Wednesday, January 31, 2007

That's why he's a rocket scientist

I tend to forget how intelligent my husband truly is. If you lived with a man who suffered from GBB, you'd forget too. And really, how often can you tell someone not to wear two prints at the same time before you start thinking he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer?

However, the other day, when I was telling him about the socks I was making for our friends' baby (who was born in July or there-abouts), and complaining that I didn't know how big to make socks for a 6 month old, he came up with a simple answer. Look up pediatric growth charts. This was incredibly brilliant, but alas, they only have length, weight, and head circumference on those things. But, in my travels, I did find a chart for baby foot sizes on a website for shoes. According to Shoofly, a 6-9 month old baby needs a shoe that is 5 1/8 inches in length. This seems a little long to me, but what do I know? The sock I finished is just under 5 inches in length, heel to toe, which should probably be okay. Really wish I had my own baby to compare to. The second sock is on the needles and will likely be done by the end of the week.

Tiny stitches

I usually knit socks on 2mm needles using fingering weight yarn. This generally means they take quite awhile to make. Like months. For Christmas, I've made socks with sport weight yarn on US4 needles and those just fly by! I do like how the stitches look at 9.5 stitches per inch, though. So tiny and perfect. No floppy stitches, just nice and even.

However. I'm not sure I want to devote the next three months to making these socks. So, I started swatching the Cabin Cove yarn using 2.5mm needles. I don't have enough done to get a good stitch count, but the stitches do look bigger.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Yesterday, I started swatching for the Cabin Cove Along:

This morning, I finished the swatch and counted stitches per inch: 9.5 on 2mm needles. A little small, but I like the fine gauge. But, I don't want to spend an enternity knitting these socks, so I have to decide if I want to go up in needle size or what. If I continue with this, given the size of my roommate's leg, I will need to have 92 stitches around. The pattern I want is only 72 stitches around, so I am modifying it. There's a faux cable/twisted stitch pattern running down the front of it and I'm widening that slightly. The rest is just ribbing and I can add more of that fairly easily. I'm going to do the socks toe-up because I'm afraid of running out of yarn. Possibly another reason to have a slightly looser (more loose?) gauge.

I'm going to make the decision tonight whether or not to go slightly larger on the needle size, then cast-on (if I happen to have the correct needles available, may need a trip to the LYS). I know the Along isn't supposed to start until 2/2, but they seem to be pretty flexible and these socks are already a month late.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Scarfin' it up

Today, I sent out the Red Scarf. Here are a few pictures:

Model: Labmate LY

Model: Dissecting microscope

Ready to go:


Yarn: Swish Superwash from Knitpicks in "Fired Brick"
Pattern: I used a stitch pattern from this book surrounded by a garter stitch border. The length was 4 balls of yarn; I never actually measured it. Width was the length of a bamboo dpn which I used during blocking to make sure I was being consistent down the length of the scarf.

I also included a box of Sweethearts and the card is a postcard of the Sears Tower. On the back I glued a pink card made from fancy paper that I got at a stationery store in Paris. I wrote this note:

The ribbon was something I picked up at JoAnn's a couple weekends back.

I hope he/she likes the scarf. The people in the lab sure liked it. LY was sad when I took it off her.

On a related note, it's clear to me that college students are desperately in need of winter clothing. This morning, when I took the bus in to campus, it was 16 degrees Fahrenheit with snow flurries. I wore my new winter coat, my new wool mittens (pictures to follow), my Calorimetry head band (which I didn't redo over the weekend--maybe next weekend), and my scarf. And I was freezing my butt off (literally, because my coat only goes to my waist!). When I got on the bus, I was seated acrossed from college students wearing the following:

Boy #1: T-shirt, hoodie, knit hat, jeans
Boy #2: Fleece, jeans (couldn't see his shirt, he did have the fleece zipped all the way up)
Girl: Winter coat, fingerless goves, knit hat, turtleneck or scarf (couldn't tell which), lightweight capris, moccasins (no socks or tights)
Boy #3: Button-down shirt, light-weight courdoroy jacket, chinos
Boy #4: Leather coat, jeans

It was all I could do to keep myself from wrapping my scarf around one, giving my mittens to another and buttoning Calorimetry around the neck of a third. What were they thinking????

