In which a school-loving graduate student reflects on the balance and intersections among her life as a doctoral candidate, her love of all things knitting-related, and her adventures mothering an amazing boy along with her wife!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


I'm thankful to have emerged from the flurry of the heart of the holidays with a feeling of bounty. Yes, I was overwhelmed and tired at times. Yes, too much driving was involved, but our time was bountiful. There was a bounty of family to enjoy -- it was wonderful to watch Q to see how his relationships with different family members have evolved over time.

There was a bounty of generosity -- giving, receiving, etc. Throughout, Q was gracious and not greedy, which I consider true success for many reasons.

There was even a bounty of fun Q activity -- most notably, cleaning with his partner dirt tiger, Grandma Kathy and daily "middle of the night" (aka early morning) walks with Grandpa Iv. He looked forward to both of those activities like nobody's business. In fact, upon reminding him last night that he should sleep until the late morning, he noted that he would of course, because he only woke up early in Maryland because "I'm just so tempted by Grandpa Iv to go on a walk with him." Early rising, but what could be better, right?

On the material front, among other things there were some yarn acquisitions and a Royal ball winder, which will make life MUCH easier. Pics to come in my next post.

I leave you with wishes of bounty, peace, and thankfulness...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Greetings from the depths

....of work, that is. It's a super duper amazingly busy week in the teaching world for me. I am doing the main lecture in my course that I am the teaching fellow for. Two times. That's an extra six hours of teaching. The first session was tonight, and it went well, I believe.

Then, add to that two sessions of another course, where I'll be running class for a small group. Six more hours of teaching.

On top of my usual two hour-long sections which take enough prep in and of themselves.

So, fourteen hours of teaching. Doesn't sound like much, but boy does it take me out of me. But I do so love it.

So for now, I'm waving from the depths of "busyness" and looking forward to emerging triumphant on the other end.

Oh, and that December project is still forthcoming. And 'twill be fun!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

World AIDS Day

Just wanted to have today be a day of pause to remember all of those lost to AIDS. To remind everyone that it is still a vital fight -- for all communities, as HIV/AIDS infection rates rise in groups often thought to be at little risk for contracting the disease.

Perhaps visit my aunt's AIDS foundation in Venezuela

Or donate here.

Or just recommit yourself to making a difference somehow -- attending to candidates' stances regarding funding for HIV/AIDS research, keeping yourself abreast of the facts, reaching out.

Just don't forget.

Friday, November 30, 2007

This is it!!!!

I'm done! I did 30 posts in 30 days (aka NaBloPoMo)

You'll see a little celebratory badge on the sidebar.

And for all those eagerly awaiting (hah!) the little december experiment, details are coming soon. And we'll have a few day breather at the end of the month to let folks recover from recent posting blitzes prior to starting up with a newly fashioned blitz.

Meanwhile, I think I cast on for my first socks tonight. Probably Thuja. (I just have to tackle the winding of yarn first. Not my fave activity....until my lovely winder arrives, that is.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coming down the pike

In a few short days December will be here. And with it the end of NaBloPoMo. Of course, being the nerds and cravers of structure that we are (oh, and the goody goodies too), Mere and I wanted to create a December project along similar lines.

So we're cooking up a December blog-fest involving bounty, giving, creating....a theme to directly counteract the greed and consumerism that is so often the focus of the month.

We'd love others to join us on this journey so will have more details and a way to sign up to participate in the fun forthcoming. After just a bit of editing. If you have any particularly brilliant ideas related to this vague description, let me know!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The start of the giving

I've been seeing this pay it forward project around "blogland" lately and have always hesitated to join in. But today I bit the bullet. I left a comment on a blog I've been following of late and so here I am making the same offer!

Here's the generic version of the instructions:
The idea of the exchange is I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this blog post requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet, and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog - this means you must have a blog, sorry blogless readers.

So, comment away. I'm interested to see where it leads. And it's certainly a good start to the giving, the hand-made focus, and the joy that I'm hoping to create in the coming month.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Today, amidst the hectic storm that is our family's Tuesdays, arrived some tea. Lovely tea. In lovely containers. Wrapped as well.

A peaceful wonder and delight in the day.....

