Movable Type 3.2
July 31, 2006
I know you won't believe me...
But Oreo Dunkers taste absolutely nothing like real Oreos. Seriously.
Isn't it naptime?
I thought I was recovering decently from the Blogathon, especially as I slept well last night. But this afternoon I have a horrible headache, and I'm exhausted. Ack. I am very very tempted to e-mail out sick from class. But it's the last meeting of this class. (Nothing to hand in or anything, though.) And the professor's really great and a good contact to have in my field, so I don't want to end on a bad note. And last week he said "Don't any of you who presented tonight think that means you don't have to come on Monday."
But falling asleep driving is no good either. I don't know what to do.
UPDATE: Headache was getting worse and worse, even with ibuprofen, so I e-mailed the professor and told him. Driving an hour, into the city, exhausted and with a piercing headache just doesn't seem safe. Neither does driving home like that at 10pm.
Happy birthday to me!
I have to work all day and go to class, and I don't get to see my family, but I'm still sort of excited about my birthday. I opened a few cards and presents this morning, and I got a nice card from my coworkers when I got here - and a cube full of streamers and balloons and a personalized birthday banner, as is customary in my department. And a friend I work with (he was a friend first, and is now a coworker) just said he's taking me out for lunch! Aww.
And why yes, a big data entry project is EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday! However did they know?
July 30, 2006
Don't die of shock...
But I actually knit a swatch this morning!
Hey, I didn't say it was a big swatch. But it was enough to confirm that I'm getting six stitches to an inch on 2.75mm. Which means that the sock I'm making is... 48 stitches. Which seems an absurdly small number. Hmm. After looking through all my sock books, I ended up deciding to use a stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks with the short row heel and toe from "Priscilla's Dream Socks" (on the IK subscriber-only site, alas). I sure you're just shocked.
During this search, I concluded that knitting books, or at least those dedicated to one item, like socks, should have an index by gauge. So that you can see all the patterns written for 6 st/in, say. Or if there even are any. Instead of, you know, flipping through the whole book. Grr.
Oh, and how I said Trekking was my favorite sock yarn? That may be changing...
Upon all of your recommendations, I forced myself to get up after about five hours of sleep. So... I'm upright. But not feeling particularly functional. Any plans of leaving the house today have been scrapped. I'm going to try to do a little housework and a load of laundry, and cook up some pasta for lunches for the week (since I'm clearly not making it to the grocery store today), but otherwise I'll just be knitting, watching TV, and hanging around online. Maybe I'll start playing with my new sock yarn. My goal is to go to sleep between nine and ten tonight.
Keep commenting on the Blogathon entries! Yay. It's making my day to see the comments trickling in. Also, it feels weird to suddenly NOT be blogging constantly, so there may be a few posts today.
Yay! Made it! Thank you all so much for your support.
The Borders gift card goes to Ivy, for commenting or e-mailing me during NINETEEN different hours of the Blogthon. Sprite and Cynthia tie for second at 15 hours each, so they'll each be getting a little something too. Please send me your addresses, you three.
And now it's time to go see if I can get some sleep...
(Note: if you still want to sponsor, you can, for about two more days.)
A bit more kidlit...
A few other favorites, with links since I don't have the energy to write about them...
Must... stay... awake...
One hour left! I can do it! I just have to make sure I don't let myself sit all the way back on the couch... Looking right at the TV isn't a very good idea, either.
All in all, I have to say that this has been easier than I expected. A lot of that is thanks to you all - there were very few intervals during which I felt like no one was awake and reading. And that made it much easier to keep going.
I've been debating how long to let myself sleep... I stopped drinking caffeine at about 5:30, so hopefully I'll be able to fall asleep right after I finish posting at nine. The problem is that I need to go to work Monday morning, so I don't want to sleep so much during the day today that I can't sleep tonight.
Questions I Can't Seem to Answer
Sprite asks: What's the first book you remember buying for yourself?
You know, I have no idea. Absolutely none. I do remember the first CD I bought, though - Midori's Encore. Or was it Live at Carnegie Hall? Ack. Apparently I don't remember. Well, I know it was one of those two - it was on my twelfth birthday, when I saw her at Tanglewood.
Liz asks: Best movie simply based on FX?
Huh. I don't know. I do like sci fi and fantasy, but I really watch for characters, not effects. So I'm having a hard time separating that out in my brain. I think the only movie I'd list in my top ten or so favorites that has many effects is Serenity.
and What was your favorite item of clothing as a child?
Hmm. I have plenty of favorites now, but I can't think of anything in particular as a child. Right now, my absolute favorite "outfit" is a purple fleecy hoodie, flannel pants with a print of cakes and ice cream and stuff (both of the above from Costco), and handknit socks.
From Carrie K: Who is your favorite (comic book/tv) superhero and why?
I... don't know. I guess I haven't watched/read enough superhero stuff. Does Violet Incredible count?
and What was the first "grown up" book you read, at what age?
No idea. It was probably something in middle school, and I'd guess it was either a mystery or non-fiction, maybe a biography of an author or composer or historical figure.
Ginny asks: What kinds of knitting are your favourites - lace, cables, intarsia, stranded - socks!?
I love lace and cables - anything with texture. I haven't done as much with color work, but I'm planning to try my first fair isle soon. As far as which objects I like to knit, socks and shawls are my favorites.
Ivy asks: What attracts you to socks?
A lot of it's probably all the fun sock yarns. Also, they're small, but feel like more of an accomplishment than a hat or something. You can use all different sorts of stitch patterns. And they're FUN! I love double-pointed needles. And thin yarn.
and What characteristics do you like best and least in a yarn?
The texture/feel is the most important. I have to like handling it. Also important are color and stitch definition (depending on what I'm making). I prefer to use natural yarns rather than synthetic, when possible. I'm sure there are other things that I'm too tired to think of at the moment.
And now a word from our sponsors...
I'd meant to do this much much earlier... oh well. I'd like to officially thank my sponsors, and link to the ones who have blogs:
Blogless (or I'm not sure whether they want their blog associated with their name):
Thanks everyone! We've hit $400! Yay!
Question 22: Endless Music
Another, because they're both so short...
Liz asks: One song on infinite repeat forever, what will it be?
Jeff Buckley's version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
Question 21: Crafty Things
From Cynthia: What other crafty things do you do?
Knitting is the only thing I do with much consistency. I have a spinning wheel that I'm hoping to use more soon, since I have more space now. I occasionally crochet, cross stitch, and stamp/scrapbook. I have dreams of quilting and sewing clothes, but haven't gotten there yet.
Question 20: All-Nighters
Sprite asks: What was the best all-nighter you ever pulled?
Quite possibly this one. But in the past... hmm. There actually haven't been that many. I've done a few at the bookstore, which are mostly fun, except for the part when you realize that you've been banging CDs into wood and metal dekeepering devices for several hours and therefore your hands probably won't stop throbbing for several days.
The most fun, though, was probably the one at the end of my sophomore year of college, when I stayed up all night proofreading the campus literary magazine. It was a mostly fun group of people, and I felt really useful, and like my incredibly nerdy copyediting skills were actually making me popular for once.
Random between-post observations
There seems to be at least one person awake in the house next door. Interesting.
And my tea kettle just almost gave me a heart attack.
And I think if I'd realized that this episode of Decoding the Past (called "Strange Behavior") was largely about cannibalism and serial killers, I'm not sure I would have chosen to watch it alone in the middle of the night like this.
Question 19: Blogathon TV
Amy W. asks: What have you watched on tv today to keep yourself entertained?
Ooh, I have to 'fess up to my guilty pleasure TV, huh?
Wife Swap (it's all Cate's fault)
Kidlit 16: A Little Princess
(Hey look! Book posts are back! Maybe not every hour, though.)
Ohhh, such a great book. (I love the Shirley Temple movie too.) Another boarding school one. Another orphan book. It's a riches-to-rags-to-riches sort of fairy tale, with human kindness substituting for magic. It's charming, but takes a real look at social issues of its time. And it even teaches about the Boer War!
I like Burnett's The Secret Garden, too, but the lesser known A Little Princess is definitely my favorite.
Pretty new yarn!
Speaking of yarn, take a look!
This arrived in the mail today, hot off the presses! Err, out of the dye vats, I guess. It's sport-weight hand dyed sock yarn from a new company called Dye-namics. They're so new that they don't have a Web site yet, but I'll post the link as soon as it's up. This yarn is absolutely gorgeous in person. Can't wait to start knitting with it. (By the way, it's designed to resemble the colors of a certain house in a certain book series we were discussing earlier...)
Question 18: Favorite Yarn
Sprite asks: What's your favorite yarn?
Ohhhhh.... how to choose? Maybe KidSilk Haze. After all, I used it for Birch, and have now started ANOTHER Birch. (To give as a gift.) And I have more for several other projects. "Yarn crack" is certainly the right term for this yarn.
But ohhh... Trekking XXL. Also with the love. This is the yarn that decorates my living room. I can't decide. Those are probably my top two, though.
(And I've just had cause to discover that KidSilk Haze's stickiness is really useful when you accidentally pull your needle out of a bunch of stitches.)
