27 February, 2008

Chinless soup with & lice

What to do when your American grad school life seems dull & stressful? Take yourself back to Southeast Asia, where funny menus add a little sparkle to each day. Mmm... Mush Room Bam. Boo!

24 February, 2008

Paper paper paper

It turns out that after all the work I've put into this paper, I might actually be quite proud of it. PC makes you turn in your best paper from the previous semester in the form of a "qualifying packet," which proves (or disproves, I guess) that you are worthy of writing five more the following semester. I went back and reread mine tonight, as I'll be putting the finishing touches on this week (I have to add a few more pages and spiffy up my cover page, print it out in duplicate, and mail them off to the Motherland before Friday). The title is The development of a handicraft culture in the Southern Appalachian mountains, and me and the APA Style Guide have been all up in each other's laps for a good long while trying to make sure that all my indentations and quotations and notations are just as they should be. Sigh.

But by the time this baby is done, I think I'm going to almost want to show it off. Not to anyone who knows anything about the subject, of course, but... well, wait, next month I'll be at the Folk School for a week with one of my sources, Jan Davidson. Hmm. Maybe I'll bring a copy, just in case we get to talking about my studies. And the fact that I'm basically farting around in his life's work. It would be fun. Just as long as Jane S. Becker doesn't show up... she's the end-all, be-all of the scholars whose work I summarized in my paper, and she seems truly fearsome in her knowledge of and opinions about the Craft Revival.

20 February, 2008

Middle of Feb. update

Ah. I just led a 20 minute "vinyasa yoga" class for 4, 5, and 6 year olds. Their teacher stopped in to observe, which is always fantastic because the children are *so* much better behaved. They were so good hearted, with their little eyes closed, breathing deeply, stretching their wiggly little limbs out to the universe. Very cool. [Side note: I have learned that with these children, if you simply instruct them to "breathe deeply", they'll pant like dogs. You must say "breathe slowly" to get the desired calming effect.]

Let's see. I had a four-day weekend just now, and despite having big plans for all the things i was going to get done, I managed only to clean up around the house, finally put hubcaps on the back tires and scrape the last owner's stickers off the windows, and knit a lot. I may have organized a few things here and there, but I decidedly did not accomplish any schoolwork or my taxes. Oh, well. I did go to the library, and to pottery class, and to two yoga classes, and swam laps.

I only lost .6 of a pound this week, putting my grand total so far at 16.8 pounds lost since Jan. 1st. I'm still 2.2 away from my 1st milestone, but I'd rather have this slow, steady progress than losing a bunch really quickly and then gaining it back again just as quickly, which is the way the world works, and is also unhealthy for your organs. So. I'll just keep ticking away. Whittling, as it were.

There are at least 3 couples that I know of who will be expecting their 1st child this year, and with that motivation I've finally discovered why knitters are so fixated on baby things. They're fast. They allow you to try out new techniques without committing to huge projects. Plus, they're damn adorable when finished. Look what these lucky fetuses shall receive, once they are born:

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ), and a shorter version of the same pattern (my Baby Surprise Bolero, which I'm sure has been done thousands of times before, but is new to me).

Also, these baby socks, knit from the leftovers of the ball that made Patty's Xmas socks.

Fun! Little! Cute!

13 February, 2008

A boring post.

I got phlegm, you got phlegm, let's get together and use that phlegm!

No, wait, let's not. Hack, cough, blow, snort, hack: this is a sickhouse. K has mono and I have invasive and never-ending phlegm. I think that's enough for now, eh?

Work continues to be fun and challenging, grad school is getting fired back up again for a new semester, K is hard at work while being sick and tired, and we both are looking forward to the return of warm weather and bikeable days.

Lent: well, it's still going... I'm trying to be conscious of interrupting... but it's not like lents of old, where I felt the pull of the sugar addiction every day. Oh well. It'll probably get harder as I go on.

That's what she said.

Getting healthy: Still rocking out. Have lost 15.1 pounds. Have this week's weigh-in in an hour or so. Will report back if good news.

Our house is messy. Am saving up for the big cleanup party that must happen before my Mom and Step-Dad arrive for a week in March.

That's all I've got for now...

Happy Lunar New Year!

04 February, 2008

Thinking about Lent

Of course I'm not Catholic, but a few years ago I started participating in Lent by giving up something for forty days, and that something is always sugar. I still feel a need to give up sugar, but for some reason this year it seems unbalanced to have my "given up thing" be dietary. I guess that's because I'm already being so mindful of what I eat. Yup, this year, I'm going to better myself on the inside as well: I'm going to try to give up interrupting.

I don't interrupt out of rudeness; usually it's a strong desire to empathize verbally with whomever is speaking. It's the way I've trained myself to show that I'm really listening. Ironic, I know, that I show how well I'm listening by interrupting the speaker before they're done. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to try as hard as I can to remember to let the other person finish. I hope it will make me a better listener as well as a more understanding and patient person.

But: how will I handle it when kids are saying rude things to each other? Will my silent presence be a powerful enough force? (Probably). What will I do when others interrupt me? Will I be angry? (I hope not).

We'll see how this goes.

02 February, 2008

Of Scarves and Spiders

I am sick. I have swollen things in my throat. I am dizzy and achy. I am primary school teacher! Ah ha!

Two big things happened today. I'll start with the smaller of the two, which is actually bigger. Anyway, this morning I hung out at the Knitting Sisters, took a quick workshop on fringe and pompom making, and now have two finished objects to show off:

1. Skinny Scarf, as wished for in this blog post:

2. Baby socks, for an upcoming camp GV baby (there seem to be so freaking many GV spawn in utero right now but I still want these to be a surprise gift, so I won't say which loving couple will be receiving these for their wee one's feet):

Hokay, time for the big thing! After coming home from grocery shopping, Kenny and I noticed that there were these little fuzzy dots all along the top of our walls and down the sides of our doors. Truth be told, I had noticed them a few weeks ago and swiped a few from our bedroom walls, but it wasn't until today's bright winter sunshine that we saw just how many there were downstairs in the living room. We whipped out the vacuum cleaner and went to town tearing them all down, noting that they were teeny little baby spiders (sorry, you lovers of baby spiders out there). We were in the middle of bemoaning our apartment's tendency towards insect invasions (anyone remember the ladybug extravaganza?) when I noticed, on the bottom stair, this behemoth:

"Holy crap!" I yelled, "it's a freaking black widow! Awesome!" Kenny hurried over to check out our find, and I told him about the only other time I've seen a black widow spider: I was little, crawling after my brother between the hedge and the house, and looked up from the ground just in time to go cross-eyed at the big black spider hanging right in front of my forehead. We were totally normal, black-widow-obsessed North Carolinian kids, and I felt both lucky and shit-scared to have found one. I think I recall Aaron not believing me, and I cried, and my Dad said that he believed me, but I knew he was just trying to comfort me. It was an emotional day.

Anyway, Kenny scooped up the spider and we did a quick Google search, and found lots of spiders that matched ours. Some had perfect hourglass patterns and some were like ours, two red halves unconnected in the middle. Whether or not it is an actual black widow, I can't be totally certain, but it's the closest thing I've seen to one in about twenty years. One thing the Internets seemed sure about was that our spider eggs were not black widow eggs (ours are translucent and soft, theirs are opaque white and spiky looking).

Here's the spider eggs on our walls. They're hard to see here, but there were many:

And here's my favorite shot of the spider:

Isn't that awesome?

I'm on Flickr a lot.

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