By the way, Mere and I are hatching plans for a December blog project.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A portrait of the, grad student

Originally uploaded by megincl
Yes, it's the lovely wife! I didn't have any grand ideas for a post today after a very busy, not completely momentous day. So I played a bit, capturing Katie at the computer, doing her grad school business. That's where I usually sit doing MY grad school business, but she was printing and, well, I wanted to capture her cuteness!

We've both been pedal to the metal with work, which has made life hectic and taken away from schmooze/quality time. But the end is near!

For now, enjoy the smirk, wish us speedy completion of all of our work, and be well.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back to it!

Tomorrow "real life" starts again. It's been so nice to have this respite to spend extra time in bed, drinking warm beverages, going to cafes, crunching in the leaves.

I'm thrilled that Q is so excited to go back to school. It speaks volumes.

Today I found myself, too, excited about a return to our regular rhythm. Happy to get back to teaching, research, and writing. I was surprised to feel that spark of excitement, but happy that it propelled me to my calendar to schedule out the day.

Of course we'll see what tomorrow brings, but for now I'll dwell in the anticipation of a new week....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Knitting again

Phew! I think the knitting mojo has returned. I'm working on the Montego Bay scarf. I'm using Handmaiden Seasilk, which is an amazing fiber. I believe it's my first project with fingering weight yarn, and I'm really enjoying the way the lace pattern is turning out. It becomes a bit mindless after a while, which is what I really like!

More tomorrow, but enjoy the in-progress pics for now!

Friday, November 23, 2007

If only I were that industrious

The lovely boy was on a cleaning frenzy today, including:

1. washing dirty dishes
2. dust-busting living room floor
3. emptying all trash cans
4. sponging down a sticky table
5. making the moms' bed, including straightening the flat sheet

Really, truly. If only I were that industrious. And enjoyed the act so much. He was never happier today than when he was busy cleaning. He hummed away. He was so engrossed he couldn't hear us talk to him. He didn't want to leave the house it was so fun. Really. My child. Dang.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The day consisted of much loveliness:

A terrific family triathlon, a great family cooking session to make an absolutely amazing mushroom soup, a splendid meal with friends....

I felt the glow of thanks surrounding me today in the form of warmth and laughter.

Pictures of the tri to follow!

Be well all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


What I'm most thankful for on this day-before-Thanksgiving:

That I'm not traveling.
That I'm not cooking a huge feast.
That I'm not cleaning my house willy nilly.
That friends were generous enough to invite us to their gathering.
That the gathering will be kid-friendly.
That we got to spend this evening playing with new friends -- a night of laughter and no pressure to prep for tomorrow!

That today I was in PJs until 1pm and did a lot of knitting.

Wahoo for the knitting. More on that tomorrow, but it involves sea silk. Yum!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's snowing!

I'm thrilled! I love snow, particularly the first snow. I love the feeling of peace and quiet that it brings. I could stare out the window at the flakes for hours.

This snow, it's a light one. It won't stick because it's too warm. But it doesn't matter, because it's given me a nice extra dose of peace for the day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Catching up...

I mentioned a few posts back about going to an amazing yet frightening talk by Susan Linn. So here's the scoop:

She's the the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which works to remove marketing influences in children's lives -- on TV, on foods, on toys, etc. She spoke at Q's school about the ubiquity of multiple kinds of marketing, most of which is more potent than mere commercials (I know it's time to run and hide when commercials sound mundane). There's viral marketing, most often used on social networking sites -- adds are wittingly or unwittingly passed, literally like a virus, to one's social network. Scary, but I'd expect that of web-based stuff.

More scary to me was the way she spoke of marketing to babies. Beyond new 24-hour baby-focused TV stations (which makes me want to hurl), there's the idea that a baby's room, clothes, accessories, etc are all branded. A Disney princess room becomes equated with parental love for the young child sleeping in it. Which then spirals into an attachment to Disney princesses, not because a child loves them per se, but because they represent the love, comfort, care, and security felt in a room filled with that image. And thus babies becoming a marketing target. A stealth target, but such an innocent and vulnerable target.

Nothing that Linn spoke of was mind-blowing, but it was disgusting nonetheless.

I did leave thankful for the rather simple life we have, for the simplicity of Q's playthings, for his ability to really imagine. It also caused me, though, to take a good look around at how contaminated our lives are with marketing efforts and to think about how to protect our young ones (not just mine, but everyone's) from those seemingly benign, but ultimately so powerful messages.

