20 December, 2007

I won a CD spindle!

Yay! I won a CD spindle from Interweave Spin-Off magazine. This was in my inbox this morning:

Dear Jessica,

Congratulations—you’re a winner of one of the free CD spindles from Spin-Off magazine!

Please respond with your mailing address as soon as you can.

Best wishes,


Sweet. Thanks, Interweave.

19 December, 2007

Is it New Years yet?

In honor of good old fashioned escapism, I'd like to spend a few minutes here just straight up daydreaming about projects to come. That's right: I mean after all the Xmas knitting is done, wrapped, and put under the tree. What upcoming projects/fantasies are floating through my mind? Let's take a look.

1. Fiesta mittens, inspired by Rainbow Chip frosting! Hooray!
2008 Project-to-be: Rainbow chip Fiesta mittens
When I was little my favorite birthday cake was a Rainbow Chip cake with Rainbow Chip frosting. When I saw these mittens at the Knitting Sisters, I instantly wanted to make them so my hands could basically look like my favorite cake (not the best idea if starving, but I think I'll be able to resist chewing on them). I've spent the last month trolling stitch pattern books, trying to figure out how Lucy Neatby did those little slip stitched gulls on the back of the hand. But alas, I cannot. Guess I'll have to pony up the 6 bucks or so to buy the pattern. But hey, I've got the yarn (pictured above), I've got the needles... it's time to make these already. I'm so excited.

2. Noro Kureyon Sock yarn fingerless gauntlets (long gloves).
2008 Project-to-be: Kureyon Sock yarn gauntlets
There's the gloves knit up in a striping sock yarn, but I want to use the new amazingly beautiful sock yarn from Noro. This way I can showcase the colors in a way that will be appropriate for this hand wash only yarn. I don't think I'm ready to hand wash my socks. I'd rather spend my time knitting them, and let the washing machine do the rest.

3. Skinny scarf from Knitty Gritty, a TV show on the DIY network.
2008 Project-to-be: Skinny scarf with kitchen cotton. Why not?
Stupidly easy, yet intimidating in its "Cast on 400 stitches" beginnings. But then, I might make it shorter. I just like the idea of having a rainbow scarf, plus getting to burn through some of the Peaches & Creme cotton I have in my stash (bought to make rainbow washcloths... before I realized how many ends I would have to weave in), plus I like the woven texture and think it's something my wee knitters in Afterschool could pull off. So in the name of experimentation, I shall make it.

4. Replacement belted cardigan
Starsky imagining
My favorite sweater (actually a belted cardigan) went missing one day in a thrift store. We searched and searched, but unfortunately I think it got lifted from my cart while I wasn't paying attention to it. I remember some scruffy looking dudes giving me all kinds of weird looks as they headed out the doors, and then I realized my cardigan was gone... with my wallet still in the pocket. I hate to assume, but after searching, it seemed that the cardi was no longer in the store... and I think that they took it. I would have gladly given them the wallet (although that was sad, as it was a little leather thing that Kenny's Dad picked up in Italy and gave me for Xmas in 2005) in exchange for the sweater. I coveted that thing from the moment I saw it on my sophomore year roommate. At the end of the year she gave it to me (I wore it more than she did, and she is very kind) and it almost never left my sight from that day until the day in the thrift store. So. I have a plan in mind to remake that garment. I will find yarn that comes as close to it's swirl of fall colors as possible. I will use the Starsky pattern from Knitty, pictured above in white, as the basic recipe, but retool it to be more like the actual missing piece. Starsky is the closest thing I can find. I will love and love and love that sweater. That's the plan. The yarn above is the closest I've found so far to the original colorway.

There are so many more projects in my queue, and so much yarn in my stash... but three will suffice for now. It's time for me to go outside and play with the little ones. Maybe after lunch I'll put together some more. Here's to the New Year!

18 December, 2007

Things I said on the playground this morning

1. "Scott, you need to ask permission before you lick or kiss someone."

2. "Riley, you need to stand up before you kick the ball!"

3. "Matthew, it's not nice to roar at somebody."

4. "No no no no! STOP that right now!" [in response to two boys dragging a third by his hair]

Ah, preschool.

16 December, 2007

So much done in one weekend!

Man, sometimes the Busygods are just on your side.

Mom's present is nearly done blocking. L&P's are wrapped and ready to mail. K's present just needs to be finished off, C's are almost done blocking, the other K's present blocked up BEAUTIFULLY and I can barely bring myself to wrap them up (sooo comfy!). It's such an antsy feeling, this plotting and planning, not being able to upload all the pretty pictures I've been taking along the way. Le sigh... also, it's a little nerve wracking not knowing if anything is going to fit perfectly or really even be worn. Knitters have oft discussed the gifting of handknits to non-knitters. I'm mentally biting my nails as we speak (but luckily that is the one bad habit I've managed to escape in real life).

Speaking of escaping bad habits... I'm actually leaving my face alone while the medicine does its job. My new dermatologist, though in a perpetual hurry, does seem to know a little bit about effective medications for adult acne, and I guess I can officially say that things are clearing up. Really dry and flaky, but clearing nonetheless.

Schoolwork: my paper is at 10 pages. It needs to be 15. I will push out the rest tomorrow. About 95% of my end-of-term materials are ready to be printed off an mailed. Just waiting on my advisor (nail bite, nail bite). Hmm, what else... a good day in boyfriend/girlfriend-land. Lovely Sunday things. Chicken soup in the crock pot. Watched an episode or two of Firefly. Windy and cold but sunny-- it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

[And only 4 days of afterschool this week; huzzah!]

15 December, 2007

An attempt to blog about Xmas knitting without any spoilers

Hey, is anyone reading my blog anymore? Just checking. I'm feeling feedback-needy so please, give me a holler and tell me that you're out there.

I got all organized this week with the help of the mini whiteboard on our fridge (I mean if you're going to stand there so much, might as well write something down while you're at it) and made a list of all my FO's, WIP's, and NYCO's (not yet cast ons) so that I could get a good grip on where I am with all this gifting. Without naming any names (or posting any pics-- boo!), here's what I have at this minute:

K's present: finished, ends sewn in, blocking as we speak
The other K's present: about 4" in, maybe 6" left to go
Yet another K's present: still to be purchased (but will not be knit, since there are no good Beatles or Jurassic Park patterns out there... yet)
Mom's present: finished, needs ends sewn in and a good blocking
Dad's present: 4/5 done. Will not be washed or blocked, since it's never been dragged out of the house and is therefore kid-germ free.
C's present: finished, needs ends sewn in and needs to be blocked
The other C's present: in progress. Needs to be a size smaller. Will do when I have a few free hours.
J's present: not yet begun. What does he need??
The other J's present: little more than halfway done.
A's present: will be store bought, as he's had to suffer through too many handknits already.
P's present: done, blocking as we speak, freaking beautiful if not too sheep-smelling.
L's present: Done, needs ends woven in.
M&Y's presents: done, needs ends woven in.


Finished Objects:

In progress:

Not yet begun:

To be storebought:

Not bad, right? Not all these present are due by the 25th, so I have a little leeway... but I still have some seriously fast knitting to do.

**In school news:
Ohmygod, everything will be finished by Monday. Or at the very latest, Tuesday morning. Then I will be 1/3 done with grad school. Just keep writing papers, just keep writing papers...

08 December, 2007

Oh, just thoughts.

I'm reading a great book right now and like only great books can, it has transported me to a place of deeper examination of my life. I just had a nice little nap/dream/thought thinking time and one thing I thought was, I'm proud of myself for the spiritual work that I've done so far in my life. It's nothing to write up in a magazine or anything, but I've examined a lot of feelings and desires and I've given great thought to practice, attachment, rules, religion, love, Love, purpose, and consciousness. I've thought a lot about regret, and about expectation, and about presentness. And I'm really glad. The lady who my parents took me to as an infant so that she could tell them about my soul and my life said that she thought I would be some sort of healer, or guide, or something, but she said it in a way that makes me think she knew I would just like thinking about emotional and spiritual healing. In my own life and in the lives of those I know. As in, not a profession, but a deep and abiding readiness to listen to anyone who also wants to examine these things. I'd like to say that as a teacher I sort of have made it my profession, but honestly, I do a lot more disciplining than I do listening and/or guiding. Every day I come home feeling sorry about that. I am going to try harder to make time for listening to these kids and asking them good questions about their thoughts and their feelings.

Why is it that I feel guilty when I write about me? On one hand, it's indicative of a person who doesn't stop to consider others or actively search out the greater human experience. I could be writing about what other people are going through. On the other hand, what I've been given is me. What we've been given is ourselves. It is through ourselves that we learn what our place in the universe is, what we're supposed to do with all this stuff, how we relate to it all and them all. If an unexamined life isn't worth living, then we should feel more than o.k. about examining our lives. I guess I feel somewhere in between those two hands. Totally comfortable with examining my thoughts, but not exactly guilt-free about writing about them.

One thing I thought about during my dream nap was: how do we reconcile the knowledge that all things are fleeting? I look across the living room at this person that I love, knowing that the nature of loving him means I will lose him, some day, and that it's silly to worry about when or how, because attachment yada yada. Does that make love less important? Or even more important? Consequently, when I'm in the middle of a bout of unhappiness, and feeling lonely (I'm going to conjure up a certain time period here, let's say Fall of 2003, or 1995 in its entirety) it's just as important to remember that this is fleeting, too, that it's all just for now, whether it's good or bad that we're talking about. Oh, wait, I think I've blogged this before. [checking...] here it is.

07 December, 2007

Overheard from little mouths

The children at our school take turns being the teacher's assistant when it's time to pick up and drop off their lunch cart. This week it is N.'s turn, a pudgy seven year old girl, who makes her wishes very clear to anyone within earshot.

