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!