Question 17: Favorite Stuffed Animal
From Liz: What was your favorite stuffed animal as a kid?
Here he is!
Meet Daddy's Puppy. That's his name, because my mom gave him to my dad for Valentine's Day one year, before they were even married. She embroidered his ears - one says "To Dave" and the other says "I Love You." Awww.
When I was two or three, I think, I found him when my dad was going through boxes or something, and adopted him. I slept with him through at least some of college, until he got too fragile. As you can see, he's not in great shape, and he's had several "surgeries" over the years. He even has a scar on his chest that matches mine.
He's had lots of adventures, too, including a few times when he came perilously close to being LOST FOREVER. Let me tell you, those were NOT fun. For me or for my parents, I'm sure.
Question 16: Netflix Follow-up
Liz asks: How many discs in all your Netflix queues?
Ummm... 898. 498 in my movie queue, 320 in my TV show queue, and 80 in my overflow queue.
I know. It would be better if I actually watched things instead of letting some sit for ever...
Over 2/3 of the way there! Yay!
But my last visitors just left, and most of my chatting buddies are asleep. This is going to be the hard part...
Question 15: Literary Heroes
From Liz: Pick one hero in literature to marry.
Oh, hard one. Hmmmmm. My first thought is Darcy, of course. Although I'm sort of fond of Will Laurence of His Majesty's Dragon at the moment. Barney Snaith. Pretty much any Meg Cabot hero. I feel like there are others I can't think of at the moment.
I'm not so good at picking one, eh?
Question 14: Netflix
1. In Her Shoes
And at the top of my TV on DVD queue is Veronica Mars.
We had a small power cord incident, so my TiVo just did its starting up dance. I love that.
Question 13: Animals
From Jessie: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
Maybe a cat. Or a dolphin. Or... hmm. Cats are cute and cuddly. That's about my mental level at the moment.
And hey, now a word from Jessie's cats!
Meet Digory and Pawly. As you can see, they like to read. Which is good, because their mommy is a librarian.
July 29, 2006
Kidlit 15: Tuesday
Another wordless picture book! Yay! Tuesday is magical and hilarious all at once.
Yes, my book posts are getting shorter as the night progresses. I have several visitors at the moment, so I'm a bit distracted.
Kidlit 14: American Girl Collection
I love the American Girl Collection. I collected the dolls for years, and read all the books. I think the Felicity books were my favorites, but I loved them all, at least through Addy. I got a bit old for them after that, I guess. Well, old enough that people stopped buying me the dolls. Not to old to like them.
Questions 11 and 12
More questions from Liz: What's your favorite movie?
Favorite ever? That would have to be The Sound of Music. It's been my favorite for as long as I can remember - I am nothing if not loyal. Other favorites include Love, Actually, White Christmas, Pride and Prejudice (1995 and 2005), Anne of Green Gables, Serenity... oh, I could go on.
favorite tv show?
Current shows: Doctor Who, Gilmore Girls, Good Eats, Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown
Kidlit 13: Kate's Book
(Amazon had no picture of this one.)
Kate's Book is a novel about a girl and her family on the Oregon Trail in the 1840s. I read lots of books about that as a kid, but this one stands out in my mind, and not just because the heroine has my name. It's very realistic - people die, families are torn apart. But it's very engaging, and not depressing. There's a sequel, too, called Kate's House, which is almost as good.
Question 10: Alcohol
From Liz: What's your favorite alcoholic drink?
Hmm. As most of you know, I don't drink much. (I didn't drink at all until I lived with Defulct, in fact.) I think overall, I'd say my favorite is Guinness. (But not out of a bottle, of course.) Good red wine is a close second, though. Cabernet sauvignon tends to be my default choice, for some reason, and Lost Horizons is a favorite. (They don't seem to have a Web site, but you can find them here.)
Kidlit 12: Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is another of my favorite current YA writers. She's written around seven books, and they have some similarities: a smart and slightly misfitty teen heroine, family/social/school issues, and lots of personal growth. They often involve summer jobs and cute mysterious boys as well. They deal with big "issues" but are generally good at not falling into the "issue book" trap. They're all good, but This Lullaby is my favorite. The language is beautiful, the character is likable, and, well, it has the best of the cute mysterious boys.
Question 9: The Count
Question from Mom, inspired by today's bat adventures: What's the Count's full name?
Count von Count, of course!
And he even has his own Wikipedia entry! Go read it and learn about his romantic history and the ways in which he is "different from other vampires." Seriously. Also, apparently his trademark thunder and lightning have been discontinued. Sad.
Kidlit 11: Good Dog, Carl
Hmm. Maybe I'm more fond of (mostly) wordless picture books than I thought I was. This is the first of a series of books about Carl and the baby in his family. The books generally start with the parents telling Carl to take good care of the baby, and then they go off to do whatever they're doing. Then there are many pages of beautiful wordless pictures of Carol and the baby causing all sorts of havoc in whatever setting they're in. (There's a store one, and a beach one, and a Christmas one, and a few others.) But by the end of the book, when the parents come back, everything looks hunky-dory, and they end with one of the parents saying "Good dog, Carl."
The illustrations are gorgeous, Carl and the baby are both lovable, and they have some fun subtle nose-thumbing at authority.
I just went out to get the mail and met Tom the housepainter. He seems amused by the whole Blogathon concept. He says hello to everyone, and to tell you that he does good work and has very reasonable rates. The work certainly looks good to me, but I don't know what the rates are, since my landlord is paying.
I thought I had prepared pretty well - I got a bunch of snacky foods to eat during the event. Some of them were my normal snacks; some were treats I don't get much because of expense or lack of healthiness. Of course, now it seems that I don't actually want them much. I'm craving other things, because I don't have them.
Foods I Have Been Craving Today
Also, I've decided that Lauren's house would be the perfect Blogathoning location, because she has a wonderful 24-hour deli. And it's close enough to get there and back in half an hour.
And I've just determined that I really really need to clean out my fridge. Eesh. And I couldn't find the salad dressing I wanted to put on my baby carrots...
Kidlit 10: Babysitter's Club
Ah, the Baby-sitter's Club. I know, I know. But I loved these books. Actually, this is a good example of what I was saying below about Harry Potter. I was reading these books at the same time as I was reading L.M. Montgomery, and I certainly don't think they harmed me. We don't know yet whether J.K. Rowling is in the same class as Montgomery or as the Baby-sitter's Club, but I'm not sure it matters. Anyway. A lot has been written about the pros and cons of series novels for kids. I tend to believe that they're good for getting children used to the structure of novels, and that their familiarity helps kids feel like they are in charge of something in their lives.
I read lots of series as a kid (more may be showing up here later), but Baby-sitter's Club was one of my favorites. I think one of the reasons they're good is that there are several different main characters, so there's someone for everyone to relate to. And, you know, I've reread a few in recent years, and they actually hold up pretty well.
Question 8: More Knitting
Ivy asks: What are you knitting now?
Er, tons of stuff, like always. I think I'll post WIP pictures one at a time, in case I need them for padding later.
Here's what I've been knitting on and off the past few hours while blogging. It's a cotton baby blanket, almost half done!
Incidentally, the color is more true-to-life in this picture than in previous pictures I've posted of this project.
Kidlit 9: Ballet Shoes
Another that makes me squeal with glee and scare any customers who happen to pick it up while I'm working at the bookstore. Noel Streatfeild was a British writer who wrote a whole series of "shoes" books. Each one featured a family of chidren who were involved in one of the performing arts: Dancing Shoes, Skating Shoes, Circus Shoes, Theatre Shoes, etc. They're all good, but Ballet Shoes are my favorite. It involves an eccentric rich British guy who collected orphaned babies along with other artifacts of his travels and sends them home to be raised by his niece and her household of eccentric boarders. (Yeah, there's a lot of eccentricity floating around in these books.) He goes missing, and therefore their source of funds is cut off, so the three girls go to a dancing-based school in hopes of being able to support themselves as child performers. The oldest has success as an actress, and the youngest is a dancing prodigy, but the middle girl actually wants to be a pilot or mechanic. It's a quirky book, but very, very good.
Thanks, Micaela! (And Ryan! via reddit)
Question 7: Harry Potter
Maryellen asks: Do you like Harry Potter?
Short Answer: Yes! So much fun.
Long Answer: I suspect that anyone in the library world (or education world) has heard a lot about the various controversies associated with these books. My quick takes on the big two:
The magic/censorship issue: I totally respect a parent's right to determine what his child is or isn't allowed to read when. I do not, however, think a parent has a right to influence what someone else's child is allowed to access, and therefore what is in the library. End of story.
The "But now kids aren't reading good books!" issue: 1. Says who? I don't think we'll have any idea which current novels are "good" until at least a hundred years from now. Just because people like it doesn't mean it's bad. And 2. At least they're reading! I firmly believe that reading anything is better than reading nothing, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading for entertainment.
Kidlit 8: The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Witch of Blackbird Pond is one of those books that makes me all incoherent with affection when I try to describe how wonderful it is. Briefly, it's the story of a British girl, raised in Barbados by her rich grandfather, who is sent to live with her uncle and his family in Puritan Connecticut after her grandfather's death. She's in for some culture shock, to say the least, and she and her new family have to work hard and learn a lot in order to get along. And then she gets mixed up in a witch hunt...
