grad school, politics, knitting and other meanderings. And not enough time for any of it.
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Thursday, March 31, 2005
I mostly likely won't be posting until Sunday. I am heading to Minneapolis for a conference in the morning. I can't focus on what I want to wear- I am far too indecisive and even deciding what to wear while traveling tomorrow is making me a little frantic. Not to mention the fact I need to do some final tweaking on my presentation and I decided only this evening to make hand outs. Getting things done at the very last minute is becoming far too common, and judging from everyone else around me, a usual occurrence for grad school.
The panel I am presenting on has been a mess. And is still a mess. The first organizer was using an incorrect email address for me, and then got peeved when I didn't reply to the emails I never got. I must have missed some info about the length of the presentation and about the equipment available (such as an overhead). So, I emailed her again last month with these questions, and she replied back that she had had surgery and wouldn't be running the panel. She pointed me to a new organizer/discussant. I sent this person my paper, with the aforementioned questions and received no reply. Then, the other day she emailed everyone to say she also was not going to attend the meeting, but that our panel would be fine, sans discussant and sans organizer. Then, this morning I got an email that there is a new 3rd person who is the new organizer/discussant.
So, I gathered from someone else I know from that is presenting and has presented before that I should plan to talk for 15 minutes. I gathered from someone else that that equals 8-9 pages of double-spaced text. I gather I won't have an overhead, so I decided to go with handouts. I have long quotations that I would rather not waste time reading.
I guess this is how things go, but since it is my first conference presentation, I would like to go into it feeling slightly more secure and aware of what is going on. I'm sure it will go okay. I just keep trying to remind myself that my advisor said it was good practice and that generally people have said I am a good public speaker (I don't know, I never remember actually presenting anything- the more outgoing Knit Wit takes over for these presentations).
I should also say that I'm not bringing any work with me. I am looking forward to hanging out with some people I see only 2 times a year and I need a break. I didn't take a break last week, and this week I am feeling some burnout. Hopefully some good food and drinks with great people and change in scenery will help me recharge.
posted by knit wit | 3/31/2005 08:58:00 PM
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Sometimes I am not so good with ordinary interactions or idle conversation. Especially with people I don't know well, or don't know at all.
Last night I went to the corner store near where I live to buy something small, thus getting change for my $20 bill so I could do laundry. This guy who regularly works there always greets me as his "future ex-wife." It would be creepy but I know him to be a nice guy. He was working the evening of November 2nd last year. I came in rushing in during a PBS election return break to buy more beer. The night was starting to look really bad and I was in desperate need of more alcohol to numb the growing pain. Anyway, I rushed into the store and plopped my beer down on the counter. He made some funny comment about me rushing in to get beer and I replied with something about how the night couldn't be worse. He agreed and I ended up hanging out with him for a while outside while he smoked a cigarette. We talked about fascism, racism, healthcare and wondered why so many missed Bush's clear "screw everyone who isn't rich" mentality. It was a great connection. So, now, when I see him he calls me his "future ex-wife."
Well, last night I had that headache and I didn't want to be going through the motions of doing laundry anyway. When he greeted me, I tried to come back with something funny and failed miserably by saying something like "oh yeah" and then laughing in a way that wasn't meant to sound like I was creeped out, but it did. Then, I ended up making a lame joke about laundry and left. It could have been a funny conversation, but I just couldn't get the interaction part right.
So, I am at the laundromat right now. It is a nice little local laundromat. I am very attached to 3 specific washing machines and when I came in one of them had clothes in it (the cycle was done). So, I got one of those rolling baskets and put the person's clothes in it. Like I said- I must use those specific washers. Later on a guy came in and went over the clothes and I explained "Oh, I'm sorry I took those out- I just needed that sized washer" and he joked back that he didn't care. Then, he went to put his clothes in the drier. As he left he said something like "and if you need to use the drier, you could also fold my clothes when you take them out." It was totally meant to be funny and I should've just joked back something clever like "yup- I'll fold them but I don't iron." Instead I half said "oh I won't need that drier anytime soon." A boring comeback for sure. Afterwards I can always think of things to say. But, not during.
This is why I don't generally talk to people out in the world I don't know. Its not that I don't want to be friendly, it just doesn't come naturally and ends up being awkward. When Jo and I go shopping, she instantly has a rapport with the cashier. Or if we have to call about the cable not working, or about a bill, she is the one who does this has she is instant friends with the person on the other end and thus ends up getting things to work out the way we want. She is so amazingly good at those types of interactions and I am just not. I'd rather just smile and say "thank you" when I go to the store then try to think of something funny to say that would surely come out wrong or sound strange.
Have I had such an awkward interaction with you? If I know you then I'm sure I have. If you only know me from my blog, then no. I'm so much better at writing then speaking.
posted by knit wit | 3/30/2005 10:15:00 PM
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
It is day 2 of this headache and I'm just very tired of it. I've tried everything to get rid of it. I haven't had one like this in months. Why now? When I have so much to do this week and I need to feel focused and clear? Is it b/c I haven't been so good at sitting up straight all the time? Is it b/c I bite my lips sometimes?
All I know is I have lots to get done in the next 2 days and I did nothing today. It was such a boring day it is boring to even blog about it. I have done such a shamefully small amount of my reading for class tomorrow. And I tried to go to the laundromat, but it was too bright, there were too many people in there, and my 2 favorite washers where being used. I'll do that tomorrow. And I'll try to do some more reading tonight.
