every couple of stitches: "Is this right? Should it look like this? Is this the way the yarn should go?" She was incredible patient, and I'm pretty pleased with the end result.

So, it looks like I've added one more fibre skill to my arsenal. Next up? Weaving :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Translating Poetry

The other day, my Latin professor asked us how to properly translate poetry into English. I suggested that the only way to do it was to understand Horace's poem, and then writet your own, and she agreed (though, apparently, we can't do that on the test ;) ). The conversation reminded me of a poem I wrote about/right after a Latin class where we were translating Horace in undergrad. It's not my best, (actually, I don't think it's at all that good), but it's an interesting example of this idea.  Here it is, inspired by Horace, Ode 3.13 (and no, this is not a translation, and no, the lines under the Latin are not translation of the Latin above them). (Carmina 3.13 in Latin (scroll down), and in English).

Frustra

O fons Bandusiae, splendidior vitror!
I hear sirens outside, growing louder.
Dulci digne mero!
digne, digne
The sirens -- are they worthy?
Worthy of my attention?
But they are fading now.
Unde loquaces
lymphae desiliunt tuae.
I hear them no longer.
Nam gelidos inficiet tibi
rubro sanguine rivos
lasciui suboles gregis.
Tonight, in high-def; a shooting
rubro sanguine
rubro sanguine
rubro sanguine
We sit and watch.
Frustra.
In vain.
The world continues outside.
Frustra.
In vain.
On T.V.
Rubro sanguine
in high-def.
Frusta.
Rubro sanguine.
Frustra.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mid-term Recap

So, I'm about mid-way through my first semester of graduate school, and figured I owe everyone an update on what I've been up.

1. The Parking Situation: You may remember the trouble I had finding a parking spot on campus. We,ll I've solved the problem, though at the expense of an hour of sleep. My earliest class MWF is 11:15. On T/Thur. it's 12:30. But I get on campus everyday before 8 to guarantee a good parking spot. 

2. The Dungeon: The Dungeon is what the Classics dept. calls the basement of our building. Graduate TA's have their "offices" (i.e. desks) down there. It has now become one of my most frequent hang-outs on campus, since it's quiet, has internet, and has electric outlets. I spend most of my mornings there before class. Occasionally, a student will find his or her way down there for help on a paper.

3. Teacher's Assistant: I'm a TA for a myth class, and am enjoying it for the most part, though I have ridiculous number of tests and papers to grade. I get to give a lecture on Thursday, and am excited about that.

4. Greek: Greek is the bane of my existence right now. I still like Greek, don't get me wrong, but I'm really struggling in the class, and it can be frustrating. But I'm hanging in there, and my professor is incredibly understanding and has been helping me develop better studying/translations skills to help me improve. 

5. Sleep: About a week ago, I finally realized the truth: There are not enough hours in the day for me to get everything done. Something had to give. I confess, I love to sleep. I don't sleep in very late, but rather like to go to bed early(ish), and take naps. But I've found that if I want to get everything done and have some time leftover for a life, then I have give up an hour or two of sleep of night (don't worry- I'm still getting enough sleep- just not as much as I would like). 

6. Church: I thought it would take me some time to find a church and get involved. Instead, my first week I walked to a church near my house and felt right at home. I'm now a part of the young adults group and the handbell choir.

7. Knitting/Fibre Friends: About my 3rd or 4th week here (can't remember which) I invited a few friends over to my house on Friday to eat dinner, watch a movie, and knit/spin/crochet/cross-stitch. Since then, Fibre Friday has ceased to be just an abstract concept on my blog, but a regular gathering. Every Friday we take turns hosting the group, and just hanging out and talking. 

8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: As I mentioned on Friday, I'm now pain-free almost all the time. I still ice my wrists every other day or so, and take it easy on the knitting and typing, and that seems to do the trick. It's an amazing thing to not have pain from every day activities again. 

9. Humilty: Graduate school has been a great lesson in humility. I'm used to being one of the top students in my class, and generally the one who knows the most about all things Classical. But now I'm with a group of students who were also all top students and studied Classics, and I'm just one of the many. It's been interesting, sometimes frustrating, but overall, good. I love getting to hang out with people who think "Hephaestus' Happenin' Hammer" is a good name for a Quiz Team, and that "Aristophanes: The Original Player Hater" would make a good t-shirt slogan. 

10. Community Supported Agriculture: One of my friends and fellow Farmer's Market shopper introduced me to the concept of a CSA, where you pay a certain amount of money to a local farmer upfront, and every week for a set number of weeks, you receive a bag of produce. After some research, we decided to split the cost and get a CSA to share. I now have a huge amount of fresh produce to use every week; this week I received, along with many other things, four eggplants! So of course, I made eggplant parmesan. I'm really loving this, it was really affordable. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Spinning a Good Yarn

You may remember that I've been dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. Well, I have good new to report: I now have almost no pain in my writs, and can do small amounts of knitting and typing again. Yay! (I will avoid dragging you through a philosophical discussion of pleasure and pain- at  least for today.)

Some good, however, did come from not being able to knit. I discovered that spinning didn't hurt my wrists, so I picked up my spindle and started to work on my much-neglected fibre stash. A quick re-cap of my earlier spinning projects:

Project #1: black alpaca from Colorado:

 
Very loose twist and plying. This became, unintentionally, thick-thin yarn, going from being very thick to very thin with no pattern. It's very soft, but I have some worries how it will hold up when knitted (it might untwist). Also, because I did a poor job of drafting the fibre (pulling it loose so it can be spun) I ended up wasting a lot.

