Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Have yarn, will travel

Yep, I'm back in the 'Burg, intermittently knitting and typing. Two papers down, one to go.

Whatever did we do without the Internet?!? In the past week, the Internet has facilitated my life in the following ways:

  • Got me a ride home. Instead of paying $65 for a one-way bus fare to DC, I used the Cornell Ride Board. Got me there for $10, in 6 hours instead of 10.
  • Got me a phone card. Thus I was able to call the travel agent in Peru for $.03/minute instead of $3.00/minute to confirm my travel arrangements for next week.
  • Got my papers in on time. I can submit work done in VA to NY with the click of the mouse.

Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg; but it just makes you go hm.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Cancel that ambulance, things are back to normal:

(The observant reader will notice that, yes, I am still in my pajamas... a good day is when I don't actually get dressed until afternoon!)

Papers are coming along nicely, and I have a ride home on Monday! This is what I'm writing a couple of my papers about:

And here's a peek inside:

It's a first-hand account of the farmworker movements in California led by Cesar Chavez, through the eyes of three children who were there. Awesome.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Is it even possible?

Somebody take my temperature! I'm actually...tired of knitting...

Too funny to pass up!

Especially the items about sleep:

Nothing like some sweet surrealism to start your day off right... (check the time stamp on this entry and you'll know what I'm talking about with reference to the sleep thing) :-)

Monday, December 04, 2006


Two more class sessions and three papers to go before the end of the semester, and look what happens:
At least I've finished all my reading (and there was some really good stuff at the end! At least I liked it!), and at least I've finished something:
Don't tell me it's not adorable - Go Big Red!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I was on a rare and magical confidence binge tonight! Sometimes I feel a tiny bit bipolar (although if I was diagnosably so I think my therapist might have told me... she's good about things like that). I was walking into the mail room just as my prof was walking out. He pointed at the mailboxes to indicate that he'd returned our papers, and I said "Ah, the moment of truth!" (maybe just a little nervously).

He said, "Oh, yours was excellent, as always," in that sort of "oh please," tone of voice.

So I picked up the paper and read through the comments just feeling more and more pleased with myself with each page... and while there were plenty of "you could expand this point further" comments, overall, man, I rocked. I rocked this freaking paper. I wouldn't hear criticism tonight if it bit me on the butt.

Call me tomorrow though - and it could be a whole 'nother story.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Is it my imagination, or do I really look like a 14-year-old boy in this picture???

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Home Stretch

You know you're near the end of the semester when you start strategizing how early you can go home for the holidays...

Monday, November 27, 2006

That Sinking Feeling... the pit of my stomach has nothing to do with Thanksgiving overeating (though there was lots of that going on!). I just submitted my third and last (for the semester) fellowship application, the one I feel like I have the best shot at actually's done, turned in, and all I have to do now is send in transcripts and wait.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Finished Objects

An evening visit from Claire bearing delicious pumpkin bread - correction: delicious homemade pumpkin bread, plus a long-ish phone confab with the hubby, and look what happens: Finished objects! Lovely blocking wires for the alpaca shawl, which I am very much looking forward to wearing (the shawl, not the wires), FINALLY (now that I know how to do a stretchy bind-off, my quality of life has taken a dramatic turn for the better), plus the toe-up socks (matching yet not matching, how clever, yes?) and the inimitable Pea Pod sweater with matching hat. I had fun blocking that one too, although the cotton fiber felt a little washcloth-y when wet. I am very glad I decided to fix the mistake in the lace as it turns out to be one of the technically best things I've turned out so far. I feel really proud of my workwomanship :-). I also love the massive button selection there is at the local yarn store (LYS, to those in the knitting know) and at Joanne Fabrics. Ugh - chain - but lots of buttons. Button choice makes me happy. Ah, consumerism.

I've been thinking about what a luxury hand-knitting is. Used to be a necessity - before machines were invented that could do the knitting for you, hands and needles was all there was. Made me humbly appreciate my stash and resolve to enjoy the knitting process thoroughly, and knit with love for people I love.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Not Rats

I woke up this morning and there was snow on the ground! (And yes, it was still technically morning!)