Jo is reading over my shoulder and wondering outloud "this is why nearly 10,000 people have visited your blog?" Yup. This is it. Yes, this is a shamefully boring blog entry. Like anyone wants to know about a 2 day headache. I will promise to blog about something interesting tomorrow.
Now Jo is laughing at her humor in suggesting my blog be called "knit me more yawns." Very freakin' funny. Hey- I never pretended to be exciting.
posted by knit wit | 3/29/2005 08:36:00 PM
I've had a crushing headache for what is now the 2nd day. It literally feels like the right side of my head is slowly crushing in. Yesterday work was crazy, in trying to do all that I needed to get done, I stayed late instead of leaving early. I've tried all my usual headache remedies (not all at once)- heat, excedrin, more caffeine, a hot bath, aleive, and even a beer at the writing workshop last night. The beer helped for a little while, but then when I got home it got worse again.
Anyway, it is a little bit duller today, but I am already thinking of how I can lighten the work I have to do so I really get rid of the headache and avoid having it come back.
On another topic, we had a writing workshop last night and everyone read a draft of my article. I knew it would be helpful, but I had no idea how very helpful it would be. I feel actually good about having a draft done, and not discouraged about knowing the work I have to do next. And I feel that what I have to do next is really clear and not so daunting. It was just great.
Now to get through today and get ready for MSS this week. Do I even have anything to wear that looks decently professional?
Edit: I left out the bolded word "not" above. I don't know why. It wasn't some kind of Freudian-typo. I really don't feel discouraged at all. In terms of the ups and downs of grad school, this would be an "up." Honestly. I am just disturbed that it said that here all day!
posted by knit wit | 3/29/2005 08:02:00 AM
Sunday, March 27, 2005
My sister's trip to Spain
My sister went to Spain last week, and she has finally put her pictures from the trip online (photo album is here). I thought I'd put some of my favorites here!
I don't know why she took this one, but doesn't this picture make you feel just like you are on the airplane too? She did get to fly business class, so perhaps she is documenting the increase in leg room.
The drinking age is 18 in Spain, and so the drinking begins on the airplane on the way there...
But, they did do some site seeing. I don't know where or what this is, but it is pretty freakin' cute!
Kids from Worchester contemplating the Mediterranean.
These picture are from somewhere in Spain... and they give a good indication of how much Maryann is enjoying the nightlife and the wine.
[Don't worry, Mom. If you knew how I was running around nyc at all hours of the night drinking and clubbing when I was Maryann's age, you wouldn't be so freaked out by Maryann drinking Spanish wine.]
And something made everyone want to try out the hotel bathtub late at night.
But, they also managed to fit in some more siteseeing.
And this one is my favorite.
posted by knit wit | 3/27/2005 08:07:00 PM
another mythic standard bites the grad school dust
Well, it is Sunday, the last day of spring "break." I feel a pretty decent sense of accomplishment. I finished some work on my own research and writing that needed attention. I caught up on work for the projects I am working on. All in all, with the exception of dogsitting, and a little random TV watching, I've been pretty busy doing what needs to be done most of the week.
So, why is it I feel like there is still more to do?
Because there is more I have to do! I have some seminar reading for this week (the usual Bourdieu and reaction paper), and I have my first conference presentation coming up this Saturday. I wrote that a while ago, but haven't looked at it since so it probably needs some attention. I should make transparencies for the presentation too. I should also probably rehearse it at least once, you think?
But, I am growing slowly accustomed to the fact that I will never have everything done. I will never have an evening where I can sit down to eat a meal and watch a movie, knowing that everything that needs to be done is completed. Never. There will always be something more to do. There will be lots of catching up, and squeezing work in wherever I can, but there will never be a true sense of finished-ness.
That's fine, really. Grad school thus far has been all about relaxing and giving up mythic standards. So, I am all for letting this one go as well. I'll feel better after I do.
posted by knit wit | 3/27/2005 09:38:00 AM
Saturday, March 26, 2005
So this is your compassion and your "culture of life"?
This has gotten way, way, way too out of control.
Other patient's at Schavio's hospice center have now lost the chance to say good bye to their loved ones because of the circus of right-to-life freaks outside of her hospice.
I guess having compassion for other people doesn't apply in all situations, or for all people.
What are these compassionate conservative "culture of life" people going to do next? Treat hospice facilities like Planned Parenthood clinics?
And by the way, I saw the best illustation of the people that are part of the protest at the hospice today on the news. A family of 11 children. 11 children!! The 8 youngest ones were brought to witness the circus outside the hospice so, as their father explained "they would know what courts do [murder] so that they can grow up and change it." Nice. Hopefully I'll be teaching in Canada at that point.
The only nice thing about the news today is that Bush's approval rating is at an all-time low. Its slipped 7 points in the past month!
Well, wait. I don't know if that is good news. My synical side remembers the last time Bush's approval rating slipped so low... Is it time for a big distraction?
posted by knit wit | 3/26/2005 03:20:00 PM
Friday, March 25, 2005
Next door there is a little Toto-like dog, Emmett. This one is more like a long mop of walking hair- all different colors and wiry- the kind of yippy little dog that I'm not usually a big fan of. Emmett and the dog I am dogsitting share a fenced in back yard. Emmett is always out there barking to come in. It kind of seems like Emmett loves the dog I am dogsitting for. He waddles along behind her (less than half her height) and watches her every move in the backyard. I think he wants to be her friend, but she is not really interested. She loves people, not so much other dogs. Our Abyssinian is the same way- she loves people and is not really into other cats. So, she ignores Emmett. And if Emmett gets too close to me, she barks at him.