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A disturbing realization

My advisor's wife is a playwrite. One of her plays is being performed at a theater in Chicago. Last night, a group of us from the lab went to see it (not my advisor, he had already been to see it). It was a drama about a mother and her grown twin children (a boy and a girl) over Thanksgiving weekend (very dysfunctional family, we are about to find out). The son has secretly married an older woman about a month ago and doesn't tell his mom about it until they arrive (surprise!). Mom decides at that moment to call the (single) chemistry teacher from school (she's a home-ec teacher) and invite him to Thanksgiving dinner (he had suggested they go out sometime). This leads to dialog in which the daughter (the rebel who drinks a lot and has sex with just about every male to cross her path) to say something like, "A chemistry teacher--how kinky! I bet there's a lot you could do with a beaker and a bunsen burner!"

We laugh. We are thinking, "This is probaby more amusing to us because we are scientists."

Then we think--


Our advisor is a scientist.

This is his wife's play.





You'll have to excuse me now, I'm helping my labmates bleach the glassware and order new bunsen burners.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Finished objects and what's on the needles

But no pictures. Sorry.

I finished the Red Scarf, but there's no pictures yet. I haven't gotten around to taking them. I have to hurry up, though, so that I can send it out on time!

I also started and finished Calorimetry in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Bittersweet. I love the bright colors and it's the perfect thing to spice up a grey winter day. But, I think it is a leeetle too big. While I was making it, I decided it was too wide, so I ripped back and did fewer short rows in the middle, but I think it should be more snug on my head, so I'm thinking of ripping the entire thing out and redoing it with fewer stitches (maybe 100 instead of 120). If it wasn't such a quick knit, I wouldn't even think of it, but I could redo it over the weekend, I think. I'm in the process of making matching mittens, too.

AND, I'm making a pair of baby socks for a friend. Someone I knew in college had a baby this summer and I made her a pair of socks and a hat. Apparently, the socks were a really big hit (she was using them as booties over the other socks so the baby wore them practically every day) but they are getting too small. So, I'm trying to make socks that would fit a 6-month old. I have no idea what size these socks should be. I looked at this site, though, and think I will make a sock that's 5 inches long unless that looks ridiculously huge. It would help if I had the dimensions of the original socks but of course I didn't record them anywhere. It would probably be easiest to ask the person the size of her child's foot. But, you know how it is, I'd ask and say I wanted to make some bigger socks and she'd say, "No, no, it's okay, you don't have to make more." "No, really," I'd say, "I'd like to make some socks, it's no trouble." "No, no, I don't want to bother you." "Seriously, it'll only take me a few hours, baby socks are small." And it would go back and forth and I'd never get the size of the child's foot. So, if you know any 6 month old babies out there, could you measure their feet? Thanks.

What else? Oh yes, I signed up for this:

I have a ball of sock yarn in Gingerbread that I wanted to make into socks as a Christmas gift for my roommate. For last Christmas. So, um, I should probably get started on those, huh?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Stitch Markers

Most of my stitch markers are rather plain--the kind you can get for a few bucks at a yarn shop or even Joanne's or Michael's. I have the little orange and green plastic pins and the green and purple rings among others. The other night, I reached into my tools bag to get a stitch marker. It's not very organized in there, so it took a bit of doing, but I was able to pull one out. I try to put them back into the little plastic pocket they come in. But, when I pulled out that little pocket, there were perhaps four in there. Where do they all go?

Some of them are hanging out on UFOs. I've got a number of those hanging around, still on the needles even (unless, by some great misfortune, I needed those needles for something else in which case I should rip out the project because I'll never remember what size needles I was using for that project). But not that many. I probably own fifty or more stitch markers and yet, it seems they are all gone.

On the other hand, I feel like I must have a very large number of them because I find them everywhere. Around my apt., I understand. I set them down on a table, or the bed, or the couch--wherever I'm knitting--instead of putting them away right away and then forget they are there. So, there are a little piles of stitch markers on just about every flat surface in the apt. If I need a large number of them at once, I have to go around and gather them like berries (or buy more). However, they do show up in odd places like the bathroom or the kitchen. Perhaps some people knit while sitting on the toilet or in the shower, but I'm not one of them. I can't tell you how many we found under the bed when we packed it up for California. These, I can blame on the cat. We have a wood floor and these markers slide across it like little hockey pucks on ice. I've seen him batting at them from time to time. This is probably how they ended up under the bookcases. Because, while conceivably I could fit under the bed and be knitting there (!) I definitely do not fit under the bookshelves.

