I know I have been completely AWOL the last few weeks. I seem to have gotten myself into a bit of a time crunch and more than my fair share of drama this month. I won’t go into any detail regarding the drama. It doesn’t serve any purpose and believe me, you don’t want to know. Suffice it to say that it has been a stressful time around here and I am now in the market for a new apartment. If anyone knows of a cheap apartment on Long Island, NY, please let me know. I can’t afford much but I do need to move out of a toxic situation as quickly as possible.
Another major source of stress has been school. Don’t get me wrong. I have been enjoying the semester and my classes have been a lot of fun. I really enjoy debating literature and I get to do that to my heart’s content in both classes. My short story professor and I are still debating elements of Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener. (For the record, I don’t disagree with my Professor about what Melville meant by writing the story the way he did – I just violently disagree with Melville and he isn’t available to argue with and my professor is.) Anyway, I seem to be doing well so far and I am really hopeful that I will get an A in both classes if things continue as they are now.
What is stressful is the fact that I have had multiple deadlines converge so that I have a lot to get done in a very short time. (I shouldn’t even be writing this post right now but there is only so much one person can obsess about their homework without needing a break). I have a midterm in one class on Wednesday. I have to give a major presentation (25% of my grade) on Monday. I have a paper due a week from Wednesday and a midterm a week after that. Plus I am going away this weekend – losing valuable writing / studying time. I WAS supposed to be teaching a class at KMIS on the 14th (which I still have to prep and create handouts for) but fortunately that got pushed back two weeks so I can take that off the list of immediate concerns and focus on getting through two midterms, a paper, a presentation and several quizzes. Since I have so much going on, I have been really trying to manage my time effectively and get things done early – the better to avoid last-minute crisis. I also wanted to give myself extra time to work on everything since it has been years since I have written an academic paper and I feel a little bit rusty.
I am almost done preparing my presentation on No Name Woman from Maxine Hong Kingston’s Warrior Woman. It’s a good book – something I would have been willing to read on my own time even if it hadn’t been a class assignment. It’s the chronicle of one woman’s efforts to create her own Chinese American identity through the “talk stories” that her mother would tell her. This kind of focus on the cultural and psychological aspects of storytelling – particularly in the mother-daughter dynamic is right up my alley and I have a lot to talk about. While other presenters have had trouble filling their 20 minutes. I suspect I might have to pare things down a bit. But I spoke with the professor and he seems to thinks that I am more than set to go on this assignment. Once this (and the midterm which is tomorrow) is completed, I can relax a bit. We don’t have any major assignments or exams in this class until the end of the semester when we have a paper due (I am already debating whether or not to stick with the Warrior Woman and expand on the research I have already done or explore John Okada’s No-No Boy in terms of Cooley’s social psychology theory of the Looking Glass Self.)
I also have 4 out of five pages done for my paper about Guy de Mapassaunt’s Boule de Suif. This is the assignment I am most worried about. I know I can analyse the text and form a convincing argument but my focus on the proper citations of sources has waned a bit in the six years since my last college semester. And I have a (hereditary) love for commas and a tendency to be more liberal with them than most professors are comfortable with so I want to take a little extra care when writing the final draft.
(BTW: Between Boule de Suif – a patriotic prostitute and No Name Woman – a sort of Chinese Hester Prynne – I am having an unintentional “unchaste women” theme to my academic efforts. It is certainly not intentional on my part but I am vaguely amused by it.)
Things at the store seem to be going well. New and pretty things are arriving all the time and there seems to be a brisk amount of traffic going in and out. I worked a few days during the month of September but unless things change (which is completely possible) I won’t have any hours in October. The owner, who has expended a lot of her money and resources into getting the store actually opened, is trying to avoid paying for help if she could work a shift. That has always been understood and I never expected to be more than the substitute for when someone is on vacation or sick or unavailable to work. (Although I admit that recent events have made it so that if any regular hours became available, I would be more than grateful to take them.)