Well, I think tonight Emmett had enough of being all but ignored. Or maybe Emmett was mad for having his backyard territory invaded by another dog. Whatever it was, I was the recipient of something not-so-nice from the little mop-haired Toto-dog.
At the end of my walk this evening, I slowly opened the gate to the back yard so I wouldn't let Emmett out. As I did this and walked into the backyard, Emmett walked up to me and lifted his leg on me. Yes, the dog peed on my shoe. I was stunned- a dog, lifting his leg on me like I was a tree or fire hydrant! Fortunately, I moved my shoe quickly so not much landed on it. I am very lucky I was wearing my water-proof hiking boots and not my suede birks I had been wearing all day.
My shoe is washed and drying as I type. Just a little bit more *gross* to end my day with.
posted by knit wit | 3/25/2005 09:57:00 PM
Did I want to hear about the finger someone found in their Wendy's chili on the news this morning? I wasn't even the one who ate the chili and I felt seriously sick after hearing about it. I changed the channel as soon as they started talking about how the finger was cooked with the spices and tomatoes, but it was too late. Seriously, they ought to have some kind of *gross warning* before talking about such things. It doesn't take much to make my stomach upset early in the morning.
I also find the commercials about toenail fungus completely unnecessary. Especially during meal times, when someone might be eating cereal while watching TV. Does that creepy little creature need to lift up the person's toenail? Yuck! Actually, even the lotion commercial about the woman's hard, dry feet is enough to make me feel sick. Do I need to know that now her boyfriend loves touching her soft feet? No.
I really have to stop watching the news in the morning.
Oh- and despite the fact I would rather not think about the Wendy's finger incident, I am a bit bewildered as to why they don't know who's finger it is yet. Um- perhaps give a shout out to your processing plants (you do know at least where the food is processed, right?) to see if anyone is missing a finger? That might be a good idea. But, then it might turn into a story about the working conditions at such a place where the woman who lost their finger probably made $.10 an hour. God forbid we talk about that on the news. Focus on the American consumer- that's all people want to hear about.
posted by knit wit | 3/25/2005 08:15:00 AM
Thursday, March 24, 2005
I always dream a lot, sometimes I remember them and sometimes I don't. This morning I remember having an especially odd dream last night. The first part was about Fiona Apple's new album coming out. Sony had finally released it to her and she was able to release it on an independent label. I was listening to it in my dream and it was great. It's not like I have thought about how her new album is being held hostage by Sony in a while, so I am not sure how this dream came to be. Although it would be great if she could release it- I do think she is one of the most talented new artists of the past decade.
The 2nd part of the dream was about my presentation coming up at MSS. The usual presentation-goes-terribly-wrong panic dream where I couldn't remember what I was talking about and didn't have any notes with me. And someone in the (small) audience stood up and asked "why is it you are using feminist theory" and I signed dramatically and said I was "tired of explaining the obvious about feminist theory." I think that last part is pretty funny as I can't imagine actually giving that as an answer at a conference, although it would be awesome. The dream did remind me that I ought to be thinking about the conference presentation (my first) that is a week from Tuesday. Holy crap!
With the exception of yesterday and the doggy-drama (the dog is lying here next to me and is fine now) I felt like I got a lot of work done in the first few days of spring break- I really did do quite a bit. So, why is it that now I realize I have so much more to do? Yikes. Seriously, folks, I better focus on getting tons of work finished. Because the week after this "break" will be filled with reading for class again, and then going to the conference. If I am going to get caught up, its going to have to be now.
update: the dream about Fiona Apple made me google around again about the status of the album. Its been leaked!! High quality available on bittorrent!! I'm downloading it now. Take that, Sony. Want the torrent? Email me.
posted by knit wit | 3/24/2005 07:37:00 AM
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
adventures in dogsitting
Why am I blogging at 1:45am?
Well, I just got back from the animal emergency hospital. Always a great place to be in the middle of the night. I ought to be wiped out from panicking about the dog, driving said dog to the hospital, and driving back without the dog, knowing that if anything goes wrong with her during the night, they'll call me. So, I'm not tired, I am wide awake.
I noticed tonight the dog wasn't feeling so good. I'm mostly a cat person- I just dogsit for a few select dogs sometimes, so I know more about a cat not feeling good than a dog. But, I could tell she was a little off. She ate dinner, took a long walk, and hung out with me on the couch as usual. But then, when it came time to go to sleep I knew something was wrong. The dog sleeps in bed next to me and has for the past few nights so I am used to what her doggy breathing sounds like. When I turned out the light tonight, I realized she wasn't breathing right. She was also not so quick to wake up. Thank goodness for the internet (what did people do for this kind of info before google?) as I grabbed my laptop and googled "dog vital signs" and used my watch to count her breathing. About twice as fast as it should have been... and that can't be good. I checked other websites just to make sure the info was correct, and called the emergency room. Soon I was driving over there in a car that I'm not really used to driving. (I love driving a standard, but I am a tad rusty.)
I'll try to make this long story short. The rest is all details, but the dog is not next to me in bed right now. She's getting a gas bubble (something the vet called "prelude to bloat") pumped out of her little tummy. Who knew that poodles could get something called "bloat" that can turn serious and deadly by making their stomachs flip over? Anway, I guess it was good that I took her to the hospital when I did, and I just hope now that she'll be fine and ready for me to pick up in the morning!
So, yes, these are the hazards of dogsitting. I really don't mind it though. From having 2 cats with cardiomyopathy, I am used to watching how animals breathe. I guess my family's worrying nature comes in handy sometimes. My nana used to stay and watch for everyone to come home from her kitchen window and worry if someone were late. My mom used to call highway patrol if my dad was late home from work. I come from a long line of worriers. So, worrying is not so unhealthy all the time, especially when it comes to not being able to fall asleep because you are worrying about the dog next to you not breathing correctly.
