Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More pictures, please! :-)

Oh yes - and we got to see this little cutie on Monday!


We just got back from a trip to Phoenix, where Terry's sister Rosanne just graduated from Thunderbird. Yay Rosanne! She was the star of her cohort, with significant recognitions and awards.

On the bus to Baltimore, I started this shawl. You can see what it's supposed to look like here. I plan to use it as a baby blanket!

On the way back, our flights were interrupted and diverted by ice and snow, and this is what the tree in our front yard looked like when we got home:

Pretty, huh? Fortunately we weren't too delayed, and the roads were not slippery.

Terry and I are finishing up a bunch of little loose threads from the end of the semester... so when does vacation begin???

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Knitting again...

Three finished objects!!! This is the "blissful jacket" from Interweave Knits; I started it about six months ago, knit all the pieces in Dallas and had all the seams done before we went to Bolivia in July. Then it sat there all semester. If I needed any evidence that the second trimester has begun, this is it! It's true - this whole semester, the ONLY project I actually started and finished was a pair of socks. Anyway, I'm not in love with the collar, but I'm glad it's finished and I can wear it at least once before the semester is over!!!

I also finished a second pair of socks that some lucky person is going to get for Christmas... and did some reinforcement work on this little sweater. When I knit the front, I only made a button band on one side, and the other side (the inside) was curling in on itself and pulling the buttons awkwardly. So I picked up and knit three stitches every two rows along the edge, from neck to waist, and knit rib stitch for about 8 rows. I sewed it down on the inside, re-attached the buttons through both layers, and it's much, much better. Sturdier and lies flatter.

Best of all, I suddenly feel re-inspired ... I inventoried my yarn Monday night and have all kinds of project ideas. I'm planning a Lord of the Rings marathon over Christmas break so I can get lots done!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Roaring Fires

A few nights ago, Terry and I were sitting on the couch waiting for some friends to stop by, and I said "wouldn't it be nice to have a roaring fire right there?"

Terry laughed and said, "No, we'd be running around screaming 'put it out! Put it out!'"

No romance, man.

But prophecy? Maybe!

Tonight I decided I wanted a fried egg to eat with my quinoa, so I put the pan on the electric stove with some olive oil and immediately forgot what I was doing. I went into the other room to check e-mail, and after awhile I smelled something weird. I went back into the kitchen and the pan was in flames! I literally ran around in circles yelling "I don't know what to do! I don't know what to do!" Silly me - I realized I do know what to do: cover the pan to smother the flame. It has no lid, so I used another pan that was sitting there. But the whole apartment filled with smoke.

The fire alarm went off about the same time that my landlady came running downstairs to see where the smoke was coming from. Fortunately by that time everything was under control.

So evidently my nose is (at least temporarily) more sensitive than the smoke detector... luckily this balances out the forgetfulness!

When Terry came home he just laughed: "Didn't I tell you that if we had a roaring fire in the room it wouldn't be romantic?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dear Hunting

Sunday afternoon we decided to go for a hike, and picked Abbot Trail loop since we hadn't hiked it before and it seemed like it would be a fairly level 2-hour walk. As we drove off the tarmac and on to dirt road, I noticed various vehicles parked on the side of the roads and had a sudden thought - "Hey Terry, is it deer hunting season?"


He wasn't sure, so we went on to find the trail head. As we got out of the car we saw a guy walking towards us with a neon orange vest and a gun. Yep, definitely deer season. But we went over to read the signs posted at the trail head, just in case there was a notice along the lines of "No Deer Hunting allowed on this trail!" Or, conversely, "Open Season on Deer - Hikers Keep Out!" Well, no such sign either way.

T: "Well, let's give it a shot."
Me: "Uh, nice choice of words there!"

The second we stepped on the trail, we heard a loud BANG! that sent us scurrying back to the car. Yeah, never mind!

So we ended up hiking Buttermilk Falls instead, which was very pretty but quite the uphill haul for a good ways. And... in case you hadn't heard, I'm officially 12 weeks pregnant, so it was an extra-challenging hike. But great fun.

Oh, I also wanted to say that peacenik/tree-hugger that I am, I am also a big fan of deer hunting - seriously! What could be better than free-range, organic venison? Yum! Plus, every vegetable garden I've ever grown has been ravaged by deer. They are VARMINTS! So please, go get 'em!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Today Terry vacuumed the whole apartment (even the corners! Of the ceiling!), shopped, cooked, did laundry, fed me, and even wrote a whole analysis and report for Habitat. Wow - Superman!

I slept in, was very grumpy, spent all afternoon reading in the library and all evening writing a 5-page farce of a paper, ate, and took a long nap. I think I owe him a foot rub :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Terry coined a new word for people who order fancy espresso-based drinks at the coffee shop and hold up the line (he always gets black drip coffee, straight up): "pretensionistas." I think it's perfect. :-)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eve's Apple and the Bliss of Ignorance

I'm beginning to think that there is such a thing as knowing too much.

I'm helping T. with a consulting job for a juggernaut Christian NGO (that I won't name here) and, frankly, am really struggling to stay with it. I have so many reservations and philosophical issues with some of their projects - which, to be fair, every person I've talked to who works for them also struggles with.

The same could be said for my current "interesting" condition - it's hard to relax, knowing so much about all that could yet go wrong, or may have already gone wrong but I just don't know about it yet.