Project #2: Hand-dyed alpaca from...somewhere.

Way over-spun and over-plied (I was determined not to make the same mistake I did on my first try), this yarn retains none of the softness characteristic of alpaca. I spun it as a gift for a friend. I don't think she's used it yet (and, honestly, I don't blame her), though it will be interesting to see how it knits up. I think it'll be very energetic and twist and pull the fibre. Could actually end up really cool.

Well, the say "practice makes perfect" and "third's time the charm", and that seems to have been the case. The yarn I just finished spinning came out, well, wonderful.

Project #3: light brown Alpaca from Victoria, Canada


This yarn is a dream. It's soft, has a gentle halo, and is spun so evenly I can actually get a good idea of its gauge (it's not perfect, but close). If I saw this yarn in a yarn store, I would probably but it. My plans are to dye this yarn (along with the yarn I'm currently spinning) and weave it on a loom I'm planning to build. More on that later.

(By the way, does anyone else love the title of this post? I t makes me happy because it works in two ways- literally spinning yarn, metaphorically telling a story :) )

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dude, It's Like an Ancient Flamethrower!

So, I was like reading Thucydides the other night (for, like, class, duh), and mostly he's like all about this war, and like, all names and dates and stuff, so I'm just reading along, right? And then there's like this passage, right? And I'm totally like "whoa, dude", 'cause it's totally an ancient flamethrower.

Check it: "They sawed a great beam in two, hollowed it out completely, then fitted the two parts precisely together again, like a pipe; at the far ends they suspended a cauldron on chains, with an iron nozzle curving down into it from the beam [....] Wherever they got it close, they applied large bellows to their end of the beam and made them blow. The pipe was airtight so the blast went straight through to the cauldron, which was full of lighted charcoal, sulphur, and pitch. The result was a huge flame which set fire to the wall" (Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War  4.100, trans. Martin Hammond)

And I was like, "how cool is that? Maybe those Greeks aren't so boring." So I like googled it, right? And I totally found this sketch of it here (scroll down).


P.S. I actually do like reading Thucydides.

P.P.S. I've decided that discipline of keeping up with my blog is good for me, so I'm going to start blogging regularly again. The one big change is that, because I don't have much time for creative writing, Wednesdays are often going to be my thoughts on what I'm reading or translations of Latin poetry ('cause I'm cool like that).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Girls with Glasses

The mom on this blog here is looking for pictures of girls with glasses, to help her little girl's self-confidence. So here's my contribution.

Glasses

I need them to read. Which, as a grad student, is like saying I need them to breathe.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Prayer for September 11

Dear God,

For me, September 11 just a memory. It is an emotional memory, a powerful memory, but just a memory nonetheless.

But for some, September 11 is a reminder. A reminder of why the pillow on the bed next to them is now empty. A reminder of the brother who used to play ball in the backyard, of the sister who used to read out loud, of the friend who used to call and chat. I pray that you would be with them today, Lord, and comfort them.

For them, as for all of us, today is a reminder of hard questions. Questions like "Why? Why there, why them, why that day, why that plane?" These are the hard questions. The ones we ask, but that only You know the answer to.

So today, Lord, I pray that as we remember, as we mourn, we remember also to rejoice. To rejoice for the lives that we have, and remember to enjoy every moment.

Thank you for today, Lord, and if today is the only day we have, let us live it to the fullest.

Amen.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Week Recap

Well, it's been over a week since my last post, and I really had intended to post more often. As it turns out, however, even though I'm only taking nine credit hours, that's a lot when you've been away from school for a year. And as I settle into my schedule, I expect that I will be able to blog more often. But for now, I can only promise once a week. So here is your weekly blog post (and I promise they won't all just be weekly recaps):

Monday: my first class on Monday was History of the Peloponnesian War at 12:30. I arrived on campus around nine o'clock, and pulled right into a spot near my hall. I had heard that it's hard to find a parking spot on campus, so I took it as an auspicious start of the week (as a Classics major, I now have to pay attention to such thing as auspices and bird signs). The Peloponnesian War class is going to be really fun. Instead of just using a textbook or a history book, we're going to be looking at actual classical texts, such as ThucydidesPlutarch, and Aristotle. After the Peloponnesian War class, I had Latin. The subject matter, Latin letters, seemed very interesting to me, but it was clear was going to take a lot of work.

Tuesday: I arrived a campus hour before my first class, which again was at 12:30. I am really excited about this class, because we'll be translating Plato's Phaedo. I immediately checked the parking lot where I park yesterday to see if I could find another good spot. There weren't any, which didn't surprise me so I circled around and checked some of the street parking. Still no spots. I circled not one, not two, but three parking garages looking for spots, and still didn't find one. At this point it was 12:15, and I was getting nervous. I drove up and down all the streets around campus, and finally found an open parking lot. I pulled in, how to ask where I was (it turned out I was at the law school), and get directions back to where I need to be.  I ended up being a good 10 minutes late the class. Like the Latin course, I was excited about the subject matter, but worried about the workload.

After the Plato class, I have the class I TA for, Myth East and West. There are there are over 200 students in the class, which is absolutely crazy to me, who's used to there only being 20 or so students in a class. I won't be teaching, but rather helping the professor grade all of the tests and papers along with the other TA.