However, I am no longer managing the store’s social media – Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry, their blog, etc. There seems to have been very different expectations about how often I would post, who would provide information for the social media and how many hours I would put in for what was basically a volunteer position. I wasn’t able to be as active as she would have liked me to be so I have stepped down from the job. There was definite potential for tension and drama brewing and my school and family obligations had to take priority over this so I was glad to be out of that uncomfortable position. I am still a member of the staff (if sporadically) and, as I mentioned before, I will be teaching a class later in the month: Raverly For the Computer Challenged Knitter – (that’s me down by the bottom – even though I am the only unnamed teacher on the schedule… *sigh*)
Christmas Gifts Prep:
Speaking of knitting, I have been making a lot of progress on the Christmas list (81 days until Christmas – in case you were wondering). I’ve gotten all of my extended family done – all my aunts, my uncle, all my cousins and nieces. The only ones on my side of the family are my mom (whose throw blanket is about a third of the way done), my dad, my brother-in-law (whose Space Invader socks are a little intimidating for a knitter who both hates and fears colorwork). I was also supposed to be knitting my sister a hat to go with the scarf I already made her but recent drama is not having a motivating effect on me. Rob’s side of the family is almost done too. We are all done except for his dad, his stepfather and one last part of his godson’s gift. We know what we want to get Joey (his 9-year-old nephew / godson) – a subscription to National Geographic Jr. (on top of other gifts we have already purchased, including: a build your own robot kit, two Encyclopedia Brown books – which we both loved when we were his age and some other small items) but we want to wait until we are closer to the holiday so he gets the first issue soon after Christmas. We even have an idea of what to do for Rob’s stepfather – although it involves making yet another stocking gift card ornament *sigh* However, Rob’s dad is always challenging to shop for. Still I am leaving it up to Rob to come up with ideas. I have planned (and made) gifts for almost the entire family. He can manage one person. I took some time to snap some shots of some of the latest Christmas gifts(even though I really should have been working on school work instead and I really, REALLY should be doing so now instead of posting them)
This is a necklace and bracelet set I made for my SIL, Lauren. She has mentioned that she really likes green and purple so I thought a simple necklace of Rainbow Flourite would be just the right thing for her. I had extra beads so I threw together a matching bracelet.
This is a scarf I made for my Aunt Debbie. I made it out of Juniper Moon Farms’ chunky wool – Willa, which is a dream to work with!!! It feels great and (although you can’t tell from this shot) has a really rich purple color which Aunt Debbie loves. (By the way – you should check out the Juniper Moon Farms website. They have pretty yarns and a highly entertaining blog – I am considering stealing the “Probably something you would like…” feature they do every once in a while. Plus they have a lambcam where you can watch adorable little lambs playing. How can you beat that?!)
And this is the Uneven Rib scarf that I made for my SIL, Lynda. Lynda is one of the few members of the family I haven’t made a scarf for so I thought it was about time I corrected that. Plus Juniper Moon Farms has this color that was very close to Lynda’s favorite color – a very specific shade of blue-green. While I don’t think we got the exact shade, I think it is close enough.
We are going up to NH to visit my cousin / best friend, Nikki and my god-daughter, Katrina this weekend. We will be heading to King Richard’s Fair (Yay for Renn Faire Season!!) and a local apple festival. I am hoping to get some board gaming in since Nikki loves games as much as we do and we will have enough people for some games we don’t get to play that often since there is only two of us (Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples, possibly even Puerto Rico). We will also be having a very early birthday party for Katrina (since we won’t be able to be there for the actual birthday) and I will get to ohhh and ahhh over Katrina’s school projects. Kat started school this year and is loving it. I asked her what she did at school one day and was told that they had recess. When I tried to get her to tell me what else she did, she informed me that all they do in Kindergarten is recess – reading recess, numbers recess, art recess, etc. Her mother says that if she is having a good enough time that everything is recess, then we shouldn’t correct her. I agree. Kat and I also spoke about how I am going to school too. She has decided that since I am studying stories, I am going to Book College while she (when is grown up and done with Kindergarten) is going to go to Paintist College. Paintist are people who create paintings evidently just like Artists are people who create art. (Can’t fault the logic even if the grammar is a bit iffy). I asked her if she would paint a painting for me and Uncle Rob and she told me that she would make a painting of a rainbow. She went on to explain that you need to paint a sun and a cloud with rain in it because that is what you mix together to get a rainbow. I know I am completely biased (being her completely doting godmother) but I think she is one of the cutest, smartest little kids ever!
Then two weeks after this, we are planning on heading down to the MD Renn Faire. This is the closest that Rob and I have gotten to a vacation for years but it is one of my favorite places on Earth. (Seriously, I think Planting Fields Arboretum runs a close second and I reserve the right to revise this list if I ever manage to get to Ireland but right now, I would rather be at the MD Renn Faire than anywhere else in the world). It is possible that we may have to revise our plans depending on how things fall out on the homefront but until that happens, I am seriously looking forward to the faire. It is also one of my favorite places to take photos so expect some photography posts when I get back.
Lastly, our fall tv shows have started up again, including How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Glee (yay!), The Office and Project Runway. I am really looking forward to a couple of offshoots of this show they are putting out there this year – Project Accessory and Project Runway All Stars which will feature a couple of my favorite designers from past years (Go Michael C.!) We are also all caught up on Mad Men, a show we didn’t watch when it was on the air but got on Netflix so we are ready to go when they start episodes again. And we have started watching the New Girl which is showing a lot of promise. I wanted to check out Pam Am and The Playboy Club – especially since there is a serious lack of drama on my tv watching schedule (if not my life) ever since West Wing went off the air, *pauses for a moment of silence* but I haven’t gotten around to it. Anyone else watching either of them and what do you think?
Anyway, I have stalled all I can and now I really have to hunker down and get some work done. Hopefully when things calm down, I can post more frequently. Talk to you all soon!