Okay. I'm rambling now. blogging has now made me sufficiently sleepy. good night!
posted by knit wit | 3/23/2005 01:45:00 AM
Monday, March 21, 2005
a culture of life?
I don't know what it is about this Schiavo case that is driving me nuts and pissing me off to no end. It just seems like the epitome of contradictions, hypocrisy and doublespeak. Even beyond the implications for the "sanctity of marriage" and the over 17,000 Iraqis, and over 1500 US soldiers killed in the Iraq War as I ranted about in this post.
There's a great article in the Washington Post about Bush's record on life and death here.
Bush on Schiavo: "...we must err on the side of life..."
Bush on Karla Faye Tucker: "Please," Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "don't kill me."
Let us not forgot Bush oversaw 152 executions while the governor of Texas.
And let's not forgot about the baby who was taken off of life support against his parent's wishes, in Texas as a result of a Texas law (passed by none other than our president) that states the hospital can make decisions about the termination of life over the family. (as I post this, Keith Olberman has started talking about the same thing!). You can read about this here.
Wait, I am comparing someone like Terri Schiavo, to a convicted killer like Karla Faye Tucker, to thousands of Iraqis, to US soldiers, and to a little baby? You bet I freakin' am. Isn't that what a "culture of life" would be all about?
posted by knit wit | 3/21/2005 06:55:00 PM
It's pretty quiet around here (few bloggers out there and fewer emails). I am dogsitting so the dog has been fed and has gone out and I am going to head into work soon. I spent a couple hours on the phone last night with my best friend from back home- thank goodness there is someone I can talk to about anything for over 2 hours, and we still could have talked more if we weren't so tired! I also have to go to the dentist later- something I am not looking forward too as my jaw always suffers for a while afterward. I am getting a crown checked out that I got years ago as I think it is loose. I'm pretty sure I'll need a new one and my insurance covers 0% of that. When I first got the crown my insurance covered like 60% of it. It's great that I had better insurance working retail than I have now!
Yesterday I saw "Robots" with my BBBS little sister. I expected to be entertained, laughing and crying like when I saw "Finding Nemo." Well, I didn't laugh once (ok, the "Britany Gears" line was pretty funny). I thought the movie was not only totally not funny, but actually chilled me to the core. Yeah, the kids in the movie theatre were cracking up at some silly stuff, but the adults weren't laughing. The movie is dark- robots sent to the chop-shop by roaming street sweepers. Robots can be just snatched up and disappeared for looking different and being "outmodded." I'd have to see it again but I thought there was also some race stuff going on there too- the robots that weren't outmodded all had blue eyes, and lighter skin- the new upgrades were very "white arian race" in a way that was pretty messed up.
It is chillingly like "Metropolis" in some ways, and also makes some other major social commentary that I thought was pretty clear. The "disenfranchised" in this movie are the robots who have all kinds of character and charm, but are old and need replacement parts that the robot government has stop making for them (instead they want everyone to upgrade to some frightening new, shiney, and all the same kind of robot). There is a small line in there about these robots not having health insurance to get repaired- but the healthcare statement was already obvious. The saddest part of the movie is that the Robby's father is growing old and can't get the parts he needs to repair himself anymore... the social commentary goes on and on.
But, the downtrodden win in the end- so it is totallyw worth seeing. Just don't expect it to be funny.
On to another subject- I was pissed of enough last week that congress didn't have other, more important things to investigate than baseball steroid use. Well, now they have dropped budget discussions to interfere with the Schiavo case. Putting aside all medical issues that I am not so familiar with, I think that there are some major implications and contradictions in this case that are just below the news story surface.
For instance- the president and repugs in congress have stepped in to make a "culture of life" decision. Oh- give me a freakin' break. What about the 17000 Iraqis that are dead or the over 1500 US soldiers? What about the millions of US children who don't have healthcare (like my BBBS little sister, who totally got the healthcare message in Robots loud and clear). So, isn't this really a "culture of certain lives" and not a "culture of [all] lives?"
And I think the interference in the rights of a married couple to make medical decisions is also really interesting and hypocritical as all hell. I mean, a lot of what gay and lesbian couples are asking for is that right to make medical decisions for each other. I thought that was part of the sacredness of marriage that we just couldn't participate in for fear of ruining it for everyone else. So, ummm, you're undermining this for everyone anyway?
Okay- that's enough of a rant for today. I've got to get ready and leave.
posted by knit wit | 3/21/2005 08:03:00 AM
Saturday, March 19, 2005
2 good things
My birthday is coming up. I only want yarn for my birthday. I can't think of anything else I want more. The plan right now is for my parents to get me some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece to make a striped cardigan in various colors (beige, brown, orange, maroon and even a little green and blue). And a few months back I purchased some Noro Kureyon for socks. But, I fell in love with the colors and decided to save it and get more to make a sweater. So, Jo is going to get me the other skeins needed to make a wonderful, self-striping sweater!
I am just so much happier and less out of sorts when I am taking time to work on my own writing. I can't expect myself to work on it every single day (as that kind of expectation is way too stressful), but I give myself at least 1 day a week only to work on writing. I think that sounds really good. Saturday or Sunday will be writing day.
posted by knit wit | 3/19/2005 10:44:00 PM
Friday, March 18, 2005
things I am insanely tired of
I just thought you should know where I am at. But, don't think I'm not hanging in there, though. Despite being insanely tired of the above, I'm doing alright.
