Thursday, May 21, 2009

5.21 Done, done, done!

It's turned in. I'm done, except for reading other people's submissions. Wheee!

I celebrated by going over to the middle school and teaching a bunch of sixth graders to knit.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5.17 Heavy sigh...

I asked J to read over my paper for comments. As I'm busy looking through his redlines, I came across a set of brackets around a sentence and the note "consider revising".


This is a sentence I have revised. At last count, about five times.

He's right. It stinks.


I'll try to revise it again. I think it's a point I need later.


Maybe I'll just kill it here and bring it up later.


It's too bad I'm not using a typewriter. There used to be a somewhat visceral satisfaction in threading the paper back into the typewriter and typing xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Watching x's appear on the screen isn't nearly as much fun as the wham-wham-wham of the key on the platen.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

5.16 Closing in...

I've been cranking away on my paper - three sections, the conclusion and the abstract to go. I will be so glad to be done with this. While I picked an interesting (to me at least) topic, I've been living with it long enough and intensely enough that at this point I despise every word and have no idea whether I'm making sense or not.

I have to run over to the campus bookstore this afternoon and pick up my cap and gown. That happens Friday!

On a completely different note:
I spent a few hours Thursday evening (after my brain was fried for the day already) at the rummage sale put on by the women of the church. I sat (mostly) in the hall, knitting, directing traffic, and making sure no one slipped out the back door without going by the cash register first. One of the rooms I was sitting near was the one with all the kids' toys and games. Someone had donated a plastic car shaped bed, the kind that becomes the "big kid bed" - it takes a crib sized mattress and is used when the kid is climbing out of their crib on their own anyway. The car bed was used as the repository for all the stuffed animals that had been donated (somewhere between 100 and 200 I think).
One small child, probably about four going on five, decided that it would be a good thing to climb into the bed to look at the toys. This was reasonable as his arms wouldn't reach. He sat surrounded by stuffed animals, looking them over and digging through the pile and his conversation with his mother went like this:
Small boy: (holding up a cute horse with sparkles) Do you like this one?
Mom: Yes, that one is very cute.
SB: (chucks the horse over his shoulder)
SB: (holding up a grumpy bulldog) Do you like this one?
M: That's rather ugly.
SB: But do you like it?
M: No, I don't think so.
SB: (contemplates bulldog for a long time, before finally setting it to one side)
SB: (holding up a cute puppy with floppy ears) Do you like this one?
M: Yes, that's very cute.
SB: (chucks the puppy over his shoulder)
This sequence repeated a couple more times - cute things that mom liked were chucked over his shoulder, ugly ones she didn't like were set to one side.
SB: (rummaging through the pile) Oh wow! a snake. Do you like this one?
M: Ewwww! a snake! No, that's awful.
SB: I Want This One! I want the snake. I need the snake.
M: No.... why don't you get the horse? Why don't you get the puppy?
SB: I want the snake!
And after five minutes of arguing, he got to keep the snake, mostly by completely ignoring her and dashing out of the room snake in hand to go show Gramma.

I think she's in trouble.

I also decided it wasn't the best time to mention that when S was the same age, he had an entire collection of snakes: stuffed, plastic, and rubber, from little bitty ones only a few inches long up to the four foot handmade beanbag snake K found him for his birthday at the Saturday market in Eugene.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

5.14 tulips and lilies

I showed you the mixed tulips and lilies, but that was before anything bloomed. The tulips are in full flower (or were before last night's rain/wind storm blew through). I definitely need to do some thinning this fall.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

5.13 red tulips

Aside from the blueberry cream and DD tulips, I also got a red tulip mixture. These also went into last year's new bed and I was looking forward to seeing what they looked like - I approve.

The paper is coming along, more slowly than I could wish, but satisfactorily at the moment.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

5.9 Looking up

I did finally have a breakthrough on my paper yesterday. I managed to make a lot of progress. I foresee one more potential blockage, but I'm trying to nibble round the edges and circumvent it. I'll probably hit that part tomorrow.

Bloglines is down - how can I see about checking on everybody? Aaaagh.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

5.7 frustration

I've been been battering my head against the wall of my thesis this week. I woke up this morning with a strong feeling that I'd broken through and that things would flow better today.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

5.6 Things that make me go hmmm...

Twice a week I take K & S to school. S has jazz lab, he needs to be there at the same time (pretty much) as K has to be there, the schools are right next to each other, and I take them both. S hates this as he thinks K should take the bus since she doesn't have to go then, and if she goes we have to leave five minutes earlier than he absolutely has to in order to be on time. He spent a bit of time earlier this year in a passive-aggressive attempt to always make us five minutes late leaving the house, but that didn't go over well and he gave it up (partly because I expressed my disapproval somewhat vehemently, and partly because making us late didn't make K late, but did make himself late. Not a win-win.)

The schools each have a one-way loop across the front and at that hour of the morning, there are always many cars dropping students off at each of them. I've noticed an interesting phenomenon that I just don't really understand. The stopping-zones are laid out such that at the shortest walking distance from car to school door, just about three cars is the right number to pull forward, deposit their students, and then pull away in the minimum amount of necessary time. The student in the fourth car back would reach the first-car dropping off point at the same time whether they walked or waited, so generally people in the fourth-car-back wait until the car pulls forward to first-car status. (This ignores complications such as students who stop to gab with the driver after getting out of the car, and those who wait to gather up their multitudinous belongings until after getting out of the car.)

