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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Digging through my old poems...

...I came across this. It seemed appropriate for the Easter Season.


Selah

Though my heart refuses
And my mind resists,
Though it seems my very being
Reviles at what is being asked—

Though I cannot be humble
And I swell with pride,
Though society says I am wrong,
This is my vow today—

I will not, not I say,
Refuse grace.

Let my pride burn
Where I belong.
Let me not forget
What I deserve.

I will not, not I say,
Refuse grace.

I will let the door be held open.
I will take what is offered.
I will accept what is freely give.
I will remember this is not about me.

I will not, not I say,
Refuse grace.

Selah

Monday, March 29, 2010

Crazy Week

This has been a busy week for me, though a good bit of it was spent driving. Mercer (the university I went to) was having a conference on ancient political philosophy, and  part of the conference had a panel of five students presenting papers. At the last minute someone backed out, and since my senior honors thesis fit the topic, I was asked if I would come present it.

I agreed, and had a wonderful time reacquainting myself with Mercer. It was home to me for four years, and I had a very real sense of homecoming from the moment I set foot on campus. It was a homecoming to the place, yes, but also to the environment. From my arrival Wednesday afternoon to my departure late Thursday night, I heard 12 papers presented and presented one myself. And while that is a lot of information to take in at once (I was a bit brain-dead by the end of it), the sense of rightness I felt was wonderful.

I’ve learned a lot of things since graduating, good things that I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn. But it has also been a hard time for me, and I missed being in halls of Academia with a kind of hunger. To go from naught to a full day of philosophy was like sating my thirst by diving into an ocean.

To leave you, a thought from Alexander Pope:

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Limited Internet Acess

I'm up at Mercer Uniersity today and tomorrow to present a paper, so I won't be able to post properly. In the meantime, if you haven't already, go ahead and cast your vote for which book I should read from the roof of the library.

Cheers!

Monday, March 22, 2010

67 Books

I am inordinately excited to have been selected as a reader for  67 Books, a project that corresponds with National Library Week. What does being a reader mean? It means I get to stand on the roof of the library and read out-loud from whatever book I choose (within the libraries catalogue) for an hour. I'm actually surprised at how much I'm looking forward to this, though I suppose that's a natural response from someone who spent the greater part of her childhood halfway up a tree reading a book.

But now that I have been selected, a difficult task lays before me. I must choose, amongst thousands of books, the one I want to read.

The task is both daunting and terrifying, and I must admit, I find myself quailing before the challenge.

And so, dear readers, it is up to you. What book shall I read? On the right is a poll where you can vote for the book you want me to read. I have fairly represented both the Greeks and Romans and literature and philosophy. I have also included a few my favourite more modern authors.

Just in case I have overlooked some tremendously good book (and I might be opening a can of worms with this one), you can write in a vote in the comments of this post (and this post only). However, I reserve the right to ignore write-in votes if I so choose. (You can vote and post a write-in if you wish)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back on Track!

After a few weeks of sporadic (which, by the way, is pretty neat word- Amy, etymology in the comments perhaps?) blogging, I'm back on track. Which means today is... Fibre Friday!

On and off the needles:

Knitting Olympic project, "Fireseed" (my own design)- Finished


"Cute as a Nut" Acorn hat (knitted on commission; my own pattern)- Finished...

...almost.


My friend's second sock (the first was given at Christmas)- We aren't talking about it


My brothers girlfriend's hat- coming along nicely (needs a better name, though)


A secret project that needs to be done by the weekend- Just started (and no picture- it's secret).

In other news, I feel like I have recently made a big step in my growth as a knitter today. Since I graduated, I have slowly but surely grown more confident about Knitting in Public (KIP). First, I started bringing my knitting to waiting rooms. Then, I startled my parents by knitting while waiting for food at restaurants. Finally, during a rather desperate period around Christmas, I started knitting in drive-thrus, and once even in church (this wasn't so odd, though. Another person knits in church every Sunday).

But until today, I never really felt liked I'd cross that line- the line that divides those of us who meekly whisper "yes, I knit," and those who stand on table, thrust their needles in the air, and proclaim, "I AM A KNITTER!.

Today, my friends, today, I knitted in a movie theatre.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Princess Half Marathon, Part 3- In Which I Finish

This is my final post on my half marathon. Scroll down to see the first two posts, or click on the labels.