This book has it all: a historical setting, adventure, internal growth, a strong female lead character, romance... sigh. I think I need to reread it. Again.
Question 6: Childhood Vacations
Maryellen asks: Where's your favorite childhood vacation spot?
I went on some cool vacations as a kid - to California a few times, to London when I was eight, to Nicaragua when I was thirteen. But when I hear "childhood vacation spot" I think of a place you've been many times, a place iconic of childhood vacations. And for me, that would be visiting my grandparents in Florida. When I was little, I think we went there every winter, more or less. My favorite memories of these trips:
The surprise bags of new toys and books my mom would pack for the plane
Kidlit 7: L.M. Montgomery
If you held a gun to my head and made me pick, I'd have to say that L.M. Montgomery is my all-time favorite children's author. I don't know what it is about her, exactly - her language? Her vivid characters? The world she evokes? Probably all of the above. She's best known for the Anne of Green Gables series, but she wrote a few dozen novels and hundreds of short stories. The Emily series and The Blue Castle are other favorites of mine. Interestingly, even though I'm pretty sure I own all her novels, there are a few I haven't read yet. I think I like knowing that there are more to come. And I think I'm trying to wait for the perfect time to read them, which makes it kind of difficult.
LMM also holds a special place in my heart because the very first e-mail list I got involved in, almost ten years ago now, was devoted to her. That list has changed a lot over the years, but I'm still on it, even though I don't participate much. And I keep in touch with several friends made through that group.
I've been reading and rereading these books since I was eight or so, and it's hard to define the effect they've had on me, as they're so intertwined with my life. I know they have contributed to the value I place on things like family and home, as well as learning and pursuing dreams. And every time I read them, I find something new.
Or, rather, lack of an update. It still has not been located. Anyone have any tips to pass along to my parents?
Question 5: Knitting
Cynthia asks: When did you learn how to knit? Who taught you?
I first learned to knit when I was four: my babysitter, a wonderful grandmotherly Scottish woman named Katherine, taught me. I haven't been knitting consistently since then, though. I picked it up on and off over the years - I remember a knitting club at school in fourth grade, and a scarf I was working on in middle school or so. I relearned as a freshman in college, with the help of friends, and have been addicted ever since!
That's all the questions I've gotten so far. Keep asking!
I suddenly seem to be yawning, and I'm only 1/4 of the way through.
Time for some sort of distraction, I think...
Kidlit 6: Madeline
In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines,/ lived twelve little girls in two straight lines...
I could go on, but I suppose there's no reason to torture you like that.
I have most of that book memorized. (My mom probably does too.) I loved the Madeline books when I was little. I had a Madeline doll, and I was Madeline for Halloween one year. I still have the hat somewhere. And this was in the '80s, before Madeline was all hip and had a TV show and all. I liked Madeline before it was cool.
What do we think of the Bad Hat, though? I can't be the only one who always found him oddly alluring. Is he an early childhood version of the whole attractive "bad boy" concept in literature and pop culture?
Questions 2, 3, and 4
From Maryellen: "Have you read any good books lately?"
I have, in fact! There are several that I'm planning to blog about for the SRP later in the day, so for now I'll just give you a peek at a few good ones I'm currently reading:
From the same source: When you grow up what do you want to be?
Hey, good question! Let me know if you find out! No, seriously, let's see. Next May, I'll be qualified to be a librarian. But I'm also thinking of going back to school again for a Ph.D. in English literature and becoming an academic. So we'll see...
And Do you wear cool boots like Erica?
Kidlit 5: Bad Kitty
Bad Kitty is Michele Jaffe's first young adult novel. (She's written some adult books, but I haven't read them yet.) It's sort of a chick lit mystery, I guess. It's totally fluffy and far-fetched, but tons of fun. I love her writing style.
Even better, though, is Jaffe's advice blog. She's qualified - I think she's been a counselor and sex ed instructor, among other things. And she gives advice that is both hilarious and spot on. It's mostly aimed at teen girls, but she occasionally posts questions from older women as well. (None from men that I've seen, but I tend to attribute that to the audience her sparkly pink and black book attracts.)
Batty batty bat
My mother just called and told me that she hasn't been commenting because there's a bat in the house! Eek! My dad and brother are trying to find it, but it's being elusive. So please think happy bat-free thoughts for my family!
To start off our cute picture series...
My own cute kitten needs to be first, of course.
Also, thanks to Jen and Bill for my first surprise visit of the day!
Kidlit 4: The Chalet School
The Chalet School is one of my favorite British children's series. It's sort of Heidi meets the traditional British school story. The series started in the 1920s; it's about a young British woman who starts a boarding school in... Austria? I think? Somewhere German-speaking. Anyway, they're tons of fun in that old-fashioned British way. Unfortunately, they're not very available in the States - I should just break down and start ordering them online. The School at the Chalet, pictured above, is the first of the series; there are almost sixty in all.
Question 1: School
From Ivy: "What is your major and what was your paper on? I've been curious and figured this was a good time to ask."
(Maryellen asked something similar.)
I'm currently working on my MLS (Master of Library Science). This is the degree that qualifies you to be a professional librarian. I've been going part time since fall 2004 and will be graduating next May. Yay!
My class this semester is called Literature of the Humanities, and it's focused on learning how to help humanities scholars do their research. My term paper assignment was to pick a figure in the humanities, write a brief overview of their life, work, and importance, and compile several bibliographies - their works, the 15 most important things written about them, everything important written about them in the past five years, etc. It was a pretty huge and wide-ranging assignment, which made it stressful, but I ended up really enjoying it and I think I did a good job. Oh, and the person I wrote about was Mary Wollstonecraft. (Not Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.) Fascinating woman.
I know some of the book entries are showing the wrong book sometimes. I have no idea why. If you click on the permalink to see the individual post, the right book should show up.
Kidlit 3: Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot is one of my favorite authors writing today. She writes for both teens and adults (in addition to a great blog). I've loved every book of hers that I've read so far, although Avalon High, pictured above, is my favorite. It's about a teen girl, the daughter of medievalists, who starts attending a new high school and gets mixed up in a contemporary Arthurian saga. SO much fun!
Cabot is perhaps best known for her Princess Diaries series, and she has several other young adult series and standalones as well - I'm currently reading her new YA book, How to Be Popular. Her adult books are fun as well. She writes in many different genres, but has a very distinctive voice throughout. Her books are fluffy, but not TOO fluffy - there's definite substance there as well.
My new (empty) bedroom
I'm not sure whether I mentioned that I'm switching bedrooms. I've been sleeping on a futon for the past few years, which is doable but not comfortable, so when Defulct decided not to move his bed to North Carolina, I bought it from him. I liked his bedroom better anyway, so instead of moving his bed, I'm just moving into his old room.
And so far, everything I've moved is what you see in the picture. Bed, table, lamp, alarm clark, book, teddy bear. (Oh, and a fan that you can't see.) And you know what? I really really like it. I'll probably add a few things - a real nightstand instead of a folding table, a dresser so I can have my clothes in there, maybe a small bookcase and a chair. But I really like the minimalist look. And how uncluttered it is. So I have hope that I might actually be able to keep it that way. (Yes, I know that all of you who have ever seen any of my other bedrooms are laughing at me right now.) But maybe I can do it! With the extra space I have now, I can keep all my yarn and other craft stuff in a separate room, so that will help a lot.
I do know that I've been sleeping SO much better in there. Part is the real bed, of course, but I'm sure part is how calm and relaxing it is.
Kidlit 2: Kitten's First Full Moon
Kitten's First Full Moon is another of my favorite recent picture books. It tells the story of a young kitten who sees a big bowl of milk! In the sky! So she goes to try to find it and has all sorts of adventures, but ends up back home with her family and her real bowl of milk.
I love cats, but I tend to not like a lot of cat portrayals in popular art - they're too cutesy or cartoony. But this one wasn't. The lines of the drawings are simple but effective. Very nicely done. One caution: those of you with impressionable young kittens might want to be aware that the kitten in this book participates in some questionable activities, such as going outside alone and drinking milk. So you might want to be prepared to discuss these controversial issues if you decide to read this book to your cat.
I've just realized that my new coffee-making device is seemingly not compatible with any of my coffee-drinking devices. When I read "compatible with any thermos or carafe" on the label, I somehow decided that it would have to work with at least one of my travel mugs, if not a regular mug. But no, they're all too wide. So... no coffee for me! Ack!
Thank goodness for my PG Tips...
There is suddenly a housepainter RIGHT outside my living room window. Boy, that was startling. He is also speaking with some sort of accent. I mean, not a real accent. A theatrical one, sort of similar to the ones people tend to use at Ren fairs. Huh.
Um, where was I?