Overheard so far this week:

[teacher is fiddling with cart, N is looking at pile of books on table]
N: Um, excuse me but whose books are these?
[teacher continues to fiddle]
N: 'Cause I like this one.
[teacher pushes lunch cart towards door]
N: [follows begrudgingly] Hmph.

[teacher is pushing cart into lunch room, N spies plate of cookies left over from Parent Coffee this morning]
N: Miss M, what kind of cookies are these?
Miss M: [looks briefly, with pointed disinterest] I don't know, looks like oatmeal raisin.
N: Oh, I LOVE oatmeal raisin!
[teacher walks away]
N: Hmph.

06 December, 2007

Before I Die List

Things I'd still like to do someday:

-Speak another language fluently, or as close as possible.

-Own my own business, or co-own with other artists: "(name of city) Women's Craft Collective," big old warehouse/barn type space, different studios inside for diff. crafts, lease out studio space, have "living room" type space in the middle with couches and a woodstove for hanging out & relaxing. In front is little shop where people can buy the stuff they see being made (collective is open to school groups & other small tours). Big emphasis on education & sharing. Profitable but only just enough.

-Be in great enough shape to lead Pilates/aerobics classes. Or run 1/2 marathon, or something monumental.

-Live overseas again.

-Be a mom to a kid that genuinely likes me. (All Moms feel free to laugh at this one.)

-Design and manage a crafts program at a summer camp or boarding school.

-Work and live at a boarding school or small college.

-Get back into modern dance.

-Have amazing, homey, primarily wooden sunny plant-filled house, tall and angular (as opposed to ranch style), possibly on side of mountain. Definitely filled with homemade items.

(more later, I am due to play buddy tag with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders outside).

02 December, 2007

German Knitting Contest

Hmm. To me, this is just weird enough to be fascinating. Plus holy cow, that's some fast knitting.

01 December, 2007

Ho hum, humdrum, shake your bum, dum de dum

Tappety tappety tap. The papers are in progress. The clay class I want to take at the Rec center doesn't start until December 12th, but the paper I was going to write on it (and therefore use it as my 5th and last class for this semester's grad school work) is due on December 17th, so it looks like I'll need a new plan. Luckily, I can still take the clay class and use it for the 1st class of the Spring semester (oh yarny hands, can you still finagle clay? We will soon find out). So: I need to look at my courses that I can designed for Spring and decide which one I will suddenly be starting on ASAP (or: ASAIFTP, or As Soon As I Finish This Paper, where "this" means the one I am supposed to be writing at this very moment.)

So far I've got 6 pages out of 15. Not bad, not bad. Time for more. The kitchen is cold, but we have hot pizza. Huzzah!

26 November, 2007

Felted Zig Zag Tote

And finally, an original pattern!

(This being the 1st time I've intentionally felted anything, it must have had some beginner's luck because I think it came out swell).

Note: I took the high contrast 14 stitch zig-zag chart from Kaffe Fassett's Pattern Library, and I'm sure he must have gotten it somewhere. It hardly seems copywritable, since it's so simple. Here's a snapshot of the chart.

Ok: before felting, 15 1/2" wide, 18" tall. After 15 minutes in the washing machine: 10 1/2" wide, 15" tall.

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, 1 skein silver, 1 1/2 skeins orange
MC: orange
CC: silver

With MC, loosely CO 140 sts, knit one round. Join CC and pm, then follow chart. Knit 10 repeats of the pattern, and using your brain, finish the last CC triangle without making a new one start, i.e., use MC across each pattern repeat, slowly phasing out the top of your CC triangle. Once CC is completely phased out and those zigzags are no more, knit one round MC, then knit another round MC decreasing every 10 sts or so. Doesn't matter, but this is to keep the bag from flaring out more than is attractive and functional. Knit one more round, purl one round, knit one round, and cast off using k2tog, slip back onto L needle, k2tog, etc.

Pick up the 140 sts at the bottom of your bag (the cast on edge) and k20, pm, k50, pm, k20, pm, k50, pm. Miter the corners by k2tog before each marker and ssk after each marker, until no more sts are left on the sides. I used the 3 needle bind off for the bottom of the bag: since it's going to be felted, you won't see that seam. You can mattress it if you want to.

Side one: Pick up 4 sts a few inches in from the side of the bag, i-cord for quite some time (sorry, I forgot to measure, but make them about twice as tall as the bag), attach to the same place at the other end of that side (make it symmetrical). Repeat for the other side of the bag.

Washed on hot/cold, heavy duty, smallest load with one pair of jeans. It was felted just fine after about 15 minutes. Stuff with towels, shape, and let dry.

After felting, you'll have these terrifically long straps, so you can do as I did or get creative: I grabbed one of those long straps and twisted it around and down, essentially doubling it. Then using MC yarn and a Chibi needle, I whip-stitched the center of the middle loop to the top of the bag. Repeat for each side. (illustration coming soon to remedy that horribly inadequate description). Wrap the top loops up on each side so that you don't have zillions of handles to deal with.

18 November, 2007

A knitted hat: just make it up

In the midst of all this gift knitting (which is fun, I swear, and it suits my startitis very well since I have about eleventy-billion projects all going on at once), I feel an urge to knit something for myself. It's the last thing I should be doing, of course, but what's one more barely-started project, eh?

I used to have this gray tam. It wasn't as full as your typical made-to-stuff-full-o-dreds tam, but it certainly wasn't as slim as a beret. It was perfectly in the middle. I found it in a thrift store. It had a lining knit out of smooth, thin yarn but the outside was a worsted weight cabled affair and man, I wore that cap out. I think it made it all the way through college, but I haven't seen it in a few years. In any case, it's time for a new favorite hat.

My local yarn store was having a final final sale this weekend, and although I had already looked at this yarn once when it was just mostly on sale, something about the complete and thorough markdown made me realize just how nice it is. Bulky, soft, excellent colors, and 50% off. Hello, yarn.

My beef is: I can't find that perfect pattern with which to replicate the old gray hat. I've gone back to Ravelry many times to search through the pattern browser, I've looked through all my magazines, books, and print-outs, and I think I'm just going to have to make it up. I've got a pencil and a calculator and an EZ book... Stay tuned for what may be my first great pattern ever.

(For the knitters in the audience: Last night I started knitting it from the ribbing up, but had calculated incorrectly and it looked like the hem of a sweater, so I ripped out, started from the top down, and realized there was just no way to work out what cables I wanted to put in where, plus I was knitting with size 8's and I should be using at least a 10. So, ripped again. Back to the drawing board.)

A few of my favorite things

When the papers call out to be written, I respond... by playing with pretty things on the Interwebs.

Credits and more here.

15 November, 2007

HCMC Top 6

I don't know if i ever got around to posting this back in the spring, but I've been talking with a few people who are going to Vietnam for Xmas, so this is for them.

Written in March '07

In a fit of premature homesickness for my adopted city (which I am now sadly leaving), I decided to make a list of my top favorite things to do in HCMC. These are things I think that everyone passing through the area should do/see/eat at least once.

Best Ice Cream: Fanny Ice Cream

Their flavors are consistently amazing—as in, you’ll be amazed at how authentic the flavors taste and how real the ingredients are. My favorites are, in order: green tea ice cream; ginger ice cream; and the “I can’t believe it’s just chocolate and not crack” chocolate ice cream. Worth the price of a plane ticket at least. And if you’re lucky enough to be in town on the first Friday of the month, the Ice Cream Buffet is every thing it sounds like and more, and is simply the best bargain an ice cream lover could ever hope to find. And if that’s not good enough, they deliver—all at prices cheaper than New Zealand ice cream (the popular grocery store brand that you can buy at Citimart).

Best Vietnamese Resteraunt: Quan An Ngon

Rumour has it that some savvy Viet Kieu spent a year traveling all over Vietnam sampling street stall fare and invited the best to come join his (or her?) restaurant, cooking exactly what they were best at, but in a much more sanitary and stable environ. The food is affordable and delicious, plus you can see it being made along the outer corridor of the bottom floor. But eat upstairs- the lighting is yellowy and soft, the fans have misters attached, and you can look over the balcony and see all the waiters rushing around. To try: the green papaya salad with shrimps and pork, any of the noodle soups, and definitely the sweet black bean desert (che) and the floating cakes found almost at the end of the menu. The salad rolls rock.

Best Overpriced Drink: The Saigon Snowball at Vasco’s
If you don’t mind spending $3 or $4 on a cocktail, and have a penchant for 90’s cover bands, then Vasco’s really is a fun place to hang out. I inadvertently met some of my favorite people there (we were all looking a little sheepish at being at such an obvious expat-only venue) and it’s got a good outdoor seating area. The Snowball is an alcohol spiked desert in a chilly glass, made mostly of crème de menthe and ice cream. What’s not to like? And now for something not edible:

Best Real Massage: The Shiatsu Place on Nguyen Binh Khiem, across from the Somerset Hotel
This place has trained masseurs who wear immaculate white uniforms and from the moment you walk in, everyone is polite, professional, and best of all mostly quiet. If you’ve been getting backpacker massages and you’re sick of paying little but getting little, this place is a relief in lots of ways. It almost feels like a doctor’s office sometimes, albeit a nice smelling, prettily lit one. There’s no sketchy undertones, no gabbing while giving a rubdown (which is a pet peeve of mine—who needs to hear giggling whispers while their upper thigs are being squeezed?), and probably the best thing about it is before (or after) your massage, you are welcome to liberally use the showers, steam bath, and sauna. The latter two rooms are deliciously scented with fresh ginger, cinamon and menthol. You are sometimes given iced Vietnamese tea to drink, and sometimes not (can’t really figure out how to consistently make that happen yet). A sixty minute body massage is 90,000 dong. Some of the masseurs are gently, some do deep tissue work, and some just make lots of clapping sounds against your skin. If you like it therapeutically rough, ask for massage therapist number nine and you’ll be walked on, cracked and popped, and practically beaten up in the best way possible. Tip well and be happy.