- snow (as I've mentioned previously)
- writing literature reviews (this includes rewriting them, color-coding them etc...)
- spring breaks that are neither about a break (I still have to go in to school to work so I can even just stay home and work in my PJs) nor about spring.
- spring breaks (and thanksgiving breaks, and holiday breaks) that are about getting caught up on work that there is no time for during the semester
- missing friends back in NY (so much it hurts sometimes)
- Madison (and how much it costs to get to the east coast from here)
- the Midwest (yeah, I'm over it)
- the poor grad student routine. I realized (with my 28th b-day coming up) that when I am 30 I'll still be a poor grad student (unless some kind of miracle happens).
posted by knit wit | 3/18/2005 05:27:00 PM
hey mother nature
I know I say all the time that I love the snow. I love getting bundled up in boots, hat and scarf to go out and clean off the car and shovel. I love the feeling of being snowed in over Thanksgiving, during December, January, even February. I love how snow sticks to trees. I love walking in the snow. I even love driving in the snow.
But, come on. It's March. Spring starts this Sunday. Lay off the snow a little. It's getting really old. I will love it again when it snows in next winter, I promise, but no more until then, okay?
posted by knit wit | 3/18/2005 08:04:00 AM
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
wake up call
I've been feeling kind of *blah* about blogging lately. I've also been insanely busy reading the most difficult Bourdieu book I have read to date and I still have to finish it today. I can't wait for break- not because I am going anywhere tropical like the undergrads on campus- but because I will get to catch up on some major work that I have dropped the ball on in the last couple weeks. I may not be tan at the end of spring break (I don't tan anyway- I just burn and freckle) but I'll feel so much better after accomplishing some things.
Hanging out with my BBBS little sister last night was a nice break from the busy week. We watched a movie and both knit. She is getting pretty good at knitting, although I have to help her out of some mix-ups and every once in a while she'll want me to do a couple rows for her. But, seeing her sitting and concentrating on it is just very cute. She is definitely a more needy kid in terms of attention and consistency than my last "little" but I think it is going to be worth it. She's already coming out of her shell in some ways.
This is a story that hasn't flown in the news. I think it is so appalling that the U.S. has snubbed the Kyoto Protocol. With the technology we have, there is not reason why we can't just change our carbon-emitting ways like everyone else on the planet is willing to do. I read in this month's Mother Jones that if everyone bought energy star appliances than it would be the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road. So, take non-energy star compliant appliances off the market. Jeez! How simple! Oh no- sorry- god forbid people loose the freedom to choose to destroy the environment! We really are a self-important and selfish country. How totally embarrassing.
You know what else environment-related drives me nuts? Packaging. Walking through Walgreens is fun as they have almost everything a person could ever need, but also frustrating when I notice the excess of packaging everywhere. I'm one of those crazy-hippie people who thinks that deodorant shouldn't been in a box as well as in its bottle. I think the same about advil and other pills. Also, the way that allergy and cold pills are individually wrapped is just silly, silly, silly. And does a jar of face cream need the extra box with the extra cardboard holding the jar in place? I don't think so. Does lipstick also need a box? Nope. And do we really need like 100 kinds of shampoo to choose from? Do we need 30 kinds of cream? No. I think less would suffice. I think 20 kinds of shampoo and 10 kinds of cream is plenty. Maybe that means I should move to Sweden. Someone told me once that a person has 2 toilets to choose from when they build a house in Sweden. Both low-water models. Who needs to choose from more than 2 toilets when they build a house? Call me socialist- but that seems totally reasonable to me.
Okay- I have to work on Bourdieu now and stop ranting. It could go on longer, but I'll save it for later.
posted by knit wit | 3/16/2005 07:39:00 AM
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The best part of easter is the candy. Specifically Cadbury Cream Eggs and Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. Yummy!! One year, for my birthday (this year after easter, but usually before easter) my friend James and my mom pitched in and bought me an entire display box of Cadbury Cream Eggs. They lasted well into the summer. I wonder why I have a mouth of cavities now!
Otherwise easter is just another holiday that I only know is happening soon because I was in Walgreens today (hence the candy), and the other day Target had "easter dresses" on sale. I'm not christian in any organized-religion sense, but especially not in the believing-in-the-resurrection-of-jesus sense. Oh, when I was a kid I hated getting dressed up for easter. We did though, because we went to church. I remember wearing easter dresses, and even easter hats. Yikes. I also got in trouble once in Sunday school for suggesting all the ridiculous stories in the bible (such as the resurrection, the parting of the sea, the virgin birth etc...) were just made-up stories. That didn't go over very well.
But, this Peanut Butter Egg is just yummy! I'll have to remember to stop by Walgreen's the day after easter to stock up on some while they are on sale.
posted by knit wit | 3/13/2005 05:32:00 PM
Saturday, March 12, 2005
around the internet
In my little break from writing (well not so much actual writing as so far today I have been tediously editing for passive voice and deleting, deleting and more deleting) I've been checking out my various frequently visited places on the internet and I thought I'd share some things I found.
My favorite photography blog, Satan's Laundromat, has posted highlights of the best pictures from the past year (here).
The brilliant found photo blog, Big Happy Fun House, as an especially interesting picture of a cell phone ad from 1985 here.
Forgotten NY has added (just today!) a new phototour of the oldest bars in Manhatten (here)! I've been to Chumley's a lot- its one of my favorite bars in the city. I've also been to the White Horse Tavern and McSorley's. The beer at McSorley's is just wonderful and all the interesting pictures on the walls (and the wishbones) made me kind of rude and non-conversational with the people I was with the last time I hung out there.