Oh, clothes! I gave a lot of thought this morning to proper Blogathoning clothes. If I hadn't invited people over, I'd probably just wear pajamas - honestly, I tend to put on pajamas as soon as I get home from work. I love pajamas. But! There are people coming over, so that didn't seem quite right, at least for during the day. (Midnight visitors should totally be expecting pajamas.) But I didn't want to wear real clothes when I'm just going to be hanging around all day. Might as well be comfortable. So last night I picked up some "lounge pants" at Costco. So comfy! They're pajama-like but "real" enough to get away with. And I'm wearing a cotton tank top, no bra, because if I'm going to be awake for 24 hours in my own house I refuse to wear a bra. So there.
Kidlit 1: The Flower Man
(General note on book posts - sorry about the "buy from Amazon" thing. It's just an easy way to get pictures of book covers.)
How about a simple but great picture book to get us started? The Flower Man is a beautiful wordless picture book that Vickie and I discovered at the store one morning. The Flower Man himself moves into a new village, in black and white, fixes up his house - now in color! - and begins selling flowers. Each person who buys a flower becomes colorized, and then their houses, and the people they give flowers to, etc. Eventually the whole village is in glorious color! And the Flower Man packs up and moves to a new black-and-white village to continue his work.
It's a neat concept, and the art is incredible. Everyone from toddlers to adults can get something out of it, and it's a great discussion prompter for any level.
So I managed to get up and showered and dressed before nine. Yay! I even feel like I slept well last night, which is not something that's been happening much recently.
So! Here we are. How can you participate, you ask?
1. Talk to me! Leave comments, e-mail, IM (e-mail for the screen name; I'll be on Trillian [and therefore AIM and Yahoo] and Gmail/Google Chat all day), call, stop by, whatever. As I mentioned, the person who contacts me during the most number of hours of the Blogathon gets a Borders gift card! (For those of you on e-mail lists with me, list posts only count toward this if you put my name in the subject line and say something like "To keep Kat amused during the Blogathon..." Otherwise I just wouldn't be able to keep up.)
2. Ask me questions! Personal questions! Opinion questions! Research questions! Whatever!
3. Send me cute pictures! E-mail me a picture of your pet/child/other cute item and permission to post, and I'll put it up to help keep us all interested.
4. Oh yeah, and you can still donate, of course, throughout the event and for a day or two after.
Okay, I'm off to make my special Blogathon breakfast of
Time for the Blogathon!
(Better post in a sec, I just wanted to post something exactly at nine.)
July 28, 2006
You know what I don't have?
A bottle opener.
Okay, backing up a bit. Tonight I made the first of what will probably be several trips to places like Target and Costco to replace items that my roommate had contributed to the household, and that have now therefore gone with him to North Carolina. Tonight's shopping trip was pretty successful - I now have drinking glasses, a colander, a cutting board, and a way to make coffee. But when I got home, I realized that I don't have a bottle opener, so my Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat will have to wait for another evening. This means that I also don't have a corkscrew, since that was attached to the bottle opener. Also, I have the coffee maker, but no coffee grinder. Hmm. I need to just start a list - I'm sure I'll be coming across a lot of these things in the next few weeks.
I do, however, have two birthday cards on my refrigerator, and that makes me happy.
July 27, 2006
Danica Patrick is going to Andretti Green! I am very excited about this. When I first started watching CART a few years ago, Michael Andretti was my favorite driver, although at the moment I can't really remember why. Dario Franchitti quickly joined him in my affections, perhaps mostly because he's Scottish (no really) and cute. And I've liked Danica from the beginning, admittedly partially just because I like the idea of women being successful in the sport. So now Michael owns an IRL team that includes his son Marco (a new favorite), Dario... and soon Danica! Whee!
Interesting thread on Danica's "Strong enough for a girly girl" Secret deodorant ads here. The basic debate is over whether she should play up her "girly-girl"ness and sponsor things like beauty products. My comments from over there, slightly edited:
I've watched most of Patrick's IRL races, and my impression is that what she wants above all, like any driver, is to win races. From interviews, my impression is that she is aware of the fact that in some situations, she can use her looks/feminity/etc. to her advantage, and she is willing to do this - partially to counteract the inherent disadvantage of being female in such a male-dominated sport.
Postmodern Scriptural Analysis of Winnie-the-Pooh
Check definitions? Play podcasts? Why choose?
I'm so nerdily thrilled with this: a dictionary AND mp3 player, all in one!
July 26, 2006
Thanks for all the presentation good wishes! It's done! I think it went well. It sparked some discussion, and the professor and a few classmates complimented me afterward.
And this means my work for the semester is done! I have to go to class Monday night, but don't have to do any prep work or anything. Yay!
Wheeeee random Wednesday!
1. The paper is DONE! And the PowerPoint presentation is made. Now I just have to, um, present it. Scared. But in less than 3.5 hours, it will be over. Think happy presenting thoughts for me.
2. Car is back from VIP and healthy for the time being. My last bill was for $0.03. Seriously. And my mechanic gave me a nickel to pay it. And didn't charge me for a $40 part, because I'm
3. Ugh with the drama. Can we stop now? (Not you. Well, unless it's you. But you'd know if it was.)
4. But really, you cannot imagine the lack of stress I'm feeling because of #1. And it will be even better once I present.
5. Except that my roommate is moving to North Carolina. TOMORROW. I am happy for him, and mostly happy about living alone, but still sad that such a good friend will be so far away.
Umm... too scared about the presentation to come up with anything else at the moment, apparently.
July 25, 2006
The Blogathon is coming, the Blogathon is coming! It's going to be this coming Saturday to Sunday, starting July 29 at 9 am EST. Thanks to Carrie, Sara, Ali, Chris and Chaos, and several blogless friends and relatives, I've raised $200 for Reach Out and Read so far. (Yes, the sidebar needs to be updated, and no, the correct total isn't showing up on the Blogathon site, because I'll be doing a lump donation at the end of the cash and checks I've been given). Can we get to $250? It's not too late! Click here if you can help. If ten of you each gave $5, we'd be at $250!
So what will be happening during the Blogathon, you ask? Well! Let's see...
Things I Promise Will Happen
2. To tie into the Reach Out and Read theme, once per hour I will post about a favorite children's book or author.
3. I will also finish my first sweater. Seriously. I've been knitting for a long time, and blogging about knitting for four years, and I've never actually finished a sweater. But I have the Mason-Dixon baby kimono almost done, and I'll be sewing it up, with lots of pictures and fanfare, during the Blogathon.
4. SRP progress update. I know I've been slacking on this. Sorry. The progress page will be fully updated.
5. Answering your questions! Is there something you want to know about me? Ask and I may well answer during the Blogathon! It can be trivial or fun or deep... whatever you want. Do you want to know my favorite type of ice cream or the song most likely to make me cry? Or do you wonder about my opinion on some vital issue of wool or politics? Ask away. I'm not promising to answer everything, since this is a very public site, but let's just say that the later it gets, the more likely I'll be to answer your questions.
6. Prizes and surprises! Make sure you stop by during the Blogathon to see what exciting stuff I've come up with to entertain you and myself. One thing I can tell you about now: whoever contacts me during the most number of hours during the Blogathon will get a $10 Borders gift card. This can be comments, IMs (e-mail for my screen name), e-mails, phone calls if you happen to have my number, whatever. (And yes, those of you planning to visit in person, that counts too.) To make this as fair as possible: comments count toward the hour when you commented, not the hour when the post was posted. So if you comment on nine posts from different hours all at once, it only counts once. But if you IM during nine different hours, it counts nine times. And only one point per hour, even if you comment and e-mail, say. The idea is that you're helping keep me awake and un-bored during the 24 hour span.
Things I Hope to Accomplish During the Blogathon (but eh, we'll see...)
1. Watch at least the two Netflix discs I've had sitting around for months (Crash and the third disc of Into the West)
2. Clear out a bunch of space on Teddy TiVo
3. Housework and laundry
4. Catch up on my SRP reviews
5. Finish reading a book or two
6. Read last Sunday's Times and make a decent dent in my stack of unread magazines
7. Finish a few knitting projects
Things That Are Not in the Plan (but will probably happen anyway)
1. Much less productivity than intended
2. Lots of mindless web surfing and ogling of Rowan patterns (my current obsession - more on that later)
3. Too much caffeine
4. Late-night maudlin ramblings
5. At least one freakout about living alone and/or my academic/professional future and/or my romantic life (or lack thereof) and/or my upcoming birthday
Exciting news for kindred spirits!
Okay, maybe no one but Rachel and Courtney will get excited about this, but! There is going to be a Norton Critical Edition of Anne of Green Gables!!!!! It's being released right around LMM's birthday, too.
Also, according to Netflix, the 1975 BBC Anne of Avonlea is being released on DVD in September!
July 24, 2006
Have you always meant to read Jane Eyre but never quite managed to do so? Or maybe you've tried but not made it the whole way through. Or maybe it's your favorite book and you want to read it again. In any case, if you want to read and discuss Jane Eyre this summer, mosey on over to the new Jane Eyre-along and join us!
We'll be reading and discussing the book - rough schedule TBA, but don't worry if you get ahead or fall behind. Our goal is to finish the book! We may also have some digressions into movie versions, other works of the Brontes, The Eyre Affair, and other related works. It'll be fun, in that angsty Gothic way!
(E-mail for an invitation.)
Monday is for Happy Things
* I'm actually in a shockingly good mood this morning.