Best neighborhood to walk around in: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai at the Cho Thi Nghe Market (which is at the border of District 1 and Binh Thanh District)
Maybe it’s because it was the first market I experienced when I moved to Saigon, but this one really has it all in my opinion: there’s never any other travellers or expats, which means you actually feel like you’re in a Vietnamese market, and the prices are so, so much lower than at Ben Thanh. I really enjoy eating a meal there, buying veggies and shrimp, checking out the flower stalls, and buying sweet treats. Everyone is really friendly and seem genuinely pleased when you come out with even the most rudimentary Vietnamese. The streets around the market, including the clogged and smelly Thi Minh Khai (which changes its name somewhere around the market to Xo Viet Nghe Tinh) have seemed to me to be the most authentic downtown neighborhood- it’s full of city people doing city things, and life in multiple generations just teems over the sidewalks and in and out of the streetfront stores. You can find anything in this neighborhood—including the best and cheapest kem tuoi (soft serve ice cream) in popular Vietnamese flavors. To find the kem tuoi shop from the market, cross the street (be careful) and start walking away from the bridge until you get to the big Nokia shop on the corner of Nguyen Cuu Van. Turn left there, and walk down a block or so. Ice cream is on the left. I recommend the taro flavor (it’s purple).

Most Useful Hand Gesture: The Jazz Handed “No Thanks”

You can say khong to your heart’s content, and even throw in a few omphful nos, but when it comes to stopping those (flower girls/xe om drivers/ persistent coconut sellers) in their tracks before they can begin their litanies, nothing has been better to me than the “no thanks” hand gesture. It doubles, as you will find, as the “we don’t sell that,” “we’ve run out” and “I don’t understand you” hand gestures. To make, hold up a hand about shoulder level, palm flat and fingers spread, and rotate the wrist back and forth just a wee bit in each direction but at a high speed (Fosse hands, if you will). It’s a little like the American “kinda sorta” gesture, but higher up on the body. Think of it as a groovy hang ten, but with all the fingers involved. Couple this with a wrinkled up nose and no eye contact with those whose services you wish to decline, and they will drop away and look for the next potential customer. Works like Magic (To Do). Heh.

(there was going to be more, but I got busy... now I miss everything, so it'd be hard to try to discriminate enough to get a top anything).

13 November, 2007

This was such a sad day. The kids in afterschool were just so horrible to each other. Their actions made me feel this sort of disproportionate hopelessness that I know will go away as soon as they have one good day together, which may well be tomorrow, but right now my ears are ringing with shunning remarks and screaming voices. It's after a long day of school, I know they have steam to blow off, but seriously, this is Montessori school. All they've been taught is kindness and respect and patience, and somehow, every few days, they just all seem to feed off of each other and I'm in the middle of this lip-quivering accusative mosh-pit trying to calm everyone down simultaneously.

And I fell off the road on my way home and there are dishes in the sink and a paper to write and I am just so, so ready for Friday, when half of the kids don't stay after and we have this sweet, manageable little group.

Plus, a dear friend and I talked last night, and she just found out her Mom has been given one year to live. Now that's sad.

12 November, 2007

Tens of thousands of words worth

Just returned from the very sunny, very dry city of Prescott, AZ. Adventures included knitting the world's fastest mini-sock for the elderly masseuse sleeping next to me on the flight out there; finally having a productive, satisfying chat with my advisor; sleeping in a narrow slot in between two mattresses on the floor and waking up feeling unbelievably, extraordinarily comfy; and of course, exploring the town's restaurants and yarn shops. There were some great student presentations, a few very helpful and informative faculty presentations, and a horrific 80-minute power point presentation given to us by the keynote speaker at 7pm on Saturday night. All in all, a good weekend.

Oh, and I took pictures this time.

04 November, 2007

How does he do it?

I've been living in Williamsburg for about 3 months now. And I've made a handful of friends, nice ones, and I'm glad to know them. I go out sometimes; I know a few fun places to be. My step-brother has been living in Madison for the same amount of time but is apparently rocking the world apart with his fast-acting, high-quality social skills and good taste (which might have something to do with the cool factor of Madison compared to, let's say, Williamsburg). Read about his amazing new life here.

02 November, 2007


Behold how good and pleasant when brethren dwell together in the city...

Yet another post reflecting on the joy I get from living within a bikeable distance of everything (as well as the joys of November weather).

I know the value of a good car trip every now and then, when you've got a comfy seat and a good NPR show to listen to, and the miles count themselves out behind you. That can certainly be enjoyable. I love train travel and airplane travel (as long as it doesn't happen too often within a given amount of time, then it's a pain) and I also like taking short trips on public busses. I occasionally even enjoy the rare suburban safari, stalking good deals from the big box store, usually accompanying my Mom, which means bonding and a grilled dinner are sure to follow. But for errands or exploring, especially if you have the day off, nothing beats a bike. Well, nothing beats a bike in a city, however small it may be.

Williamsburg today is grey and really windy, but we can all still feel the scorching days that stretched September and October into one long July, and it feels great to finally cool off. So we turn our bare necks towards the chill and crunch through the leaves, like we never thought Fall would actually happen again. I celebrated the return of Fall weather this morning (as well as my day off) by straightening up the apartment, not in any OCD way but just until it achieved a nice, normal, it's-nice-to-live-here kind of cleanliness, and then Kenny and I rode the short distance over to the W&M library so that I could return my textbooks from my last course (Motor Development, basically) and choose ones for my next course (Crafts of the Appalachian mountains, basically). Forget needing a campus parking pass, forget circling around and around, hunting down a space. Bikes go straight from our back door to the door of wherever we're going. Around noon we biked into our quaint little bricked downtown area to have lunch at one of the frou-frou sandwich shops (my avocado wrap was good, but the chicken looked and tasted just like the turkey, which is hmm) and then we parted, he to a seminar and I to my errands (bank, drug store, Indian grocery, home). On the bike, off the bike, lock it up, back on, quick as a fox. Ha ha, cars.

Ok, I admit that I also stopped at our little kinda-ghetto nail salon for a leg wax and a pedicure. I like to practice my Vietnamese, and everyone is really friendly there. Plus, its just about as cheap as what you'd find on South Blvd. in Charlotte, so what's not to like? Windy day, warm water, people being amazed at me for saying "thank you" and "just a little bit" in their language... hmm. Anyway, our apartment is finally cozy warm instead of strangling-you-in-your-sleep warm, and I'm going to keep working on knitting Xmas items while I pick apart a pomegranate and listen to a podcast. Thank you, day off! The leaves sound just perfect skittering by on the concrete outside. Ahh.

29 October, 2007

What a zombie-like weekend...


All weekend was spent writing papers, for both myself and Kenny. We awarded ourselves two fantastic respites: the step show at W&M on Saturday night, and dinner at one of my coworkers/new friends' house (Holly & Timmons). It turns out that being fed a beautiful, healthy meal with the company of two awesome adults and their 4 & 12 year olds followed by wine by the fireplace and stories of travel was all we needed to feel like... well, like total slackers. But! We set the alarm for extra early this morning and kept typing away.

And now I am at school, to which I had to drive due to carrying a laptop, a pile of books, a guitar, and my usual school stuff (bag, sneakers, lunch, Nalgene). Oh well. It's sunny again, so tomorrow I'll definitely be biking it.

Back to work...

26 October, 2007

Just busy

Work, study, knit*, study, work, work out, cook a meal, do some laundry, work.

More soon, when I feel motivated. It's rainy here (finally!) and colder than before (good god, finally). Still t-shirt weather, but jeans no longer stick to ya.

I've lost 4 lbs. since starting the no sugar thing about 5 weeks ago. Now if I can keep up the gym thing and eat smaller portions, I might actually get to the 10 pound mark by Thanksgiving. Well, maybe.

*all Xmas gifts, so no posting about them here.

18 October, 2007


I feel down in the dumps. Too stressed about small things. Procrastinating and ignoring the big things. Broke yet still buying things. Constantly showering yet hair is still limp and yucky looking.

Sigh. Mope. Drag.

15 October, 2007

NYC, Bike, Projects

We went to NYC this weekend to help Karen celebrate her birthday. We had the most fabulous dinner at the high grade Japanese restaurant attached to the Waldorf Astoria (well, well!) and roamed around Brooklyn, checking out all the beautiful second hand stores and flashy jewelry-and-furniture boutiques. Awesome fun. I love riding the trains because it lets me knit: I have made much progress on my Mom's secret Xmas present project, and am now satisfied enough (temporarily) to work on my research paper due this coming weekend.

Sad thing: my bike had an accident. No one was on it at the time, so all humans are unharmed. But the bike... oh, the bike. One severely bent back wheel. One (probably) bent front wheel. The little cylinder that contains the gears? Oh yeah, the "hub"? Probably needs to be replaced, too. Big heavy sigh. Light little wallet. Oh well.

I'm hungry and in need of a plane ticket

Sometimes, not being in Saigon at mealtimes just won't do. If that's a double negative, well, I feel doubly negative about the two quarters in my pocket: here's what they won't be buying today.

Taken from The Last Appetite, a drool-inducing blog about Vietnamese street food. Mmm.

05 October, 2007

On my way back home

After work today I'm going to drive a rented car (ours is a rusty block of gasoline-scented swiss cheese) to Charlotte for the three-day weekend. (Thanks, Colombus!)

While I'm enjoying the sanctity of a large, calm house, I plan to:

1. Sort through a few boxes of papers
2. Search for my passport and SS card
3. Knit a LOT while enjoying the big glowing screen
4. Go for a jog (or two, heck)
5. Celebrate my all parents' birthdays (a few belatedly, one early)
6. Learn to make spicy shrimp 'n grits with goat cheese (this is a random goal, but a goal nonetheless)
7. Knit.
8. Knit more.
9. Visit the local yarn shops, look for Noro Silk Garden on sale.
10. Try not to give away any clues re: Xmas knitting projects.