At the same time, there is a sense in which the knowledge that comes from experience is so hard-won that it takes on a feeling of value. I don't know that, given the choice, I would want to return to blissful ignorance.

(I'm trying to work in an allusion to William Blake but will have to leave it here in the parentheses).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Still here!

Sorry I haven't updated in a long time, but my class today was just cancelled so I have an extra three hours today! Fun!

Had a wonderful weekend with family on Oct. 20-21 and brought back a bag of fragrant homegrown apples that I'm trying to enjoy quickly before they go bad.

Anita's birthday was yesterday - happy birthday, P!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Go Gore!

This makes me really happy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Last night I drove back to school with 3 undergrad girls from DC; giving rides at $20 each way helped offset the cost of the rental car (although man, the tax and insurance almost double the price!!) It poured rain through Pennsylvania but we made it intact. The Relief Sale was fun (scroll down for a note about Carmen Wyse!); the weekend turned out to be a social marathon, but I made good progress on a birthday present and taught my friend Elisa how to knit a baby bonnet.

Back to work now...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happiness is a warm puppy

My husband makes me happy. This afternoon I was sinking into that so-much-work, so-little-ganas funk when he suggested we go for a walk. After an hour in the gorgeous early fall sunlight, I feel like a new person.

Here are some other things that make my happy:

1) walking to campus. This is the time when I look at trees and clouds and let my mind wander. Even though I do it out of necessity (although I could, perhaps, take the bus, it's actually simpler to walk 15 minutes than try to figure out a schedule), I still think of it as mental health time and usually I'm not in such a rush that I don't enjoy it.

2) Reading. Good thing, huh? :-)

3) knitting: definitely a mental health thing. When I'm trying to plough through a pile of reading I'll take knitting breaks, and I often pull out a sock to work on during meetings etc. (And yes, I did knit the ones I'm wearing in my new picture!)

Funny, though, I don't really like sewing. That purple and green jacket I'm working on just threw me for another loop - I was sewing in the stripes, which suddenly illuminated the fact that I had sewn the left sleeve in crooked - it's not centered along the top. Grrr! I have to unpick the seam and resew it in now. The finishing of a project seems to be the part that takes the longest.

So, making plans for Fall Break already! Wow...

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I love teaching; I love working with the students and getting glimpses into their minds and worlds. Well, most of the time anyway! I just find them very interesting - even if I'm occasionally horrified by some of the opinions that are expressed. There's always a reason.

I've also realized in a different way than before why it can be so hard to finish a dissertation while teaching. My focus and energy are divided in a different way now. I wrote my master's thesis while working part time, but it wasn't academic work - I could focus all my intellectual/academic energy into the thesis, and my social energy into the job. When I was teaching and working, I could focus my intellectual/academic energy on teaching, and my social energy on the job (I realize these are somewhat rough divisions and not terribly accurate, but there is still a different kind of energy that's involved). With teaching and studying, I find that there is not much left for other creating pursuits - pleasure reading has pretty much evaporated, and knitting has slowed to a crawl. Even working out has diminished to about once a week instead of about 4-5 times a week. I feel like my performance in the classes I'm taking has suffered a bit too, because of how much I'm putting into the class I'm teaching.

But I love it.

In lieu of new knitting, here's a project I did 2 or 3 years ago - the pattern is from Interweave Knits Winter 2004, it's a cabled shrug, knit in 100% wool from Peru, something called "renaissance" but I forget the brand. So worth the $60! I have anough yarn left over for something small, like a child's vest, but haven't figured out what exactly I'm going to do with it. I already made a pair of fingerless mitts that I gave away... who knows.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

I hope your day is as happy as that random guy in the row behind us! Lots of love, tu hija Betty

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthdays!

(These pictures are both old, but still cute :-))

Monday, September 10, 2007

Go Big Red!

Worth a thousand words... :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Knit Pics

So, my poor neglected knitting projects... brown mitts are done, with a hat to match; unfortunately the "blissful jacket" is in the exact same state it was before we went to Bolivia/Colombia in July. I need to do something slightly different with the stripes. It's just that and buttons, that's all! Yet it seems so insurmountable.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

busy busy busy

I found the other sock!

Sorry have not had time to post much - lots of work. As in, too much. Am dropping one class and downgrading another to audit.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happiness is a summer afternoon

Today after reading until my eyes were tired, I went out for a wog (walk/jog) because it was such a beautiful day. The sun had just tilted past the midway point between noon and sundown, which is my favorite time of day - the light becomes more golden, the shadows lengthen, and all the colors seem richer.

As I broke into an easy jog, I suddenly felt so happy that all I could do was grin.
I finished this sock the other day... but now I can't find its mate!!

I was thinking about Terry, and how wonderful my life is because he loves me. That's what made me grin.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

First Day of School

First day of school! New notebooks, new pens, new syllabi. Fun! It was a rainy, warm day - very muggy and humid. I forgot my umbrella so I had to go sit in the library and read while I waited for it to stop so I could go home. I have another class tonight.

No new yarn news. I am finishing a sock and will probably cast on another one right away. For some reason I am totally unmotivated to to finish the "blissful" jacket (designed by Debbie Bliss) that I started in Dallas. Not satisfied with how the stripes are going.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Running at an easy lope

So today I jumped the last scary hurdle before the semester starts - my oh-so-drama-inducing "Q exam." Basically, I met with my committee to discuss my project and decide on a plan for coursework. It went well, and I feel free and happy and ready to plunge into reading, writing, teaching, and grading.