I also find them in the car. This can probably be explained by the fact that every so often, I knit in the car. But not on the driver's side. So I'm not sure how they get over there. I find them in the lab on the floor around my desk and bench. I've found them on my lab bench. How did they get there? I don't use them in my experiments (I've found that the bacteria and yeast can grow happily without a little plastic pin stuck in the petri plate). I don't sit at my desk or my bench and knit, either. Yet, there they are. When I visit my relatives, inevitably a week after I get home I get a card in the mail with a stitch marker taped to the inside of it (a good way to get sent cards, I guess!).

As a scientist, I am trained to look at all of the evidence and draw my conclusions from that. Therefore, I present you with Elisabeth's Great Theory of Stitch Marker Displacement: I shed them. No, really. I leave behind little plastic rings everywhere I go the same way my cat leaves behind half of his fur everywhere he goes (or, looked at another way, like a bunny leaves behind little brown pellets on your floor everywhere he goes). People used to complain that they found my hair everywhere after I had visited. Now, it's stitch markers. I wouldn't be surprised if my roommate found one in his underwear drawer (where, apparently, he has found one of my hairs--he was very disturbed about this, as I'm sure you can imagine; he claims this is why he doesn't allow the cat in his bedroom--bad enough my hairs end up in his unmentionables but if the cat hair did too, it would be even more unnerving).

I have a set of fancy stitch markers that are still in their packaging. I'm afraid to use them. I'm sure they're going to wind up in some unlikely place like the vegetable drawer in the fridge (also known as Where Cucumbers Go to Die). Or Roommie's sock drawer (I can hear his boyfriend now, "What is this earring doing in your sock drawer? Is there something you're not telling me about?"). Or in the PCR machine ("Eureka! I put in this DNA and out came this pretty bobbled zipper pull!"). Or in some place even I can't imagine ("We've discovered why your shower isn't draining properly ma'am--do these little rings look familiar?").

Don't get me wrong, it can be beneficial, too. I was knitting in a seminar once, wishing I had a stitch marker, and it turned out I had one in my jeans pocket (probably put there by whoever randomly puts a dollar bill in there that I discover just when I need it, or a kleenex right before I throw them in the wash, if they're feeling malicious). It probably says something about me that I even thought there might be one in my pocket. So, I'm a little concerned that it's another step on the road towards That Crazy Woman Who Lives in 3A. I would rather not be known as That Woman Who Leaves Behind Little Plastic Circles All Over the House. On the other hand, if we're knitting together in some obscure location, you can look at me and ask if I have a stitch marker and I probably have one on me somewhere (just don't be surprised if I have to take my shoe off to get to it). And really, what more could you want in a friend?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Presentation Anxiety

I am about halfway through the third skein of yarn (out of four total) for the Red Scarf Project, and I am considering my presentation options.

Last year, I just packaged them up with a note saying I made them and they could machine wash them and that was it. It never occurred to me to add goodies! But this year, things are different. I do not want the student who receives my scarf to miss out on the gift card, pretty packaging goodness. For an example of what I mean see here. I'm leaning toward a bookstore giftcard because a kid at Grinnell is never going to see a Starbucks. As for the wrapping, I would like to get some nice ribbon, but I don't know if I'll be able to make it out to a craft store for that, so I might go with some curling ribbon or something like that. Or maybe a gift bag? I don't know. I'm a little anxious over it, to be honest. I know the scarf is all that is required, but I want my student to feel special. And then there's the photo for the gallery. I'm not all that great at staging photographs. I haven't quite developed my photographer's eye (if I even have a photographer's eye). I'm trying to come up with a unique backdrop. The nature thing has been done. I'm thinking lab. But what? Shall I artfully drape it over our PCR machines? Or maybe wrap it around our fluorescent microscope? I could lay it on my bench, but then I'd have to clean the bench. Really clean it. I can see it now. My student will come down with ampicillin resistant E. coli (although the stuff we use in lab is not infectious). Maybe the key is to take lots of pictures and see what looks best....