01 October, 2007

How many UUs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

"We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb. During next Sunday's service, we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted; all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence."

30 September, 2007

Ed Pilkington

A very sweet professor who retired from my undergrad department was riding his bicycle in Boone and got hit by a car. The Watauga Democrat article is here. What gets me is that I just happened to sign on to Myspace, which I do about once a month, and happened to see the bulletin mixed in with all the ridiculous crap that gets posted. Does anyone have a status update?

I hadn't thought about Ed in at least two years, and this kind of thing makes me worry about all the other people I care about who I haven't thought about. But I know a guy who worries about everyone he knows all the time and he seems miserable. So, hmm.

23 September, 2007

Pictures! Pictures!


pics by K. Shimizu!

16 September, 2007


Woke up this morning, realized that if we scooted the fridge over a few feet (why not? there was just blank wall there) that we would have room for a kitchen table after all. To my surprise, Kenny agreed to be driven almost to D.C. (he read law school books while I drove) so that we could shop for a table.

We ended up with a medium-sized beech wood table and two cheap-o folding chairs (that look swanky 'cause they're jet black). Also, two black plates, two bambooish place mats, a wooden bowl for fruit display, and a new quilt cover for our down blanket (the best thing we own, IMHO).

Yay for IKEA! It was my first time. I feel very cool and maybe like I'm on the verge of a new addiction. So many pretty things...

Also, I finished my sweater. Pictures by tomorrow night.

10 September, 2007

I'm over overeating

This morning on my bike I realized that I have been inexplicably stuffing myself this last week or so (possibly because I upped my exercise), and that today needs to be the day that I quit it already. Kenny also mentioned that he feels stuffed. So now it's lunchtime and I'm proving myself capable by not going back into the school kitchen for another serving of (hot, free) mac n' cheese.

I can't hear you, cheese. Stop talking at me.

So there.

Sore arms

Somehow, my paper is finished. It's due (to be emailed) today, and I finished it last night. At a reasonable hour. Hmm. Maybe things have changed since undergrad? And I'm pretty sure this paper is going to be the hardest one I have to write, seeing as all my other "courses" are the ones I've designed to be enjoyable and interesting, and this one was the one assigned course. On something that while important and very informing was just a little bit boring. But you know what, I cranked out an 18 page paper about research methods, which is something I never thought I'd be able to do without crying. And I so did it.

Now the small problem of my AWOL advisor. I emailed a week ago just to make sure she knew I was going to be sending her my study packet electonically, but no word from the other side yet. It usually takes her a few days, but... come one, lady, today is the day! I have a feeling the entire year and a half is going to be like this. Do first impressions really hold that much truth? Am I seeing this all wrong? Rhetorical questions, y'all.

So I totally screwed up my Anemoi mitten when I tried to increase from the cuff to the mitten body. After confusing myself and making fudging sort of guesses, I realized I should just rip back and give myself a second chance. That frustrating experience was enough to make me pick up the purple sweater again, and I'm so glad I did, because after the last knit night at the Knitting Sisters, I had done enough sleeve decreases to begin the colorwork. Oh joy joy joy!

I'm writing like a zombie this morning mostly because I'm a little burned out on the laptop. Only a few more things to do (cover letter, bibliography) and I'm ready to send off the packet. Also, went to the gym and did my weight training circuit this morning (for the first time in a week? how did that happen?) and I can barely lift my arms. Shaky shaky...

Time to save and send.

07 September, 2007

Musings on a Friday

(That is, musings that are happening on Friday, not musings about Friday...)

Notes from a young child's world: I'm at a very low table, and I can't fold my knees at a right angle (like when you normally sit) and so they're kind of angled in towards each other and stretched out so that my legs can fit under the low table. Unfortunately, I am not in a low chair. I am in an adult chair at a kids' table. Sigh.

Last night we braved the world outside of our apartment in a new way: we got into the car and drove to Newport News to hang out with people who would hopefully become our new friends. And they did! Hilarity and great conversation ensued amongst us: two law students, two particle physicists, one person getting ready to fly to California to begin her PhD, and one Montessori teacher. Plus two pitchers of red ale, plus a loud bar in the neo-urban suburban shopping mall. Oh yeah, plus the old balance board which had lurking in our back seat and had been spotted by one of the physicists. Which lead us to cheer on the way back home: Hooray! We have friends!

This week, since after school doesn't start yet, my primary job has been to ride the bus (we have 1) back and forth with the big kids in the morning and the afternoons. It's about a 15 minute drive, and we have a great time. I remind them of their manners and their bus-riding behavioral expectations. They remind me that ten year olds are really, really smart. We all have fun. Today I got my first present (not bad for not actually having started my job yet, eh?) which is a delightfully colored ceramic cat, housed in pink felt inside of a (clean) yogurt cup. Yay, kids!

I'm supposed to be writing my 1st study packet. As a responsible student i decided to do my research course first, so this packet much contain a 15-page paper about research. Blehhhh. But I'm getting it done, and I think it'll be ready by Monday night (my deadline for sending it away).

Last night I went to our LYS's free knit night, and worked manically on my sweater for two solid hours, achieving at least four inches and I am now *almost* ready to start the colorful yoke. Praise the lord. I started new mittens, too, which might be a Xmas present, so I can't write much about them here.

Ok, off to paper it up.

But quickly: one fantastic thing about working at this sweet little private school is that our lunch is made for us every day. We are welcome to partake or not partake daily as we see fit. So far I've really liked not having to pack my lunch. Sweet.

03 September, 2007

All together now

Just a quick break in the research reading to announce that last night, I finally reached 17 1/2 inches on my sleeves and have joined them to the body of my sweater. Hooray! Finally!

It's my own fault for taking a summer-long break from working on this (who wants a lap full of wool in July?) but it just feels like it's taken forever to get to this point. In a few days I'll be starting the colorwork, and my life will be complete. Here's the baby so far:

31 August, 2007

Aaahh! Oooh! Woo hoo!

I'm all jacked up on jelly beans! Aaand, I haven't posted for (let's check) 12 days. Harghmm. So let's see:

The sugar is coursing through my veins. How come we don't use "coursing through" for anything other than veins? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here. Try saying "coursing through" and then let your brain finish the sentence. I guarantee your first thought will finish with veins.

As to what's going on in my immediate surroundings: I'm in my new space (not a classroom, really, but it's where I'll be based out of) and it's finally been emptied of all the excess materials that the other teaches had been storing in the Shed, but the Shed had to be cleaned out, so it was all sort of dumped into this space. Got that? So today, after a week of creeping 'round the peripheries, I can walk straight across my space. Sweet! But this also means that I can see the opposite walls and stuff, and now it is apparent how much I have to do.

Essentially I am teaching the whole school, one group at a time. Early mornings, I plan stuff and prepare the space/my head. In the late mornings I lead cooperative games on the playground with the 3-6 year olds. In the lunch hour I teach music and movement (depending on the day) to 5 & 6 year olds. After that I teach music/movement/drama/crafts to the oldest kids, the 7-9 year olds. Then at 2:30 I set up for my main gig, the After School program. Whee! And at 5:30 (or shortly thereafter) I'm on my way back home.

I've been riding my sweet-ass awesome bike to school and back every day (8 1/2 miles round trip) and the gym is on the way, so I've been really getting a lot of fitness time in, which would be sweet except for that it makes me really hungry, so I've also been eating pretty much around the clock. Which, as long as I only keep healthy foods around, is a-ok. The problem comes when I buy jelly beans. Which I don't do, obviously. Not.

Soo... it's a long weekend. I will now commit more of my time to my *real* schoolwork, i.e., the school I'm paying to go to. Ok. I will read books. I will take notes. My co-worker, Aneta, is talking about Polish vodka. Gotta go!

19 August, 2007

Coming 'round the bend

The end is near. Our 1st colloquium is almost done. I am sitting beside a stack of neatly bound papers stapled to their cover sheets: the ginormous, broadly scoped "Study Plans for Graduate Study as a Whole" and the more detailed, bibliographied "Study Plan for First Semester Fall 2007."

My cohorts and I are Freshmen to the extreme: out to dinner last night but back at our desks by 10pm, our heads whipping back and forth from computer screens to the APA handbook to scattered piles of handwritten reminders... Up again at 6 this morning to squeeze out finishing touches, with the sun's first rays washing out our screens. Then off to the library to print it all out in duplicate, and the satisfying ker-CHUNK of the stapler. Ker-CHUNK. So THERE.

And now, I think, to go turn it in. Where, oh where, is my advisor?

18 August, 2007

Ah, Research Methodology

And by "ah" I mean "oh, holy crap."

So, I'm back in the library again looking up books that will turn me from a simple-minded knitter who likes to reuse the same two dozen "big" vocabulary words that I learned in my SAT prep class in 1998 into a full-fledged graduate student who not only knows the difference between qualitative, quantitative, and project-based research but someone who actually cares enough to take a class about them. Oh, also, I can make long sentances.

Why did I think I could just show up at grad school and not have any catching up to do? Sigh. Good thing this whole Research Methodology class is required; I'm going to take it first thing so that I can make the rest of my three semesters easier. APA, MLA, Chicago, oh my.

Back to the stacks,
Jessica "Could be Brighter" Kaufman

15 August, 2007

Potlucking with the PhD's

Greetings, gentle readers, and welcome to a new installation of my life. This chapter shall be called

"New town, new school, new home, new life."

And it feels almost that dramatic, but in a nice way, in a sort of "I planned this all out way in advance" kind of way. Right now I'm in Prescott, Arizona, a place I've contemplated going since halfway through college, to begin my 1st weekend colloquium for my Masters degree. It took me all day to get from one coast to the other (since for some reason I was routed through Minneapolis/St Paul) and when the shuttle from the airport finally dropped me at the Prescott bus station, I was really ready to move around. I strapped on Old Orange Faithful (the backpack that got me around SE Asia) and walked the short couple of miles to the campus, which is teeny tiny but beautiful, in a very desert-ish way. Immediately I felt like I was at Warren Wilson, because everyone I saw was beautiful in a co-op, yoga class sort of way, and all very fit and tan and dressed creatively. I was shown to the house where I'll be staying for the weekend; it's yellow.