The plan is: take classes this Fall and Spring. During the Spring semester I will write a research proposal to submit to funding sources for my field research. During the summer I will read my butt off (or eyes out) (or both) and in the Fall of 2008 I will write my A exams. I can actually do most of that work from Virginia, or anywhere else in the world, which will be nice since my parents will be in the US by then! In January 2009 I will start my field research for at least one calendar year, maybe 3 semesters depending how things go.

Then I come back to write my dissertation.

p.s. Tara, check comments on previous post for answer to your question re Knitty pattern!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Take the Country Quiz!

You're Costa Rica!

You're about as peaceful as anyone on the planet, a real dyed-in-the-wool
pacifist. And why not? No one really poses much of a threat to you and
everything seems to work out, no matter how much violence and insanity rages all around
you. So you relax and appreciate nature and culture while the rest of the world
carries on their petty disagreements. If only everyone could follow your

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Friday, August 17, 2007


Starting in Dallas, my left wrist started popping. You know, like when you crack your knuckles. I think it was some of the marathon knitting I did there that brought it on. Now I find myself periodically twirling my left hand and extending my three middle fingers one at a time to make it pop. If I don't pop it, it hurts or at least feels uncomfortable. This whole twirly-gesture is almost becoming an unconscious habit and I think it wierds people out a little bit.

This whole week I felt as though I was running along the Track, with a series of hurdles looming larger and larger (remember those old wooden hurdles that were made at the carpenter's shop?). There's that apprehension, the gathering of energy, and *spring!* the exhileration of clearing the first one. (I hated, hated, hated track and field with every fiber of my being but these long Phelps legs were at least good for clearing hurdles. Usually.)

Well, today I cleared my first big hurdle for the Fall and it feels really good. I met with my course superviser for the Freshman Writing Seminar I'm teaching this fall, and it was energizing and helpful and even fun! I'm so excited about this course - preparing the syllabus reminded me why I'm here: I LOVE to teach. I can't wait!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chained to my laptop

I got bored sorting through a backlog of e-mails, so here you have a new post...

Second sock syndrome (I knit the one on the right first, then the one on the left, without making the pair for the first sock first. I NEVER do this. Ordinarily.)

And second sock syndrome overcome! I think of these as patchwork socks since they were made out of leftovers from other socks. Any randomness is actually coincidental as I pretty much planned how the stripes would go. OCD, much?

While you're killing time reading knitting blogs, take a minute to remember the people in Peru who just suffered from a massive earthquake. Two missionary women my parents know were living in the area and have not been heard of.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Home - briefly!

I'm home, very tired, but relaxed and happy. There was enough time to see friends and to organized and pack my Stuff. As I sat on the living room floor sorting clothes, memories of doing this same thing a year ago floated quietly to the surface of my mind. All the unknowns, dissolved into certainty. This year the excitement is somewhat subdued, but the gladness is still there. I love being in school. Terry's in Colombia for another couple weeks so I'm flying solo right now but thankful for Internet connections!

Knitting pics coming soon!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Last leg - almost

Greetings from Colombia! My mind is already partly in Harrisonburg and Ithaca, making grocery lists and schedules and thinking of things I need to remember to pack. But most of my attention has been on the present moment, which is much easier to do here than in Bolivia where every sight and sound dredged up memories from the past.

This is country #20 for me, and for some reason I didn't expect it to be so surprisingly different from other Latin American countries I've visited. I guess I never thought about Colombia too much. But I don't even know what to compare Bogota to, or Cali.

Bogota - flat and even plain between green mountains, high-rise apartment buildings and a speedy "millenium tranport" bus running down the middle of the street. Quaint tiled houses with a colonial/European flavor converted into office buildings. Strings of zeros on the bills. Light misty rain, breathless climbing the stairs, glad for wool socks.

Cali - fields and fields and fields of sugar cane, mountains on the horizon, blooming trees, and a river winding through the middle of the city shaded by enormous gnarled trees. I love it that the built the streets following the curves of the river instead of straightening the river with a canal to match straight streets.

Colombia is so much more diverse than I imagined - geographically, ethnically, culturally. It's just a fascinating place.

The MCC programs here are focused very much on peace-building; you can read this volunteer's blog for more details on that aspect of it - certainly a closer perspective than I could give after just a few days!

Tomorrow we have the day mostly off, and Monday I leave for the US!!! Time flies.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

GRRRR!!!!! Arg!!! *Sob*


A couple days ago, I went looking for some of the yarn I brought with me, multicolored green-blue-yellow bamboo yarn that I bought originally to make a tank top for Anita. I ended up using a cotton-silk blend instead because it was softer, and set aside the bamboo yarn (yes, it really is made out of bamboo!) for something else. Then Interweave Knits came out with a beautiful pattern using this very yarn and I was quite excited. I had exactly enough to make it, too.

Well, I packed it in the outside pocket of one of the suitcases we brought, since I didn't plan to work on it en route. When I got here I started right in on a sock and didn't feel up to tackling a tank top right away. But then I thought maybe I'd at least swatch the lace pattern, but couldn't find the yarn.