I'd love to hear folks' ideas on fighting the commercialism bug beyond the four walls of your house. Or even just within your home. What strategies do you use?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

These things don't mix

I came to the end of the politics part of that last post and thought, "you know, I don't think that yarnie bits and political rants mix." So, new post!

I received this lovely swap package from my magic swap friend in the Tea and Yarn swap on Ravelry. She spoke highly of the sock yarn, and I can't wait to try all the teas. And the tea strainer WITH holder for when it's not in use -- I believe it will increase my tea consumption exponentially.

Thank you, Deb!

More politics plus some swappage....

I guess it's just the season. But here I am posting for the second time in a few days about politics. Whoa is me, as it's not my usual MO.

But how can I avoid commenting on the lunacy of a president who says he will not sign a bill that eliminates or revises the alternative minimum tax if it requires any new taxes. Namely, the democrats crafted a bill changing the AMT and in turn invoking a new tax related to taxing fund managers (I believe). It's a clear swap of removing taxes from the not super wealthy (middle income only) and placing them instead on the can-"sacrifice"-much-more easily richer folks. But to Bush, this is NOT okay. Of course not. And of course, in the republican mindset, you don't need super-high tax revenue because the name of the game is small government. And yet there's the TRILLIONS we spend on Irag. I don't know where the whole small government thing went. But I do know that the AMT is hurting folks who don't need to be dinged any further. I'm not even one of them, falling way below that income bracket, but I fear that extra penalty one day.

Mostly, I despise the hypocrisy and the mentality of watching out for those who have while giving not an iota for those who don't (can we talk children's health care bill?). Ugh.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Here and in person!

The lovely Mere will be here with her beloved Y in just a few minutes. Can't wait!

You can only imagine how dang excited our in-house "Ellis Paul" is.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Politics. Really? From me?

Here's that online poll/toll that asks you questions and determines which presidential candidate best fits your preferences.

As noted yesterday, Barack came out as my #1. Now, there are many reasons why I like him, and I admit that, whichever democrat wins the primaries will eventually get my vote, but I'm still not sure who will get my primary vote. And he's done a few things that rub me the wrong way, such as bringing an outwardly anti-gay minister with him on some campaign stops. Of course none of the candidates who have a chance are for marriage equality, which totally gets my goat. Political wrangling and positioning is just not my cup of tea. And taking a position because it will get you votes or make you popular with folks. Well, it didn't work too well in middle school (in the long-run), and I don't like it as a political strategy for the highest seat in the land. So it's a tough decision and probably one of the reasons that I don't throw myself full-tilt into the thick of all the political considerations necessary in the next few months. Mostly, I just hope hope hope that a democrat makes it into office.

So, take the poll, share your results, share your thoughts as the primary season encroaches.....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More tired than eloquent

Much to write about, including an amazing, inspiring, and frightening talk by Susan Linn about commercialism and children. Truly frightening. It made me thankful for so many things about our life with Q, and helped me see how truly simple in the best of ways it is. Most of the time.

Many thoughts about this all swirl around in my head, in addition to excitement about teaching what felt like another great section and more urgent movement on my dissertation.

Oh, and I took a survey (link to come) that told me that Obama is the candidate who most fits my desires. Interesting....must think more on that.

So, more to come on this swirl, but now it is time for rest, sweet rest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The least-expected places

I could make this a nice, sappy, poetic post about how you find happiness, peace, friendship, etc in places where you least expect it.

But no. For me, it's all about the hot chocolate. The GOOD hot chocolate. By that I mean hot chocolate that has a deep rich taste. That tends more towards the dark chocolate taste than the milk. That doesn't taste watery and doesn't taste powdery. You perhaps know what I mean.

So, you may ask, where does this whole "least-expected places" bit come in?

Today I was off at a local beloved tea shop, grabbing a few minute's break from school. After choosing some lovely teas for a swap, I spied their sign advertising hot chocolate. Not only hot chocolate, but coconut hot chocolate. I'm a sucker for the coconuts, so I had to give it a try. This was in spite of my hesitation of it being hot chocolate from a tea shop, and all.