My roommate arrived (Megan from Northampton, Mass!) and we commiserated and compared journeys from the east coast and time differences. Together, we decided to crash (in a nice way) the PhD's potluck (since it was happening in the house kitchen) and the next few hours were filled with inspiring, interesting conversation with people from all over the country who are here to do amazing, inspiring things. I'm already full of ideas and orientation doesn't even start until 7:30 tomorrow morning.

It feels like it's almost midnight, but it's only the shamefully early hour of 9pm. I'm going to bed anyway. Tomorrow we learn what it is exactly that we're doing here!

Oh yeah, also:
-Kenny and I moved into our new apartment and we LOVE it!
-I start work at the Montessori school next week
-I bought a bicycle to get me from home to work every day (weather permitting) and around town to the library and yarn store and what not. It's beautiful. Check out the glamour shot:

(It's the Amsterdam model from Electra. Want one? Check 'em out.)

02 August, 2007

Comments from the abyss...

I just got notification of a comment on a blog entry from almost a year ago, from when I first arrived in Saigon. Just for reference I checked out the entry, and I really enjoyed re-reading my experiences, because looking back at my time in the city, all I remember now seems easy and fun and never at all scary or hard. But reading that entry today really took me back to the wide-eyed amazement of my first few days. Awesome. Also ironic, because it was the first of many odes to the amazing rambutan (trai chom), which I was rhapsodizing about today over a lunch of canned fruit. Ah, Vietnam, will I ever return to you? I sure hope so.

(But who are you, TM?)

28 July, 2007

So, where am I?

It's Saturday night, and I'm on duty, which means carrying around the radio and leading tours of camp and opening and closing the meals. It also means staying up til midnight to make sure that there are no stragglers breaking curfew at the welcome hut or in the staff living room. Tomorrow is our sleep-in morning, and I don't have to ring the wake-up bell until 8:30... luxurious!

I haven't written since I became head counselor*, I don't think (too lazy to check)... the upside of not posting lately is that I've been writing in my real journal (um, the paper kind) more often because I don't have to walk down to the computer hut and wait in line just to jot down a thought about my day. However, I do think I should embrace my new postion's easy access to the internet a little more than I have been doing. You know, I just really like what camp gives me: the chance to not check voicemails ('cause I don't have a phone), not check emails (because of the aforementioned line) and just generally not call anyone at all except those I need to. Why break that earlier than I have to?

On my day off this week my darling guy came to pick me up from camp (after having driving down from NJ the day before, and VT the day before that) and we spent a great day packing all our boxes into a moving van, buying our first real mattress (ca-ching! Thanks for the help, S & J) and swimming in the pool and eating Vietnamese food (thanks, Dad). I drove back to camp early in the morning after only a few hours of sleep, leaving K and K to drive the moving van up to Williamsburg. How extremely exciting to hear all about the new apartment! To start building a mental image of how many windows there are, of what the wood floors look like, of how tucked away it is... oh my gosh.

So, this is one of my favorite times, in life, in general: right before a big change. Know why I like it? Cause I like to put together this fantastic new-and-improved version of how I will live my day to day life: oh, I'll wake up refreshed in our beautiful bed and listen to something hilarious on NPR while sun streams through the window and I sip hot tea, then I'll ride my bike to the Rec center and take a pilates class, after which I'll hang out in the sauna, scrubbing away dead skin, and then I'll arrive, shining and apple-cheeked at the Montessori school, ready to begin my wonderful day teaching beautiful six-year olds how to do the crow pose. My lunch will be simple and healthy, my clothes will be from the bargain bin at the Banana Republic outlet store... and when I come home, Kenny will be sitting at the table with an impressive tome in his hand, glasses perched thoughtfully on his nose, and we'll talk all about our days, and what he's learning, and just how fascinating it all is. Then we'll go out for dinner and he'll go to the library and I'll come home and knit while watching an episode of Lost and then I'll go to bed, preferably before 10pm.

I can't wait!

*oh yeah, I got a promotion! I love love love my new job. Being part of the resource team and helping camp run smoothly makes me feel so fantastic. I love the puzzle of helping homesick kids, and I love the guidance-counselor role of helping counselors do their best possible jobs. At least, I hope that's what I'm doing. It's hard to find a balance at first between, "ooh, there's someone who shouldn't be doing that, am I on now? Do I say something now? Is it important? How can I handle that?" Of course, more often I get to say "oh, that person just did an awesome job. I should give them a thumbs up or something." Anyway, rambling now...

07 July, 2007

Almost half done...

Man, camp has got me jumping and rushing and multi-tasking to the very tip top of my best abilities. I start way before the wake-up bell clangs and finish almost always before the double digits of the p.m., after serenading, of course. I had my mid-summer evaluation with one of my Directors today, and am very very pleased (and feeling very validated) by my glowing review and the positive feedback from the staff working with me. Sweet.

The internet, though, is something I've just sort of had to let go of. As well as grammar, apparently. I just took the SITs out on their night off and due to being stuffed full of gross Mexican food and fine ice cream I am now sitting late at night in the computer hut, and there are bugs dipping past my face and flying down into my cleavage (consistently! how?) but I am determined to grind out a blog entry before I pick my way gingerly across the black trails and up to my little bed.

So. New love: this amazing woman's knitting site.

Current frustrations: tough to go to bed early (I've been getting up at 6:15am to jog (well, most days)) and no time to rest during the day. Face is breaking out. Always thirsty. But hey, that's summer, right?

Current joy: We have an apartment! I'm sending away our security deposit with Monday's mail. I have an address. In Virginia. Crazy! Exciting!

I also have a new phone number (but not a new phone- get it? It's a Skype thing). Lemme know if you want to call me.

Welcome back to the States, K & C!

22 June, 2007

Bed Bugs Bite

It seems like there's a list of things I don't have time to do here at camp (read books, finish a knitting project, write blogs) but I'm going to try to fit that last one in now before breakfast.

I have freaking bed bugs. For the last three nights, I've been sleepless, trying to drift off in between smacking, slapping, scratching and cussing (silently, since there are kids next to me). I have dreams that I'm washing my sheets in boiling water, only to wake up and find that nope, it's 1:20 am and I still have a long, itchy night to go. This morning I got up early and carried all my bedding over to the washing machine. I'm so tired. What else should I do? Are they in my clothes, too? My towels? How do I stop them? How did they get here? Is this something to be ashamed of, like having lice? Are they lice?

The worst part is that when I wake up in the morning, I have no bite marks, no red bumps. Only reddish areas where I've been scratching. But I know they're not imagined bed bugs, since last night I stayed awake with the light on until I caught one crawling across my arm. Tiny tiny little whitish thing, so incredibly small and so pinprick sharp when it bites. What the heck is it?

In other news, I'm just working like crazy around the clock. Jules is coming to pick me up on my night off tomorrow and I'm so excited. My world is full of dye and hot wax, batiks and candles, and lots and lots of tie-dye t-shirts. The most exciting things to have happened in the last week were
1) My favorite camper from several years ago, visiting now as a lovely teenager
2) Discovering all the nice things one can make with Sculpey clay beads and some silver findings

And I still haven't "found" my lost voice. I'm froggy, croakey, unable to squeak out anything above my stupid little four-note range way down in tenor land. Last night Ryan and Lilla and I "called" the mountain dance for Brookside, which actually went pretty smoothly.

Ok, time is up. More laterish.

10 June, 2007

I can finally tell you!

My secret is out!

I made a sweater this Spring. My first hand knit sweater. The whole shebang: body, sleeves, little crew neck, everything, all in a wool blend in chocolate brown. I worked on it for a really long time and it was so exciting, but I couldn't blog about it because it was supposed to be a suprise, and it the recipient happened to read my blog, the cat would have been out of the proverbial bag.

So here it is! First at three measily (sp?) inches:

Now with the body done:

And the finished product:

Check out my Flickr page for more pictures. I'm so glad I can show it off. I used Lion's Pride Wool-Ease (pretty darn cheap at $5 a skein) in a bulky weight, just in case I hated making it I wouldn't be out lots and lots of money. First sweaters can be made out of cheap wool, I think. But you know, I'm glad it came out well, because I love the color and the squishy softness, and that it's machine washable and dryable. It was really satisfying to make and show off to the knitting ladies at The Knitting Studio in Montpelier, who talked me through the rough spots.

Yay for sweaters! I've officially started my second one, for myself and in a more pricey, classy wool. I think I blogged about it already, but camp is eating my brain and I can't remember.

07 June, 2007

Rocking the Texture Crafts

A short one:

Am back at camp, working my way through a massive to-do list, mostly involving shaking bottles of tye-dye mixture and breaking wax into meltable chunks. Also covering tables with plastic wrap. Very exciting. Will be even better once we get to start creating some hyper colorful works of rainbow art. Tye-dye bandana, anyone?

Write post cards!
1080 Island Ford Road
Brevard, NC 28712


01 June, 2007

And we're off

Well, whatever I forgot to do or take with me will just have to stay undone or untaken. I spent this afternoon on a series of short plane trips and now I'm back in the home of my youth for one short night, and tomorrow morning it's off to camp!

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go.

I actually feel really good about my packing job. The introduction of a decently medium sized backpack to my collection of Stuff has helped me to retire (at least for this summer) the ginormous plastic steamer trunk I used to lug with me every year, crammed full of every possible variation on a summer camp outfit that I could squeeze out of my closet. Well, no more! I've pared it way down, and am only taking what I really need (which is a fair amount of stuff, just considering the shoes alone: one pair of old sneakers for creek hiking, one pair of good sneakers for actual jogging and hiking, one pair of "day off" shoes, one pair of chacos, to be worn every single day, and one pair of flip flops for showering). So now that I've got my costume for tajar ball, my dozen or so t-shirts, my very few pairs of shorts, some pj's, and lots of socks & underwear, I can pack the very important things. Like yarn. And treats. And books. But not many!