We searched high and low but no go. It's really gone. I'm so mad, especially because I had a pair of circular needles in there that are part of a set that is composed of plastic thingies with screws on the ends that you attach different sized short needles onto, and now my set will be missing that size of ends, plus TWO plastic thingies. The main reason I put it in checked luggage anyway was because I didn't want to risk the TSA taking my knitting needles away!!!!!

I'll get over it. It was just very annoying. I know other people lost a lot more than yarn and knitting needles in this summer's tornado season.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hello from Bolivia!

Sorry for not posting until now, but it has been an intense 10 days and looks to continue that way for the foreseeable future. Essentially we have had one free afternoon in all that time, with evening meals often turning into interviews as well. On the free afternoon I slept for five hours!

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to come back to Bolivia after 7 years. This place is redolent of nostalgia, but also an opportunity to measure change over time. Not just the changes in the country or in MCC, but in myself. It's strange to feel the presence in my own mind of the young person I was 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7 years ago. It's also strange how sharp the memories are of grief, a particular loss that implicated a certain loss of innocence for me. Last week when we arrived and drove to the MCC office, the very first thought in my mind when I saw the front gate was "that's where I was standing when I found out Krista died." Krista Ausland was a 25-year-old woman who was killed in a bus accident in 1998, which her husband survived. This weekend we actually drove past the place where she died, although I didn't see the marker that her husband had put there. It seems like road repairs may have taken it out.

Not to be all morbid and everything.

It's fun to be back here with Terry, as a married couple, and to remember things together and compare notes on things that have changed. Right now it is winter here, and the tajibo and gallito trees are in full bloom. The weather is cool. I still feel like part of the MCC family. When we arrived and walked out of the customs area at the airport, I realized that this was the very spot where I first laid eyes on Terry! And it just gets better every year.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not much news

Volunteering, doing a little "research," trying to stay on top of yardwork and reading for this Fall... The countdown has begun for our second trip to South America this year. We leave Sunday for Bolivia and Colombia! I'm having to re-think my usual "tropical professional" set of things I usually take since it will be surazo season and could get as cold as 43 degrees at night (with no heating in the buildings).

Meanwhile, here are some long-overdue knit pics!
See, I have been knitting! The socks are mismatched - you might not be able to tell, but I can. One has a longer toe than the other. These were a father's day gift for my dad, but he said he likes them the way they are and wouldn't say which one to adjust to match the other!

The shawl I am modeling and the one on the bed are two versions of the same pattern; the one I'm wearing is just an extension of the other, which is basically a neck scarf. Both are knit using Indiecita baby alpaca yarn, the neck scarf on size 8 and the other on size 7 needles.

The work-in-progress was my Dallas project; it's now much further along than what you see. I hope to finish it during a Lord of the Rings movie marathon this Saturday!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Not much knitting!

I'm back in Harrisonburg, Yay!
The house is in disarray since one of our former students is moving into the downstairs bedroom, so I had to clear out all our junk from there (we were using it as a catch-all sort of room) and redistribute it around the house.

My trip from Ithaca was uneventful, but exhausting. I don't think I really had a good night's sleep in about 4 or 5 days. On Monday I spent most of the day relocating my sub-letter, since my landlady wanted her out - but we found a place with one of my friends. Tuesday I was on the bus all day, and spent that night in DC with my friend Sara from Wheaton AND Cornell - that was awesome, but she had to leave early in the a.m. on a trip. So I got up pretty early too. I spent the day wandering around the Mall area, catching the tail end of the 4th of July parade, and checking out the Folk Life Festival - it was very cool. I caught a ride home with our new tenant who was at a Cubs/Nationals game (baseball) in the city.

It's good to be home although I feel like I have a ton of work to do...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's not Nirvana, it's just life

Another gorgeous day in the Finger Lakes! The only metaphorical cloud on the horizon is that my landlady doesn't like my subletter and wants her to move out this weekend, so I'm having to pass on that uncomfortable news.

It still just feels really, really good to be here. It's like when I came back to campus last January - I feel like me again - the me I most want to be, when I'm here.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy Friday!

Yay, I'm in Ithaca! It's a beautiful, beautiful day and I got all my "stuff" done this morning. I have resolved to stay the weekend and just enjoy being here, relatively carefree.

Getting out of Dallas turned out to be harder than I thought - I showed up at the airport Weds. morning only to find long lines of very grumpy, tired people - many of whom had stayed the night in the airport, since a bunch of flights had been delayed or cancelled due to torrential rains the previous day. I tried to do the self-check-in, but the machine wasn't working right - so I got in line. I was in line for an hour and a half, watching the clock tick past the point after which I could no longer check in... I couldn't call Terry, because the cell phone kept cutting out... finally I used my credit card to make a pay phone call, only to find that I'd been inputting the wrong destination city! He had bought a ticket to Syracuse via New Orleans, NOT Ithaca via Atlanta!!! I was pretty mad until I made it to the check-in counter and found out that the New Orleans flight had been cancelled anyway.

Long story short, they put me on the LAST SEAT for a direct flight to Syracuse, the next day. So Terry came to get me and we had a little more time together.

The next day things went much more smoothly.

Monday, June 25, 2007

East and North

So my time in Dallas is almost up - I am short of where I wanted to be both in terms of knitting and in terms of reading, but I realize that the first week was mostly adapting to being here, and the second week was mostly gone to Wisconsin.