After I ordered, the woman pulled out some coconut tea. I hesitated because I don't do caffeine (hence the use of chocolate as an upper -- not bad, eh?). She said she could, instead, use coconut syrup. So, in spite of my interest in what tea-infused hot chocolate might taste like, I went for the safer, non-jitter-inducing choice.

And wouldn't you know, 'twas one of the best hot chocolates of the season. Rich. Chocolately. Deeply flavorful. And all with a wonderful, smooth hint of coconut. From a place where I admittedly least expected to find a yummy hot chocolate. Those kinds of discoveries, to me, are the best.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I love the feeling of leading a class/discussion section effectively. To me, it usually looks something like this.

Groups of people huddled together. Intense conversations going on. Nodding. Probing questions. A bit of wild gesticulating. Small bits of laughter here and there. And then there's me, being silent. I walk around, listen in, make the occasional suggestion, but the learning and teaching belong to them. I set up the structure and they take off within it.

That, to me, feels like a good day of teaching. And it's what happened today in my section. That, and at 5pm, the end of section, not a person budged from their conversations. That, my friends, is a very good sign.

Monday, November 12, 2007

An FO!

Here 'tis. It's been promised. Here it is in person. I love this hat. It is the absolute cutest. Now if only it would find its way into a package and to the PO. Hopefully the Ez will like it too!

Pattern: Ada June
Source: Magknits
Yarn: Some crazy-soft cotton, the name of which escapes me at the moment. But I can always come back to fill in the details.
Details: My first intarsia project. When they say to use bobbins for the mini balls of yarn, they mean it. I slogged through many a tangled mess on the way to completion here. But the finished product was worth it.
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A long-lost FO, new yarn, bliss

'Twas a blissful weekend with my parents around and Q being thrilled at each and every thing they did together.

Cleaning being TOP on that list. He and grandma are nicknamed the "Dirt Tigers." Could you ask for anything more?

Last week I scored some new, wonderful yarn at a LYS that's going out of business. I'd only shopped there once prior, but being there, I became wistful that I hadn't known them better during their in-business time, as it was a nice space and super-friendly owner (who even looked up a pattern for me so I could find the right yarn!).

On the bright side, though, I added some great yarns to my stash. Especially inspirational sock yarns for my yet-to-begin sock-knitting habit. Please comment with any "getting over the fear of knitting socks ideas!"

For your viewing pleasure:

Lovely, lovely, lovely yarn, and so squishy!
Panda Cotton: Of this yarn I've heard much ado...I love that it includes bamboo (that did NOT rhyme intentionally!)
Amazingly soft cashmerino for the aforementioned pattern.
And who can resist sock yarn that includes soy? So silky!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yarn to come...and house keeping

FYI: Great yarn pr0n pics to come (that's a code, for you non-initiated so that folks searching for nasty stuff on the web don't find this blogaroo...).

Today has been all about keeping the house in tune. Like a general tune up, our house always needs some maintenance, and it usually coincides with a lovely visit from my parents! ;)

Today: new smoke detectors, some insulation near the door, a hook for our new drying rack, accessible hooks for Q's coats, a cozy blanket, new towels.

Just the kind of renewal I need heading into the deep cold of this season....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Take a pause....

I'm actually here writing because I realized I needed a pause from the mad socializing of the day. It's been fabulous. My father arrived this morning, followed shortly by my grandfather. In spite of a harrowing drive, we had a very successful (read, fleece-filled) trip to LL Bean (aka LOB, as Q says). But after tons of chatting, my mouth and mind need a rest. So here I am, taking a moment for some relative peace.

I'll now insert some peaceful pictures. And breathe.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday's Fabulous Fifteen

I've officially revised the Friday Fifteen to be the Friday Fabulous Fifteen. Mostly so I can use it as an opportunity to celebrate.

Here we go!