Wednesday: after spending almost all of Tuesday translating Latin, and realizing it's going to take me just as long to translate for Greek, I realized something was going to have to be done. I arrived a campus before eight, because I had an early class/seminar on how to be a graduate student. I got a parking spot and good lot again, and happily made my way to class. After class, I spoke with my professor for the Latin class, and decided to move down to a lower level course, where we'll will be translating Horace.  I think this was the right decision, and will let me spend more time focusing on the Greek course, with the added bonus of getting to translate one of my favorite Latin authors. After my new Latin class, I went to history of the Peloponnesian war class.

Thursday: Thinking I had finally figured out the parking situation, I arrived on campus  with two hours to spare, and promptly circled all the good parking spots. All were taken. I circled all the parking garages -- twice. Still no spots. Still not concerned, I drove over to  the law school parking lot, only to find it was closed. I circle all the lots again. Still no luck. By now, I was starting to get worried, as the time buffer I built and was running out. As I circled the streets around campus, I suddenly saw a familiar building. It was the office building of my dad's cousin, whom we visited when I came out to look for an apartment. The sign out front said no unauthorized parking, but I parked in there anyways, and knocked on the door to ask for permission to park there.  Permission received, I headed to class.

Friday: on Friday, I didn't play around, but arrived a campus before eight o'clock, still had the circle to different parking lots and garages before I found a spot, found one after 45 minutes, then spent the rest of my free time studying while I waited for my classes start.

So, that's my week in a nutshell. Hopefully, I'll have fewer parking adventures next week, but other than that, my schedule be pretty much the same. Keep an eye out for a new post next week!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Making a Home

 While this week has been spent taking care of such things as registering for classes and taking care of paperwork, the main part of my week seems to have been the process of turning my small apartment into a home.

 Whilel it's still not finished, I've made a lot of progress. My kitchen and dining area, which is also where my desk is, has all been put together and organized, as has been my living room. I think the moment for me that everything really came together was when I finally hung up my pictures. I say pictures, but really most of what I have are framed posters and artwork.  All of them have meaning to me, and many were bought from the different places that I have lived and visited.  In adding them to the decor of my little  apartment, I seem to be adding a little bit of myself to it as well.

I still have a lot of learning to do, like how to cook in the kitchen small enough for me to touch both walls, and get dressed in the bathroom where my hands hit the ceiling. But I think the name Hobbit House truly does suit my new little home. After all,  Tolkien says "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." My house may be small, but it is also a place that is comfortable.


I still have one more room to finish putting together, and will hopefully finish tomorrow so I can put pictures of my apartment up for you. In the meantime, I'd like to leave you with another quote from Tolkien. "It is the job that is never started that takes longest to finish.”"


More information on hobbits:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobbit

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Defense of Apples

The idea for this started as joke between my college roommates and I. It is, of course, meant purely as a piece of fiction, not as any sort of academic speculation.  


Sometimes, a lot can depend on a little thing. And sometimes, a lot gets dumped on a little thing. Take apples for example. As far as I’m concerned, no fruit, no thing, has taken so much blame  for something it didn’t do.

Original sin, no less! The poor apple gets blamed for being the fruit that brought sin into the world. I don’t know how the rumor started. Maybe because the apple’s taste is deceptionally both sweet and bitter at the same time. Maybe it’s because in Latin mãla (apple tree) is just one long mark short of mala (evil). Maybe some non-too-scholarly monk translated God’s warning about the “tree of good and apples” instead of the “tree of good and evil.” I don’t know. Whatever it is, the poor apple has had a bad rap ever since.

I mean, really, apples? Tell me, where do apples appear in the Bible? The answer would be: nowhere. If you’re looking for Biblically significant fruits, I’m afraid you have to look somewhere else. Like figs for example.

‘Figs’? you ask. Yes, figs. Did you know Jesus once cursed a fig tree? No really, you can go look it up if you don’t believe me. He was walking by this fig tree (out of season, of course,) and wanted a fig. But of course, there weren’t any there. So he cursed it. And the next day the tree was dead. So if you’re looking for a bad fruit, I figure a fig might just be it.

Of course, if you’re looking for a really significant fruit, you probably can’t do much better than a grape, what with water into wine, vines and branches, and laboring in vineyards. It seems to me the Bible is just chock full of grapes, and what with them becoming wine and all, they strike me as a bit more devilish than your plain run of the mill apple.

But if you really want to know what fruit is to blame, you don’t need to look any farther than the architectural descriptions that litter the Old Testament. They are there, carved in to wood, covered with beaten gold, and quietly decorating almost everything built in that time and age. I am speaking, of course, of pomegranates.

It seems to me that if a fruit is to be blamed for original sin, it must be the pomegranates. Why else would they decorate everything from tent poles to engravings? It’s I reminder, I think. I reminder of sin carved even in the Holy of Holies.

So how about we give the poor little apple a break, and start putting the blame where it properly lies – on the pomegranate.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Already Learning

Well, school hasn't even started yet and I've already learned lots of things.

1. Decorating the apartment is a lot harder to do by myself than it was with my roommates to help.

2. Getting lost on campus in 97° weather is a good way to make new friends.

3. Knitters and fiber lovers will always find each other.

4. Anyone who can successfully complete a graduate school application should automatically deserve acceptance.

5. There are limits to what 3M hooks will hold.

6. No matter how many times you make your list, or how many times you check it, you will always forget to pick up something from the store.

7. Learning to cook and a new kitchen can be challenged. Especially when said kitchen is small enough that you can touch both walls with their arms outstretched.