I happily pulled out my new boots that I ordered online - it was my incentive for finishing the NSF application. You have to cheer yourself on somehow. They are warm, comfortable, good treads, and I think they look cool (though maybe not with the black sweatpants stuffed in).

But the really big story today is what happened to the ceiling (pictured below). Wednesday night I heard an ominous scuttling in the drop ceiling over the kitchen. "It has to be squirrels - it has to be squirrels" I kept telling myself. I had rats in my house in Bolivia back in the day and they were NOT FUN. They got into my yarn, they dragged a whole DRESS off the hanger and half of it into their hole. When I pulled it out it was gnawed on and unwearable. The one night that a cat actually came around it ended up dead. I don't know how, but I blame the rats. And this was long after I had stopped putting down poison because the neighbor's dog would get it before the rats did... Anyway, that was in Bolivia and I was not eager for a repeat.

Well, the squirrel myth died when I SAW the unmistakable shape of a rodent crawl sniffing out onto the translucent panel under the fluorescent lights. So I banged on all the ceiling tiles to make it go away and hoped it would just get the picture and GO AWAY.

Inspecting the apartment carefully I found no rat droppings and no chew marks so I knew it hadn't come down in but I figured it was only a matter of time. I called Terry. "Put poison down," he said. Yeah, like that worked so well in Bolivia. I figured I'd have to tell the landlady but I put it off until Friday morning when again the critter(s?) was/were running around above my head.

I was not prepared for her reaction, which was not fear and loathing, but utter joy. "IT'S NESSA!" she cried. Evidently their pet gerbil had escaped Wednesday night and the two daughters had been searching for her and crying for two nights and a day.

Well, the fun didn't stop there. Janet came down and we lifted up a ceiling tile, and sure enough, it was a gerbil. Not a rat (phew). All her toys and favorite foods were brought down to coax her to us but to no avail. She'd get close enough to grab a nut or slice of apple and then POW. Gone. When the girls got home from school they had no luck either. When Terry showed up at about 6:00 we were still at it. Then somebody said, "Why don't we take out a whole row of tiles so she can't run into the back corner again?" Well shucks, why don't we just take out ALL the tiles except the one she's standing on and then we can grab her easily? By golly, it worked! It only took five people and a whole day! Oh yes, and TERRY was the one who actually grabbed her; he did his little happy dance :-). It was short work to put back the tiles and vacuum the carpet. The end.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Making Yarn Obey Me

A good lace pattern can be truly magical... as long as you stay in control of those tricksy yarn overs! I was going to live with the mistake in the second repeat of the pattern, but then I saw a picture of this same sweater on another knitting blog (error-free) and knew I had to correct it. The pattern is one of the free ones from Interweave Knits, and it really knits up fast - as long as you don't make or miss those doggone yarn overs. I think I'm going to keep this one, in a fit of irrational optimism. The yarn is a cotton-silk blend but more cotton and less silk than the yarn I used for Anita's tank top.

Drama in Real Life!

Remember those old Reader's Digest stories? Last night I was whining to Terry about walking home from the library in the cold and for some reason he was unsympathetic to my drama. I don't get it. :-) Here are the finished hats on their way to Heidi!

Once again, I am struck by the way you can FINISH a knitted object but an academic paper never really feels done. I turned in my second big paper of the semester last night and I keep thinking about all the flaws... it just still feels like a work in progress. I'm planning to rework the same paper for another class where we're using some of the same theorists, so at least there's a chance for redemption there.

Sleep has been problematic this week and I'm not sure why; I've been really good about exercise and cutting out caffeine. I've made another lifestyle change - instead of watching TV on the Internet during the last hour before I go to bed (c'mon, it's my little reward for working hard!) I turn the computer OFF an hour before bedtime and just read. It worked last night, sort of - I feel asleep around 10:30 (instead of 2 or 3 a.m.), but I was awake from 2-4. My alarm was set for 10:15 - so I did get about 10 hours and felt pretty good this morning. It amuses me how I've slid right back into my night owl ways!

Thanksgiving break is looking really good up ahead...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I was talking with one of my 1st-year peeps about "vibes" we'd gotten from a professor earlier that day, as we each individually ran into him in the hall. We thought he seemed cool, not happy to see us, something like that, and we each interpreted it the same way - that we hadn't done well on the paper we'd handed in the week before. It turns out he hadn't read the papers yet, so he was probably just feeling guilty about that... but it got us thinking about how as students we're constantly monitoring professors' body language, over-interpreting off-hand comments, analyzing their evaluations of us, and how it seems like they can get away with being completely oblivious to our thoughts and feelings.