1. I made it through a week full of emotional rollercoasters and came out on the other end feeling more at peace.
2. The office is nearly clean for my parents' visit.
3. In the midst of cleaning I did a lot of organizing and purging, so it's not just a superficial clean.
4. I photographed tons of great new yarn to put up on Ravelry.
5. I got some new yarn.
6. That new yarn was ON SALE.
7. I've never seen a 4yo boy happier about getting tights. Especially the purple ones.
8. I got the go-ahead to start officially working on my dissertation proposal. Phew!
9. Meeting the fabulous queer mamas/papas of MDC.
10. Feeling so connected to those folks, last weekend and now in day-to-day communications.
11. My parents are coming and will help us feel taken care of this weekend.
12. I stayed longer with Q in the mornings at school some days this week and felt like I got an even more in-depth glimpse of the wonders that are present in his classroom.
13. Q started learning his second cello song!
14. The cool air started to turn crisp and I spied my first frost of the year!
15. My shagalicious hair is now cut nice and clean!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Exhilaration and Exhaustion

Today I taught my second section of the week. It happened to be one in which I talked a LOT. Usually I listen. I facilitate. I keep us on task. I ask questions that push. But today I talked. We covered lots of stuff about NCLB. About the Supreme Court decision about race-based desegregation policies. I know that many myths were dismantled.

Towards the end of class, my throat started to hurt from talking so much. My voice was tired, by body was tired. Yet I realized soon after leaving that I was exhilarated. I love teaching in all shapes and forms, and it's wicked exciting to share information that then builds the knowledge base of others.

And right around the moment I realized I was exhausted and exhilarated all at once, the dear Mere called me. She was off to teach a workshop and was nervous. She asked if she'll ever not be nervous for such events. And luckily there I was in the perfect place to tell her that, yes, someday those nerves will gently shift into excitement. Because I see my teaching now as something exciting, a part of my week that I look forward to.

It's an important insight, really, as I look towards what kind of balance I'd like in my first post-grad job between research and teaching. That teaching gets my groove on. And I know Mere will get there too. Really, as much as she doesn't believe it. Wink.

Be well.

PS -- the two times I mention Mere are both linked to different things -- her biz and her blog. Check 'em both out! (Shameless plug).

Check this out!

I don't know that the rice donation part is very substantial, but the word definition is a great brain stretch.

Look here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Giving up, letting go

Today was a hard day in the realm of my research. I've been grappling lately with how to find a balance between what I need to do for my dissertation given that it's part of a group project and a research project's project, if that makes sense. Then, I want to be able to balance those demands and requirements with my own passions, beliefs, interests, etc.

I study teachers' professional learning during years 4-10 of the career. Most folks have VERY poor learning opportunities then, as some of you probably know. Others have none. Others, however, are lucky and find themselves in the company of folks from whom they can learn or in environments rich with learning possibilities. What I hold nearest and dearest is the belief that good professional learning for teaching can help shift their beliefs about their students' capabilities and potential. Particular teachers of kids in urban areas where I think deficit mentalities about students gets in the way of good teaching and learning way too often.

So today I had to grapple with the fact that, for my research right now, I can't come right out and ask teachers if their beliefs about their students have changed. There are a myriad reasons why, but the bottom line is that it just won't work. It would be awkward. Leading. These and other reasons I understand intellectually. And I understand how we can get at this issue in a more nuanced, ground-up way. But all of that involved a painful process of letting go. I found myself crying today as I tried to explain what I was most passionate about learning to my colleagues and then working to reconcile that with what actually WORKS in the world of research for this particular project. There's loss involved in research. In fact that's been my mantra when I talk about data analysis. I just think that, until today, I didn't feel that loss so deeply and keenly. Right in my core.

So it was a hard one. But a good one, and I'm feeling good now about moving forward, knowing I've been heard and my interests and questions will be incorporated, and that doing it in a non-explicit fashion is the right thing to do. It's hard, but I know it's right.

But still there was sadness, in spite of knowing it was right.

I think this is somehow related to the whole not being a hero thing. Not doing it all, getting it all, learning it all. And not RIGHT NOW. That's how I like things -- RIGHT NOW. But I'm learning patience, grace, what have you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's okay not to be the hero sometimes....

This, my friends, is a VERY hard concept for me. I like to have it all together, to handle everything, to make it look easy. And most of the time I can and I enjoy it. I like making things go smoothly and it makes me feel good.

But sometimes it is completely dang hard. Like tonight.

So, for me Mondays and Tuesdays are REALLY hectic. Monday I plan teaching with my professor. It's draining. I also have Q alone all afternoon, make dinner alone, and then ready him for bed alone. This doesn't sound huge, but after a long day, when we're used to usually doing this as a family, AND he's ready for some Mamma/Katie time, it's hard.