I added a link to a newly discovered blog, Views From a Broad. Not only did I find this blog through Nina's Ocean, but the owner of Views From a Broad found me the same way. She is also a knitter! Also, her post today about rats in manhatten is especially funny. Jo just got back from the city and reported that since Bloomberg cut all funding for rat-control, rats are now all over the place!
Its snowing in Maine again today. My parents informed me that everything is cancelled so that storm must be pretty big. It takes a lot of snow to shut Maine down. If you're feeling sad about the March snow here in Madison, check out the accumulating snow in my hometown on this live webcam of exciting downtown Bath!
posted by knit wit | 3/12/2005 02:07:00 PM
I don't feel like I have much to blog right now. But, what the hell, I'll blog anyway.
This weekend I am devoting to writing- writing many different incarnations of the masters thesis (conference paper, article draft etc...) but I feel like throwing myself into it and I get so much more and working is so much easier with Jo home from NY. I'll try not to start the drinking that is associated with writing until later on in the day, I promise.
Yesterday was visit day for potential grad students in our department. I participated as little as possible. I didn't go to visit day when I started as the department gave me 2 whole weeks notice for the event and getting off from work wasn't going to happen. I came on my own which I think was the best way for me to really see the department as it was. The gender area table I sat at was pretty quiet, and the tables for areas with lots of funding were very crowded. One of the two potential students who came up to talk with us very much so wanted funding to do actual qualitative gender research. We were like "yeah, good luck with that" and explained how most funding for people like us who do qualitative gender research is teaching, or desk job PAs like I have. Occassionally one might get funding to take a course- but this happens through international programs and not through the sociology department. He seemed pretty unhappy with that answer- but hey, its the truth. I don't know how it works in other departments. Maybe there are qualitative gender people who get funding (pre-diss) to do their own research. We don't even require a qual methods course, even though we all have to take/suffer through 3 semesters of quant methods. Oh well.
I find myself really looking forward to spring break next week. Not because I am going to do anything fun like go someplace warm, but because I can catch up on getting some work done. I really need that week (with a break from my course work) to catch up on things and feel good about it.
posted by knit wit | 3/12/2005 07:14:00 AM
Thursday, March 10, 2005
new knitting project
I need a new knitting project. I haven't really knit anything since I finished the last holiday present (but, this last present was finished for my brother when he came to visit in the middle of February). Anyway, it has been too long. And since I am especially stressed out and frazzled, I need the relaxing shutting-down-my-brain outlet that knitting provides.
I want to knit a cardigan. I own (I counted last night) 8 cardigans. That seems like a lot, but I wear them all the time, and cardigans are my absolute favorite piece of clothing. Most of my cardigans are the wooly kind that are good for the winter, so I think I'll make a cotton cardigan that I can wear during the spring and in the chilly Wisconsin summer evenings. And since my birthday is right around the corner and yarn makes a great birthday present, this seems like the right time to start a new sweater.
I think I want to use this pattern as it is in the round as I love their patterns. But, I am not totally sold on it- I would kind of like something with my shape and with a rolled neck and sleeves. I might have to keep looking around.
I also want a cotton blend yarn or even something acrylic (*gasp*)- something that comes in lots of colors so I can do stripes of a few of my favorite colors. Something like Encore Worsted, or Reynold's Signature. There's also Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece which comes in great colors.
In other news- Jo comes home today from NYC! Yay!!
posted by knit wit | 3/10/2005 07:02:00 AM
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
In the interest of self preservation I am taking the following (somewhat radical) steps.
And you want to know what else? My blog is going to remain as it is (as I feel like posting in it). It won't be about sociology. It won't be about thinking critically. Jeez. Everything else in my world is about those things- why would I want a blog like that too? It will be meandering. It will sometimes be about knitting. It will be about my struggle to get through grad school. It will sometimes be a place for me to vent about politics or whatever. It will be about trying to have a life. And if my mother, sister, some fellow knitters, and a few good friends are the only people reading it, that is perfectly fine with me.
As a side note- I realized today (thank you, Reba) that I so miserable b/c I am not getting my own work done. Nothing makes me more miserable. So, part of why I am going to hide myself away for a while is to accomplish some stuff that means so much more to me than arguing on blogs.
- Comments are shut off. Email me instead if you have something to say about a post. This isn't directed at anyone person who might have commented, but I would like to try to keep the "mean spiritedness" from some other blogs from invading my own little blog. I'll miss most of the comments. I really will. But, they must go.
- If you are an especially mean person- mean to other people for no reason, either on a blog or not on a blog, I am going to steer clear of you. My choice is not to have that crap in my life. So, if you have a blog that attracts mean comments, I probably won't be reading it any more. I used to think pretentiousness drove me crazy- now meanness might be taking its place. Now there is nothing like someone being mean to make themselves feel better to drive me up the freakin' wall. This has been brewing for a long time online and offline. Recent events are only the straw that broke my little blog's back.
- I'm just going to be getting some serious work done- okay? And it is going to lead to some publishing so that I can finish, get a job and get the hell out of here. I am going to stay far away from drama, further away than ever before. And I'll be much, much happier.
posted by knit wit | 3/09/2005 05:55:00 PM
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
what more do people want from me?
Today has been a particularly demanding day. Right now, though, I am enjoying a wonderful cold New Glarus Squirrel Nut Brown beer in a chilled glass, and the sarcasm of Keith Olberman. All I wanted to do today was simply go to class, work, pick up & hang out with my little sister, and spend the evening curled up with Pierre Bourdieu. What I got instead was a day that has left me wanting to cry from emotional exhaustion. Let's see- where do I begin?