But! Only four months separated my professor status from student status (less, if you count the time after the Spring semester ended when I was dealing with an Incomplete student - plus, every time I go back to the Burg students treat me like a prof) and I can clearly recall the feeling of being in front of the "blinking owls" (as Terry calls them). I remember how much I noticed the emotions playing across people's faces, the boredom, confusion, interest, laughter... and how attuned I was to that nonverbal feedback.

It's the Hegelian master-slave dialectic, really - profs wouldn't be profs without students (um, well, maybe at a research institute!). My therapist says academics have very fragile egos, I think for the MOST part it's true (not me!); validation from students can mean a whole lot. So can rejection. From the student perspective they seem so powerful - but one against 10-80, that's pretty scary odds from up front!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Knitting Update

The last version you saw of the daisy hat is no more. Having thrown away all my yarn labels (Bad! Bad!) I fecklessly decided to try to felt the hat in hopes of making it smaller. A trial run with the Christmas sock went well - well, it went oddly, but felting did occur. The yarn used for the toe failed completely to felt at all; how odd, I thought. So I threw the daisy hat in the washer with two pairs of jeans and a little detergent. 10 minutes later, I found a mess. Half had unravelled completely; no signs of felting at all.

Yeah, it went in the trash.

Superwash wool will not felt. A good hint that your yarn might be superwash? It expands in cold water.

So... behold Kamryn's hat, version 2.0:
Peachy, eh? :-)

Hybridities That Gesture Towards Moments of Post-Colonial Erasure

I have a new game - see how much post-structuralist Anthro-jargon I can fit in one sentence!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Ok, so now I know what all the fuss is about! Last night I was part of the loudest crowd "on the planet" (according to the Ithaca Journal article) cheering Cornell's literally last-minute defeat of Harvard. Oh yeah, we're talking hockey (see picture). Terry and I sat facing the undergrad section which reminded me of sea anemones every time they waved their arms to a) point accusing fingers at the Harvard goalie and yell "sieve! sieve! sieve! sieve!", b) bow in "we are not worthy" fashion to the Cornell goalie after a particularly good save and c) wave "bye" to any Harvard player going into the penalty box, along with a cry of "oooooohhhhh... see ya! You goon!"

In other words, lots of great solidarity rituals :-). There was the throwing of fish onto the ice when the Harvard team came in, there was the shaking of newspapers at the Harvard team (evidently to show how boring they are), there was the chant of "you're not a goalie, you're a sieve! You're not a sieve, you're a vacuum! You're not a vacuum, you're a black hole! You're not a black hole, you just suck!" And during the national anthem when they get to the line "...and the rocket's red glare," everyone shouts RED as loud as possible. (It was quite possibly the most enthusiastic rendition of the anthem I've ever heard.) I got quite caught up in the excitement and only knit during intermissions! It was really fun. My favorite part was in the last 3 minutes when my section stood up and the students started yelling "townies up, townies up!" Oh and yes, Cornell won 3-2.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It's been a roller coaster couple of weeks... but definitely on an upswing now, hope to stabilize here soon. Silly grant proposal...

A finished sock is an index of time spent socializing! It was great to spend some time in the 'Burg and reconnect with friends; also, I didn't plan this, but was able to be one of the 7,000 critical votes in Virginia that swung the election to the left! I was really happy that the weekend I wanted to go home for coincided with midterm election day, and that my class that day was cancelled so I could stay in VA long enough to vote. Someone told a classmate that the Anthro department is the second most liberal on Cornell's campus - but we don't know what #1 is. Interesting!

This cabled rib sock is toe-up with a short-row heel; the biggest problem I have with this technique is that my cast-off row is really really tight, even though I deliberately knit it loosely. Why doesn't it have as much give as a long-tail cast-on? I have no idea, and I'm not sure how to fix it except by using really big needles, or some kind of crochet with chain stitches inserted between each cast-off stitch. Hmmm.... hmmm....