* The paper is coming along! It's actually almost done! Where it is: Part 1: 10% (but more of it written in my head; this is the 4-page introduction), Part 2: 100%, Part 3: 85%, Part 4: 99%, Part 5: 75%. Yay. I'm hoping to get all those numbers to 100% tonight. Then I just have to make a few PowerPoint slides tomorrow night and I'm set.
* I'm not sick of my topic. I'm planning to read more about it after I finish the paper, even. (The assignment focuses on locating sources, rather than actually reading them all.)
* I got a lot of knitting done over the weekend, too. The Mason-Dixon kimono is almost done, and I think it will be cute, even though my roommate called it "very Picasso" at one point and asked if it was for an alien baby.
* I actually got to bed at a reasonable hour last night, and therefore managed to get up at a reasonable hour, and had dropped off my car with the car people and was at my desk by eight.
* To discover that the application we do all our work in is down. Nice relaxing way to start a Monday. So I just reordered my Netflix queue, and I've been catching up with e-mail and Bloglines.
* There's a bit of a break in the heat. It's still hot, but not unbearably so; there's a nice breeze and it's cooling off at night. Hallelujah. Yesterday I was inside working on the paper all day and I didn't even have to turn on a fan. Of course, this means I've convinced myself that it's "almost fall." Shush. Let me enjoy my delusion.
* Cherry chocolate chip ice cream. I don't normally like cherry-flavored stuff much, but this stuff is YUM. No, I haven't tried Cherry Garcia yet. Yes, I'm planning to.
* My birthday is a week from today!!!
July 23, 2006
Holy freaking cable, Batman!
1. Gray's Anatomy. I love me some cables, and gray, actually, but I'm not so sure about these. Nos. 1, 3, and 4 might have some potential, if I could actually see the whole sweater. 5: Not big on the uneven sides thing. 6: Can't really tell what it is, but it's looking like it's cutting off her circulation.
And #2, of course, is the source of this post's title. qw21? Actually, the cabling the cables together thing looks like it might be fun. But please, PLEASE do not let me knit this or, God forbid, wear it. It could not possible look good on, I don't know, anyone, actually.
2. Modern English. #1: Cute! Love it! Wow, I'm shocked! #2 and 3: Okay, I guess. Not my style.
3. Hobo Chic. Enh. I actually feel like all three might have some vague potential, but I can't really see enough of them in the artistic photography/odd poses to tell.
4. Socks! We love socks! Nos. 1 and 3: Eeesh! Interesting, but I'm not sure. I tend to be skeptical of how designs like those will work on those of use who don't have calves like twigs. #5: Adorable, but same concern as above. #2: Maybe! It looks a lot like Potamotawhatever. I hear a rumor it's the same designer, but have not been able to confirm this. #4: Once you get past the colors, cute! I might want to try these in white, actually. They remind me of lace socks I used to have as a child. #6: Fun! Definitely want to try these.
Overall: Not as exciting as the Interweave preview, but then, I wouldn't expect it to be. Enough interesting stuff that I'll probably buy it.
And heck, a few random paper thoughts while we're at it:
July 22, 2006
Is it wrong that I'm knitting a shockingly pink baby sweater, of all things, while researching Mary Wollstonecraft?
By the way, if you ever decide to leave your honey bottle upside down so the honey settles near the opening, you might want to make sure that the bottle is actually closed. Tightly. Someone in my house neglected to do this. (Honestly, I have no idea which of us it was. So I'm certainly not trying to assign blame.) Incidentally, I'm also amused that the Honey Leak of Aught-Six meant that I also had to take a break from Wollstonecraft to clean the kitchen.
I have some thoughts about Wollstonecraft, as is probably clear, but I'm not sure I should start writing them here right now. Since, you know, I'm supposed to be writing a paper. But at the moment, I'm fascinated by the fact that even some of her biographers - even Janet Todd, who seems to have spent a great amount of her professional life researching Wollstonecraft - don't seem to like her much. Apparently she's too whiny and emotional and... feminine. Hmm.
July 21, 2006
Isn't it supposed to be cold out?
We all know by now that I'm a total nerd. So I'm sure it won't really shock you to hear that the idea of spending basically a whole weekend working on a research project, as I am this weekend, actually sounds sort of appealing. (Which is good, since I'm considering another degree...) But doing so this weekend wasn't seeming as attractive as I'd expected, and I couldn't figure out why. Then it finally hit me. It's too freaking hot out.
Yes, I know, I've been going on about this. And it is no where near as hot now as it has been for much of the past few weeks. But still. It's this darn summer semester concept. This is not when I'm supposed to be working on a project like this. It's just not natural.
First of all, when writing a term paper, I should be wearing jeans or flannel pants and a sweater and big thick socks, not just an oversized t-shirt because anything else is too hot. I should be drinking lots of tea, not cold lemonade. There should be an afghan involved, not a fan. It should be cool in the room, not barely cool enough to function. Maybe I should even be wearing fingerless mittens while I type. My knitting-while-writing project should be wooly and comforting, not cotton. Bah.
I'm trying to be enthusiastic about the project anyway, but it's hard. I'm just not in academic mode this time of year.
July 20, 2006
Apparently I never learn.
I forgot to put my name on my Lean Cuisine this morning. It's gone.
My poor little Car is sick. Today he's getting new exhaust stuff ($310), and new struts today or tomorrow ($570), in order to pass inspection this month. Within the next few months he needs a new timing belt with water pump ($521) and various important maintenance stuff I've been putting off ($569). Eesh. Won't be buying much yarn for a while...
July 19, 2006
That wasn't quite the plan.
The T seemed to be having another existential crisis tonight. Which meant that it took twice as long as usual to get to class. Which meant no Au Bon Pain for me. But a very sweet classmate insisted I take half her sandwich - from Whole Foods! Exciting! (I guess she usually has half for lunch and half for dinner, but she had a lunch appointment today, so ended up with an extra half.) I'll have to go try their sandwiches myself sometime, because even without its main ingredient (ham, which I don't like, so my classmate put it all on her half), this sandwich was GREAT.
There was... something else I was going to say. But it has entirely left my brain, apparently. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.
I guess it's Wednesday.
My cousin and I had the "Is it Tuesday?" "Um, I think so." conversation several times yesterday, so I guess that means today is Wednesday. So. Randoms. Of course, I had several planned out earlier today, but now I can't remember what any of them were... hmm...
3. And, on a lighter note, "91 New Reality Shows You Need to Know About."
4. Yes, the preponderance of linkage means that I'm still horribly stressed about everything and trying to ignore it.
5. But I found myself smiling earlier today without really thinking about it. I'm taking that as a good sign. Or a sign that I'm in complete denial.
6. Have you seen Oreo Dippers? (Apparently they're really new, because I can't find a picture online.) They're Oreos but in a more oval shape, like Cameos or something, so they're easier to dip. It's an intriguing idea, but it might mess up the perfect Oreo ratio. So I'm not sure whether I approve. I did have to buy some, of course, so I'll let you know how it goes.
7. I think I'm going to stop at Au Bon Pain on the way to class to pick up dinner, because I'm really tired of granola bars. And Au Bon Pain always makes me think of Lauren. Even though I guess I've never actually gone there with her. Heh.
8. Training a new person at work. Ack.
9. Paper paper paper paper paper
July 18, 2006
Please send snow.
You know how hot it is? It's so hot that...
... you take a shower and feel almost human for a minute, and then you get dressed and by the time you're brushing your teeth you realize that you're already drenched in sweat again.
Best conversation of the day
K: Espresso shouldn't be served to people who ask for "expresso."
July 17, 2006
You have got to be kidding me.
You know what will REALLY help me calm down and relax and sleep and all that? The fact that an alarm outside my bedroom door is chirping (some sort of low battery thing, I assume). Loudly. Every. Thirty. Seconds.
Positive? I'll try...
Today has not been a great day. But there must be something.
* Had a great time in Noho yesterday with Cate and family, and then with library buddies.
* Taking tomorrow afternoon off to go to the MFA with my cousin.
* Class tonight, which at least means air conditioning.
* New knitting projects going well, when I have time to work on them.
* My car is not as broken as I'd feared. I don't think.
And that's... all I've got. Good thoughts about the car and the term paper and the transition to living alone would all be much appreciated. Oh, and maybe that whole sleeping thing. I'd like to try that again sometime.
While I was sleeping, the magic upgrade fairy (also known as Becky, my lovely hostess) upgraded me to a new version of Movable Type! Hurrah! I'm still figuring out how it all works, so if things seem wonky, bear with me, and leave a comment so I know something's wrong.
Speaking of comments: this new version will make it much easier to prevent and deal with spam. Yay! As an experiment, I'm trying to make it so that if you sign in with TypeKey (a free account), your comment posts immediately. If you don't want to do that, you can still comment, it just won't post immediately - it will wait for me to review it so I can weed out the spam. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this or any trouble commenting.
Also coming soon: a gallery and message boards. What forums would you like to see available?
July 16, 2006
Not enough hours in the day
I'm sorry, I know you're all going to get really bored of this. But aaaaaah! This morning I am supposedly:
1. Working on my paper (Slow. As. Molasses.)
All in the next... two hours? Yeah.