So... I'm outta here for awhile. Be good, everyone.

28 May, 2007

I've got the Jim & Pam blues.

From Dunder Mifflin, of course.

I guess I just miss Kenny. Too many episodes of The Office, too many glances at cute pictures on the wall. Oh well. Summers go fast when you're working at camp.

In other news... I'm almost ready to leave here. I'm pretty much packed, and today I vaccumed the whole house, every single room. Two whole vaccuum bags, mainly cat hair. The rugs are now very vibrant. Tomorrow I squeeze in my last flameworking session before I have to drive my now empty oxygen tank across town and return it to the shop. Still a lot left on the old to do list, however.

Just keep working, just keep working... and then it's off to Orientation, a week of "grown-up camp" that we'll so desparately need to have in order to be ready for campers arriving. Oh my stars, I still feel so lucky to get to play with beeswax and dye and cotton all summer. Probably means little to no sunshine for me, but hey: I'll just have to use my free time wisely. And by wisely I mean lounging on the grass. Ah the tough, tough life of the modern camp counselor.


25 May, 2007

LOST Season 3 Finale (no spoilers)

Oh, my god.

You know, the pacing of that show is so weird sometimes. There were more than a few episodes this season where I felt like nothing got accomplished. But this season finale, the pace was a sprint and there were so, so many twists. And as a good finale should, it's left me with both a feeling of finality and like I'm hanging on a cliff. I'm really unhappy with the final reveal (which we can talk about after you all see the episode) because it's so hopeless. Like going to a pessimistic fortune teller. But that's my opinion, and therefore subjective, and thus is not a spoiler.

I have to admit to tears welling up at more than one scene. What a freaking great show.

23 May, 2007

One week to go...

I just realized this morning that I leave Vermont in a week and a day. How did that happen? There's a lot I want to get done this week, so that things will be "ready" when the NH clan arrives home. Two of the major things (get the entire lawn mowed and buy the yarn for my summer knitting project*) happened yesterday, so now I'm down to:
1) pack!
2) ship camp stuff to camp
3) finish the serenade songbooks
4) vaccuum up all remaining cat hair, dust/dirt, cobwebs
5) organize any of my stuff that I'm not bringing into boxes
6) replace the kitty litter
7) take all my passwords & files off of the house computers
8) generally spiff up house

I think 8 is enough for now.

*I changed my mind about the Angel hair blanket. I don't really need any new blankets, and I do want to knit this sweater. I love the idea of having a camp project (socks don't count, duh) to knit in my free time and after hours (ah, hanging out on the staff living room porch with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a pile of stitchwork in my lap! Heaven!). Here's the picture of what it will look like (but with different colors) and my color choices:

Lite Lopi Pullover by Norah Gaughan

The Shearer's Yarn from Walople, NH in lilac, grape, fur green, light green, and blue heather

17 May, 2007

Cozy and warm

Keto came up from Boston today and we celebrated by making a feast: sweet potato fries were my contribution (with rosemary from the backyard garden) and fried scallion pancakes with a spicy dipping sauce were her specialty. YUM. We each had a glass of white wine and are now off to bed at slightly after 9pm. Oh my god, I love chilly spring nights!

In knitting news, I got six sweaters for $30 from the thrift store downtown so that I could unravel them and recycle the yarn into new projects for a much lower price than buying new yarn. Of course, this means I have two weeks to unravel them all (yikes). But it also means that I'll have fun, practically free balls of yarn with which to practice dyeing at camp this summer. Hooray!

Off to bed.

16 May, 2007

You make the baby, I'll make the socks

Sounds like a good compromise, eh? Here are Eliina's socks, safely arrived in Canada and modeled for us by her eminence the 9 week old. I'm so glad they fit!

14 May, 2007

Summer fun (somethin's begun)

I've been trying to think of a knitting project that I could work on all summer that wouldn't cost me my whole camp paycheck. In addition to our cute, cozy little yarn shop in town there's also a big box store, JoAnn's Crafts, that has an aisle or two of semi-cheap yarn (not as gross as Mall-Wart, but you definitely have to wade through all the Boucles and Chenilles), and this morning I looked up and was stunned to see that they have a whole, like ceiling shelf of this stuff:

I actually really like the colorways but when I was standing there, aware of the groceries melting in the car outside, I couldn't bring myself to buy a skein or two because I couldn't think of what to do with them. I'm not into making scarves anymore, and the fuzziness doesn't lend itself well to cables, and I wouldn't want a fuzzy sweater, but i did like the way the colors all looked thrown together on the shelf.
Then tonight when doing my requisite before-bed-blog-browsing, I saw this granny-square inspired project on Flickr, and it hit me: at 2 skeins/$4, the Angel Hair would be perfect to just grab lots of in four or five different colors, take a pair of some chunky needles, and make squares all summer long, seaming them as I go (so I'm not faced with a stack of chores at the end of the summer).

So that's it; I'm going to make a blanket! And as I'm going to be trying to teach as many counselors to knit as possible, maybe I can make it a community blanket, and as each girl or guy finishes their square, I can add it to the blanket and then more and more people will want to contribute.

Boo yeah!

A few more pieces falling into place

The universe and I have once more met in the middle with satisfactory outcomes. This weekend I went to Williamsburg to interview at the Montessori school and to scope out the town and Law School, so that Kenny and I know a little more about where we'll be next year. It's always a bit of a gamble to make such big decisions without first seeing for yourself what you've been reading about online. On screen, Williamsburg seemed like a puzzle of a town: it's touristy, but is it too touristy? It has a quaint downtown, but can you navigate it on foot or bike? How realiable is the bus system?

Well, sometimes you investigate and everything seems dimmer than what you had imagined. And other times, like this weekend, you see for yourself and you see possibilities and selling points absolutely everywhere. Here's what I thought. [Disclaimer: I only have about 3 days of experience so far, so this might all have to be taken with a grain of salt.]

First of all, the interview was successful on a few points: one, the staff and teachers that I met were all very warm and welcoming, and the head of school herself is really easy to talk with and had a manner that I foud to be a perfect mix of friendly and professional. She's a friendly professional. Two, I got the job! Which is great, because as we were taking the tour I was developing a little bit of a crush on the sweet gardens, the potential that my teaching space has, and the very thoughtful layout of the classroom environment. So, I'm glad I get to come back. I'm really excited to be a teacher again. My official title, actually, will be After School Coordinator and Movent & Music Specialist. (I'll run the after school program in the p.m. and lead music and movement lessons before and after the lunch time hour). So, once I had the employment question settled, I was free to explore and make a few decisions as far as where we should orient ourselves for optimal living next year. The town is actually pretty small. It's surrounded by the slightly larger James City County, or JCC. Which is funny, because growing up in Charlotte the JCC meant the Jewish Community Center. So looking at the map I was thinking, gosh, there certainly is a large Jewish population down here. But then I figured it out. Anyway, we definitly want to live within walking distance of the Law School, since that'll be Kenny's lifeblood, and I also want to take the bus as much as possible next year, so we want to live on the corner where both the green route and the purple route pick up passengers. The apartments on that corner appeared slightly less gentile in person than they were trying to make themselves out to be on paper, but I feel like they're a good kind of funky. Older, more humble housing. But two floors, two bedrooms (we get an office!) and hardwood floors, for an affordable amount of rent. Granted, a girl I talked to said you can hear every thing that goes on next door to you, and that maitenance was minimal and less than enthusiastic, but such is the nature of apartment living in a college town. All in all, I'd say not bad for our first year in a new town. We can always investigate different housing for our second year if we need to. Here's a few pictures of what will hopefully be our next nest:

Once i felt pretty good about applying for housing there, I went over to drop off our application and fee. They said that since we're looking at flexible moving dates, our chances are good at being accepted for a unit soon. Hopefully it'll happen, but we'll see. If not, then something better is in the works. I do
really like that it's behind a shopping center, so we can walk to Food Lion, an Indian resteraunt, a Vietnamese resteraunt (the only one in town) and lots of other shopping-certer-type places like Steinmart and Marshalls. Oh, and Big Lots. It's not rural Vermont anymore, is it Toto?

I've got to hand it to my pal Kenny. He made a really good decision as far as the Law School went. It had a really good feel to it. Friendly, it seemed, based on the bulletin boards and lost&found pile and the lockers and the coffee bar. Smart, it seemed, from the Friday morning classroom activity that I observed and from the snippets of conversation I heard as people passed by, no doubt wondering who I was and why I was taking pictures of the walls.

All in all, I'm happy that I got to take the bus everywhere, go to the knitting store and meet a few (hopefully) new friends, see our (hopefully) new place, and take lots of snaps of where K will be spending most of his time next year. It didn't hurt that it was a gorgeous weekend, very sunny with lots of breezes to show off the old trees and green lawns. I like it. There's a UU church and a contra dance and the coolest Rec center/gym that has saunas and a great lap swimming pool and a freaking pottery room with a kiln (Just time me. I am so getting permission to work in there). Williamsburg, get ready for us!

05 May, 2007

Light as a feather

Ah, contra dancing. Although there's never a day that I don't love you, there are some days that I forget exactly how much you mean to me, how good you make me feel. Thanks so much for tonight. You made me look graceful and assured, and let me tell you, after my wrestling match with the lawn mower this afternoon, I needed to regain a little physical dignity. I'm so glad that the neat tricks I learned in North Carolina aren't yet the norm up here, so that I looked cool with all my little extras (hey, I was just doing it Old Farmer's Ball style, and it spread!). Oh, and THANK YOU for the Lost & Found giveaway that happened tonight: the shoes are perfect. They are my new magic dancing shoes. You probably sent them my way to ensure that I would have no more blisters as an excuse to just stay home and knit, but you know what? I'm ok with that. And hey, next dance is Peter Amidon's dance and also my last one in Vermont for awhile. I can't wait.