In other news, please join me in congratulating Roommie's boyfriend, B (that's Dr. B to you), on successfully defending his dissertation in Spanish Literature entitled, Tending to Empire: The Spanish Pastoral Novel and Its Reflection upon Imperial Spain.” I attended and was very impressed. I have never seen someone appear so calm under pressure. I didn't even realize some of the questions scared the bejeezus out of him.


Winter has arrived in Chicago at last. We've had snow flurries all day and late this afternoon, the ground actually got cold enough for it to start to accumulate. I've been secretly disappointed by this year's winter. It's my last winter for a few years and I'm going to feel robbed if I don't get to stay home from lab at least once on account of a blizzard. Not that this qualifies as a blizzard. But, at least it's a bit more natural for these parts at this time of year.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

How To Take Care of Your Boobies

It's all girl-talk all the time here these days!

Yesterday, I was talking to the girl whose lab bench is next to mine about buying bras.* First, about buying sports bras (completely imperative to do calisthenics in the fitting room), and then we moved on to other bras and properly fitting bras and lingerie stores and salespeople who know what they're doing when you go in to buy a bra and so on and so forth (one of our male labmates tried to join in but quickly realized he was out of his depth). And I said, "There should be a class about this. You know, in middle school. There can be the 'What's happening to my body' class and a--" "--how to take care of your boobies class!" my benchmate said. And the more we talked about it, the more important it sounded; we would have a professional bra-fitter come in and measure the girls and talk about how to be properly measured and what a proper fitting bra looks and feels like and how, no matter how pretty the bra is, if it makes you look mishapen under your clothes then you should not--must not--wear it (don't women know it makes them look like they have four breasts? sheesh!) and we can include information about breast exams.

And then I thought, why stop at breasts? I had just read Imbrium's post about the Moon Cup and I thought, why do we have to wait until we are in our 20's or 30's or whatever to learn about these things? Where was the advice about curbing your bleeding when I needed it? Yes, my mother said, "Here, use these," but there was no other discussion, no, "Well, there are these different kinds of things and each of them have their advantages and here are some women who have actually used them so you can talk to them about it."

Years ago, there used to be "Finishing school" where you would learn to be a proper young lady, and receive instruction in the "womanly arts" (if you were rich enough to afford such things). And they would teach you about posture and needlepoint and all of that stuff. And, maybe those things mattered back then, but I think there should be a different kind of finishing school for the things that matter to women now. That can tell you what you really need to know to live as a happy, healthy, proud woman. Where there are women who come in and tell you about those things that maybe your mom didn't feel comfortable talking about (and you didn't feel comfortable hearing from her) or she just didn't know because it wasn't part of her experience. Like cramps, for instance. My mother never had cramps. It wasn't until college (COLLEGE! I started my period when I was 12!) that I found out that a hot water bottle on my womb was a damn fine thing one week out of every month. Now, of course, there are these great ThermaCare things so you can walk around all day with a heating pad on your abdomen. And ibuprophen. Why didn't anyone say I could take 800mg of ibuprophen when I had cramps? Where was the woman to tell me that yes, while some women get toxic shock syndrome, the VAST MAJORITY of women have no problems (I swear to you, I had heard so many warnings about tampons, I didn't even want to use them so I could go swimming while I had my period--I was scared to even look at them!) and so, therefore, I might just want to try them and by the way, they're all a little different so just because you don't like the applicator on one doesn't mean you won't like the applicator on the other or you can just use o.b. which doesn't have an applicator at all. Or how to have sex while having your period without creating a mess (which I just recently figured out!)?

And, when we learned about birth control, why weren't there women who had actually USED these various kinds of birth control? Where were the women to say, yes I have been on the pill and a) it was great, b) I could never remember to take the damn thing so it wasn't terribly effective for me, or c) I hated it? Or women to say to you that yes, the birth control patch is a fine thing but it leaves a gluey residue when you take it off and looks a little ratty by the end of the week, which is perfectly fine, but if that kind of thing bothers you then maybe you shouldn't use it? Or women to say, yes, I use a diaphragm and it was a little complicated in the beginning and once it accidently shot out across the room, but I practiced with it and it works quite well oh and by the way, it can be nice for when you have your period, too?