July 15, 2006
N.B.: If you're planning to be a famous writer, and also planning to encourage your child to do the same, please do not give your child the same name as you are using. And, please God, if you are said child/writer, please do not marry an even more famous writer and then edit all his books, so that your name is attached to his MARC records. Three hundred years later, a grad student trying to search the British Library catalogue will thank you.
Which is to say that the term paper is being rather frustrating so far.
July 14, 2006
SRP Book 6: Gunslinger Girl Volume 1
I finished my ninth book this morning, so I should really get caught up on reviews...
Gunslinger Girl Volume 1 by Yu Aida (186 pages)
A friend told me to read this, and his description of the whole "government program to turn little girls into weapons" thing sounded sort of like Serenity, so I figured I'd give it a try. I don't read much manga, so this provided an interesting challenge. Or, rather, two challenges. One was specific to manga: just getting used to reading the columns from right to left. The other goes for all graphic novels. I'm a very verbal person - even when people talk to me, my brain translates what they say into written words that I then "read" - so I had to keep reminding myself that The Pictures Are Important. Look At The Pictures. I think it was a good exercise, though, and the concept/plot of this one was interesting enough to make me want to read the next one.
July 13, 2006
What's wrong with "literary"?
So I belong to a big discussion group devoted to mystery novels. Usually, I enjoy the discussions and get some good book recommendations from the reviews posted. But this time, there's a "discussion" that's bugging me enough to write about it.
I don't even remember how it started - maybe a discussion of the distinction between "mystery" and "literary thriller"? Probably something like that. Anyway, this became a discussion of what makes a book "literary," which is sometimes seen as the opposite of "genre." Now, I work in a bookstore; I understand that these sorts of labels often have at least as much to do with marketing than anything else. But I still don't think the term "literary" is meaningless.
A few people suggested reasonable definitions of "literary." But the majority said something along the lines of "badly written" or "incomprehensible" or "nothing happens." Some of the responses were even more extreme. Sure, some literary fiction is badly written, but that's true in any genre, and this went beyond that. This was saying that all literary fiction was bad, and perhaps that it was trying to be genre fiction and failing. Which seems absurd. What's going on?
Now, the people who said this were primarily self-identified mystery readers and/or writers. Is this just some kind of reverse snobbery? Genre fiction is sometimes looked down on as not "real fiction." So genre people say all literary fiction is bad? Hmm. That's part of it, I'm sure. But that doesn't seem to be enough to explain it.
Two other "definitions" struck me. At least one person (and these are all paraphrases, by the way; I'm not trying to quote anyone in particular) said that literary fiction is "about people you don't like," and someone else said it's "those books you have to read in school that no one gets anything out of because no one can relate to the characters." Hmm. First of all, I'd totally disagree with this, honestly; maybe this person felt he couldn't relate to the characters, but many people (myself included) have related to and gotten lots out of many "classics." Would this person insist that we're lying in order to sound intellectual? I'm not sure.
But I also wonder whether this is related to the explosion of "hobby/lifestyle mysteries." There are cat mysteries, dog mysteries, knitting mysteries, cooking mysteries, ice skating mysteries, antiques mysteries. There are mysteries for wine lovers and soap opera watchers and tea drinkers. And these series are often labeled right on the cover. More and more often, they are series that are deliberately crafted to BE "a needlework mystery," say, rather than having a character who is into needlework as genuine aspect of her personality. The idea, of course, is that people who are into the "concept" will buy the mysteries.
Is this spoiling us? In these series, the character is being written to relate to the reader, so the reader doesn't have to work very hard to relate to the character. Is this why literary fiction is "bad"? Because it (theoretically) depicts characters that are crafted for their own sake, rather than being designed for a very specific demographic? Do we only want to read about people who are Just Like Us? It seems like that would be very, very bad, both for literature and for society as a whole.
I've long used the concept of comfort foods, and comfort books and movies, and even comfort knitting, but I'd never really thought about comfort music before. I'm not sure why - it seems that in some ways it would be even more useful, since music can easily accompany other tasks. But anyway. As I turned on Aurelia iPod at the office this morning, I found myself scrolling her contents, unsure of the right music to help me stay calm and sane. And then I found myself starting Anything Goes, and I realized it wasn't just because Cole Porter is a god. (Although he is.) It was because this is the album that I remember always being in the cassette player in my mom's car when I was in elementary school. (I'm sure it wasn't always, but that's how I remember it.) I've known all the words to all the songs for far longer than I've known what they all actually meant. ("So kiss me, pretty wench, in English or in French..." ah, good old Cole.) It has all sorts of warm, fuzzy memories attached.
I started thinking about what other music might fall into this category. I realized last December that Pachelbel's Canon instantly calms me. (It was sort of our school orchestra anthem. I cannot even begin to fathom the number of times I've played it.) Probably Rodgers and Hammerstein, especially The Sound of Music (best movie ever) and maybe South Pacific (the show I played in high school). Maybe Beauty and the Beast. Perhaps some early Beatles. Pet Sounds. Bach. "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik."
Hmm. What's your comfort music?
(I apologize for the overuse of parentheses and italics in this post. Also, sorry for any link wonkiness - Amazon's being weird.)
Okay. Seven class meetings down, five to go. Last night I handed in my second assignment and presented on my first (the written part was handed in the week before), so those two are totally done. Now I just have to keep up with the readings for each class and, you know, write that term paper in the next, um, two weeks. And figure out a decent presentation. Yeah. Fun times. Yes, that's what the Mary Wollstonecraft question was about. It will probably end up being around 20 pages, but only the first four or so are actually written - the rest is research and compiling bibliographies. Which means less writing, but also less opportunity for padding. My feelings about the whole thing are swinging wildly between "Fun!" and "Oh my god how am I supposed to know when I've found ALL the important things published on Wollstonecraft in the last five years??" (That's one of the five sections of the assignment.)
Last night I started the "This is what I'd knit for Christmas in an ideal world with infinite time" list. I know Christmas knitting should be on the "Things About Which Not to Worry" list at the moment, but making these non-urgent to do lists actually relaxes me, and reminds me that there will be life after this class, so I'm going with it. Of course, there are about 40 things on the list, but it's just brainstorming. I'll get started and see where I get.
And, of course, having made that list gives me license to go yarn shopping tonight, which I am feeling that I really, really need to do. Because yarn for Christmas gifts comes out of the gift budget, not the yarn budget, right? (Well, not that I have actually set up budgets for either of those categories, but, um, I should. One of these days. When I have extra time.) And I need to go to the yarn store, anyway, because I'm seeing Cate this weekend and she's enabling me in doing evil, evil things, and I must be prepared. (Full confession forthcoming.)
I think I'm going to try to get a bunch of hats done for various male family members. Any suggestions on patterns men actually like/will wear?
July 12, 2006
Random Wednesday (19 to go)
Might as well have a countdown in the post titles, right? Actually, I hate coming up with titles for the Positive Mondays and Random Wednesdays because I try not to repeat them. Hmm.
1. You all are great. Thank you for the outpouring of support and offers of hugs, chocolate, beer, etc. I may well take you up on it.
2. Yummy leftover Chinese food for lunch. And ooh, I'm going to go get some free chai from the break room... back in a minute. Okay, back. (You all really needed to know that.) Alas, the free-beverage-dispensing machine was blinking "ADD WATER" and there is no obvious way to do this. Hmph. So I'm drinking my TaB, and I'll check back for the chai later.
3. Do we have any Mary Wollstonecraft experts/aficionados in the house? Drop me a line.
4. I had a very relaxing evening last night, and then was up way too late but got a lot of homework done, so I'm feeling a bit more in control than I was yesterday. Not a lot, but a little.
5. Except that I have to give a presentation in class tonight. Ack ack ack. Oh well; in a few hours it'll be over, right? And I have promised myself yarn tomorrow as a reward for finishing.
6. I have both a really really good book and a really addictive sock in my purse. How am I supposed to decide what to do on the T?
7. You know what I want to knit? I want to knit something really, really complicated. With lots and lots of cables. Total escapist can't-think-about-anything-else-while-I'm-knitting-it complicated. Suggestions?
8. Conversely, I'm feeling the need to knit kids' stuff - quicker gratification, maybe? A sense of whimsy? Less darn serious? Something. I have tons of cute baby patterns, but anyone have leads on good patterns for little boys, say sizes 4-8-ish?
9. I think the milk is bad again. Maybe it's a Wednesday thing.
July 11, 2006
Breathe in. Breathe out.
I don't even know where to start.
Actually, I do know where to start: I know that I write at least one of these posts per semester. I know it'll pass. I know I always get through it. But knowing all this isn't really helping at the moment, so I need to write it all again anyway.
This semester is killing me. Conventional wisdom says summer is supposed to be easier or lighter or more fun, right? Tell that to the people who run my school. Regular semesters are, I don't know, twelve or thirteen weeks, I guess. Classes meet once a week for three hours. (I take evening classes, so they're all 6-9.) But the summer semester is only six weeks or so, which means that classes meet twice a week. For me, that means that two days a week (Monday and Wednesday right now), I leave work a little early to drive for an hour and then take the subway to campus, go to class, and then reverse the commute. I'm lucky if I get home by eleven. I've usually had some caffeine and/or sugar to help keep me awake for the drive, so I can't fall asleep right when I get home. I end up getting less than six hours of sleep most of those nights.