Well, I had about 6 hours of fitful sleep on the bus this morning, between the hours of 2 and 10 (I was reading psychoanalytical anthropology in the Port Authority bus station at 5 a.m. this morning - when's the last time you did that?) :-) so I may just turn in for the night - but wanted to update all 4 of my faithful readers with the latest in the life of this graduate student. Honestly, I love my life. Getting to read and talk about interesting stuff all the time... awesome.


but not teary-eyed! Thanks to Terry's fantastic last-minute coaching as well as a few other people's feedback I got the grant application off - Yay! Back in NY...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Back to Square One

I should have known I was destined to be an academic that night in 9th grade, when I realized that I had a major Honors History assignment due the next day, and I had completely forgotten about it. Instead of begging the teacher for an extension, or blowing it off, or cribbing notes from a friend, I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading the original source material and painstakingly writing a short essay response. Intellectual work is always something I have been motivated to do, and to try to excell at. That's probably why I'm sitting here crying over this ridiculous research proposal, agonizing over trivial word choices, combing the internet databases for just one more citation.

Sometimes it's hard to keep these things in perspective.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


...and suddenly, I'm done - don't know how that happened. Of course when you're writing something, there really is no such thing as "finished," there's just "that's it, I'm stopping now." Period. The End. There is no end to editing, no real terminus to re-writing, but there is a point where you just have to stop. I sent my research proposal to my prof and to Terry, who if they have feedback will I'm sure send me right back to square one, but I have some time on Saturday to mess around with it. Come Monday though, it's hit "submit" on the fellowship website and then there's no turning back.

At least with knitting there is a very clear point when you are DONE. I think that's why I started knitting in the first place - it's the same with community development; you're never done, because at the end of the day, people are still poor. With knitting, you can hold up a FINISHED OBJECT and feel pretty darn good about yourself.

The other thing I do is read my CV and sigh over what a fabulous person all these bullet points encapsulate. Oh right - that's ME! Ha ha! *blush*

Suzzette's Christmas socks are DONE.


The fact is, I just don't want to read this book. But I have 3 hours before class and will want to be able to contribute something. I ate too much chocolate yesterday and felt sick to my stomach, so even that is not going to work as incentive today.

At least here is something pretty to look at:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Yesterday I kept thinking "I'm having a crisis of the will." Working on the NSF fellowship application was sapping all my energy and joie de vivre - there are three quite demanding essays and all I could think was "who am I kidding? I'll never get this; this application is so pathetic..." Kind of poisoned the general mood... browsing the Interweave Knits web site was just so much more fun than trying to prove to the scary invisible people on the other side of the web site how brilliant and worthy of funding I am.

Tonight my "posse" came over for snacks, hot tea, and our newly revived pre-Proseminar discussion of the week's readings. I was so happy they came! If not for this event, I would have gone over 24 hours without talking face to face with another human being (between my Tuesday morning and Wednesday night classes... I just work better at home than in the library).

The really cool thing is that we're reading the same Gramsci text in both of the aforementioned classes, so I should be able to recycle the paper I'm writing right now for the other class :-) More than anything else, it was this paper that pulled me out of the "what's the meaning of it all" funk, because I'm writing about Bolivia and I have to actually tear myself away from this to work on stuff for other classes. It's so interesting and fun, and a topic I feel like I know more about than the prof does... this is key...

Anyway, while waiting for the posse to show up, I was thinking about a BBBS study that showed that kids whose mentors do social-emotional activities with them actually improve in their schoolwork more than kids whose mentors only tutor them. Fascinating, no? Anyway, I figure the same goes for grad students; we need the social and emotional support just as much as the intellectual and academic. It will actually make us better students and better academics if we have a supportive community for each other. So it doesn't bother me that at our "study sessions" we spend more time socializing than talking about the readings; it still enhances our academic production. And helps us feel more human.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Not that Michael

Feeling blue today for some reason; not sure if it's the weather (although it's a beautiful fall day), Terry returning to VA this afternoon (though it usually doesn't affect me this way) or the existentialist nature of this week's readings (Minima Ethnographica by Michael Jackson - this one, not this one!).

Regardless, here are a couple shots of the tank top I sent Anita for her birthday yesterday (happy birthday P!)