8. My Garman GPS is amazing.

9. I really think of going to like graduate school.

10. A bit unrelated, but I thought you'd find it interesting that I wrote this entire post without touching the keyboard. My carpal tunnel syndrome is doing much better, but still gives me pain when I type. So, I bought a software called MacSpeech Dictate. It converts speech into text, and I used it to write this entire post.

Well, that's about all I have energy for today. Time to head to bed early and get ready for a day trying to navigate the halls of academia.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Moving Tomorrow!!!

See above.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

String Theory

Everyone who knits has experienced it at one time or another. Inexplicably, in the middle of a row, through no fault of your own, a stitch disappears. It's a bit like that one sock in a pair that gets eaten in the dyer. This conumdrum was briefly discussed at the knitting group I go to the other night, and I thought it would make a good topic for a piece of flash fiction. I've never written any flash in the fantasy genre before, so I also thought it would be a good writing exercise. 

Initially, my idea was to write about a mischievous little elf (or fairy) who stole stitches from innocent knitters. But I just couldn't get the idea to go anywhere. Instead, I discovered a story completely different from the one I wanted to tell, but I went a long to see where it would lead me.

In making my lists the other day, I forgot a very important one. What I've learned from knitting...and my knitting group. And what I've learned is this: knitting is an act of creating, and when you create, you put something of yourself into the work. So this post, this story, is dedicated to the members of Not You Grandmother's Knitting Group, for what they've taught me about being comfortable in my skin, and about loving my craft. 



The woman, girl really, sat upright in her chair, arms folded in her lap. Before her eyes a pair of needles hovered, knitting a thin black yarn. The rhythm of the needles was broken every few stitches by the appearance of a coloured stitch, sliding onto the needle as if from nowhere. The knitted material dangling off the needles was riddled with these stitches, each one different.

The door to her room opened, and the man entered. Her needles stilled as he approached, but remained suspended in the air.

“Why are you stopping?” he demanded.

“Is it done yet?”

“Why are you stopping?”

She looked up at him. If she was younger, she would have stuck her tongue out at him. Had she ever been younger? Yes, she remembered. It had been a game once. Seeing the stitches. Stealing them. Watching the women desperately counting the remaining stitches. But it wasn’t a game. Not any more.

“Well?”

She’d done it again. Gotten lost in her thoughts. “I’ve told you before. I can’t focus on the stitches when you’re in here.”

He fingered the fabric, and the coloured stitches glimmered slightly.

“Is it done yet?” She asked again.

“It’s done when I say it is.” What he always said. He turned to leave.

“Why? Why do you need the stitches?”

He stopped but didn’t turn around. “To see the world in a grain of sand.”

She thought for a moment, remembering. Or was she looking forward. It grew more and more difficult to tell the difference. But she had it now. “William Blake.”

He didn’t answer. Just left.

Her hands stayed trembling in her lap, and she brought her needles down to them. She was scared of him. Or did she hate him? She couldn’t remember anymore. His power was strong. Strong enough to bind her to this room, to this task. Beacause he couldn’t do what she did. Couldn’t ‘see the world in a grain of sand’. But she did. She saw all the threads in the world, all the stitches. Not just the ones made out of yarn. The tiny, invisible ones made of atoms. The thin, reaching thread of time. She could see them. And some of the bigger ones, she could touch. And steal.

She fingered the cloth in her lap. Cloth. Clotho. Lachesis. Atropos. The Greeks had understood all those years ago (or would they figure it out- did it matter?). Each life was a thread. Spun. Measured. Cut.

Gently, she laid her finger against one of the coloured stitches. In a flash, all that was contained within it filled her mind. The woman who had spun the yarn. The woman who knit it. Everything she had touched. Everything she had made. Each stitch a life, bound into the cloth as surely as she was bound in this room. Cloth. Clotho.

She wondered if the Greeks had understood how each life was bound together. Not like in her cloth, no, her cloth was a mockery of the world. Little lives bound together for a lesser purpose. But the real world. All those lives, all those stitches, bound together. Woven.

There had been a woman, once, who had weaved to save her life. No, that wasn’t right. It wasn’t to save her life. It was to keep from having to marry a man she didn’t love. But perhaps it had meant the same to her.

What was her name? It was rich. Had a coppery sound. No, not yet. That was in another time. In her time she was Penelope. Yes, that was right. Penelope who wove to save her life. But that wasn’t right either.

She looked at the cloth that lay across her lap. So long. Miles and miles of it. Or was it just a few feet? Had she been knitting for a lifetime, or a couple of days? She couldn’t remember. Did it matter? So much work, so much labor, for him. So he could bind the lives she had stitched into the material.

Penelope. But Penelope didn’t weave to save her life. That wasn’t it, was it? Almost without thinking, she slid the needle out of work. Tugged the yarn in her hand. The black stitches slowly pulled apart. When she came to a coloured stitch, it quietly disappeared; it was simply not there. Gone. Released. Freed. Because she had it now. She remembered the story. The weaving had been a guise. A distraction.

A pile of black yarn rested limply beside her. Penelope hadn’t weaved to save her life. She had unraveled.


Some references, if you're interested: 



Monday, August 9, 2010

(approximately) 100 Lessons

I've been told that taking a gap year between undergrad and grad school is a good thing. That you can learn a lot from it. Well, this is my last Monday post during my gap year. Next Monday is my first day of graduate school orientation. If you've followed my blog, you know it hasn't been an easy year for me. A voluntary gap year is one thing; an involuntary one is completely different. But I have learned a lot, and wanted to share some of those lessons with you. Instead of one list of 100, I've broken it down into lists of 10.

10 Things I've Learned About Myself
1. Even my greatest strengths can fail me.
2. I can't let my fears make my decisions for me.
3. According to one of my students, EMMA stands for: Educated, Mad skills, Magnifacent (her spelling) Amazing. That's right, I have mad skills :)
4. I'm a better teacher than I am a student.
5. I feel completely at home in Academia.
6. You can learn a lot by listening and not talking.
7. I can't always change my situation, but I can change my reaction to it.
8. It's okay to have to depend n someone else.
9. I have the worlds greatest parents. Hands down.
10. Some days, I am going to feel sad. And that's not a bad thing.

10 Things I've Learned About Teaching/Middle Schoolers
1. Middle schoolers really aren't that scary. And they really do want to learn.
2. Care about your students. There is no other way to reach them.
3. I'm way cooler as middle school teacher than I was as a middle school student.
4. Middle schoolers will believe just about anything an authority figure tells them. So be very careful what you say.
5. Middle schoolers notice how you act more than what you say. Make sure your actions don't contradict your words.
6. Sometimes an off topic conversation can lead to a better teaching opportunity than staying on topic ever could.
8. Respect only works mutually. You have to give it to get it.
9. Middle schoolers want responsibility, but don't always understand the consequences.
10. There is such thing as a stupid question- but it's always safer to assume that there isn't.

10 Things I've Learned About/From Social Media
1. Don't shout: talk and listen.
2. Never estimate the power of an immediate response
3. I can turn a 3 page press release into a 140 character tweet.
4. You have to shift through a lot of chaff to find the wheat. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes its not. Learn to tell the difference.
5. People want to be heard. It's okay to be quiet and let them speak.
6. I f you believe what you're saying, others will believe it too.
7. Honesty really is the best policy...and can save a lot of backtracking.
8. Don't be annoying.
9. There is a fine line between paying attention and stalking. DO NOT CROSS IT!
10. Be yourself. Really.

10 Things I've Learned About/From Being an Office Assistant
1. Always, always be nice to the person who answers the phone. What ever the problem is probably wasn't there fault, but there's a good chance they know who to forward you to in order to fix it.
2. I can fold a piece of paper so it fits perfectly in a business envelop every single time (it's the little things that count).
3. The UPS/Fedex delivery guy always asks your last name after you sign a delivery form. Even though you just wrote it down.
4. If you're the person who works from a laptop...you're the person who has to move desks when there's a leak.
5. Unattended Post-it notes will be "commandeered" by co-workers.
6. The best way to deal with an upset person on the phone is to be calm, and try to be understanding.
7. Don't take things personally.
8. I can use one of those strapping tape things to package a cardboard box.
9. When you buy a bag of M&M's to refill the office dispenser...don't keep the bag where you can reach it.
10. Keep your e-mail organized. Disorganized e-mails=disorganized office.

10 Things I've Learned About/From Running
1. It's easy to make excuses not to run.
2. The absolute best way to make yourself get out of bed in the morning is to have a running partner depending on you.
3. All the world's problems can be solved while on a run.
4. My mind is my worst enemy on a run. If I can beat my own insecurities, I'll have a good run.
5. Drinking water, eating a banana, and going for a run can solve 99.9% of your problems...according to my Mom.
6. I can't find the motivation to run if I don't have a goal I'm working towards.
7. A long run in the morning leaves you feeling accomplished all day.
8. There is no feeling in the world like crossing the finish line.
9. No pain, no gain.
10. No matter how hard it is to motivate yourself to go running, you always feel better after you run.

10 Things I've Learned From/About Blogging
1. Keep track of what you've blogged about so you're not confused when someone asks you about it.
2. Having a blogging schedule helps me stay disciplined.
3. I've found it nearly impossible to get people to leave comments on my blog (if you have any thoughts on how to do this, please leave them in the comments ;) )
4. Bloggers are, in general, really fun people to get to know.
5. I still can't figure out why people blog...or why I read them.
6. It's very odd to have certain aspects of your life out in the public.
7. Making a commitment publicly on your blog is a good way to motivate yourself to stick with it.
8. My blog readers are amazing, wonderful people. Proof: My apartment was furnished almost entirely from people who read my blog (mind you, a lot of them are family and friends, but my family and friends are amazing and wonderful, so it works).
9. It can be hard to find the balance between life and blogging about life.
10. I always have a moment of fear/apprehension when I hit "publish post" and send my little words out into the big, bad world.

One Thing I've Learned Today
1. Making lists can be hard. And kinda annoying. So...I'm going to stop for now. Maybe I'll give you the  reaming 31 lessons on Wednesday. But probably not.

Have a good week! And happy 8-9-10 Day!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Some Puzzling Behaivor

It's Fibre Friday and I'm going to talk about fibre- sort of. But the important thing is that I'm getting back on my normal blogging schedule. 


I'm now reaching the 3 week point of not knitting, and I've realized a few things about my myself.
1. I really, really love to knit.
2. When I can't knit, I go a little crazy.
3. I no longer know what to do with "dead time". What do I do while watching TV? Just sit there and watch it? What about in waiting rooms? How do people do this?

Anyways, last Monday (week 2 of no knitting) I couldn't take anymore. I had to have something to do, even if it wasn't nice and portable like knitting (I've tried crocheting, but that hurt my wrist too- maybe it's time to get a loom?) So, I went to Barnes and Nobel and bought a puzzle. 5 days later, I had this:


I learned a few things from doing a puzzle:

1. I like puzzles...but not as much as knitting.
2. I'm actually pretty good at puzzles...but not as good as I am at knitting.
3. It's much harder to figure out what to do with a finished puzzle than it is with a piece of knitting. Do you take it apart? Frame it? What? (I've taken it apart, but plan to do it again and frame it. It matches my parents' kitchen).

It is interesting that I feel the need to be constantly doing something creative, be it knit or put together puzzles. Anyone else have trouble just doing nothing?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Home Sweet Home-to-be

This weekend, my parents rented a truck and helped me move all my furniture to my new apartment. I'm still in Orlando for about two weeks, but my apartment is now mostly set up and just waiting for me and my clothes to move in. It's small (my Dad calls it a hobbit-house. I think it's just the right size for my 5'3" build- I can reach all the cabinets), but it's mine. And there is a lovely garden outside. So, some pictures of what I've done.

My little kitchen (needlepoint on shelf done by my friend Joanne)


Desk and bookcase- against a wall in the kitchen. Not organized yet.



Living room. Couch from Bob & Bev :).


Bedroom.

There's a few things I don't have pictures of yet, but I will post them once I move in.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What You Have

I seem to have fallen a but behind on my blogging. My excuses are 1) I'm lazy, 2) I'm busy getting ready to move, and 3) I've developed carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. This means /i can only type with my left hand and because of 1) and 2) I haven't taken the time to slowly peck out a post.

It really is true that you don't know what you have until you lose it. Recently, it seems everyone in my family has had an injury that keeps them from doing what they love. Both my parents have had injuries that kept them from running, and now I can't knit or spin.

Knitting is a pretty big part of my life, but I didn't realize how big until I couldn't do it. I've not knit for over a week now, and it's actually having an effect on me. I'm more irritable and less productive. With knitting to help me unwind (no pun intended- if it was, I would have used spinning), I've felt more stressed out than before.

While I've appreciated what knitting has done in my life, I never really stopped to appreciate what a gift being able to knit is. I have money to spare to buy yarn, time to spare to knit, and (up until last year) two healthy hands to knit with. I took my craft for granted.

I guess, ultimately, there's a lot of things in my life I've taken for granted much to often. My family, my job,  my health. My hand will heal, but there are so many people who've had injuries that won't, or have lost a loved one. Frustrating as my injury has been, I'm trying to make it into an opportunity to appreciate all the things I take for granted.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Housesitting 2.0

You might remember that around this time last year I did some housesitting. You can see those posts here and here. Well, I'm housesitting for the same family, and the pets are up to their usual antics. Let me introduce you to them:

First, there is a fish (who is hiding in his castle at the moment, so no picture). I'm not sure what the fish's name is. No one told me, and the only thing it says on my list of things to do is "feed the fish once a day". However, last year's housesitting post tells me the then-fish's name was Nim (from "Nim's Island" I presume), so we'll go with that.

Next, there's a cat, who is, for the most part, invisible. The cat is also not named on my to-do list, but I'm pretty sure his/her name is Oreo (or "That-Darn-Cat!" one or the other).

And then, there's these two:


Lance and Olivia (Lance is on the left here...I think)

Lance and Olivia are Somewhat Sad Puppies right now. They are wonder where their People are, and why this strange Person who can't even tell them apart is here. Which may explain last night and this morning.

You see, the dogs are not allowed on the furniture. They know this. I know this. They know I know this. So I have no explanation for why when I rolled over in bed last night I saw this:



(this time I know it's Lance)

But honestly, how can you get upset at a face like that. He clearly knows he shouldn't be on the bed, but his People are gone and well...I let him stay (plus, he's kinda heavy. I tried to shove him off and he just gave me a look that said "Really?")

Now, my helpful little list told me that around 7:00 a.m. I should let the dogs out in the yard, feed them, then walk them. But I remembered from last time that they started whining to go out around 6:00, so I set my alarm accordingly.

At exactly 5:38, a paw hit my shoulder. I opened my eyes and saw Lance sitting sphinx-like on the bed, looking at me expectantly. I calmly explained to him that I did not, in fact, have to let him out until 7, but that I was planning to letting him out a whole hour earlier if he would please let me go back to sleep. He wagged his tail and sat up, and Olivia, who had been politely sleeping on the dog bed, came over and stuck her nose in my face. It was clearly a conspiracy. I sighed, and got up.

After letting the dogs out, I figured I might as well feed them, so I went into the garage to get their food. When I switched on the light, I was surprised to see the cat, who had henceforth been invisible. "Good morning," I said, and he immediately launched into a chorus of "meows" and a show of affection, rubbing against my hand. Once assured of my attention, he hopped over to his food bowl. Oh. That's what he wanted.

I fed the cat and dogs (the fish was laying at the bottom of his bowl, but I didn't feel like checking to see if he was alive), walked the dogs, and got my own food. As I'm writing this, the fish is now swimming, the dogs are laying next to my feet, the cat is once again invisible, and I 'm going back to bed. Wake me in half an hour.


(P.S. I apologize for any typos. I have tendonitis in my right wrist, so am typing this entirely left handed.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Excuses, Excuses

I haven't done a very good job of sticking to my blogging schedule lately, and this is my excuse:
This is a pile of the...stuff I'll be taking with me to graduate school. I've been busy going through everything I own and deciding what to keep and what to throw away while stalking garage sales and shamelessly begging for things I don't have. Between that and work, I haven't really had a lot of energy for blogging- or at any rate the discipline to stick to my blog schedule. But since this is my Fibre Friday, it seems appropriate to share with you how I measured out what size desk will fit in my little apartment:

Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Solids in denim. At lease I still have time to play with yarn :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Odds and Ends

The past couple weeks I've been collecting a wide array of items to furnish my apartment with. I've had to buy a few things, but a good bit of what I've gotten has been given to me. I have dishes and other kitchen things from my grandparents and parents, a blender and beater from a couple from church, and another couple has offered me a microwave. I've also been offered (and just haven't picked up) a set of wooden boxes that stack into shelves from a blog reader. And the best part of all these things (besides being free) is that they are all used.

I know it might sound odd to be excited about haveing used goods, but to me that means they have meaning. There will be hardly an item in my apartment that won't have a story attached to it, or remind me of a friend. So even though my glasses won't match, and some of my appliances will be older than me, the idea of sharing my apartment with theses little odds and ends that belonged to others appeals to me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

iTouch/iPhone Apps for knitters

(See what I did? See how I put iTouch first and not iPhone in the title? Take that, iPhone owners! Also, my disclosure: This review is entirely my personal opinion. I have no connection with Apple or the creators of any of these apps.)

There are a lot of iTouch/iPhone apps (Ha! I did it again), and apps targeted towards knitters are no exception. So I thought I'd share the 3 apps I've found most helpful. All of these apps, once downloaded, require no Internet connection, so they're perfect for the iTouch (and you get no advantage by owning an iPhone).

1. Knit Counter Lite
Cost: Free
This is the single most used app on my iTouch. It's basically a row counter that can hold all your projects and always saves your place. When you add a project you get a default row counter, but you can add project details to the counter such pattern info, yarn type, needle size, and any notes you want to add. You also have the option of adding more than one counter to each project. Each counter can be edited. You can add notifiers that remind you to increase or decrease on set rows, and set a limit on high the counter goes (so if you're doing a pattern that repeats every 8 rows, you set the limit to 8 and it will roll back over to 1 when you reach it).  I apologize if I didn't explain this well, but it's a great app, and if you get just one knitting app, this should probably be it.

2. iKnit Needlesizer
Cost: $0.99
Sure, they make those little cards with holes in them to size your needles, but do you really carry one in your purse? (I take that back...if you're anything like me, you probably do). But I bet you're much less likely to lose your iPod or phone than a piece of plastic. Using white stripes of different widths that you lay your needles against, this very basic app lets you size your knitting needles and crochet hooks in both US sizes and millimeters.

3. KnitGauge
Cost:$0.99
This app is basically for lazy people, but it beats carrying a ruler around with you to figure out gauge. Just lay the app on a piece of knitting, count the number of stitches between the markers on the screen, enter them in, and the app calculates your gauge.

4. Great Books (iFlow Reader)
Cost:$0.99
I know, I said I was talking about 3 knitting apps, but I really want to include this non-knitting app, because it solved the great conundrum of my life: How to knit and read at the same time. The iFlow reader requires no touching to change pages or scroll the text. The text scrolls by itself; you can set the speed, or control it manually by tilting it speed up or slow down (much more intuitive than it sounds). I like to set to a little below my normal reading speed, prop it at an angle, and work on a simple project while reading the story. I suggest the Great Books library (there's a lot of book sets to pick from) because it has the widest selection of texts, including fiction, philosophy, and several other genres.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Incomplete Poem

I'm too lazy to write an original post, so here's a poem I started in college (sophomore year, I think) and never finished (or really edited, as will be obvious). Maybe this will motivate me to work on it more. Oh, and it doesn't have a title yet.

P.S. I also apologize in advance for the extreme overuse of both Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.

“To bed, to bed, to bed,” he said.
“To meet that gentle mistress sleep.
And upon her lap, you may rest
Those two well traveled weary feet.”

To bed, to bed, to bed they went.
And crossed the sea of waking thought
To dark Dream-land’s faire’ tale shore,
Where Diane’s creatures children sought.

This boy, but soft, his eyes are shut,
As stealthy sleep his mind o’er takes.
Somnia to him wishes peace-
Fair forms he shall see ‘ere he wakes.

Yet here another child lies,
Sheets tied in knots and sweat-stained brow,
Night’s dark horse takes to hoof and rides-
These gifts that troubled sleep bestow.

The boy with disappointment leaves
Night’s children for the son of Day.
Eyes open with the rising sun-
Sleep is done. Time for work and play.

His sister, child of troubled sleep,
Fights to break dark Hecate’s hold.
And when brother and sister wake,
These wondrous tales each other told.

“Oh, sister,” says the woken boy,
(he is the elder of the two)
“I had a glor’us dream last night.
Listen, and I’ll tell it to you.”

He started to begin his tale,
His sister listened with wide eyes,
Jealous of his so happy dream.
Yet wonder o’er came her despise.

Her brother’s dream had started,
It would seem, very much like hers.
The two together, playing sweet,
Ignorant of Artemis’ lures.


They were in what must be Heaven,
For they had everything they’d need
To live happ’ly ever after,
Fulfilling every child’s dream.

Brother and sister stood in awe
Of finding such a magic land.
More real to them than any dream,
They explored it all, hand in hand.