- a tool-ish discussion in class today about an ethnographic article (which I thought was pretty good) whose research focused on objects and how they tie work organization together. So, what do people in class discussion do? Suggest the analysis should have been of people (missing the objects point altogether) and likening this ethnography (and perhaps all ethnography) to editorializing. I gave up the discussion at a certain point. Enough said.
- work was particularly demanding of my website-updating and event-announcing savvy. 3 hours went by in what felt like 15 frantic minutes.
- While I have wallowed in the torture of not having funding (not being independently wealthy or endowed with high enough GRE scores for a fellowship) to the point of serious consideration of dropping out of grad school many times, I have too much funding for the fall. Not that I should complain about this at all- but maybe this is one of those "be careful what you wish for" lessons? I know I feel all special and stuff but could having too much funding present any more potential complications?
- missed one bus (not my fault- work was too busy) and was home for a whole crazy 7 minutes (feeding ignored cats and scooping the litter) before picking up my little sister.
-hanging out with her was fine- but there's nothing like feeling like crap for a couple hours that you upset a friend, and then finding out everything is okay, to through you for a loop.
Okay. So, now that I write about it it doesn't seem so terrible. But, it felt pretty terrible at the time.
Now, back to my beer.
posted by knit wit | 3/08/2005 07:21:00 PM
Monday, March 07, 2005
the morning news
I'm flipping through the morning news shows again while drinking my coffee. I should get in the shower- but since having the flu I still feel like I've been hit by a truck (or SUV, see below). Anyway, instead of talking back to the silly news crap (I talk back to news on TV all the time) I thought maybe I should put my commentary here instead.
News story #1: Chimps attack.
There's a woman crying on TV b/c her husband is in the hospital after they have both been attacked by chimps in a zoo. It is painful to watch her loose it on national TV, but irritating to hear her say over and over "I don't know why they would do this." All sympathy aside, I'll say the same thing I said when that guy (Siegfried or Roy) was attacked by one of his lions; maybe wild animals get pissed off when they have to live in captivity. Maybe they get pissed off at people for keeping them there. I have always hated zoos for this same reason- don't the animals all look sad sitting in their fake "natural" settings behind glass and bars? Yeah, yeah zoos may do some rescue work, and save some endangered animals, but wild animals really shouldn't be held captive. Even the birds in the cages at petsmart make me feel sad. What bird would want to live in a small cage?
News story #2: Side-impact crash tests.
Another case of blaming the victim here (I'm talking about cars, not people in them). Sure, small cars shouldn't be made like crushable tin cans, but maybe we should also look at the huge SUVs that this test had to be created to cover impacts from. Maybe they are dangerous to other people on the road. Maybe 90% of the people who drive them have them as status symbols and don't actually need them- and if side-impact crashes from large vehicles (SUVs) are the 2nd leading cause of death on the roads, maybe someone should talk about why people buy vehicles they don't need instead of being all shocked and surprised that it isn't good for a small car to be hit by such a hugely large vehicle.
News story #3: Hulk's not getting along with his neighbors.
Oh give me a freakin' break. Isn't there something worth reporting more than this? Who the fuck cares?
posted by knit wit | 3/07/2005 07:39:00 AM
Saturday, March 05, 2005
jeezem freaking crow. I just woke up. I feel asleep on the couch and when I did the sun was still out so it had to be a while ago. Shit. So much for getting any work done today. This weekend has been shot. I feel better, but no where near 100%.
Let me just say that a sick person, no matter how much they want a Veggie Delite sandwich, should not venture out in the world to buy one for lunch. They might forget their wallet and have to drive back home to get it. Then the whole thing might make them so tired that they fall asleep.
Any ideas on how to break plans with my little sister (Big Brothers/Big Sisters) for tomorrow if she doesn't have a phone? I don't think I should be passing on the flu to a 10 year old.
posted by knit wit | 3/05/2005 07:21:00 PM
Friday, March 04, 2005
the intersections of defense spending and my hometown
There's nothing like being immobolized on the couch, and bored to death with daytime tv, to give me time to catch up on reading a couple magazines (and blogging). In reading this recent issue of Mother Jones, I noticed a small piece in the article about Republican spending sprees "making your taxes disappear" about Bath Iron Works, the shipyard in my hometown of Bath, Maine. (this quote is not in the online shorter article)
Senator Collins (R-Maine) earmarked 99.4 million for work on an unrequested Destroyer for the Navy... The money will help keep Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine, from going idle in 2006... As Collins says "even a year long gap in shipbuilding would be detrimental."
Okay, so I am clearly not a Republican, and I also clearly do not support the current occupation of Iraq, or the future invasion/occupation of any other countries. And I don't support massive defense spending while classrooms and schools across the country are underfunded, while people have no healthcare, or while elderly people can't afford their prescription drugs. I also loathe how spending like this is snuck into budgets.
But, I find myself conflicted when it comes to BIW. This article gives some overview of the possibility of BIW closing and what impact it might have on where I grew up. In sum, BIW is the largest employer in Maine, 6200 people are employed by BIW, and BIW gives Bath 4.4 million in taxes a year. Maine as a whole is pretty middle-lower income, many counties have serious economic problems, and most industrial jobs (save for some paper mills) have moved out. Much of the local employment (teaching, small industry, healthcare, retail etc...) also relies on the jobs supplied by Bath Iron Works.