Then Katie leaves really early on Tuesday. Then I keep planning and prepping for teaching on Tuesday. Then I get Q early and take him to daycare since we're both busy late on Tuesday afternoons. Then I go teach for four hours. And then rush back to get Q since he stays "late" at daycare and I don't want to overstep that favor.

Return home after all of this to cook him dinner and us dinner when really my brain wants a moment of peace and QUIET. So, I found myself nearly crying thinking about cooking dinner tonight. And it's not like it was a hard meal. It was all planned. We had all the ingredients. But I couldn't think about chopping, dirtying more dishes after I'd just cleaned the morning dishes. Ugh.

And yet there, in the back of my head, was this nagging thought that if I gave up I'd be a quitter to Katie, as opposed to a hero. Now there's a horrible choice: quitter or hero. Of course I'd choose hero any day. But I knew I couldn't. And since I didn't want to feel like a total loser, I had to call the beloved M to, get this, get PERMISSION not to cook dinner. Crazy, I know. But it helped. Big time.

So I wasn't the hero tonight, and I think from now on I'll plan on not being a hero on Tuesday nights. Which is hard for me. I'm really working on trying to find more balance in these tricky dichotomies, so it's not be a hero or a quitter/loser but rather be a hero or not, but still be great, at peace, and content with my life. This is hard. Very hard for me. And I need all the help I can get. And all the reminders I can get.

So feel free to give me a nudge back to earth any time....

Monday, November 5, 2007

Reporting back

So, the weekend in Noho was rather fabulous! Although all of the fabulous (Friday) fifteen things weren't realized, there were quite a few hits.

Here are some, in no particular order:

1. Meeting the lovely lesbian moms and moms/papas-to-be of MDC. I felt understood and embraced on a level I hadn't expected. 'Twas wonderful.
2. The lovely hotel with cozy beds and the opportunity to feel guilt-free about Q watching TV. Oh, and I learned about the migration patterns and eating habits of sardines to boot.
3. Um....the hotel and all the attendant luxuries like not cleaning up every little thing, leaving wet towels behind, etc. Nice.
4. Noho -- the ambiance, the small-city-in-the-country feel, the cafes, the mochas in those cafes...
5. Fall in the mountains. We couldn't get enough of the crisp air, the crunchy leaves, the wind whipping past. I love really feeling fall down to my bones, and this weekend let me do it.

Here are some images of a few of those lovely fall moments.
Katie has this particular penchant for running around in a literal flurry of leaves.....

A "family picture" as we began our walk on the trail.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

We're back, and....

beat! Time changes and small folks don't go too well together. So, there's much more to come in order to retell the joys of our weekend, but sleep must come first!

Until tomorrow, then.....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ciao for now!

We're off to Noho!

Details tomorrow. Enjoy Saturday.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Whatcha wanna hear about?

Given that there are 30 days in November, I could of course use a bit of help conjuring up things to write about.


Share 'em in a comment please!

(Oh, it's not that I have none, just that some help never hurts!)

My first friday fifteen

Didn't quite know what to write about today, so I checked out some ideas on the web and came across the Friday Fifteen: fifteen things about anything I choose. Easy enough!

So, fifteen things I'm looking forward to about our upcoming weekend getaway to Noho, the lesbian mecca!
1. Getting away, the thought of which allows me to breathe deeply
2. Staying in a hotel where I'm responsible for NONE of the clean up!
3. Haymarket.
4. The prospect of meeting many other wonderful lesbian families from MDC
5. Knowing there's a community of folks out there who will understand our TTC misery fully and completely. Boy do we need that right now!
6. That Q will get to play with a gaggle of queer spawn.
7. Being in the mountains
8. Hiking in the mountains
9. The mountain boy (aka Q) hiking in the mountains
10. Lesbians all around!
11. Time to wander the town
12. Drinking as many warm beverages as we desire
13. That Q adores the aforementioned warm beverage consumption as much as the moms
14. A pool at the hotel
15. Did I mention the mountains and how peaceful they make me feel? So I guess this one would just be the prospect of peace.