The conference in WI was really fun; we had a lovely hotel room and the people were all interesting. I had the opportunity to tour the college of the Menominee Nation, which was really cool and beautiful. The downside of the whole thing was driving 2200 miles (round trip), the return part overnight. By altering our route coming back, we ended up driving through seven different states (Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas). That's a lot of asphalt.

This past weekend we enjoyed a hike through the Cedar Ridge preserve, and a visit to the Dallas World Aquarium, both very enjoyable.

Wednesday I fly to Ithaca, then catch a bus Saturday to Harrisonburg.

Monday, June 18, 2007


So I have a bunch of new projects on the needles, but alas you will have to wait until I can download the photos. Right now Terry and I are at a conference in Wisconsin (community development - we'll see how much knitting I can sneak in without looking unprofessional! I think this particular crowd will be forgiving though.

I feel really good, being here. I realized that the past three weeks have felt like an odd sort of limbo - I kept wearing my Cornell t-shirt just to remind myself that, yes, I AM a student there. Not having structure yet feeling like good grief there's so much to DO, but I wasn't doing it, and there were no consequences for not doing it, really threw me for a loop. And yet, not so different from my volunteer days (vague, self-directed assignment, total lack of supervision and structure, and that continuous internal pressure to for God's sake DO SOMETHING!)

Here, to my great relief, I suddenly have a very clear script, role, and persona (think Goffman, if you're into social science) and Hallelujah, I know exactly what to do with myself.

Besides knit. :-)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Further Travel Adventures

Terry sometimes remarks that "travel" and "torture" come from the same root ("travail", perhaps?)

After seven relatively uneventful days in Cuzco (well, uneventful apart from a case of E. Coli and other relatively minor misadventures, mostly bathroom-related) our group divided, amoeba-like, into two groups. One group went off to hike the Inca Trail (4-day stairmaster with ruins) and the other group went off to explore a more roundabout, but wheeled, approach to Machu Picchu.

Everyone spent the night here at my parents' house since we had an early-morning wake-up call and were going to be picked up en masse. But then the taxi-drivers association started threatening to strike and block roads starting at 5 a.m. Thursday, the day we were scheduled to leave. There was some talk of canceling the strike on the part of the union president, but even so our tour agency decided to preemptively reschudule our departure for 4:30 a.m.! Which we did... and then the strike was cancelled anyway.

I went with the non-hiking group. We had a leisurely two days exploring the Sacred Valley, seeing such fascinating sites as this and this, and thoroughly exploring Ollantaytambo.

Then we caught a bus at 9 p.m. headed for the small high-jungle town of Santa Teresa. Only we had to change buses at around 4 a.m. in Santa Maria. Two guys from our tour agency met us on the bus. One of the students described the ride as "interesting," in the most euphemistic sense possible! Another student reported that she was praying the whole time to die quickly rather than prolonged suffering as result of the accident we were certain to have. I found out later that this was the same road I took last time (2 years ago) to Quillabamba, and it's honestly not all that bad. It was just dark out, and all you could see was the winding dirt road, about 1.5 lanes wide, rock cliff face on one side and sheer darkness on the other. The girls were carsick and v. tired; I think myself I might have slept about 20 minutes. At least that's what it felt like.

At 2 a.m. I asked the guy next to me where we were; "not there yet," he said after looking out the window. A block later I saw a sign that said "Santa Maria public bathrooms" (in Spanish). Hmmm.... I thought. A little later the guide asked the driver where we were, next thing I knew we were piling off the bus and looking for a way to get back since we'd, actually, passed it. (Our guides were a little inexperienced.) Fortunately we found someone with a car to drive us back, about 20 minutes, and caught our next bus.

Two sleepless hours later, dawn happened as we rolled into Santa Maria, a tiny little high jungle town crawling with grungy backpacker types avoiding (like we were) the expensive train to Machu Picchu by going the long way around. We had breakfast there (pancakes and eggs) and then chilled out before heading to some absolutely beautiful hot springs to relax for several hours. I fell asleep by the pool and got a little tan! Sorry I don't have pictures - I don't carry a camera, I just rely on other shutterbugs.

In the afternoon we made our way by van and train to the ramshackle jumping-off point of Aguas Calientes. It was relaxing - in fact, three of the girls fell asleep on the train despite the stunning scenery. You could even see the back side of Machu Picchu from below - I had never come this way before so was pretty impressed!

We got a hotel in Aguas Calientes, and the minute I said "this is our room," one girl fell into bed with her glasses on and was instantly asleep. It was pretty hilarious.

Further adventures forthcoming - Terry is wanting to go into town here and do some errands or something.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Interesting Times!

Look at my new socks! They have come with me to Peru and kept my toes warm in the mountains.

So... we have definitely been having some adventures:

Item 1: The day before leaving the US, one of our students did not have her passport. She ended up going in person to the National Passport Center in DC at 7:30 a.m. and getting in line. By 9:00 she had her passport in hand and was able to join us at the airport 90 minutes before our flight!