AND, where were the women who had been through a pregnancy scare to let us know what it really felt like to go to the pharmacy and buy a test and pee on a stick and wait for 5 WHOLE MINUTES all the while wondering what you would do if it came out positive? Or what it was like to keep forgetting to take your pill so that every Monday morning you end up going to the clinic to get a morning after pill and have the nurse practitioner look at you and say, "You know, you can't keep doing this"? Or, had unprotected sex with someone you didn't know well and it seeemed like a good idea at the time, but then later you spent months being SCARED TO DEATH that you had AIDS or some other STD, and then finally got tested and you couldn't work, you couldn't sleep, you could barely even eat until you knew the results?

Someone should tell you that if the doctor is going to use a metal speculum, have them run it under warm water first. Because the cold speculum is unpleasant. And, if you have a tilted uterus, you are NOT some kind of freak just because the gynecologist cannot find your cervix. The problem is the gynecologist, not you! And yeast infections? How do you know if you have one? What do you do if you get one? And what the hell is the difference between the Monistat 1 Dose and the Monistat 1 Dose Day or Night? Why is there $3 difference in the price? Why?


There should be a CLASS! There should be a BOOK! Hell, there should be an ENCYCLOPEDIA! Sure, there are women's magazines, but those are full of skinny, impossibly beautiful people. They don't give you the impression that they are written by real women. Besides, no magazine, or book even, can possibly substitute for real, live, normal looking women sitting there telling you what it is you need to know. Why should we have to wait for word of mouth? Why should we have to wait until some friend happens to mention some vital tidbit of information?

That's all I'm sayin'.

Disclaimer: Lest you think my life has been one gigantic nightmare of feminine problems, I've used examples from women I know in addition to my own experiences.

*In June, when I'm whining that I'm not done with grad school yet, feel free to remind me that I spent a significant amount of time in lab talking about anything and everything. And blogging.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Earth to Elisabeth....

I'm having one of those days. You know, the kind where you wish you had written your name on your brain with indelible marker so that if someone finds it they can return it to you. I've been turning off my timer without noticing so my reactions are incubating longer than they should, forgetting to add important reagents so that no matter how long the reaction incubates it's never going to work, spilling things, and generally making a mess of things. In the past, I've thrown in my towel and given up on days like this, convinced that even if by some miracle I made it through my experiments the results would be so screwed up I couldn't use them. But those days are over. I am A Woman On a Mission. I Must Graduate. I must not back down in the face of misplacing my brain. I must carry on. It just means I'll be in lab a little later than planned.

In knitting news, I have increased the length of my Red Scarf by 1 episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent plus 1/3 of my light box time, plus the development time of two x-ray films (lab stuff). Those are British Imperial units, that's why they are so complicated. Don't argue with me. Who's the scientist here, anyway? For those of you who are more used to the metric system, that's half a skein of Knitpicks Swish Superwash.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bobbie socks, knee socks, nylon hose

I have developed an intense dislike of pantyhose. I still wear them when appropriate, but I find them annoying. When I was younger (read: thinner and more flexible), I never understood why (usually older) women claimed to hate them. However, these days, I feel like I need to be a contortionist to get them on ("Dammit! Are these things twisted?!?!?") and once on, the waist is uncomfortable and doesn't stay put.

Usually, when the hubby and I go out to a fancy place, I like to get ready in private. That way, he doesn't see the intermediate, not-so-attractive versions of my evening's outfit (that, and I have to try on five things before I can decide which one I want to wear and I don't want to listen to him say, "So what was wrong with that one?"). However, one evening, we were short on time and we were getting ready simultaneously and therefore, he witnessed The Donning of the Pantyhose. He stood silently watching as I laboriously determined which was front and which was back, rolled them up to put them on, unrolled them because they were twisted, rolled them up again, hopped up and down on one foot while trying to get the other foot in the leg, and finally (because they were control top) the gymnastics that accompanied me pulling them up over my butt (which included laying down on the bed on my back, with my feet on the bed, pelvis in the air, pulling). And then the pulling them up little by little so they didn't sag at the ankles and knees and so on.

He said, "Now I know why you like to get ready in private." (yes, he really said that)

So, in an effort to regain a little feminine mystique, I decided to try the garter belt and stockings route. A friend of mine suggested it and I thought, what the hell, why not? I've tried thigh-highs, those stockings you can wear without a garter, and I don't like how the plastic sticks to my legs, especially in the summer. So, garter belt and stockings it is. Imagine my surprise when I went to VS (which, in theory, should sell enough feminine mystique to seduce a legion) and no garter belts. Stockings, yes. Garter belts, no. How did they think you were going to hold up the stockings, I ask you? Prayer?