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I've heard it said that wool can do funny things when it hits water; I never really believed it... until I decided to block this hat while waiting for Heidi to call me back with her mailing address. I'd read in the Yarlot's blog and books that this can happen, which is why you're always supposed to wash and dry your gauge swatch before starting a project. I was all like "whatever" - but I may be a reformed character now... This is what I call a do-over.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Every now and then Terry looks at me and says, "uh-oh, she's got a BIB going on..."

BIB = Bee in Bonnet, and it's what happens when I become seized with determination, particularly to finish something.

Tonight I had a BIB going on: Kamryn's hat, commissioned by her mom, my cousin Heidi. I got the check for it a couple days ago and realized with shock how close to the end of the month it is - I had promised it by "around Halloween time" and it suddenly occured to me that that's Tuesday. So after dinner I sat down with yarn and needles and some nice music and TV shows on the internet and six hours later I think it's time to sleep!

The story thus far:

Yeah, um, see you in the morning!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fun time wasters

In the category of random entertainment, I've been having a lot of fun with YouTube. Are you feeling white and nerdy? Feeling physically fit? Knitting obsessively? Or do you just like to be prepared?

Just a little glimpse into how I'm very easily entertained... could explain why I married a Jantzi! :-)

Yesterday was 100% caffeine-free and I slept better than I have in weeks.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blustery Day

There's a Peanuts cartoon somewhere of Lucy saying "I love the feel of wind and rain in my hair..." just before it starts to pour. Hmm... wonder why I thought of that today? :-)

Days like today are perfect for curling up indoors with your book or your knitting... above you see the constant competition... what I could be reading vs. what I just finished knitting - it's for felting. I used the ends and bits left over from the fruit and veg hats, and have to say I'm very pleased with it! It may be misshapen and lumpy, but it's an experiment, and anyway the stocking stuffers it is intended for should make it lumpy anyway, right? :-) It was actually really fun to do colorwork and to design it as I went along.

Quote for the day (to prove that yes, I am reading!) -
"Many people have to be persuaded that studying too is a job, and a very tiring one, with its own particular apprenticeship--involving muscles and nerves as well as intellect. It is a process of adaptation, a habit acquired with effort, tedium and even suffering." - Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks (essay on Education).

(thinking of you, Carol and Andy!)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Meet Twitchy

Meet Twitchy on caffeine!

I stopped drinking coffee 2 years ago; switched to green tea. However, caffeine has been finding its insidious way back into my system... I will, on occasion, drink black tea, but this semester I've succumbed to the chocolate-covered coffee bean. Short-term benefits? Excellent - alert and awake for reading and class. Long-term costs? Dead tired but can't sleep, wake up early when planning to sleep in...

That frantic little squirrel there? It lives in my head...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Finished Objects

Finished Object#1: scarf, knit from 2 strands of yarn: a bulky-weight blue-gray wool, with a novelty yarn - not sure what it's called. It's like a string with little feathery things stuck on.

Finished Object #2: 3-page reading response for the "Marxist" class

Finished Object #3: list of questions based on reading for Anthropology and Globalization

Finished Object #4: list of things to read this weekend...

I don't know if a list can properly be called an object; I guess I'll find out tomorrow - our colloquium presenter is going to speak on the Objects of Anthropology. Or maybe it's the Anthropology of Objects? It is a conundrum - a scarf occupies three-dimensional space; there is no question about its status as object. But what about a paper? An assemblage of ideas? What about a reading assignment? I can derive a tremendous sense of accomplishment from plowing through several hundred pages of social theory, but where is the finished object? In my head? Academics are constantly pressured to produce, but how do we weigh the products? Knitting is highly satisfying in this context, because there is no ambiguity. It's a scarf. It warms my neck. The purpose is clear, the value is evident. Are lists a form of reification whereby sets of abstractions (notions of future actions or deeds) become thing-ified?

Anyway, not really new ideas, but fun to toss into the blogosphere on the Thursday night with no reading due until Tuesday... and Terry driving up tomorrow! Time to kick back with my needles and yarn, watch Survivor on the internet, and deliberately neglect to set the alarm clock when I finally fall into bed.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


... I'm here! Greyhound, always an adventure.