My Mom and I were lined up at the start, each of us wearing a cotton long-sleeve over our clothes to keep warm. After the National Anthem, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appeared on stage, and announced the start of the race. I made a split second decision- I had put together a nice running outfit, and that was what I was going to wear. I pulled off my long-sleeve, and with some encouragement (“N-no, it-t-t’s not-t-t that-t-t cold-d-d.”) my Mom followed suit. It turned out to be a good thing, because once we were moving and the sun came up, we warmed up pretty fast. There was a small explosion of fireworks, and we were off!

I run 3-1 intervals for my long runs (which a half marathon definitely is), which means I run for 3 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. It helps me to pace myself, and keeps me from wearing out too quickly. But the start of the race was very crowded, and it not only would have been rude, but also dangerous, to stop and walk. So my Mom and I ran nearly the whole first mile, before noticing another women doing intervals. Each time she was about to walk, she held her hand up as a warning to the runners around. My Mom and I quickly adopted this practice.

There was never a dull moment during the first half of the race. Adrenaline kept us going through the breaks in the entertainment, of which there was plenty. There was a pirate crew (complete with Captain Jack Sparrow!) leering from their ship (and wandering drunk across the race course), and the very popular “Heroes” float, filled with most of the Disney Princes. Of course, there were also plenty of Princesses.

Thankfully, not all the entertainment was Disney themed. There were high-school drumlines and bands, DJ’s, and music all along the course too. And, of course, the other runners. My Mom’s a bit of a celebrity in the running community here, and it seemed like every other person had to stop and say hi to us. Several even turned around to take our picture! (We’re still hoping to get some of them…hint, hint, if you have one).

The excitement peaked as we entered the Magic Kingdom and approached Cinderella Castle (no apostrophe- it’s named for her; it doesn’t belong to her).  There were cheering spectators, waving characters, and even the maintenance crews shouted encouragement as we ran past. It was exhilarating. My legs couldn’t even tell that they had run 6 miles, and I was grinning like a kid at, well, Disney.

But after we got through the backlot of the Magic Kingdom, which was full of characters, it all changed.

Silence. The exhaustion started to seep in, runners started to slow down, and the smattering of spectators seemed more pathetic than encouraging. I started to drag, but my Mom was their at my side, encouraging.

“How are doing?”
*gasp* “Good.” *gasp*
“Well, you look great!

With her help, I pushed through. And while the miles weren’t going by as fast as before, they did go by, and finally we turned into EPCOT.

Instantly, the exhilaration and excitement of the Magic Kingdom returned, and even though my legs felt like bricks, I was grinning.

We turned the final corner coming out of EPCOT, and there was a gospel choir- and right behind them was the finish. My Mom and I picked up our speed to our final sprint (“sprint” being used very loosely here to mean ‘as fast as I could run after having just run 13 miles’), and all of sudden, we were across the line.

We were finished. We had done it. The first race I ever got to share with my Mom was over- an incredible, unforgettable, half marathon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Princess Half Marathon, Part 2- In Which I Make it to the Start with Just Minutes to Spare

This is Part 2 of my 3-part 1/2 marathon recap. Sorry. I can get a bit verbose. Scroll down to see Part 1. Scroll further down to see pictures.



I slept a little, but it was more that pseudo-sleep where your dreams and your waking reality are mushed together rather than a real, deep sleep.  I dreamed mostly of Disney princess and running shoes- not surprisingly. I think I also might have been trying to save the world at some point, but that’s standard for dreams.

Normally, I would say that the alarm went off too soon, but I actually woke up on my own about 45 minutes early (in the middle of a dream about missing the bus to the start line). I stayed in bed for a good fifteen minutes, and read the book I had bought with me. The story took my mind off the race, and I finally felt my nerves relax.

I got up, took care of morning business, and then got into my running clothes. I’d experimented the night before the best way to pin on my homemade skirt, and now attached it again to my tights. I spent longer than usual on my ponytail, and tied some leftover yellow tulle around the holder and fashioned a headband out of the leftover fabric (hey- today, I was going to be princess).

Pulling on a pair of sweatpants and a jacket, I headed out to the bus.