Until then, I remain your faithful devotee.

30 April, 2007

Warning: all about exercise

[Blogger spell-check screwed up my paragraphs again. Sorry if this is choppy-looking.]

Living in Saigon can be tough if you're used to getting your cardio exercise done outdoors. Gyms were not overly pricey but they're just not as good as strapping on your headphones and jogging out of your own front door, but it was way too hot for that. You could, as Kim proved daily, just go for a jog before the sun came up, but I, well, insert sarcastic laughing here. So it was with great joy and a little trepidation that I returned to Vermont, land of miles and miles of dirt roads winding
through oxygen-rich forests and dappled shady patches. Joy, right? Well, mostly. I still deal with a little bit of fear andenervation before my workout, but that's some sort of wacky head thing that I think I can kill with enough talking to myself in a kind and gentle way, variations on "You don't have to run a marathon. Every step is a
good step. Walk away from theinternet and put on your sneakers." And so on.

So I've been doing these four-mile walks on a handy loop that takes me from the house, up to the "four corners," down to another intersection, and back up to the top of our road. I usually wear myiPod because it just feels so much faster to listen to something (I do enjoy bird sounds and whatnot, but I'm a true product of my generation. I need to learn something, sing along to something, or listen to a story while I'm walking. Give mepodcasts and watch me walk for hours.)

In the interest of my heart, lungs, favorite jeans, etc, I've been increasing the cardiovascularly-challenging parts of my days, so that I can already be at least almost in shape before I go to camp, where the real weight-loss action takes place. Doubly good. To help me along, I downloaded a podcast from prevention magazine. It's a walking workout that talks you through three minutes of moderately paced music and then a one-minute "speed burst" at a higher BPM, and does this four times for a total of 16 minutes. The beginner's
level felt good the first day, and the next day I found myself ready to repeat the workout as soon as it was over. See, jogging is okay. It scares me, but I know that if I try very very hard for many many days it does start to get a little tiny bit easier. I'm not being a wimp, I think. I just honestly hate it. Sure, you can point out those times where I was running along,wind in my face and grinning, saying "I love this!" but I only love it when I'm there, already trained, already past the hard part. And I've been mentally gathering those little tidbits from health magazines that pronounce a good speed-walking session just as good for you as jogging, and better for the joints, so I say huzzah to that.

Anyway, I figured the beginner level to be good for a warmup, so I went ahead and downloaded the advanced level and tried it out for the last 16 minutes of my walk on Saturday. The "moderate" three minutes felt great and really got my heart beating and my forehead hot, but the higher-intensity minute was just way too fast for walking.
Instant shin-splint feeling. So, I decided to run it. Since it's only a minute, I know that no matter how much the running sucks it'll be over soon. So I'm doing that, walking fast for three minutes, and running (faster than I jog) for one minute, and all of a sudden those mythical endorphins kick in and it's like someone just cast me in an insanely happy commercial for Prozac or something. I'm grinning, the wind is in my face, I'm loving it. Hooray!

I just did it again this morning (Monday). I left the house and it was rainy and cold, but as I got past my 1st beginner's set and started it over for the second time (I needed a long warm up today), the sun broke out and the skies showed a little bit of blue. I used the middle mile for a stretching, cooling down part (listening to This American Life) and then when I hit the intersection of Max Gray and Calais Rd (I
think) I put on the advanced level, and kicked ass all the way home.

I've been true to my 5 yoga-pushups a day, but find that I can eek out more now, so I stop at somewhere around 10 or 11. It's funny how when you've got your whole day free to structure as you please (including getting work done and doing chores, of course) it becomes so much easier to find a fitness schedule that actually works. And by posting this, it wort of guarantees that I'll keep doing it. You know, don't want to look like a chump in front of all 6 of you who read this. (It's quality, not quantity, and I love you all).

28 April, 2007

Research = fun things?

Gosh, I guess I've spent so much time viewing my little crafts as exactly that, that it's hard to start making the switch to viewing them as what they are now that I'm officially studying crafts education: research. All those better parts of hours spent online going knitting blog to knitting blog tracing the birth of a trend in fingerless glove patterns; combing through the index of soft glass rods and comparing each color's Coefficient of Expansion to make sure my beads aren't going to split themselves in two; making another trip to the craft store to compare pottery tool prices with those at Wal-Mart... it's all been research. It's not slacking. It's... important.


21 April, 2007

The socks are done!

Class tuition: $30
Cool yarn: $14
Knitting needles: $20

Awesome socks: Priceless.

18 April, 2007

internet blitz

Soothing the addled driver's brain with a good early night to bed can only be made better by a solid hour of starry-eyed gazing at pretty web sites. Best finds of the night:
1) Yarnboy.com

2) State of Mine (if I wore bling, it'd be this... but where to put the diamond?)

3) Finally, I found the plates. A while ago, a saw this collection of dinnerware and fell in love like you only can when its your first time (falling for plates, that is).

16 April, 2007

100 posts celebration

You are all invited to my 100 Posts celebration, in celebration of the fact that I've now posted 100 times to this blog.
When: Now
Where: Here
RSVP: you just did!
Wow, thanks for coming, everyone. Here's a quick update:

-I am being flown down to Williamsburg for a job interview at a most excellent Montessori school, which would be grand for several reasons, the top reasons being a) the job title includes lots of creative artistic work being done with younger children and b) it's full time with benefits and c) the director seems like someone I would very much like to work with and she understands a living-and-working synthesis that I would like very much for my life and d) it's in Williamsburg, close to the campus where Kenny will be squeezing out his brains every day. So, here's hoping I am suave and smooth and relaxed come the interview weekend.

-I'm in Princeton right now, hanging out with people that I like and care for very much, enjoying a respite from the snows of Vermont.

-I've been doing some hot glass work in the basement, which makes me feel good, since it was such a financial investment to set up my own studio.

-let's see... oh yes, have successfully knit two pairs of socks (one for me, one baby-sized which will be mailed off to a Canadian-Vietnamese baby quite soon)

-I weathered a stomach-flu (not mine) last week, and am always proud of myself when I manage to manage someone else's vomiting without screaming and running away. I was actually quite maternal and caring. Sweet.

-I reckon that's it for now. Life is good.

09 April, 2007

Breathe! BREATHE, dammit!

Oh, godddd... my iPod is dying.



It won't hold a charge, it acts like it doesn't know any of its songs anymore (the screen just flips steadily from the first song to the second to the third without, I guess, reading any of the information) it makes a solid whirring sound like an old CD player... oh, sad, sad.

Poor pod.

05 April, 2007

Snowy again

Just another short post from my warm little nest. It took me almost a week to figure out that wait as I may, the house wasn't going to warm up by itself and it really was in my best interest to start a big, roaring fire. The difference is amazing, and quite toasty.

This morning I woke up to discover that even though it's April which in my mind should mean No Snow Whatsoever, no one bothered to tell the Northeast Kingdom and there is a foot of new powder on everything, including the cars, including the path to the bus stop, including (doh!) the wood pile. So, I've been doing a lot of digging. K's school has a two-hour delay this morning, and I'm just totally in awe of what he's doing right now: singing along in perfect synchronicity to not only the Beatles' songs but the awkward prattling of Paul in between the songs. Not the same words, exactly, but the same sounds, starts and stops, guffaws, ums, and throat-clearings. So he's twisting and shouting and I'm tapping and typing, waiting for the new bus stop appointment. We are having fun with this surprise morning time.

I'm kind of dissapointed that it's still snowy, as I pictured myself turning my morning hikes into morning jogs by now, but my boots rub a blister into my heel and sneakers are just really inappropriate for calf-deep snow. My morning hikes have turned temporarily into ten minutes or so of half-assed morning stretching, and then morning toast. Ah, well. It'll have to melt soon. At least my arms are getting strong-- I've implemented a strict routine of five push-ups a day. Don't laugh, I'm sore.

02 April, 2007

Masters, masters, masters

I'm accepted! Ladies and gentlemen, I am now officially accepted to the Prescott College Masters of Arts program, and shall be earning a degree of my own design, a Masters in crafts Education. I am prepared to learn a lot, set my own deadlines (not to mention my own classes), and be a force for positive change, protection and growth in the hands-on learning world.


Of course this means more student debt, but hey, it won't be as bad as the soon-to-be debt of *some* people I know... heh heh.

31 March, 2007

Anyone want a tuchis massage?

Maybe it's because I'm full of sugar-on-snow (a local specialty, which for some reason come with a donut and pickles), but this website for the Russian and Turkish Baths in NYC just left me giggling for minutes on end. Here are some of my favorite passages (with spelling and punctuation precisely as I found it):

Here the Russian strongman or woman, will pound, squeeze, unwind and de-tense muscles you didn't even know you had.

Lie down while in the Russian steam room and a platza specialist will scrub you (actually beat you) with a broom made of fresh oak leaves, sopping with olive oil soap.

Select from the fragrant smelling soaps, such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, or hemp and our professional will wash you like you haven’t been bathed in months.

Slough off the dead skin with the exfoliating pleasures that is countless millenniums old. [countless millenniums??]

No one seems self-conscious, lounging or walking in almost naked bliss, whether their body resembles Jackie Gleason or an Olympic Russian Gymnast.

Another ten people are hanging out in the Russian Room, filling up buckets-and before passing out-dumping it over their heads. "Feels. Good", says a lady named Paula, who barbecues herself once a week here.