Another perspective on the Maine economy from 1998:
"Maine's largest employer, Bath Iron Works, the recipient of an unprecedented $60 million state tax break last year, pumps millions of dollars into the economy and supports a host of smaller electronics and metals manufacturers in southern Maine."
Basically, my whole life growing up in Bath, I have been aware that if the shipyard that dominates my hometown shut down, things would get pretty bad in the area. Bath is mostly a "drive through" town for tourists and can't live on that alone.
So, I'm not going to try to figure out a solution to this. In all honesty, I believe BIW won't be able to hang on in the next couple years. What other jobs/industry will take its place? I can't imagine. Most people at BIW have been working there for decades and have a specific skill and trade. Things are just so much more complicated than being "against defense spending" or "against all Republicans." I understand what Senator Collins is doing- it might be sneaky and underhanded, and it shouldn't be allowed, but I understand where she is coming from.
posted by knit wit | 3/04/2005 05:28:00 PM
bon voyage Maryann!
My younger sister is on her way to Spain today with her college choir- this is her first big trip abroad! (other than when she was a baby and we brought her back from England but that hardly counts) I told her to take tons of pictures, and she is bringing her ibook so she can maybe email some from there- and since she doesn't have her own blog, maybe I'll post some here.
posted by knit wit | 3/04/2005 11:40:00 AM
Thursday, March 03, 2005
[still feeling flu-ish- trying to decide whether or not I want tea or mint chocolate chip ice cream.]
I added a wonderful new blog to my side bar- Mary's Half-Assed Gourmet. A brilliant blog! I'll make those spinach calzones this weekend. I also added a while back, a link to Brady's blog- he is currently in LA and very far away from her gourmet cooking!
And, in checking out the ocean tonight, I realized I must be deeply entrenched in blogging now, because I felt a twinge of honor that the famous ocean's new sidebar links includes my little ol' blog!
Okay- back now to my big ice cream or tea decision.
posted by knit wit | 3/03/2005 08:16:00 PM
& the train wreck comes to a momentary stop.
I should have known when I was falling asleep last night at 9:30, that I was coming down with something. I went to class and to work today, but as soon as I got to work I started really feeling yucky. My moaning and groaning while frantically trying to make the various website updates people wanted me to make, was not making my office mate a happy camper. She finally told me to go home, and I off I went. What sucked is that I needed groceries. A person can't just come home and be sick without stuff in the house, and with no Jo to get stuff for me, I went to Woodman's and rolled my cart around the store like a zombie. I tried to pick up healthy food- oatmeal, salad, lentils & rice, orange juice etc... Maybe my recent too-busy-to-cook-much pasta diet hasn't been so great after all.
So, why the title you might ask? Well, I was thinking this morning about the so-called "post MS blues" (someone emailed me and used this phrase) and how in my post-thesis defense, I am not really feeling blue. Instead, I feel like I am the passenger on an out of control train wreck, and I just have to hang on as all the cars of crap (weekly papers, conference presentations, reading etc...) smash into each other one after the other. I know that's a bit dramatic, but hey, at one point I was in a drama major. So, even though I hate being sick and feeling like I can't concentrate on whatever I need to do, it is welcome to be able to spend the rest of tonight on the couch feeling too yucky to feel guilty about it.
I don't even care what is on the tv, I feel so yucky. Jeez.
How silly is it that I am almost 28, and still I have to call my mom and tell her when I am sick and how crappy I feel? She isn't going to do anything about it, she is far away, but somehow I just feel like I must let her know.
posted by knit wit | 3/03/2005 05:22:00 PM
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
goodies from the city* (goodies from the sea)
I just talked to Jo, who is in NY hanging out with friends. She informed me she went to the Lush store today! She brought my list and got most everything on it, and some surprises!! Pam (the friend she is staying with who lives just blocks from said store) is now also totally hooked on lush. She also got Reba the silky underwear she requested (not actual silk underwear like Jo original though Reba wanted). I am so very excited!! I need some more bubble baths in my world right now.
*"the city" is of course, NYC. Is there any other city? Nope, I didn't think so.
posted by knit wit | 3/02/2005 08:03:00 PM
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
one pissed off bean.
So, Jo is in NY doing all kinds of fun NY things. I am here in Wisconsin doing everything at the last minute, and trying not to totally loose it. That's usual for me, and I am happy for Jo that she is getting a break from my craziness!
We have a cat who's nickname is "the bean". She is not happy that Jo isn't around. She has always been pretty demanding of attention (she's the one that wakes me up at night because she can't eat without me sitting with her) but she is being extra terrible right now. We have a tall book shelf in the kitchen with cookbooks and such on it, and she has taken to climbing it and knocking stuff off of it. She is very selective about what she knocks down and thankfully she misses the glass we have on there. This weekend it was Jo's little bonsai plant- rocks were spilled all over the floor and the plant is pretty chewed. Yesterday it was the cedar baskets that have scraps of yarn in them. She also likes to walk on the answering machine that sits on that shelf. She seriously records messages of herself meowing and raising hell. I got home yesterday and had 2 messages that were like this. Sometimes she even messes with the outgoing message. I can't even imagine what people think if they call and get nothing but the "pay attention to me" squeaking of a little cat. Well, they probably know they have the right number at least.
I am also glad to know she is the one who opens up the cabinets in the kitchen. Whenever I go into the kitchen every cabinet is flung wide open- poltergeist style. Well, I hope it is the bean doing this.
So, she is locked in the bathroom right now to chill out. But, I have to let her out to take a shower.
posted by knit wit | 3/01/2005 07:46:00 AM