Watching the runners exit the hotel and converge on the bus stop was a pretty inspiring sight. I know it sounds odd, but seeing so many women up at the crack of dawn, many meticulously dressed in cool-max and pink tutus, heading for the bus that will take them to the start of 13.1 mile experience- well, its hard not to smile, no matter how tired you are.

There were three buses lined up when I arrived, and as soon as one departed, another took its place. I boarded, and ended up sitting amongst a group of tutu-clad sisters (except for one, who, despite the protests of the others, claimed to be “not-related”). The atmosphere on the bus was one of drowsy anticipation. We were tired, but we were ready. Bring on the world- or at least the Magic Kingdom.

The bus unloaded in the EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, if you’ve ever wondered) parking lot, and with growing enthusiasm, we got off. I headed to the Information Tent, my pre-set rendezvous with my Mom and two co-workers who were doing the race. My Mom and co-worker (and training partner, until she couldn’t train with me anymore) V. were already there. I showed up, and immediately V. and I found ourselves put to work, looking up race numbers and directing runners and spectators where they needed to go. 

V. headed off to the start-line before my Mom and I (she was running solo), and my other co-worker never showed (she ran, but couldn’t find the Info tent beforehand). My Mom and I stayed and worked till nearly all the other runners were gone, then made it to the start line with just minutes to spare (really- the National Anthem started before I could even stretch my hamstring). 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Princess Half Marathon, Part 1- In Which I Almost don't Run

It was 7:00 on March 6th, the night before the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I was sitting in my parents’ hotel room, where we’d just eaten dinner. I was physically and mentally tired, having been working at the Expo all day.

I was also desperately trying to keep negative thoughts out of my head. Like my run last weekend that was supposed to be 6 miles, but ended up being 4- and ended with me in tears, and took just as long as if I’d run 6. Or my last run before the race, which should have been a fun, relaxing 3-miler. That run had started out fine, until my brain kicked in, told me I couldn’t run that fast, and suddenly my legs wouldn’t go. No. I definitely didn’t want to think about that…too late.

I’ve never been stressed before a race. Races, and the running environment, make up most of my childhood. But now I had pre-race jitters like never before.

“I can’t do it.” I threw my arms up in the air. “I just can’t. I don’t want to run anymore.”

My Mom, whom I had talked into running with me, simply shrugged. “If its not going to be fun for you, then no, you shouldn’t do it.”

I stood still for a moment, quietly evaluating myself, and trying not to cry. I had worked hard for this. I wanted this. Didn’t I? I wasn’t so sure anymore. But I shook my head, both a to reject my earlier words and, if it was possible, to shake out the feelings of self-doubt that now filled it. “No,” I said. “I’ll do it. I think.”

Just before leaving for my own room, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out of my purse angrily, just waiting for it to be a message that would pushed me over the edge. It wasn’t. It was Direct Message via Twitter. The message was from Robin, a fellow blogger I had finally met in person earlier that day. Robin had been struggling with her decision not to run after getting sick interrupted her training. But she had come to the expo, given me a safety pin with a jewelry charm on it for my bib number, and gone out to lunch with some other bloggers (I couldn’t attend because I was working). I opened the message.

“Was peer pressured into an early a.m. 13.1 walk while at dinner... Will look for you. I'm in corral C but will move back some. Have fun!”.

I confess, it took me a moment to process. An early 13.1 walk? Isn’t 13.1 a half-marathon? Oh!

Robin, even though she hadn’t been able to train like she’d planned, was going to go out there and do the race- even if she had to walk it.

I took a deep breath, and released it, trying to release my negative thoughts at the same time. How could I let this go? How could I justify not finishing what I had started? The answer was simple. I couldn’t.

I returned to my hotel room, called for a 3 a.m. wake-up call (shudder), checked that my D-tag was on my shoe, my number was on my shirt, and all my clothes were laid out for the run.

Then I got into bed and fell asleep, praying for peace about whatever the next day might bring. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Still Sick

I've been on a bit of a no blogging streak this week, and that isn't going to end today. I've had a really bad cold, and that on top of running a 1/2 marathon and keeping up with work has taken a lot out of me. So, my promise is ('cause of I post it, I have to keep it) my 1/2 marathon recap will be up before the end of the weekend, and regular blogging will resume Monday. In the meantime, the intro to a story I started, but never finished, in ninth grade.

