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.