11:30 p.m. - Terry drops me off at the station in DC.
12:15 a.m. - people start lining up for the bus to NYC.
12:30 a.m. - the last 16 people in line (I was 8th of those) are left stranded as a full bus takes off without us...
12:35, 12:45, 12:55, 1:05 - I call Terry with panicked updates.
1:10 a.m. - they scrounge up a second bus and driver!!!
1:15 a.m. - we're on the road! I read Freud, try to sleep.
4:50 a.m. - the bus I am supposed to be on makes its scheduled arrival in NYC.
5:00 a.m. - the bus I am actually on arrives! (Dang, that driver flew!)
5:40 a.m. - I make my connection to Ithaca and sleep all the way until...
10:20 a.m. - I start walking from the Ithaca station to the Commons.
10:45 a.m. - I catch the shuttle bus to campus
10:55 - I walk into the library and grab a computer to send feedback to people who sent me their papers for comments.
12:35 - I finish.

Now all I have to do is go home, shower, eat, put the finishing touches on my own paper, read the 400 pages I still have left to go, and go to class at 4:30. :-) I'm really looking forward to my mattress tonight...!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I'm calling it a day, folks. Paper is done; we'll see what my posse has to say about it. Several of us first-years agreed to share our papers with each other and offer constructive criticism. I am done in. Good night!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yeah, right

In the next six days, I will:
  • Drive 7 hours and ride the bus for 10
  • Read 600 pages of social theory (yes, evidently Freud wrote social theory)
  • Reconnect with friends, family, and church
  • Write a 3-page critical analysis of Marcuse's Marxist interpretation of Freud
  • Write a 10-page paper on Rousseau's epistemology
  • Sleep, eat, and exercise

Check in with me Wednesday night and I'll let you know how it went :-)

There and Back Again

I know, I know, I should be sleeping - just finished the reading for tomorrow's class; time for bed. Had to get a word in edgewise here in Blogland :-)

What a weekend adventure - 10 hours on Greyhound on Friday; met Terry in DC, ate at Union Station then drove to the Burg. Saturday slept in, then went to the International Festival for most of the afternoon - took Suzzette and her friend Brenda. It was great running into just about everyone we know! Sunday met with our Sunday School group as well as our Small Group from church. Monday was crazy reading and errands day - I spent about 8 hours reading Durkheim in preparation for Wednesday's class. Tuesday was last-minute socializing and then on the road for the 7-hour drive back to Ithaca.

Friday I reverse the trip.

It was both strange and wonderful being back in Harrisonburg, and then back here as well. I love my life, although I am beginning to feel "a bit thin, like butter spread over too much bread" - psychically thin, that is!

Just now I feel flush with a sense of accomplishment - tonight I delivered my presentation in class, with positive feedback from peers and prof, and tomorrow I will mail my first fellowship application - I don't know of anyone else in my cohort who managed to apply for this one; it was actually a big boon to be able to go home and collect two of the references this past weekend!

Now I can start thinking about my first big paper, due a week from tonight!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Smidge of Navel-Gazing

So a couple nights ago I dreamed that I was walking by a river, with a couple people - seems like it was a woman about my age or a slightly older, and a younger girl (representations of myself?). We saw a brown horse in the river, which was not very deep, but clear and flowing with a strong current. Then the woman called out that there was a snake in the water and we needed to protect the horse. I went into the water, it was below my knees, and I saw an enormous snake - in my mind I identified it as a boa, but it must have been an anaconda since boas don't swim. (OK, like it has to be realistic?) The snake swam past the horse without hurting it, but there was still this feeling of danger. Then I saw another one, lighter in color, like an albino boa. It swam right past me, and just at the right moment I grabbed it behind the head and snapped the head back, killing it. I felt kind of sad and sorry to kill the snake (I've never been afraid of snakes, I think they are beautiful and fascinating, although I will keep my distance when I don't know what kind it is and it might be poisonous), and for a split second I even felt like it was trying to communicate with me.

So I looked up the dream symbols in an online dream dictionary. (Edited for relevance below)

To see a horse in your dream, represents a strong, physical energy. You need to tame the wild forces . . . To see a black or dark horse in your dream, signifies mystery, wildness, and the unknown. You may be taking a chance or gamble at some unknown area.

Oh yeah! Starting grad school again? Big chance, lots of unknowns.