Item 2: Once we arrived in country, Terry and I made an optimistic change of plans - to take the night bus from Huaraz to Lima in order to catch our flight to Cuzco a few hours later that same morning. (The original plan was to take the day bus, spend a night in Lima, and head out in the morning.) But our optimism was to be sorely tested!
- 2a: Our bus, while quite comfy, got TWO flat tires during the night! I was astonished at the speed of repair, but even so my heart was in my throat during the whole night as I wondered if the delays would mean missing our flight. However, fate was smiling upon us as we reached Lima with a generous 2 1/2 hours to spare. Which we would end up needing, because...
- 2b: When we went to check in, quite early, we learned that our travel agent had made a mistake and changed our reservation at the last minute from the the 9th to the 12th!!! HOW does this happen, you ask? It´s another long story, but it took the better part of an hour to straighten it all out. I pretty much flipped my lid which doesn´t happen too often. This left us just enough time to pay the airport tax, go through security, find our gate, with 15 minutes to spare for the students to get some kind of breakfast.

I have to say, our group is really good. They have kept up quite positive attitudes and good spirits despite the laundry list of the following:
- sunburned lips that blistered and provoked fever
- a running total of about 5 unanticipated hours of uphill hiking, some with luggage
- a lost (new) digital camera with photos of graduation still on it
- sunscreen spilled all over the interior of a bag
- honey spilled all over the interior of a backpack
- a pretty steady diet of potatoes, broad beans, soup, and bread for 3 days in a rural village
- a case of amoebas
- three cases of wool allergy (sleeping under wool blankets - had to swap out for other people´s sleeping bags)
- one case of exercise-induced asthma

That´s all I can think of right now... I feel like I´m not taking very good care of my kids here!

On the other hand, we have had some quite wonderful times as well:
- incredible beauty: green mountains with snow-capped peaks, cold mountain streams, rocky outcroppings, little patchwork fields
- spending time with Quechua farmers in their homes
- eating fresh honey harvested the same day from the hive
- chewing on corn stalks (almost as sweet as sugar cane here, without the chemical fertilizers)
- experiencing a pachamanca (earth oven) celebration with dancing
- hanging out with our local guide, Jhonny, who impressed the students with his detailed knowledge of local history
- being erroneously but persistently identified as Cornell students :-)
- seeing the incredibly bright and clear stars through the thin mountain air

Now we are in Cuzco and Terry and I are a little more relaxed now we´ve shuffled off the kids to various host families. Today we went to Sacsayhuaman where there were actual condors that someone had caught and domesticated hanging out there (I´m really not sure I quite liked that, actually). Tomorrow is a free day but everybody´s going to a local soccer match - even me!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

running amok

Yesterday I:
- was a bad immigrant activist and missed any and all May 1 protests / celebrations / demonstrations, etc.
- showed the apartment to a potential sub-letter. Five hours later I moved out, and she moved in!
- attended my last class of the year at CU
- turned in 3 of my 4 final papers and sundry reading responses
- drove to VA and packed for Peru
- finished a knitting project (sorry no pictures yet)
- planned the orientation for the Peru students

Terry, bless his heart, drove to NY to pick me up Monday night, then we returned together. He drove the whole way back, too, while I slept for 3 hours.

Today we:
- oriented the Peru students (everything you need to know, in 2 hours!)
- did crisis management for one student whose passport isn't here yet (we leave at 11 tomorrow)
- ran around like crazy tying up the thousand little threads of paperwork etc that need to get done (like, I had to fill out another I-9 form at EMU)

Spring is in full bore here - flowers, flowers, flowers, and leaves everywhere - dandelions galore - my yard is FULL of weeds. That will have to wait until we get back, however!

But I think we're in good shape, so far...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nose to the Grindstone

I took a little walk and study break near sunset; this was just so pretty. Now my landlady is baking brownies upstairs and it smells sooo good!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Blooming and Scams

These blossoming trees really gave me a lift today as I was walking to the library (that's Olin there). Things are going well, just going all six cylinders. Terry took off today with a carload of stuff; my bookshelves and closet are quite bare, and my yarn stash is mostly back in VA as well. I'm trying to find a subletter, and almost got caught in a nasty scam. Two people answered my ad on c.raigslist, sounded very nice, responsible, etc. etc. Curiously, both said they were writing from the UK and both asked if they could pay by money order. I said fine, and then went online to find out what a money order actually is (I've never used one before, but a lot of people I know use them to send money home to Latin America). One thing I learned is that a common scam is to offer to send someone a money order and then ask for cash back, only their money order is bogus to begin with, so you end up sending them a bunch of money for nothing. I made a "note to self" in my mind and then went on trying to figure out which of the two Brits to sublet the apartment to. Well! Today I got e-mails from both, each one with a different story that had one thing in common: needing cash back on the money order.
My first thought was, "I can't do that, I'm leaving the country and I won't have time."
My second thought was, "Waaaaaait a minute... didn't I just read something about cash back scams?"
My third thought was, "Those mean people!"
(Mean people suck!)
I wrote back to both and said I can't deal with a cash-back situation and am planning to sublet to somebody local instead. (Hope I find somebody!)
Anyway, all day long I'd keep remembering odd little details about both e-mails, just little things that didn't register at the time, but looking back I'm realizing they were very odd. For instance, both asked a number of questions about the apartment (normal) but they were asking about things that were listed in the ad...(alarm bells!)
I wonder whether I would have been less suspicious if there had only been one?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring again

The snow is pretty much completely melted away, but I caught this shot of a glop of snow weighing down a blossoming tree, I think it was Tuesday.

I have about ten days left to finish all my semester's work... wow!