And since I leave early twice a week, I have to make up the time. So I generally work through my lunch breaks, and try to get to work a little early and stay a little late on other days. Not a big deal, but it adds to the general feeling of "Aaaagh!"
Of course, more frequent class meetings aren't the only result of the summer schedule. It also means way more work, because all the work from the whole semester class is crammed in. The reading never ends. Things are due and then all of a sudden more things are due. This class is really, really interesting but I feel like I'm working so hard just to keep up that I'm not really getting as much out of it as I could.
So that's the class-related stress. There's other stuff that adds to it. Work is generally bleh, and we have a new person starting next week and I'm training her, and this is the person that my boss basically told me was "smart like you but with a better personality." Um, thanks. And it's hot out, which means I have trouble sleeping. And my roommate is moving out soon, which throws me off on a number of levels. I think I'm ready to live alone for a while, so I'm sort of looking forward to that, but also nervous, and he's moving far away and I'm going to miss him. And he's sort of been in the process of moving for a while now, which is both physically and emotionally chaotic. And I'm not sure how I'll feel about it all when he's actually gone.
And... I don't know. Other random stuff. Feeling generally lonely and unliked/unlikeable, both in blogland and real life. And therefore trying to be more social, which adds to the scheduling exhaustion. Stressing about my upcoming birthday, but that's a whole 'nother post. Just generally feeling like I'm barely keeping my head above water. And like my brain is never ever quiet. Which means that I forget stupid things, like how I still haven't managed to return the Netflix DVD I watched on Friday. Or how I haven't actually done real grocery shopping in maybe two and a half weeks now.
Okay. I think I need some... priorities, or something. The class will be over in 20 days. That's not really a long time. It just feels like it at the moment because just the thought of facing tomorrow makes me want to cry. I do realize that if I cut out everything fun, if I forbade myself from knitting or blogging or reading or watching TV, I might be more rested and less stressed about schoolwork. But I think I'd also be less sane. So I'm trying to think of some other things I can stop stressing about for the next 20 days. (Last class is July 31. My birthday. I will spend my birthday at work/class/commuting from 8am to 11pm. That really doesn't seem fair.)
1. Updating the SRP progress page more than once a week. I'm sure you all really don't expect that anyway. I like doing it, but it takes a while.
2. Staying on the SRP top ten list. That's what August is for. Besides, it will be more exciting if I can catch up from way behind, right?
3. Cooking. I'll still try to eat reasonably healthily, but it won't kill me to live on PBJ, canned soup, and Lean Cuisine for a few weeks, right? And this is just "not feel guilty about not doing," not "not do." So if I want to cook, I can, but I won't feel like a horrible person if I don't.
4. Cleaning my bedroom. The public areas of the apartment are reasonably neat and easy to maintain, so I'm just going to forget about the bedroom for now. No one but me goes in there anyway, and now that I've moved my TV and general homework-doing area to the living room, I'm generally in there only to sleep.
5. The Amazing Lace. Um, not that I seemed to be very worried about that anyway. Maybe I'll pick up some more of the challenges in August.
6. Social or familial engagements. Again, not "can't," but won't stress about skipping/avoiding them.
7. A sleep schedule. Yeah, yeah, I know that skipping sleep won't help. But sometimes an extra half hour of reading or knitting does more for my general feelings of well-being than an extra half hour of sleep would, so I'm not going to worry about it all much. This also rescinds my general ban on naps, especially as I've discovered that napping on the couch leaves me much less groggy than napping in bed.
8. The Rule of Ten. yeah, like you didn't see that coming. For the rest of July, I can knit whatever I darn well please to help me cope.
July 10, 2006
IK Fall Preview!
Breaking news! (Well, at least it was news to me.) The Interweave Knits Fall Preview is up!
My quick takes:
Dear Red-Headed Model,
Dear Kate Gilbert, Evelyn Clark, Kristin Nicholas, Veronik Avery, and Norah Gaughan,
Dear Ann E. Smith, Mari Lynn Patrick, Sharon Shoji, Jennifer Appleby, Michele Rose Orne, and Jodi Green,
Dear Annie Modesitt,
(Quick price-checking detour:
Dear Kathy Zimmerman,
Dear Shirley Paden,
EDITED to add: Overall, I am very, very, very thrilled with how this issue is looking. Except for all the time and money required to knit everything, of course.
Monday = Happy Things
Ummm... ummm... positives.... right, there must be something...
1. I have a paper due Wednesday. I basically wrote the whole thing yesterday morning. I'm sort of amazed at myself.
2. Like my happy little graduation ticker (above)? There's a light at the end of the tunnel!
3. We're having cake at work this afternoon.
4. Field trip for class tonight! We're going to the Bapst Art Library.
5. And sticking with the art theme, I have not one but two trips to the MFA planned for the next few weeks. Yay art!
July 09, 2006
Bless me, knitters, for I have sinned...
I know, I know, I just changed the rules and I'm breaking them already. But I realized I had no plain vanilla sock to knit at the movies, and that simply will not be borne. I decided I wanted to try Claudia's popular picot-edged stockinette virus, as Cate gives it high praise and, as we've discussed, I generally find obeying Cate to be a reasonable method of action when I don't feel I can make decisions for myself.
Of course, I was in paper-writing mode this morning and not quite thinking clearly, so figuring out how to do the picot edge was rather a challenge. Frantic Googling and panicked e-mails to Cate ensued before I finally noticed that Claudia has "HOW TO KNIT A PICOT EDGE" in big letters on her sidebar. Right. So I started, and then went and watched The Da Vinci Code (which wasn't as bad as I'd expected/heard), and then here's what I found when the lights came on:
Yes, I took the sock to the new Ben & Jerry's scoop shop in Manchester. SO exciting to finally have one nearby! Of course, today, the day I got to go there for the first time, was also basically the only day in my entire life so far when I was not really in the mood for ice cream. qw21? So I got the Sorbet Splash, pictured on the right; the exciting-looking sundae belonged to my companion.
Oh, and Claudia, just in case you happen to see this: the reason why the edge of the sock is flailing up there to be tacked down later is not because I am a wuss, but rather because the lights went off around row ten and I didn't think it sounded like a very good idea to try the "knit the cast on edge together with the live stitches" thing for the very first time when I couldn't see it. So this is an experiment: the edge will be sewn down on this sock and knitted down on the mate, and I'll see what I like better.
(Trekking XXL, Color 126, in case anyone was curious. Am I correct that Trekking doesn't name their colors? My companion this evening saw the pink/white/brown colorway and decided that the color should be "Neapolitan" [also perhaps because we were sitting at the ice cream shop at the time], but then he noticed the tan and reconsidered. I suggested that the name be amended to "Neapolitan in a cone.")
July 08, 2006
Baby Blanket, One Week In
Again shown with a skein from the Trekking Collection for scale:
My descent into geekiness
Erica insisted that I post this photographic evidence:
The little box is empty in the picture; it holds the little guys sitting on the table. The big box has a book and some pamphlets. But really, the main thing I'm getting from this picture is that I clearly need to knit a dice bag. a few patterns...
Steep steep steep
Meet the newest addition to the Kat with a K Hot Beverage Creation Apparati!
Yes, it's an adorable little tea steeper with cute celestial objects cut in. We sell them in our new cafť at work, and I've been coveting it for a while, but putting it off because it seemed a bit silly and unnecessary. But I finally broke down and bought it today, because I just adore it. And it fits perfectly on my favorite red tea mug, and is easier to clean than the tea ball I'd been using, so it's just as well. I just used it for the first time and am currently sipping some pina colada herbal tea from Adagio.
Also note the Doctor Who DVDs, knitting book, and dice in the background. That pretty well sums up my life the past week or so. Well, except for the work work school school school work work part.
July 07, 2006
Rules: Made to be broken?
So I've been using my Rule of Ten for several months now, and it's been going well. So, um, clearly now is the time to change it. This is the dilemma: I have something I really want to start, and it's for a mid-August deadline. And there are a few wool projects on the current list that I probably won't have much interest in knitting until the temperature drops a few dozen degrees - especially the Baby Aran, because while I still love the pattern, I don't have a baby in mind for it anymore (because, you know, he grew more quickly than the sweater did...), and it's a pretty involved sweater, so not for the baby of a casual acquaintance. Although it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep working on it at some point so that when a very special baby does come along, I'd have a chance of finishing the sweater in a reasonable amount of time.
But anyway. I think I'm going to amend the rules so that a project can be bumped off the list in order to make room for a new project with a deadline. But this can't happen twice in a row: the next new project has to be added when something is finished. I think this will be a reasonable addition to the method. And, of course, it means that tonight I can start the thing I've been dying to knit...
July 06, 2006
Blogathon 2006: Blogging for Books!