To see a snake or be bitten by one in your dream, signifies hidden fears and worries that are threatening you. Your dream may be alerting you to something in your waking life that you are not aware of or that has not yet surfaced . . . As a positive symbol, snakes represent transformation, knowledge and wisdom. It is indicative of self-renewal and positive changes.

Some sense of threat - below the surface, that makes sense, because the snake was underwater. Undercurrents of danger? Risk always implies danger; what do I fear the most? Failure, probably - being too ambitious - if everything should come crashing down and I realize this whole thing was a huge mistake...

To see a raging river, signifies that your life is feeling out of control. To see a clear, calm-flowing river in your dream, signifies that you are allowing your life to float away and it is time that you take a more decisive hand in directing your life. A river also symbolizes joyful pleasures, peace and prosperity.

The river wasn't raging, but while it was clear and smooth on the surface, the current was very strong. I have taken a decisive hand in directing my life, but I am not feeling out of control - although I do have to stay alert and focused to retain my footing.

Clearly, I feel on top of things enough to take time out for looking up dream symbols and blogging about it :-) I am deliberately ignoring a pile of reading I'm supposed to do for this afternoon (and ignoring the little twitch that's developing on my forehead above my right eye) - it will get done. I still have time. I feel like one more thing would probably put me into the freak-out zone, though, which is probably why I have not gone out of my way to get involved in a lot of extracurriculars.

Well, I should sign off here or I will start to analyze whether my self-analysis is getting out of hand :-) Next time you hear from me I'll probably be in the 'Burg!

Time out for lace

This is my first lace shawl; I dug it out of the bottom of my stash box last night after a conversation with Tara reminded me of it - I think I knit a whopping 3 rows in an hour...! The pattern is from "Easy Knitting" magazine, but I always struggle with the border. It has an odd little increase on every wrong side row, except the one right after you start a new repeat of the pattern. Drives me nuts. Not the best TV knitting on the right side rows. The yarn is fingering weight alpaca I bought in Peru - so should be warmer than it looks once finished!

Tomorrow I leave for Harrisonburg!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Trivial Martyrdom

So now I feel like a "real" grad student; I woke up this morning with really tight trapezius muscles - this is typically my body's early-warning stress signal. I'm nearly finished with my first Fellowship application (I just have to plug in the citations), due October 6; I have picked a really ambitious topic for my first Proseminar paper*; there's the usual reading load, and I'm going home this weekend!!! So, it's all good - there's nothing on that list that is truly onerous or unpleasant, it just feels like a lot. As I listen to a discussion on NPR on the definition of torture, I realize that, as Dr. Rupprecht used to say, "yours is a trivial martyrdom."

*The assignment is to write about universality and contingency in the readings we've done so far (from Rousseau to Marx); we can focus this any way we like. I'm fascinating by the epistemologies of these various writers, who write these grand sweeping generalizations about "savages" and "natural man" with absolutely nothing like what we would call "evidence" to back up their statements. How do they make these knowledge claims? I'm interested in gestures towards empiricism that appear in the texts - little inclinations towards using what modern science would consider "data" - and mapping these moments against statements of universality or contingency. Does empiricism correlate to contingency? We'll find out! The prof said he'd rather see us fail ambitiously than succeed timidly, and he told us on day one we're all getting As, so we should take risks. At least I know I'm not playing it safe on this one :-).

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fun with sticks

So this is what I've been doing with the leftovers from the fruit and veg baby hats :-) It's to be my first felting project!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What is it about the blogosphere...?

This is for Tara ...
btw, anytime I feel like things are getting way too serious around here, I just visit a minute with Traveling Spike and it's all good :-)
also btw, I'm seriously planning to revive Terry's blog... soon... very, very soon... I think I need to revise the premise a bit since it's not working for me so much.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday nights are for unwinding

Wednesday nights is our Proseminar class, the "social theory boot camp," the class that has 19 required textbooks and 15 essays on reserve at the library; the class that we read Hegel for, the class that I organized a Monday night study group for... so Wednesday nights, after class, are for unwinding. We usually hang out at the Chapter House after class and just chat, then I come home and plan not to work at all for a few hours until I go to bed. I turned the heel on the toe-up sock while at Chapter House tonight - it was very, very satisfying :-) Short-row heel, since I wasn't sure how to do the heel flap/gusset combination from this direction.