Monday, April 16, 2007

More snow!

Before class, and after class. It snowed straight through until about 9 pm. Looking at the tops of cars, I'm guessing at least 16 inches total. Crazy!


From April flowers to snow showers! A few days ago I took this picture of somebody's yard as I walked by; this morning I wake up to this:

It's pretty exciting though. Although, no signs of university closing :-( I'm glad T. decided to head on out yesterday though; the I-81 corridor is supposed to be a mess right now.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blocking Silk?

Another finished object! Alas the inadequacies of the camera phone. Anyway, I'm quite happy with my new scarf, just in time for another snowstorm in the forecast...

I know I'm not modeling it in the hipster "European" fashion, but this way you can see the fabric better. I love the wavy effect. But I'm wondering, does one block silk?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You guys gotta try this! :-)

Your results:
You are Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)

Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
River (Stowaway)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
Medicine and physical healing are your game,
but wooing women isn't a strong suit.

Click here to take the "Which Serenity character are you?" quiz...

Monday, April 09, 2007

End of the Weekend

Sunday, Terry and I were walking back from church and I showed him this sign I walk by several times a week. It's near the path to the bridge over Beebe Lake, and it just makes me laugh - "Extreme Caution!" - Oh no! Nature! Dirt! Rocks! Sticks! (believe me, their "bark" is worse than their "bite") (ha ha!) The ridiculous thing is that the path at this point is paved, and leads directly to a bridge with very high rails on the sides. On the other side are steps up to the street. Sure, there's a place you can go off onto an unpaved path around the lake, but really people. "Extreme" Caution???

In other news, here is a Finished Object! I'm thinking of making fingerless mitts to match. Very quick, mindless knit. Don't know if I'll keep it (it matches nothing I own - at least outerwear, that is); don't know whom to give it to either. Maybe the Relief Sale in November.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

On the Needles (basically only interesting to Tara!)

I just counted: I have 5 projects on the needles. Two are in Harrisonburg though (a pair of socks and a hat). This mitt here is the same fingerless mitt pattern as before, same yarn too, but only one strand instead of doubling up, and size 0 needles instead of size 1. This one seems like it's actually going to FIT. Yay!
I set my timer tonight at 50-minute intervals. Read for 50 minutes, knit for 10. I found that in 10 minutes I can knit 6 rows on this scarf. I have to wax rhapsodic about the yarn for a moment though - it is Artyarns luxury hand-painted Silk Rhapsody, and it was a birthday present from Tara! If it were food, it would be French Silk Pie. If it were music, it would be the theme from Swan Lake. If it were a smell, it would be gardenias at night. I made a teeny-tiny mistake in the pattern (a misreading, really) in the first section, did it correctly in the second section, and did it wrong again on purpose in the third section because I like how it looks. I think I'll continue to alternate. The pattern says:
Row 1: K1, *yo, skp; rep from * to last st, k1
Repeat 8 times.
Well, the first run-through I thought it made sense on the second row to slip the y.o., knit the knit stitch, and slip the yo over it. This was wrong. But it looks cool. The correct thing to do, if you follow the instructions properly, is to slip the knit stitch, knit into the yarn over, then pass slipped stitch over. The effect of doing it correctly is basically a more open open-work section because by knitting into the y.o. stitch, you pull it up a little. If you slip it instead, it makes the hole smaller.

Anyway, knitting minutia.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I should be taking a nap...

Just a note to let y'all know I'm back in NY safely; didn't sleep much on the bus, so need to catch a few Zs before class tonight.

It was a pretty wild weekend! My presentation at the conference went well, despite having to completely shift my approach at the last minute when I realized that the audience had zero background in social theory. The other people on my panel included the Human Rescources director for Cargill (poultry plant), a woman who works for Homeland Security, and two computer science guys who happen to be highly educated South Americans teaching Spanish at the university pontificating about how Spanglish is a "degeneration" of Spanish (like Spanish wasn't a "degenerate" version of Latin! Come on!) So, just a little bizarre.

Then Friday night I had the *lovely* experience of going to a meeting of the Minute Men Civil Defense League, who were trying to help a group of locals start their own grassroots movement to "save the Valley" from immigration. The local activists had been, well, active, though, and the crowd was probably 70% pro-immigrant. Terry and I agreed that the discourse from the anti-immigrant group was basically vicious racism disguised under a rhetoric of rationality and even humanitarian concerns. I'm going to write at least 2 course papers on this so it was very interesting, but at the same time what sticks with me most was afterwards I saw my good friend from Guatemala, a nurse and mother of 2 college students who gives of herself constantly for others. I asked her "how are you?" and she said, "My heart hurts."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

more pointless time wastage (but fun!)

According to this web site, the celebrities I most resemble (in order from most to least) are:
  1. Eliza Dushku (cool!)
  2. Jessica Alba (right on!)
  3. Gary Lineker (erm...ok...)
  4. Aya Matsuura (who is that?)
  5. Adam Corolla (huh?)
  6. Ray Romano (ack!)
  7. Penelope Cruz (mmmm....)
  8. Bae Yong-Jun (hmm....)
  9. Kate Winslet (oh yeah!)
  10. Lisa Snowdon (ok! whoever she is!)

Sadly, the Ray Romano resemblance was the most convincing to me...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I realized when I came back from spring break how I feel like myself here, in a way I don't at home, not in the same way.

