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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)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flux

Warning: This is a very discombobulated post- like my life right now

Flux is the state I'm in right now. I've signed the lease on my new apartment up at grad school (it's unfurnished, so if you have anything you want to get rid, the Emma-needs-to-furnish-her-apartment-without-going-into-debt fund is taking donations), and that signature finally drove home the fact I've been avoiding. I'm moving. Soon. Like, less than two months soon. And so I've found myself in a state of flux (and wondering if, by definition, "flux" can actually be a state of being), as I try to continue to live my Orlando life while simultaneously planning my grad school life.

On top of figuring out the logistics of my move, and attempting to figure out a budget, I've also been daily reviewing my Latin and Greek. It's amazing how much grammar and vocabulary you can forget in a year. I'm actually pretty concerned about taking the placement tests for the two languages. My vocabulary is so weak, I don't know if I'll even be able to show what grammar I know.

All of which is to say that life is crazy right now. And some things are slipping through the cracks. Like knitting group (missed you all this week!), and blogging. I'm going to try to keep to my blogging schedule, but if I don't just know it isn't you. It's me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Knitting Wisdom

Some days simply require garter stitch on size 10 needles. And Chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reading Comprehension Test on “Who was Rescued”




Name: ________________

Date:  _________________

Period: ________________


Section one:
Short Answer- please answer with 1-2 complete sentences

1. What caused the accident?


2. Why did Danielle pull over? (In her own words)


3. Which child did the mother hand to Danielle first? Why?


4. What did the mother tell Danielle to do?


5. Why did Danielle hang up on the 9-1-1 operator?



Section two:
Multiple Choice- circle one answer

1. Where was the woman and her children traveling?
a. To their Grandmother’s house b. To the beach c. To see their father

2. What was Danielle thinking about before she saw the wreck?
a. Her weekend plans b. Breaking up with her boyfriend
c. Driving off the road into a ditch

3. Why couldn’t the mother get out of the car?
a. The door was jammed shut b. There wasn’t enough time
c. Her seat-belt was stuck


4. What music did Danielle play for the children in her car?
a. Disney Sing-along   b. Classical music c. Kidz Bop


Section three:
Long response- please write a 5-6 sentence paragraph

1. Who do you think was rescued in the story? Explain why.

End

Notes: As part of tutoring a middle schooler in English, I made up a series of sentences for her to practice diagramming. I used the sentences to create a simple story about a girl deliberating about going to the grocery store or a movie. It reminded me of the time an English teacher I had in high school designed a multiple choice reading comprehension test that followed two story lines - one was the correct one, the other he made up.

The idea of attempting to tell a story in the form of a test appealed to me, and this is the result. Like the English test I once took, there are multiple directions the story can be taken in, though the overall plot remains the same. I leave it to you to decide the finer details of the story.

(And in case you're wondering, yes, I did create - but didn't write down - the story I made this "test" for. And yes, I know what the answers are for the story I originally imagined. And no, I'm not going to tell you what they are. Use your own imagination.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Reality of Procrastination

There are a lot of people who say they work best under pressure, and that's why they procrastinate. And maybe that's true and maybe it isn't. But I do know that I do most of my work under pressure because I procrastinate, and that procrastination is a viscous cycle for me.

Over the years, procrastination has become my coping method of choice. When deadlines starts looming, work starts piling up, and I start to feel overwhelmed, I deal with it by doing something else. There are certainly worst ways to cope with stress, but it still isn't very healthy.

I've honed procrastination to a fine art this past year, as I deliberately avoided working on grad school applications until they were due, put off finding an place to live until the last minute, and only tonight checked to see when my classes start. The magnitude of the change I'm facing had me so overwhelmed that whenever I thought about it, the only way I could deal with it was to quickly distract myself with something else (usually knitting and TV).

But with deadlines looming over me, I finally reached the point where the stress I was causing myself by delaying was greater than stress I was trying to avoid. So this week I finally compiled a list of potential apartments for me to move to in the fall, and made plans to go visit them. I also checked all the important dates I need to know as I get ready to plunge back into school.

And this evening, I made a huge breakthrough in regards to my procrastination problem. I've been working on reviewing all the Greek and Latin grammar that I'll need for grad school, and while looking at dates, I suddenly became overwhelmed. There wasn't enough time for me to learn everything I needed to learn.

As I started to feel overwhelmed, I found myself picking up my spindle and heading over to the TV. Then I stopped myself. I put my spindle down, and picked up my Ancient Greek book, sat down at the table, and went to work reviewing my noun cases (and rediscovered why Greek desperately needs a separate ending for ablative cases).