I love short rows though. Short rows created an actual bust in Anita's birthday present (with the additional grace of double-knitting - you alternate two strands of the same yarn, every other stitch - I've included a close-up photo here).

The knitting is all done for the tank top, btw - just need to sew down the facing, block lightly, buy elastic and ribbon and other random accouterments, sew stuff together, and Bjorn Stronginthearm's your uncle (or the Yarlot's your aunt, whichever you prefer!)

For all you Vermont fanciers out there, here's a glimpse of fall color - there was definitely a nip in the air tonight; I regretted wearing sandals. Time to bring out the wool!

Counting Chickens

... so nothing is for sure, but I am planning to apply for a summer internship through the Cornell Farmworker Program, (formerly known as the Cornell Migrant Program) that would pay me to do research/service in Harrisonburg this summer! (I don't know how much, and I didn't tell them I'd probably do it for free in a crunch, but it would be nice regardless to be part of something "official"). So I'm brainstorming ideas - the service part would be a piece of cake to develop; I'm a little fuzzier on the research aspect - in terms of methodology, particularly. Last night I dreamed that the woman I want to recruit for my committee chair was telling me that nobody does "ethnography" anymore (you have to read that with dripping contempt) and that everything is post-structuralist and Foucault-ian now. Hmm...

So the plan for today is to work on some library research and sketch out some notion of a theoretical framework and methodology... piece of cake. Right?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sock solution?

I have not unravelled the sock yet; instead, I started to knit a toe-up sock from the other end of the ball of yarn. We shall see how far it takes me... I suspect that once I get past the heel turn and up the cuff just a wee but, I'll probably find that I really do have to unravel the first one and start over, again toe-up. You bamboo-purists will see that I have succumbed to your environazi ways with this second sock... though I daren't haul it around with me for fear the delicate balance of nature will snap in my backpack... maybe if I had one of those nifty needle-cases the yarlot's always on about...

Regardless, here is a finished strawberry hat to feel smug about!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dreams of El Doctorado

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Friday, September 15, 2006


I've decided that my knitting is post-ironic. Not sure where I came across that particular hyphenated adjective but it seems to fit. I am pretty sure that blogging about knitting being post-ironic is, however, highly ironic (unless it's post-post ironic...posting?)...

Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Top Ten Reasons to Unravel a Sock

1. I don't think I have enough yarn for two matching socks, at least not the size and leg-length that I've established with the first one.

2. Related to #1, I've never made a toe-up sock (starting the knitting at the toe and working upwards). Limited yarn yardage is the ideal reason to learn!

3. I can probably unravel and read at the same time.

4. I really only started this sock because I needed a sock project to carry around with me (light, portable, metal needles won't break in my backpack) - I'm not that attached or invested. (Narrator: yes, but there are seven hours' worth of knitting in that sock... seven hours... do you know how much you could read in seven hours?)

5. The pleasure of knitting is in the act of knitting itself (as has previously been discussed on this very blog); therefore, re-knitting the same yarn again in another form doubles the pleasure...

6. Regia! Fall colors!

7-10 - I can't really come up with any more reasons. I'm sure Gramsci, Foucault, and Lenin (see shelf sock) would have a thing or two to say about the social theory of unraveling and reknitting socks. It's an historical inevitability...the sock must be undone in order to bring in the revolution and the dictatorship of the purl stitch. So there you have it. The dialectic of knit.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


This is part of the reading assignment for Wednesday's ProSeminar class:

"The truth is the whole. The whole, however, is merely the essential nature reaching its completeness through the process of its own development. Of the Absolute it must be said that it is essentially a result, that only at the end is it what it is in very truth; and just in that consists its nature, which is to be actual, subject, or self-becoming, self-development. Should it appear contradictory to say that the Absolute has to be conceived essentially as a result, a little consideration will set this appearance of contradiction in its true light. The beginning, the principle, or the Absolute, as at first or immediately expressed, is merely the universal..."

I'm actually really enjoying it - how perverse is that?!? It's from the Preface to Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind, the full text of which can be found on a very thorough Marxist database. Saved us all from having to buy the book :-).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006