I have now officially signed up for the Blogathon. This means that from July 29 at 9 am (Eastern time) to July 30 at 9 am, I will be blogging every half hour. Yes. Every half hour. All night. I've been meaning to do this for a few years, but this was the first year that I managed to a) request the day off from work, b) sign up on time, and c) feel like I had enough readers to make it worthwhile.
I will be blogging for Reach Out and Read. They're an organization that promotes literacy by giving books to children at regular pediatric appointments. I chose this particular literacy program because the clinic where my mom (a pediatrician) works has been participating in it for years. It really seems like a great program. Oh, and knitters, one of the founders of Reach Out and Read is none other than Perri Klass! So it's got a knitting connection, too.
Because I'm blogging for a children's literacy program, children's books will be my theme: at least one post each hour will be a tribute to one of my favorite children's books.
So. How can you help? Two ways:
1. Sponsor me! If you have the funds and inclination, I could certainly use your sponsorship. Every little bit helps - I'd be thrilled that you wanted to participate, regardless of the amount. You contribute directly to Reach Out and Read, so you know it's all on the up-and-up, but you have to click through this link so that it counts toward my blogathon total. (If you don't want to/can't contribute through the online process for whatever reason, let me know and we might be able to work something out.) You can choose whether to sponsor with a lump sum or an amount per hour.
2. Moral support! I have to stay awake and blogging for 24 hours, remember? Stop by the blog! Leave comments! IM me! If you're local, come visit! Bring cookies! You get the idea. If you can't contribute funds, I will definitely appreciate other kinds of support during the blogathon.
Thanks! I'm so excited! Now to think about which books I'll want to blog... (I'll get a link up on the sidebar soon, with a running total of how much money I've raised.)
July 05, 2006
Wednesday (?) Randoms
I know, I'm really bad with the days of the week recently. I think everyone's confused this week, though. (Or at least everyone in the States.)
1. My assignment due tonight is done! Woohoo!
2. I am having eight people over tomorrow to watch Doctor Who and my house is not yet clean. Ack.
3. Why do I keeping doing this to myself? I didn't bring any knitting with me today because I'm trying to focus on the baby blanket and it's too big to knit on the T. But now all I want to do is knit. Will I ever learn?
4. My first D&D game was yesterday. It went well. I got lots of knitting done.
5. Whoa, I'm sleepy all of a sudden. Just in time to drive to Boston! Yay!
6. I keep wearing a red shirt on days when there are Red Sox games. It's annoying, because I'm not doing it deliberately. Although this time of year I suppose most days have Red Sox games, so it's not that much of a coincidence. Still.
7. At least today's game is away, so it won't affect Boston traffic.
8. I have a feeling that this is one of those short weeks that's going to seem to take forever. Although I'd totally go for another day in between today and tomorrow, actually. How about we switch Thursday and Friday this week? I'd have a day with a free evening to clean and get to bed on time, and then the day of the Doctor Who party, and then the weekend. I'd totally go for that.
The new Knitty is up! My quick favorites, on first look: Fetching (I have a weakness for fingerless mitts), Carpathia (lace! gloves!), RPM, Maze, Sock Monkey Hat (well, not for me, but I have a few friends who'd love it...), Swell, Manresa
Widdershins may even make me try toe-up socks. I mean, really, just the name! Allete is cute - not sure why I'd need wings, but I'll keep it in mind in case the situation ever comes up. I am also excited about learning to knit backwards. I knew this was doable, of course, but had never actually come across an explanation of HOW to do it before. Oh, same with finger knitting. Ooh, and a fun article on fiber festivals by Steph.
Widdershins may even make me try toe-up socks. I mean, really, just the name! Allete is cute - not sure why I'd need wings, but I'll keep it in mind in case the situation ever comes up. I am also excited about learning to knit backwards. I knew this was doable, of course, but had never actually come across an explanation of HOW to do it before. Oh, same with finger knitting. Ooh, and a fun article on fiber festivals by Steph.
July 04, 2006
The Ninth Doctor is mine, all mine!
Well, at least the DVDs are:
My coworkers laughed at me for showing up ten minutes before the store opened to grab a copy, but they were sold out half an hour later, so it's a good thing I did. So there. :-)
July 03, 2006
Baby Blanket Watch: Day 1
I'm kind of amazed by how quickly this got started:
That's what I knit yesterday. (Skein of Trekking included for scale.) It has continued to progress tonight, although not quite as dramatically. I have high hopes for tomorrow, as it seems that D&D will provide optimal knitting time. I'm hoping to get this to the baby by the end of the month... we'll see.
Holiday-esque Monday Positivity
I think it's Monday, although it also sort of feels like Friday, since I have tomorrow off. So it's time for positives!
Things that are making me happy today:
1. My readers. Thank you all for dealing so gracefully with my freak-out over the weekend. I love you guys!
2. My boss, or, rather, his absence. I mean, he's okay, but it's always sort of fun when he's in Oklahoma.
3. My coworkers, or, again, their absence. We have tomorrow off, so about half the company is also out today. It's so nice and quiet around here.
4. Knitting. Yes, it's making me happy again! Finishing the socks was exciting, and the baby blanket is going very quickly.
5. Paneer masala. I have some leftovers for lunch today. Yum.
6. No class tonight! I like class, but a night off is always nice.
July 02, 2006
Now how about some knitting?
Thanks for the opinions, all. Just to clear up any misconceptions, I was not in any way suggesting that everyone should comment on everything - just that it struck me as odd that no one had commented for a while, as I usually get a few right away, and so it brought up some issues I'd been thinking about anyway. Anyway, I now feel free to post on more "serious" topics as the spirit takes me without worrying it will drive away all my readers. Moving on.
Hey, look, proof that I still knit!
At long last, the socks from my very first Trekking. (Please ignore the spam comments on the old entries. I'm working on it. Also, I'm jealous of my own hair in the picture in that post. Why did I cut it off again?)
I like these socks, but next time I say "It's just a toe, I'll remember what I did," please remind me that it may be months until the next toe and I may not, in fact, remember. Hence the different toes on this pair. But it's just the last bit that's different, so hopefully no one will notice. Other than that, I like them.
Now I'm racing through a baby blanket for a baby born, um, three days ago. I started it... today. Oops. It's cotton, which isn't my favorite, but it's a bit more comfortable to knit in this heat. And the pattern is in my head, so I'm hoping I'll be able to knit it while doing homework and playing D&D and such. It's textured, sort of basketweavey, so not quite mindless, but not distracting. Wish me luck, or fortitude, or something.
Oh, it's just that you all have lives.
I have to admit that it was a bit disconcerting to post my previous post early yesterday morning, go off to work, come home 14 hours later and find... nothing. What was going on? Had I managed to somehow offend everyone by posting on a controversial subject? But I know my readers, at least some of them, and I knew that at least a few of you (
Most of the time, I try to avoid too much talk of politics or especially religion, because I know my readers are fairly diverse in those areas (especially religion). My basic political views are fairly obvious, but most of you probably don't even know what my religious views are. (Of course, neither do I, much of the time, but that's a different issue). And virtually all of you read my blog (or at least started reading my blog) either for the knitting (um, sorry, I promise I still do that) or now the summer reading or because you know me from elsewhere, either in real life or somewhere else online. I know I'm not Bitch Ph.D. (although I'd sometimes like to be). I try to give you what I assume you come here for: knitting, books, updates on my life, the occasional cute kitten picture. But... I don't know. Sometimes I'd like to talk about more "important" things. (Although when it comes down to it, I'm not sure I'm convinced there's a whole lot more important than knitting and books and kittens.) Yesterday I did, albeit in a more humorous way. The comments I've gotten so far seem to indicate that you're okay with this, but I wonder about the people who didn't comment. I know that what I post on my blog is my business, but I care about my readers and I don't like the idea of alienating people by talking about things I should perhaps leave alone.
So... I don't know. Opinions? Do you mind the "serious" posts? Or should I just stick to my knitting?
(I also feel compelled to point out that in writing this post I have been simulataneously procrastinating doing my real homework, doing my D&D homework, kitchenering a toe [ha! knitting content!], and cleaning my house. And now I'm running late for an appointment. Bye!)
July 01, 2006
I... can't even... gah.
It is way too early in the morning to wrap my brain around this, but I had to share. A new anti-abortion movement has a bold new plan: get pro-life men to marry single pregnant women so they don't have abortions. Um. Right. Do you see why I'm having trouble even finding the words?
Two favorite lines from the article:
"The motif of a man proposing marriage to a woman pregnant with another manís child is a common one on soap operas that are a fairly good gauge of female fantasy. These stories represent the truth that many pregnant women donít really want to abort, and would not, if marriage and commitment were offered to them."
"Most women are quite rational people."
Yes, the first quote clearly shows how rational the author thinks women are. (Women? People? What? Dorothy Sayers review coming soon.) I'm not sure I want soap operas to be taken as an accurate gauge of "women's fantasies." Maybe some women, sure, but, um, no thanks. If you must have an accurate gauge of my fantasies, please use Jane Austen.
It seems like this would be setting up a really bad dynamic for a marriage: "I saved your baby's life. Without me, you'd be going to hell." Umm, Godlike husband much? Of course, that's probably the point.
(Thanks to Feministing for the link.)