In the midst of this contemplation, as I trudged uphill towards class today congratulating myself for being on time despite the mad dash out the door ten minutes earlier, I felt really full from the lunch of rice and broccoli and cheese I had just eaten. As my mind turned towards food, I was hit by a flash of sudden memory - the salmon! I left it in the oven...I left the oven ON!!!


My landlady is away; Terry's not here; there was nobody to call. No help for it, I had to run back to the apartment to turn the oven off. My mind filled with visions of charred fish, smoke-damaged rooms, etc. As I crossed the bridge over Beebe I heard SIRENS! Aaugh! Although at the same time I knew it was too soon for that big of a fire to have started in my apt.

Sure enough, there was a fire alarm going off in Balch.

When I got home, the salmon was done perfectly. Just a hint of char at the bottom of the pan.

Ran back to class and slipped in 30 minutes LATE panting and sweating. The professor didn't miss a beat in her lecture; I was impressed.

What a luxury - to be able to show up to a meeting 30 minutes late and not get fired!

Spring in Ithaca

...seems to mean lots of rain. Crocuses are up, but patches of snow linger in cool places. I am taking a little knitting break just now as I ran out of yarn for my current pair of socks and can't seem to find the same make/model anywhere (haven't tried the internet yet...seems like a potential rabbit hole to Wonderland...) yet. Plus, had a bit of repetetive stress in the thumb area (mostly from writing too much) and want to take it easy on the hands.

I'm enjoying the pattern a day calendar I got for Christmas from Emily S., some patterns just make me go WOW! while others are "what were they thinking?" (Mostly the novelty yarn fiascos). Man, though, I'll never make it through all the things I want to make.

Well, gotta go!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring Has Sprung!

The daffodils are finally starting to bloom in our front yard! I got yarn for my birthday! Bright notes in an otherwise stressed-out Spring Break.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Fever

toes pale and wrinkled

tap the salt-rimed sidewalk

flinch from cold mud

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

My friend Catherine gave me this lovely teapot yesterday, and I gave myself this yarn that I bought last fall (50% off!). It felt like Spring today. I read a lot, went to a talk by a Big Famous Anthropologist (the best part was getting out of class for that!). Terry had to leave for VA today but my spring break starts at the end of this week (yay!)

Well, guess I'll go read some more!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I finished the first "Broad Street" mitt; it's kind of strange because it's long, but tight. The shell that folds back seems too long, and there's extra room at the wrist. The thumb is kind of long too.

Conversely, the fingers feel quite tight - when I make a fist it feels like the circulation is being cut off somewhat.

I think I'm going to make the second one, but then try another pair knit with just one strand of the yarn and see what happens.

Know anyone with really long, thin fingers (I mean really long and thin, like Jennifer Garner for instance).

Just for Fun

This is me and Terry at an Ethiopian coffee ceremony in Harrisonburg a few weeks ago. He's looking grim because his cup was smaller than mine :-)

And here's my little Christmas cactus, which just got a new spot in the sun (I had to rearrange the furniture a little bit). The Ceramic Fairy says "Recycle!"

Friday, March 02, 2007

Phone time = knitting time

I totally would have finished reading my chapter, but Terry called from St. Louis (he's at a conference) and so while we caught up on each other's days, I did this:
Yes, another poorly lit picture of yarn on needles. What can I say. I was worried it was going to be too big, but the pinky is actually quite snug. I love how the tight-knit alpaca feels like it's going to be IMPERVIOUS to cold :-)

Well, I could finish the chapter or go to bed; I've been working on maintaining a more regular sleep schedule, which dictates that I stop working at midnight (don't feel sorry for me - I took a nice, long, 2-hour supper break! And my alarm is set for 9 a.m.!) but I hate leaving things half-done...

Tomorrow (ok, today... technically) I give a presentation at an on-campus conference, so naturally I have an enormous zit on my jaw. If I wear my hair down maybe nobody will see it... :-)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Felting

This yarn was on sale at Knitting Etc.; there was more in plain black and white, but I thought I'd just get this and see if it felted before getting more.

When I put it in the warm water, a very strong smell of wet sheep wafted up. Not so pleasant! The label wasn't kidding when it said "virgin wool."

Notice the gloves - I literally took the skin off my knuckles last time, so was prepared this time.

Yes, it definitely felts! There were some little gaps that annoyed me but I'll give it another go sometime. Not sure what I'm going to make since I only got 2 balls (that's all there was of this color).

I used to find the idea of felting completely incomprehensible; why obliterate the distinction of each individually-produced stitch? Wouldn't that just deny recognition of the work that went into it (plus I was really into cables at the time)? It's kind of addictive though; it really is a little bit like magic, especially by hand. You can actually hear the felting happening - it sounds different all of a sudden, and then you see it start to mesh together. So cool.

Monday, February 26, 2007


So the "fun" class where people climb up on the table and yell at each other has stopped being quite so fun, since we seem to have the same discussion every week (postmodernism vs. marxism vs. modernism) but the bright side is that I finished the second sock (knitting slyly under the seminar table...)

At home, I decided it was a good evening just to relax with the fingerless glove/mitt from Knitty and some soothing music. The yarn is 100% alpaca I bought in Peru; it's somewhere between lace and fingering weight; I double it up and use size 1 or 2 needles, depending on the project.
I think I've got this on 1s.