Because even while I was taking procrastination to new heights, I was discovering something else: It just isn't worth the stress.

So, if you'll excuse me, I now have a well earned date with my spindle and Doctor Who.

P.S. You've probably noticed I changed my blog design. Thought I'd make it match the quotation at the top :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Big 2-0-0

I realized yesterday that today would be my 200th post. I thought about what to do to make it special, and after thinking it over, and talking with my two most loyal blog readers (my grandmothers :) ) I've decided to present my top 10 favourite/most significant posts. I've summarized each one a little, so you can decided ahead of time if you want to read it :)

Comment Challenge: I know you all don't like to leave comments, but I'd be interested to know just how long you've been following my blog. Just leave the number of years, months, weeks, or days (specify which) in the comments. Thanks!

(in chronological order)

    While far from spectacular, on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, this post marked the beginning of my blog. 

    The reason I started this blog was to have a way to stay in touch with friends and family while studying in Oxford. One of the most memorable parts of my time in England was hiking the 100 mile Costwold Way (and it wasn't just memorable because it led to the discovery of my knee injury that still plagues me today)

   What most defined my time in Oxford was the friendships I forged there, and nothing forms friendships faster than falling into the river.

    Making a life overseas is hard...leaving it is harder. 

5. Blog
    The post where I decided to continue my blog, even though it would no longer serve its original purpose. And now you know the rest of the story.

    This post marked a new direction in my life. From here on out, I stopped hesitating to answer 'yes" when peopled asked if I was a runner. 

    My life has seen a lot of changes throughout my time blogging, both in where I am physically, and where I am spiritually. But as I prepared to leave college and enter who-knows-what, I made a resolution to not worry about tomorrow. Things didn't quite work out the way I'd thought they would when I wrote this post, but I still stand by what it says.

    I've moved a lot in the last several years of my life, and traveled even more. And when you bring your heart with you wherever you go, and always leave some of it behind, it can be hard to hold onto a concept of "home". 

9. 2009
    I summarized my past year but, more importantly, this is the post where I decided to blog three days a  
week.

       This poem meant a lot to me when I wrote it, and still does. 


Going back through my old posts was like seeing a flipbook of my life. It made me realize just how much I've changed - and just how much I haven't. Thank you to all of you who have joined me in my journey. I look forward to many more adventures with you. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tree Thoughts

It’s the silence that will kill you.

I could stand still for days, months, years, content to just move with the wind in my branches.

But to hear it, to hear it all – the birds, the ants, the whispers of lovers – to hear it and not be able to tell – that’s what kills me.

***

When they were younger, they would listen to me. Would wrap their warm, soft arms around my trunk and press their ears against my bark. They were listening for my breath, they said, or my heartbeat. My song.

Or laying on their back on a windy day, arms tucked under their heads, they would listen to my leaves and call out the poems they heard in them.

***
But they are older now. And no one listens to a tree.

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Knit 1/2 a Blanket in 2 Months (and keep it secret)

When my roommate from college called to say she was getting married in two months, I promptly called our other roommate with a simple question: "How long will it take you to knit half a blanket?" Of course knitting it is one thing, but keeping it secret is another. My roommate reads my blog from time to time (*waves*), which has my Twitter feed on the side. Of course, she is my friend on Facebook and, to top it off, is friend on Ravelry (think Facebook for knitters- only better).

So, should you wish to this crazy undertaking, here's how it was done.

1. Find a pattern that can be knit in pieces (i.e. that can be knit by two different people living in two different states). We used this mitered square pattern, with half the number of stitches.

2. Knit everywhere. Movies, lunch breaks at work, in the car (not while driving), everywhere. And bring your yarn everywhere too. 

3. Do not mention your project on any of your social media sites. If you happen to have a blog where you talk about your knitting once a week, come with lots of topics so no one notices that we haven't talk about what you're actually knitting for two months.

4. Keep knitting (you want this to be a blanket, not a placemat).

5. If anyone who has a social media connection to you sees you knitting, and asks what you are making, lie. Or swear them to secrecy.

6. Continue to knit (this needs to be a blanket, not a bath towel).

7. Do not let anyone with a blog capture an image of you knitting. (oops! I'm on the far left)

8. Keep knitting (grown-up blanket- not baby blanket)

9. Sew hundreds (okay-56) of squares together.

10. Meet up with your fellow knitter, sew the two halves of the blanket together, wrap, and present.

(pictures forthcoming Wednesday and Friday. Stay tuned.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Another Break

Because I have to live life to have anything worth blogging about.

Between the end of the school year for my students, and getting ready for my friend's wedding this weekend, it's unlikely I'll be posting this week.

So, here's wishing you all a wonderful week and weekend!