Right. Enough about that.

In knitting news, I am a little less than half-way done with a red scarf for the Red Scarf Project. I'm using Knitpicks superwash in red. My Brittany needles have taken on a nice red hue. I used my stitch dictionary in California to find a nice, simple, knit/purl diamond pattern which I am surrounding with a garter stitch border (apparently I can't write a paragraph without using the word "garter" anymore). Four and a half hour plane rides are good for knitting, let me tell you!

I have another red scarf (also with a garter stitch border) that needs blocking, but this is a birthday present (past due). Then, I should really start on the socks that were supposed to be my roommate's Christmas present.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

A learning experience

Things I learned today by going to the Glendale Galleria:

1. In order to drive in California, I'm going to need two things: sunglasses (so I'll be needing to get contacts or prescription sunglasses) and patience.

2. California highways are huge and confusing. If I am going to drive in the left-most lane, I need to learn how to cross 5 lanes of traffic quick, fast, and in a hurry.

3. I live near mountains and valleys. Yes, they are pretty. Get over it. Pay attention to the road (see number 2).

4. It is much easier to find clothing that fits you if, before you leave, you look yourself straight in the eye (a mirror helps with this) and say, "Elisabeth," (you can use your own name, it'll probably be more convincing if you do), "you are no longer a size 10 and a medium. You are a size 14 and a large. If you bring size 10 (or even size 12) pants into the fitting room, they will not fit. Accept it. Move on. And medium button-down shirts? Not happening. They will pull in the bust. Medium knit shirts are okay, though. Medium underwear? No. You do not have a medium-sized ass anymore. Maybe, when you finish graduate school and you can take the time to eat properly and maybe even exercise and you do not have a toxic concentration of stress hormones ravaging your body telling it to maintain fat reserves, you will go back to being a size 10," (you can leave that last sentence out if it's not applicable), "but, it's not happening in the next couple of weeks. Face it. Embrace it. Bring on size 14 jeans."

5. If you want to buy a garter belt, you should go to Frederick's of Hollywood not Victoria's Secret.

6. Frederick's of Hollywood does have tasteful, sedate things.

7. Or not.

8. For sheer self-amusement, nothing beats wandering around the mall carrying an Eddie Bauer bag and a Frederick's bag (yes, I wear flannel and cotton t-shirts with modest v-necks, but what am I wearing underneath that?).

John has gone to a conference in Seattle so I have had to amuse myself today. It's a little odd being here when he's not, but it does make it seem more like home. I leave for Chicago tomorrow. I'm trying to prepare myself for that, mentally, but it's difficult. Here, I can relax and sit on my balcony and knit. There, I must work, work, work, and even if I had a balcony I couldn't sit on it without getting frostbite (although it's been relatively warm there, recently--it's creepy). But, it's not forever. It's not even for that long, in the grand scheme of things. It helps if I keep telling myself that.

I've been tagged

While I usually shy away from memes, I decided to go ahead and do this one because... what the hell (no pun intended, see below).

1.Find the nearest book.

2.Turn to page 123.

3. Go to the fifth sentence on the page.

4. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.

"It is left as it is in some translations, but it is rendered 'grave' or 'hell' in others. According to Greek myth, Hades was ruled by Pluto and Persephone; a place to which the dead 9with coin in mouth) were feried across the River Styx by the avaricious Charon. Judgment followed, with the righteous going to a meadow on the edge of the western world (Elysian Fields) and the wicked doomed to eternal suffering in the depths of Hades (Tartarus)."

5. Name the book and the author, and tag three more folks.

The Catholic Source Book, Rev. Peter Klein. Nihil Obstat: Rev. Richard L. Scaefer. Imprimatur: Most Rev. Jerome Hanus, O.S.B. Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa.

I know better than to tag Norma. So, I will tag Imbrium, mc78 of Knitoramus, and Allison of Perknitious.