When the heat starts to get unbearable, take one of the dozens of buckets around the room, fill it with ice cold water, and like the Russians hundreds of years before you have done, dump it over your head. Now don't be self-conscious because as you will soon notice, everyone is dousing themselves with buckets of water. In that sheer moment as the ice-cold water pours over you, comes one of the most enjoyable moments you will ever experience. It is sheer delight.

So just kick off your shoes and take-off your clothes and we'll give you a robe, some slippers and all the towels you want. You'll be in for a new old-world pleasure of being totally relaxed and spanking clean.

30 March, 2007


The snow is melting and revealing things, funny things. Today on my walk I discovered a place where there were dozens and dozens of piles of dog poop. What made all the dogs want to poop there? And now that the snow has given them back their sacred ground, will they continue to add to the collection?

Also, I just reread over the past few entries and it seems like Blogger is doing some wack things with my formatting, as you can see below. Pieces of sentances are missing, some spaces are taken out, making the wordslook likethis, and there are times when in the middle of a column, the sentance will jump down and continue on the next line (not sure what this is called, but I know it has a symbol like pi with a twirly top).

In this house there are two cats. One is LOUD and mrows constantly. The other one is silent and hugely fat, and likes to lie on the floor on his back with his legs poking out of his massive hairy body, like fuzzy popsicle sticks askew. When you pass by, he will make little jabs at your ankle with his paws, trying to grab you. The best thing is when you're downstairs and he is upstairs and the house is quiet, you can feel the house shake as he jumps down from whatever perch he's just abandoned. Boom! Scamper scamper scamper.

I discovered the other day the logic behind why my knitting looks different from every one else's. It turns out I've been doing something called "twisting my stitches," inserting the right hand needle into the back of the loop instead of through the front and out the back. I always wondered how everyone else was knitting so much faster than I was, and I thought there was just something wrong with the muscles in my fingers that was keeping me from holding the yarn around my right index finger and making it fly onto the needles, a tazmanian clickity-clack tornado of needles and string like you see in the cartoons. Sooo, I sat myself down with a bowl of yesterday's veggie chili and the first Lord of the Rings movie, and taught myself how to knit the 'right' way. And you know what? It's damn fast. I am so proud of myself. The only problem is, I'm knitting a sock, and as we all know, you pretty much have to make both socks the same. So when it's time for me to make sock #2, I'll have to knit 'wrong' (with the twisting stitches) until the same point where I switched today. Ah, well. Such is the price of education.

Speaking of education... when will I hear from Prescott?? They said by the end of the month at the latest. Well, it's here! So did I get it? Argh!

Last night I went to Burlington to see the adorable and vivacious Sweetback Sisters play their early country/honky-tonk set. It was such a sweet little show. They manage the perfect blend of polished and thrown togetherness.

Today is sunny and cold. I have dark chocolate covered almonds and fresh carrot ginger juice. Later, when I'm stressed out, will someone remind me how happy I am right now? Thanks.

Oh yeah, the one bad thing about keeping an online journal is that the 'real life' journal gets forgotten about and sits gathering dust. Here is a picture of my real life journal, just so I can invoke its presence here and hopefully motivate myself to get it out and shake the dust away.

And it's not even 10 am yet

This morning, I walked four miles, saw wild turkeys and deer crossing the road, and saved the neighbor's dog from drowning (seriously). It's gonna be a good day.

29 March, 2007

Oh, dear. How do people make decisions? When you have these big, real life, affecting-other-people kind of decisions to make, what do you do besides make mental lists of pros and cons, talk to other people about how each choice might make you feel, and do countless hours of informal internet research? I'm not sure how other people do it. I'm sort of fascinated right now with reading blogs (of friends or strangers) that deal with important decisions in the writers' own lives. Really? You decided to move there? How did you do it? What did you think about? Really? You decided? How?

News From the Frontlines!


For over twenty-four hours now, the CC has been demonstrating what can only be called monumental self-control over the urge to change time. This morning at precisely 0745 the oven and microwave clocks were unveiled in celebration, amidst high-fives, toothy grins, and bagel sandwiches.

It was over all too soon, however, when it was discovered that yesterday while I was in Montpelier, not one but two lowfat ice cream sandwiches went missing from the freezer, leaving all present to wonder if what we have here was a kryptonic force or mere premature celebration on behalf of the triumphant clock resistance.

In any case, stay tuned for tonight's drama, called Jessica Goes to Burlington until at least Ten o'Clock, or, the CC Versus the Kitchen Clock Army, Part Deux.

27 March, 2007

Fighting the war against time


I find myself reluctantly taking part in a Battle of the Clocks. My nemesis: the omnipotent Clock Changer (CC). The CC creates his special brand of chaos by sneaking around the house, resetting all the clocks to some strange new timezone (sometimes eighteen minutes fast, sometimes exactly one hour slow) and then promising me that he didn't and wouldn't and won't ever again. It's like he can't help himself. A few mornings ago, I woke up at 6:30 am to the sound of sly fingers making the oven clock go beep beep beep. At night, I listen through the walls to him trying to talk himself out of taking the clock off the wall.

"CC," I said this afternoon, "why does the oven clock say the wrong time?" This after a morning pep talk on the subject of Don't! Please! There'll be trouble! Resist!! To no avail.

"Uh. What?" says the CC, eyes all doey, the very picture of beffudled innocence.

"This clock. Did you change it?" I try to keep a happy, just-curious tone.

"Uh, no. Mom says not s'posed to do that."

"That's right." And then we repeat the previous conversation. And them we have it again in the evening, when I come back from a short walk, its purpose being not exersize for me but for the CC, to see if he can resist while I'm gone. He couldn't.

So tonight, after finding the CC's alarm clock wrong (and turned off) (a major offense, seeing as it results in either dinging way early or worse, late) I have resorted to sneaky tactics. I've taped a bookmark over the oven clock. I taped two post-it notes (blue) over the microwave clock. And the wall clocks? I hid them. I'm not telling you where.

So now there will be no obsessing over time. It's not permanent, but I think I'll try to establish a sort of "you mess with them, they go away" system. We'll see what happens.

So here are the new rules. From now on, we are each allotted a watch. The CC can change his all he wants, ditto to the clock on his bedroom wall (trying to keep a sense of personal property as the reason for not changing clocks), but I will always have my watch on, and that shall be the official Time of the House. That and NPR. I have my own alarm clock, which will tell us when it's really 7:00 am.

I mean, I'd know if he changed my watch, right?


[to shed a different light, the CC was *awesome* today during nail-clipping time. And I got a spontaneous hug during our evening Buffy episode. Hoorah!]

26 March, 2007

Sittin in the office not doin no harm

There was a popular underground video making its way around Boone, NC when I was there for college, called "Jesco The Dancing Outlaw." It feels like a home movie made by Jesco himself (but in fact is a documentary made by an Emmy Award-winner) documenting several facts:

1. Jesco, who was born and raised in Boone County, West Virginia, is indeed a dancing (flatfooting on a board) outlaw (I think he was violent or drunk or both, and he did some time).
2. He likes Elvis a lot, and can even impersonate him, especially when he (Jesco) huffs gas fumes from a rag.
3. He loves his wife. And Jesus.

My roomate's and my moment from the movie shot from afar, and the editor put
subtitles on the screen so the viewers could understand what was being said over
there on the sidewalk, across the street. Someone asksJesco what he's doing, and Jesco says (or so we read): "I'm just sittin' on the corner not doin' no harm."

This line has such a lyrical quality, such a rhythm, that it became our catchphrase. And I just now thought of it for the first time in years.

This weekend we drove the big blue van down to Boston (you know you're up
North when you can say down to Boston) to drop the Northern Harmony teachers off for their flights to Europe. YesterdayKei and I drove (well, just me) the van back up. I can't believe we're just three hours from Boston. Unbelievable. This morning at the bus stop I was trying to explain to our neighbor how strange this is for me when I remembered that she's from NC as well, so she understands how that from down south, Boston is a whole 'nother world. And that's how we'd say it down there. Does anyone else say 'nother? Write in if you do. I'm curious.

My knitting class last Wednesday was a big success. My teacher is very cool, my classmates are funny and warm, and I can now knit socks on two circular needles at once. It's easy! I love it. I had almost four inches of the leg part done when I discovered that (surprise) it didn't fit my ginormous calf. I'm not being unnecessarily harsh here; it's true. I have big calves, but notcankles . They taper down nicely. Which means that my socks wouldn't pull up as far as they were designed to, so I had to take out the whole 4 inches and start again. Using my finely tuned (like a run-over trombone) math skills, I developed a tapering pattern for the sock that starts off as big as I need it to and gently comes back to the prescribed number of stitches for the ankle part, all while staying true to the K2 P2 rib. I am a knitting master. Fear me and my warm feet.

So, this morning was my first morning handling all the office stuff my myself. I really want to do a good job. I must say, it's not exactly easy learning QuickBooks and a new address filing system and remembering the steps to take when we get checks in the mail and filling PayPal orders (ok, that part's easy) and the myriad of other small tasks that make up my job. Once I get a little more practice in, it should get smoother. Right now I'm commenting aloud to myself often and trying to remember all the stuff that I need to do. But so far, so good. No major screw-ups. I feel quite competent.

It's also pretty satisfying being able to control what groceries come in and out of the house. I have sworn that Kei and I will have the most vegetable-laden, made from scratch, low fat high fiber wholesome Spring that either of us have ever seen.

In other news, I'm officially one of the arts n' crafts leaders at camp this summer. I could not be more elated about this. Those who know me through camp will know that I have mostly done fine arts (music/drama/dance) in the past but that I've really wanted to be switched to crafts (pottery/candlemaking/batik/tie-dye/beads/etc). I
understand my Directors' hesitation about this, because if you have a competent staff member working in area A, why switch them to area B? You have to get a replacement for area A plus you know there are like a dozen salivating counselors just dying (no pun) to be in area B. So, finally, finally. Hooray for 2007! I'm going to try to do an awesome job of it.

Well, better keep filing. Brrr.

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr