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Friday, February 26, 2010

Out of town- no wireless

Post forthcoming. I still love you all, though :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Translation

I'm up at FSU this weekend or an open house with the Classics Dept. So, I thought it would be appropriate to post not one of my poems, but my translation of one of Horace's.

Horace, Odes I.IV



Sharp winter is thawed by the welcome change of spring and the West Wind,
And rollers draw down the dry ships.
And now neither flocks enjoy the stables nor the ploughman his fire,
Nor are the meadows white with hoary frost.
Now Cythrean Venus leads the dances with the moon overhead,
And the comely Graces hand-in-hand with the Nymphs
Shake the ground with one foot after the other, while gravely fiery Vulcan
Visits the workshops of the Cyclopes.
Now it is befitting to entangle the shining head with green Myrtle
Or flowers, which the thawed earth bring forth.
And now it is fitting to sacrifice to Faunus in the shady sacred groves,
Whether he may demand it with a ewe lamb or prefers a young goat.
Pale Death knocks against the huts of the poor and the towers of kings
With equal foot. O happy Sestius,
The short sum of life forbids us to begin long hopes.
Soon night will press upon you and the Spirits of myth
And the sparse house of Pluto. If you were to go there at the same time
You would neither cast lots with knucklebones for mastery of the wine
Nor wonder at soft Lycidias, for whom all the youths
Now burn and soon the virgins will burn for. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Last Long Run!

This weekend, I ran 10 miles, and thus completed my last long run before my Half Marathon! Now I get to go back to "short" 6-8 milers.

I have more to say, but on account of having gotten before 6:30 for the last three mornings in a row (why no, I don't get to sleep in on weekends- why? do you?) I think bed is more important than blogging.

So, goodnight all!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Halfway!

That's were I am on my Knitting Olympics project, which is good, since this is also the halfway point of the Olympics. I am feeling a little bit guilty about not picking a harder project. This is a challenge for me, because I'm slow knitter, I just feel like I should be doing a sweater or something, not just a scarf. Once I touch the pretty silk yarn though, all guilt goes away. Pictures for your enjoyment: (no idea why my camera makes this look purple-ish. Its really a lovely variegated red).





Pattern is my own design...I'll write it up and post it when I'm done.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hill

There is a world outside my window,
            rolling down the hill,
and skidding to a halt in the dirt below.
            It stands in a huddle, laughing-
debating about who knows what.
            But its whispered voice
is stolen by the wind
            And through this portal,
I can see the tendrils of conversation.

            This world-
the one outside my window,
            rolling down the hill,
thinks it is alone-
            alone with its backpacks and books
sitting by themselves on the sidewalk,
            waiting for the world to turn,
and roll back down.

            The rolling world that
I see on the hill outside
            my window,
stops
            and looks up
and stumbles over untied shoes-
            tumbles down the hill.
And the lonely bags are punished for their patience,
            their contents spread across the ground.

And the world, the world on the hill outside
            my window,
picks up its papers, scatters,
            and walks away. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Point of No Return?

In C.S. Lewis' "Perelandra", which just might be my favourite book (at any rate, I've read it more times than any other book), the main character, Ransom, finds himself caught in an inner debate (or a debate with God, depending on how you want to read it- I actually find this particular passage to be one of the most interesting understandings on the problem of free will, but that's for another post if I'm ever feeling theological).

After going back and forth for a while, Ransom passes, as it were, the point of decision. Lewis writes, "and then, without any apparent movement of the will, as objective and unemotional  as the reading of a dial, there had arisen before him, with perfect certitude, the knowledge "about this time tomorrow you will have done the impossible" [....] The future act stood there, fixed and unaltered as if he had already performed it. It was a mere irrelevant detail that it happened to occupy the position we call future instead of that which we call past".

When I applied to graduate school again, I said I wasn't sure which scared me most; not getting in again, or getting in. Because getting in would mean a decision would have to be made. Do I leave here, after fighting for year to make this place a home, and leave my nice job in Social Media, to spend four years of my life pursuing a degree that most consider useless? Do I give up my work at the middle school were I feel like I'm making a difference in student's lives? How can I abandon my students to selfishly spend four years looking out for my own interests?

And then my fear was realized: I was accepted into FSU. My feelings were mixed. I was elated, and felt like I had finally overcome the failure I'd felt last year when I wasn't accepted, but also scared. Now I had a choice to make.

Yet somehow, over the past week, I've felt the reality of the choice fade farther and farther away, until, like Ransom, I found a decision had been made without mine consciously knowing it. And this time next year, I will be in graduate school.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Knitting Olympics

I'm competing in the Knitting Olympics (click on pic in sidebar for more info). The basic concept is to pick a project that will challenge you and cast on when the Olympics start. You have until the end of the Olympics to finish your project. I'm going to be knitting a lace scarf/shawl with some lovely silk I was tricked into buying while in Colorado (the LYS owner handed it to me. How could I not buy it after feeling how soft it was?). The pattern is my own design, and is supposed to resemble little flowers growing in rows.  I don't have anything substantial to show yet, but will post pics as I make progress.

On another note, I was swatching for my project today when my Mom saw me. She started at my hand for a moment, then asked, "What are you doing?" Now my Mom has seen me knit hundreds of times, so I didn't quite understand what she was asking.

"I'm knitting, Mom."

"But what are you doing? I've never seen you knit like that before."

I looked down at the yarn in my hand and laughed. I was casting on. My Mom had seen plenty of works in progress, but must never have seen me start a project before.

Well, that's it for now. I got some lace to work on.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writers' Block

I have it. I absolutly cannot think of a single thing to write, so I'll take the advice of my middle school teachers and write about not having anything to write about. Using metaphors and similes (can you tell which is which?)

Writers' block is like going fishing without a net.

Writers' block is the barrier between your mind and you hand.

Writers' block is a marathon without a start line.

Writers' block is like Gandalf holding baxck the Barlog (spelling?).

Writers' block is like a wall you can't see the top of.

Writers' block is when words slip through your mind like hand through your sand.

Writers' block is... what I got. Can't think of any more at the moment. If you have something, post it in the comments.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Running

Growing up in a running family, it never occurred to me that it wasn't normal to get up before the sun and go to races. I spent my infants being carried around the start/finish area by one person or another, my toddler years running Kids' run, my 6-7 years helping run spindles from the chute to the timers (shout to everyone who remembers spindles- let me know if you do in the comments), and ran my first of many 5ks when I turned 8.

Mind you, I never fell in love with running the way the rest of my family did, but I plugged along with my on-again, off-again running philosophy, and enjoyed watching the sport grow and change. But I never really though of myself as a "Runner", and certainly not an inspiration.

But this year, after I ran my first 10k, I got a call from my Aunt M, congratulating me. "Emma," she said, "If you can run a 5k, I can start building back up to a 5k" (she's run 1/2 marathons before, but not in a while).

Well, the running bug spread, and before long, we had a mini-family reunion being planned for the Lady Track Shack 5k, with my Aunt M., and cousins N, A, and M. They came, they ran (and walked), and conquered.  But they weren't the only ones in my family running.

Both my Grandmas (Mom's side and Dad's side), inspired by their respective children, have been running and walking for years.  And now, in their 80's, they are still participating in 5ks, and placing in their age group ('course, they're usually the only ones in their age group :) ).

That being said, its amazing to me how contagious the running bug is. So next time you run, remember, you might be inspiring someone else. And who knows? Maybe they'll be running in their 80s too.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The End of the Sock Monkey Hat

As you know from last weeks post, I had to redo the mouth of the Sock Monkey Hat, and the top of his head (I've decided the Sock Monkey Hat is male. If you have a problem with that, deal).

Well, I had just finished with all the knitting, even the ears, when I realized I had a problem. I had no black buttons for the eyes and nose. I have plenty of buttons, mind you, just no black matching ones. My solution? Paint.
So, I took my newly blackened buttons and ears and stitched them on. I proudly held up my finished product and discovered...
I had made a Sock Cat Hat. *sigh*

I unattached the ears, eyes, and nose, moved the ears to the side, got rid of the nose, and used the nose buttons for the eyes and finally...
had a Sock Monkey Hat.

I packaged it up, sent it to my brother, and got a text from him today to say that he loves it. Expect that its too big.

I give up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Squirrel-Roach Conspiracy

(This has been a long running joke on the Mercer University campus, so I wrote an "article" about it for our student newspaper "The Cluster" for the April Fools' issues. It didn't make the cut, but here it is for your enjoyment.)


It’s mid-afternoon and the sidewalk on the quad is abandoned. Not a leaf in the nearby trees is moving. A lone student passes by, walking to class. Suddenly, the trees seem to come to life, and the student finds herself being bombarded with acorns by the squirrels that haunt the trees.

A similar scene occurs later that night as a student makes his way back to his dorm. Out of nowhere, a giant roach scuttles across his path by his feet, startling him and making him jump back.

As any student can tell you, scenes like this play out almost everyday on the Mercer campus. Innocent students find themselves attacked by the pests that call our campus home. Considering the frequency of the attacks, it seems high-time that the patterns involved be investigated in order to better understand exactly what is going on.

The first and most obvious modus operandi of the attacks is the timing. The squirrel attacks occur only during the day, while the roaches only come out at night. In fact, there are no reported incidents of a student being attacked by both a squirrel and a roach simultaneously. This in itself is suspicious, but there are further patterns that emerge.

Both the squirrels and the roaches use similar tactics, relying more on fright than on any sort of physical harm in attacking their victims. While the squirrels are known to use acorns as weapons, they are never thrown at a high enough velocity to cause any serious injuries. Instead, the most harm seems to be done when a student, startled by the sudden movements overhead, trips and is injured. This is similar to the roaches’ method of running out from under the bushes and frightening unsuspecting students.

The third note-worthy pattern of the attacks is the apparent lack of motive, and the randomness of the victims. While the victims are primarily students, this appears more to be a result of happenstance than anything else. Anyone who walks on Mercer’s campus seems to be fair game. Also, there have never been any reported thefts in relation to these crimes. The attacks appear to be done simply out of maliciousness, with no motives of theft or revenge ever evident.

Given the similarities of the M.O.’s of the two groups, and the fact that no squirrel has ever been seen in the presence of a roach, the conclusion is inevitable, if strange. It is a theory that has long been quietly discussed on Mercer’s campus, and gained recognition and plausibility when a Facebook group was made to discuss the issue. And bizarre as it may be, it needs to be seriously considered.

Students of Mercer, it is time to consider the idea that’s these attacks might all be the doings of a single culprit. There are just too many coincidences to accept that two different groups are responsible for these attacks. And so, this reporter humbly proposes that they are squirrels by day, and roaches by night.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Long Run

I think one of the coolest things about training for a long distance (in my case a 1/2 marathon), is watching the distances you once trained for become the distance you run for training. For example, back in November, I trained for and ran a 15k (sort of), which is nine miles. This Sunday, however, I ran 10 miles- as a training run.

This was the longest run I've gone in over 2 years, when I ran the Disney 1/2 marathon, nearly collapsed at the end, and swore off running for a year. But after my 10 miler yesterday, I was fine, apart from my legs being a bit sore. Its amazing to me how my body has changed through my training. I can run further and faster than I ever could, and I can literally see my muscles my muscles become stronger and more defined. I feel stronger and healthier than I ever have in my life.

I've never been into running for running's sake, but I'm getting to where if I don't run a couple times of week I'm mentally and physically slower than on weeks I do run. I know running's not for everyone. But the difference regular exercise has made in my life has been incredible. I'm not saying this as a doctor or a fitness buff. Nor was a I couch potato who made a drastic change in lifestyle. I'm saying this as an average-fitness level person who made a few small adjustments in her life. The visible results are not huge- I've not gone down a pant size or anything. But how I feel, emotionally and physically has changed. So here's my challenge. The year is still young. You don't have to go running, just find something active you like, and go do it.

Unrelated thought:
My 3 biggest problems with the iPad:
1. No flash player
2. No camera (yet)
3. No USB port.

That is all.