This meme would've turned out very different if I had been where I usually read blogs, which is at lab. However, I was sitting on the couch in Pasadena with our two bookshelves of non-fiction books about three feet away and the closest section was on religion. I bought this book when I was teaching Confirmation prep because every time I planned a lesson, I thought of about 10 questions the kids might ask that I didn't know the answers to. Of course they never asked those questions. They always asked questions I hadn't thought of that I didn't know the answers to ("Um, let me get back to you on that.")


The other day, mc78 left this comment: "I guess travelling is a pain, but I'd like the couple of hours on a plane with Vogue magazines and knitting. And snakes, of course."

Now, while I can do without the snakes, I was in truth looking forward to having four and a half hours where I couldn't do anything but listen to my audiobook (A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin which is 33 hours long, about three times longer than the average audiobook) and knit John's scarf which was one of his Christmas presents. I did manage to cast off by the end of the flight but I hadn't woven in all of the ends. I gave it to him anyway since I knew I would be on hand all weekend to weave in the ends. As it was, the scarf needed to be slightly longer--just one more color panel--so I added that bit, too. Here he is with the scarf and the hat I made that goes with it:

Yarn: Knitpicks Decadence, 100% alpaca
Pattern: Made it up as I went along.

John needed a hat that was warmer than the wool-ease hat I made him a couple of years ago but not as warm as the double knit hat I made him a year or two ago for when he is in Hawaii (on the mountain, where there is snow). He already had a scarf but it didn't match the double knit hat or the new hat, so I made him a scarf, too.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

California here I come

This Chicago to Pasadena thing is becoming old hat (sort of). I still have problems packing (although this time, instead of listening to John about the weather--disasterous last time--I checked it out myself). I overpack. It's genetic.

Hopefully, on the plane I will be able to finish John's scarf (really meant to have that done by now). It's a four and a half hour flight so it could happen (or I could sleep, you never know).

Now, I must be off to finish (over)packing. Talk to you later!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

As winter progresses and my labwork continues to give me problems, I feel less and less like posting to the blog. In part, this is also due to the fact that I rarely have the time or energy to download photos to my computer and then upload them to the blog, particularly since I must do this in lab. However, in the future, I believe I will simply post as often as I can, and if I manage to throw a few pictures in there, then so be it.

The holidays were as joyful as they can be when one is separated from one's spouse. I missed John terribly (and still do, of course), but managed to enjoy a few celebrations these last couple of weeks. In addition, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Imbrium for the first time since she was in the Chicago area visiting her parents for the holidays. I confess I was a little nervous--what if we did not get along when communicating face to face? But not to worry! She is warm, kind, friendly, funny, supportive, and well, just a wonderful person and I am glad to call her a friend. She even put up with me calling Bradon "Brandon", which I did several times before catching on. I also got to hear her good news and offer my congratulations. Much screaming, and laughing, and jumping up and down, and hugging ensued. I am so very happy for her (and Bradon, too, of course)!

One holiday celebration I skipped out on was New Year's Eve. I was invited to a party of a friend of a friend but decided to not go. I've spent every day of this holiday season in lab, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve Day was no exception (nor was New Year's Day) and I could use a night to myself. So, instead of drinking champagne and toasting in the New Year, I watched a couple of episodes of CSI (the original, I don't like the other two), and then did some introspection.

Several weeks ago, I bought a planner from Franklin Covey. Included in the planner are several activities designed to help you create a personal mission statement. I've used planners from Franklin Covey before, but never created a personal mission statement. But, I want this year to be different. I am tired of being miserable. I am tired of making choices that lead me to depression. I want to be happy. So, I worked through the activities. I thought about what I value, who I am, who I want to be, what I want to do in life, and what I want to have. I answered questions like, "What have been some of my greatest moments of happeness and fulfillment?" "What activities do I most enjoy and find most fulfilling in my professional life?" "What are the activities of most worth in my personal life?" "What talents and capacites do I have or want to have?" "How can I best contribue to the world?" Then, I wrote my personal mission statement.

I will pursue happiness by:

1. Doing the things I love
-broadening my mind academically
-being creative

2. Being with the people I love
-never being separated from John for a long period time again
-having children
-maintaining contact with friends and family

3. Treating myself in the same way I treat others
-with love, kindness, and respect

4. Making a difference in the world
-by passing on my knowledge in both formal and informal settings
-by contributing to public understanding of science
-by helping others with mental illness
-by working toward a better public understanding of mental illness

It may need some tweaking here and there, but it will do for going on with for now.