Comet

Prologue

The man’s teeth were clenched with concentration. He stared straight ahead, eyes focused on some unknown object, ignoring the hand on his shoulder.
            “Claud, please. Let it go. We gotta get out of here.”
            The man didn’t look up. “Git away from ‘ere. I ain’t leavin’”.
            Helplessly, Nebula looked at Claud’s wife.
            “Danielle, talk to him,” he begged. “Think of Comet.”
            She looked away. Her husband wouldn’t leave, both she and Nebula knew. Claud turned from the wheel. Facing Nebula, he gave his order.
            “Go. This is yore last chance. You gotta get outta here. Save yourself.”
            Nebula knew what he had to do. He turned to Danielle. “Are you sure?” He asked. She nodded. Picking up the small child, only a few months old, he hurried to the space lock.
            He knew that Claud was right. He didn’t have much longer if he wanted to get out alive. Nebula climbed into the small spacecraft. Securing the child, he started the launch sequence. “Damn,” he muttered under his breath, “Could you go any slower?”
            The pod took off just in time for Nebula to witness the destruction of his old ship. He could see the wave of destruction, and feel it shake the small pod, but in the vacuum of space, there was no noise. The silence was almost deafening. Then the baby started to cry.   

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Too sick to blog-

Promise I'll get back on track soon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pictures

To sate, or whet, your appetite, until I have time to write up a proper post.




Saturday, March 6, 2010

Countdown

Wow! The Disney Princess Half Marathon is tomorrow. My D-tag is on my shoe, my number is on my shirt, and my skirt is ready to be pinned on.

Skirt? Oh yes. I made myself and my fellow running buddies skirts to match the Disney Princess we're running as. I'm going as Belle (the best princess, hands-down. I will defend this position if I have to). My Mom will be Sleeping Beauty, and my co-workers add another Belle and a Tiana (the newest Disney Princess). I will be posting pics as soon as I have them.

In the meantime, I'm watching what I eat and making sure I stay hydrated.

Happy running, everyone!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More like an update

As the title would imply, this more of an update than a post. The Disney Princess Half Marathon that I've been training for is this weekend, and I'm both working and running it. Consequently, I won't have time for proper posting. I plan to have a post about mt preperation for the race at some time before Sunday, but that'll be up.

So, I wish we all a good weekend!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Re-Cap

Well, looky there on the right. Is that a Knitting Olympics gold medal? Why yes, I believe it is!


(Resuming normal post)

After my trip to visit FSU and checking out the graduate program there, I was (of course) intending to regale you all with tales of my brilliance and of how I had greatly impressed the faculty. While that didn't quite happen, I can promise you that I will be unlikely to be forgotten for quite a while (more on that later).

I really did enjoy my visit. My initial impression of the faculty was that they were very nice, and all got along well. This impression was confirmed for me by the other graduate students. I was really impressed with everything I saw there, especially breadth of the faculty's specialties. Even though it was a rather small department (so I was told- at Mercer our Classics department consisted of one professor, also the sole Latin teacher), it was possible to find a professor whose area of expertise aligned with whatever one might be interested in (Etruscan mirrors? Yep, they've got that covered. More importantly, they have someone who does ancient philosophy).

On Thursday, I met with the professors and graduate students and attended a class. Afterwards, I got to go running with my little brother and take him and his girlfriend out for dinner. The plan for Friday and Saturday was to attend the Langford Conference that was being held that weekend.

Friday morning, I woke up not feeling 100%. I only managed to eat half a piece of toast for breakfast, accompanied with apologies to my host (a family friend) that there was nothing wrong with her toast, and an explanation to her daughter that half a piece of toast was not a good breakfast.

I made it through 3 paper presentations that morning, feeling consistently worse. I barely made it out of the 3rd on and to the restroom before I sick. At least I made it to the toilet. It seemed I'd gotten food poisoning from whatever I had eaten the night before. Worried about me, one of the professors insisted she drive me to my car, despite mine insisting I could walk (once I saw how pale my face was, I understood why she insisted).  I headed back to the house I was staying at, crawled into bed (well, futon) and didn't come out again until Saturday morning, when I felt much better. I made it through all of Saturday's papers, and then headed home.

In the interested of not boring, I shall end my narrative here. And also because I'm currently working on a craft of a non-knitted nature (I realize this might be slightly shocking to some of you).

So, farewell for now!