But as they hurried to see it all,
Quickly dashing from sight to sight,
The two small hands began to slip,
And the girl was left in the night.

Here the dreams began to differ.
The boy went on his happy way.
But his sister, left all alone,
Found herself caught in evil’s play.

She shivered at the coming night,
The darkness all around drew near.
And in this strange and wondrous land,
She found that she began to fear.

Why had no one told her about
These hidden things, once shroud in black
That now were rearing ugly heads,
Slowly driving her further back?

She tried to stay and hold her ground
But still the creatures pressed her on.
Each step took her farther away
From her brother and waiting Dawn.

Then a sound broke her silent world,
A hidden voice began to speak.
“Child though you know not what you want,
Follow, for I know what you seek.”

Scared at first, but lost and alone,
She decided she had no choice.
“I can always go back,” she said.
So she chose to follow the Voice.

But the Voice that sounds the most sweet,
Has always been the Siren’s call.
And the Voice that offers the most,
Is the one that will take it all.

And though her heart said “be afraid”,
Her mind was already too scared,
And so it was she took that step,
Which her soul would have never dared.  

Monday, June 28, 2010

What I Love/Will Miss about Orlando

I talk about myself a lot on my blog (well, it's my blog- what do you expect?) but today I'm going to change that up a bit. After four years away, it's been fun rediscovering my hometown this past year, so I thought I would make a list, in no particular order, about some of my favourite things here in O-Town, which I'll miss when I leave for graduate school in August.


The Black Sheep: Of the several yarn stores in Orlando, this one is mine. At least, I like to pretend it is. After all, my name is written in the concrete of the parking lot (really...the building used to be Track Shack). But seriously, I love the cozy feel of this small yarn/needlepoint shop. I can always find some tempting yarns in gorgeous colours. Also, they are very willing to order yarns in different colours if I need them. The owner, Anne, is always willing to talk yarn and knitting with me. A reader of my blog, she almost always know just what I’m looking for when I visit (and wasn’t surprised when I brought in the yarn from my ball-winding fiasco to ask to use the store’s winder).

Best Blog: While I won’t actually be leaving this behind, I did want to give a shout-out to my fave Orlando blog, Analog Artist, Digital World, by Thomas Thorspecken. Thor is a local sketch artist that posts a sketch every day on his blog. I’m not an expert on art, but I love his style of drawing; it seems to look beyond what is right in front of your face. In fact, I have three sketches of his that will be accompanying me to grad school. Also, his posts have directed me to several events in Orlando I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Brian Feldman: I first met Brian Feldman at a tweet-up. Since then, I’ve been involved in such crazy shenanigans as the Singing Menorah, 67 Books, and a Staring Contest. Brian is incredibly creative, and more than just a rebel without a cause. His performances often have a serious purpose behind them.

Track Shack/Track Shack Events: Sure, I work there (okay, more than just work there), but I love it too. I wouldn’t be able to spend all day helping promoting it if I didn’t believe in what the company does. Nearly daily I get read a story about how the right pair of shoes, or a group training program, or an event helped change somebody’s life into a happier, healthier one. Also, I just love the atmosphere of the races. I’ve been around runners and races literally since the day I was born, and I never get tired of it.

Power House Cafe: Nature’s Best with organic peanut butter and chocolate chips=best smoothie EVER! (in Winter Park, so not Orlando, strictly speaking, but close enough)

NYGKG: Not Your Grandmother’s Knitting Group. These ladies and guy have been a great support group this past year. Knitting brings us together once a week, but the conversation and friendship keep us coming back.

My job as an AVID tutor: I loved the opportunity I had to work with middle school children. Even though some days were frustrating, it was always worth it for the days when I got to see a light bulb turn on. I’m going to miss the students I worked with a lot; in fact, I'm going to miss them so much that this job almost kept me in Orlando for the upcoming school year. 

The 2, 3, and 4 (okay, 3.7) mile loop: These are the running routes my parents used to run with me in a baby jogger and that I run now. I know them forward and backwards, and there is a kind of comfort in their familiarity. Guess it’s time to blaze my own trails now.

My OCC Family: Orlando Community Church has been my church since I was born, and it was wonderful to be back after four years away. The members are all great, caring people, many of whom helped me deal with my disappointment of not getting into grad school. I’ll especially miss all the kids I’ve watched grow up and have taught in my Sunday School class. 

Living at Home: Well, I’ll kind of miss this. Some things for sure, others, not so much. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2 Row Scarf Pattern

Way back when I was planning out my Knitting Olympic project, I had a few requirements for my design. I wanted it to be lace (which my knitting group has determined is anything with a Yarn Over in it), I wanted it to be reversible*, and I wanted it to be simple. I also wanted a pattern that could be be knitted narrow to make a scarf or wide to make shawl. What I came up with was a 2-row stitch pattern that, to me, looks like little rows of seeds planted in furrows.
*By reversible, I don't mean its identical on both sides, but rather that both sides look nice.



So, without further ado, my two-row scarf/shawl pattern, Seedling.

CO Multiple of four, plus 2 (ex: 12 + 2 = 14 stitches)
Row 1: k1, *k1, yo, k1, yo, k2,* repeat from * until one stitch remains, k1
Row 2: k1, *k1, ssk, k1, k2tog,* repeat from * until one stitch remains, k1
Repeat rows one and two until piece is desired length. Bind off.

Abbreviations (click on links for instructions):

Info about the scarf I made:
Needles: US 10
Stitches: 34 (8 sets of 4, + 2)