As a rule, this social endeavor works fairly well, with a reasonably steady stream of cars flowing through the loop well enough that the line doesn't back up beyond the entry of the loop leaving cars standing in the two lane road, blocking traffic in both directions to the annoyance of the non-school-going morning commuters.

There is one set of people I just don't understand, however. In about one car in five or six, the driver does not move on when their student heads for the school, but sits there watching them until they actually vanish from sight. Why?

We're talking about students aged 14 and up. The only reasons I can think of are:
1. The driver is worried someone will attack them before they enter the building. Huh?
2. The driver is worried they won't enter the building at all, but will go somewhere else instead. Again, huh?
3. I dunno. I lack further imagination.

In the case of 1, at the high school, there are many students visible at all times from car to door. It's highly unlikely anything could happen, and if it did, there would be many people to intervene or to send for help. At that hour, there isn't a supervisor inside the door, so inside or outside, what difference does it make? At the middle school, there are fewer students around, but the front door isn't actually visible from the drive. If someone were going to interfere with a student's entry into the building, that would be the place to do it, out of sight from the drive. But the drivers don't actually escort the students to the door, just wait until they are out of sight and potentially being ambushed. Right.

In the case of 2, at either school, waiting to watch the student enter the building doesn't preclude the student from walking straight through and out another door. What does watching them enter buy one?

I don't get it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

5.5 hyacinths and hearts

Every year I enjoy this juxtaposition - grape hyacinths and bleeding hearts. I would pride myself on my forethought in planting these next to each other, but, honestly? Totally random.
Last spring the bleeding hearts were about twice as big and I really gave serious thought (at the time) about moving the hyacinths farther away because they did get overshadowed pretty badly as the summer went on.
Last fall however, the combination of dog and chipmunk took care of the problem at least for this year. The birdbath had been positioned between and to one side of the bleeding hearts. The chipmunk decided to move in for the winter, into the base of the birdbath. Brandon took exception to this and dug up half of the bleeding hearts in his quest to get at said chipmunk. I didn't realize what was going on until much damage had been done.
Getting the chipmunk out from under the birdbath took a bit of effort. It was not at all interested in coming out, even when Brandon had been shut in the house. When I turned the birdbath on its side, it scrambled up in to the pillar of the bath, which is hollow. I got a wrench and undid the nuts holding the bath on the pillar, leaving just a hollow tube. It still didn't want to come out, despite the fact that its happy home was now in pieces. It would scramble from one end to the other, but wouldn't leave. I finally got the hose and sprayed its furry little butt firmly. It shot out of the tube as though from a cannon and scrambled into the neighbor's yard, under his fancy deck.
The birdbath was put back together (with thanks that it hadn't been glued or welded originally) and left on its side for several weeks, partly to discourage a return to the old homestead and partly to discourage Brandon from digging up any more of the bleeding hearts.
I wasn't sure they'd make it, but they were well established at the time and seem to have made a recovery.

Monday, May 04, 2009

5.4 blueberry cream tulips

These are blueberry cream tulips - it says so right on the label.
A very unripe blueberry perhaps.
Again, I'm not unhappy with what I've got it, I'm just a little surprised. in this case, it leaves me wondering if I have soil that's too acid, although, if it's too acidic, why aren't the blueberries doing better?
I may have to blame the blueberry bush question on the clay soil.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

5.2 donald duck tulips

I got some new tulilps for the garden last year. The first to bloom were the Donald Duck tulips, which somehow weren't quite what I expected. I'm not unhappy with them, they just aren't what I thought they'd be like.
I find it exceedingly interesting that if you do a google search on DD tulips, all the commercial sources are using exactly the same photo for illustration, and it doesn't particularly look anything like what I have growing. On the other hand, everyone else's private pictures look very similar to mine. Hmmm...

Friday, May 01, 2009

5.1 sock

Believe it or not, there has actually been a bit of knitting going on. Exhibit A: A sock. (sort of) This is the second time I've gotten to this point, as I completely ripped the first attempt.
When I started, I assumed that if the sock didn't fit me, I would just let K have it. That plan worked up to the moment when I had three repeats done and tried it on K's foot and it wouldn't come close to going over her heel. Hmmm... I generally knit loosely, and often have to scale down a bit, but a (nominal) size 8 sock is apparently really a size 8 sock (or less) and will not fit a size 9 teenager, much less a size 11 adult (why yes, big feet do run in our family, why do you ask?)
I have not knit many socks, and as a consequence, I don't have a good feel for what sort of sock size (in terms of stitch count, size yarn, and or needle) is going to work out well to make a sock that will fit any of us. My gauge calculations to date have been pretty useless. I envy people who can say - why I cast on my usual 53 stitches for the perfect sock size and went to town. I realize that they got to this point by doing a bunch of socks that didn't work, but I haven't been able to make myself do enough of that bunch of socks to get to that point myself.
To date, I have knit three pairs of socks, two single socks and three half socks. I get bored and put them down.
Working on the theory that I get bored because I'm knitting plain socks (trying to get to that internalized understanding of what makes a good sock for me) and that I might continue to stay interested if I pick livelier patterns, I'm trying Cookie A's Sock Innovation. So far so good, even if I have started completely over. On the other hand, I may trip over my other problem with knitting socks - if I have to modify the pattern to make it fit (which I just told you I did), I also have to write it down so that I can remember what I did for the other one. Since I almost never plan to knit the same thing twice, I don't have to remember this step for anything else I knit. My record for doing this for socks isn't very good.