Perhaps not a dazzling list, but oh how I'm looking forward to this.
I think I might have to think of this as the fabulous fifteen instead of the friday fifteen....please leave a comment with yours! (I should have a prize for the best, I know, but I don't know that I'm that advanced, though. I will, however, post it in a regular blog post in recognition of the winning fab fifteen! Come on, now, that's gotta be some kind of enticement...)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Of fairies and french toast

Q was a fairy for Halloween. Or alternately a fairy princess. Depending on which version of his costume he donned, the time of day, his mood, etc.

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween because of the commercialism and product links, but here are a few things that I adored about our own little family and Halloween.

1. A few weeks ago Q said, "Since our family doesn't really like candy, we shouldn't give out candy at Halloween. How about we give out chips?" Love it! Now, of course, the moms in the family DO in fact like candy, but we don't want to blow our cover on that one, so we gamely went along with the wise chips idea. Now we're crawling up the walls wishing we had candy leftovers, but that's another story.

2. Q was a fairy/fairy princess. He's a boy. He had NO issues about it. He is one self-expressed, self-assured human being. Full stop. I love that. It makes me about burst with pride.

3. Q didn't want to go trick or treating. When asked by others if he was going, he was very matter-of-fact about it. He doesn't like candy or is allergic to most of it, lots of costumes scare him, and lots of Halloween decorations scare him. These made up his rationale, and he chose his course of action accordingly. More I could not ask of a four year old.

And one non-Halloween-related note. Tonight at dinner we were talking about how one of Q's new loves is French toast. After we'd moved on to a new conversation, he interjected, "I hope they don't say that only people who speak French can eat French toast! That would be horrible!" I about died laughing.

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I've jumped on the bandwagon. That is, I've joined in on the madness of making a blog post every day during the month of November. I'm strangely exhilarated. I'm sure I should be vaguely sickened by the idea of adding something else to my plate, but perhaps it's the concrete nature of the project that draws me. Or the chance to capture some random stuff. Or share more about my boy!

Whatever it is, I'm on for the ride.

I'd love to hear from folks as I meander my way through the month, so leave some comments as you read. Please!

In fact, what more could you need for inspiration than a cute picture of a boy grooving in the shadows of the city.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Ph.D'ing side of things

I don't know that I've written much about my doctoral work. It doesn't have the highs and lows that parenting does, nor does it include the joy of creating clear and useful products that knitting does. But it surely feeds my mind and soul in a very particular way.

Right now I'm in the midst of grading papers for the course I'm teaching. It's a course on school reform -- a subject near and dear to my heart. I'm struggling right now with the grading. Lots of folks have missed the main point of the paper. The writing is fine. The ideas are fine. Everything is fine. But missing the key component of the paper -- integrating that somehow into the argument, that's the problem. It's left me wondering if something is wrong with the assignment, which I created. Or with the teaching, which I'm only very partially responsible for. Or whether the point of the assignment is somehow out of vogue.

These questions, though I'm sure vague here, really cut to the heart of teaching and learning, which lights a fire in me. I love teaching. The weekly dialogue with students in person. The dialogue in writing as I respond to their writing. Engaging in enduring questions of school reform with others -- coming to conversations with just as many questions as they do and perhaps fewer answers now that I've spent many humbling years doing this work.

I find that doctoral work keeps me living in the realm of what I don't know. What I DO know, though, is that the everyday work of it -- the teaching, the grappling, the conversations with others, and in particular my students, are inspiring to me. And that will always keep me going.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This week we paid our final visit of the season to our beloved Lindentree Farm. I love our summertime ritual of visiting the farm weekly, gathering our food from the CSA area and the fields themselves. Playing, eating, exploring. Wondering about leaves, bugs, plants, and flowers.

It brings a nice, slow rhythm to our lives, and it connects to the earth, to the source of our food. I always feel a whistful loss at the end of the season. This week it was cold on our visit, and as I enjoyed the coolness on my cheeks and the warmth of my sweatshirt, a small bit of loneliness crept into my heart as I knew we wouldn't repeat this ritual until the rebirth of next season.

Yet the sadness couldn't last long as I watched the lovely farm pixies scamper among the raspberry bushes hunting for those last few blushes of fruit while the sun set ever-so-quickly overhead.

By the time we were vaguely smeared with reddish berry juice the moon had risen full behind the trees.

'Twas a peaceful end to the season.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Playin' around

Q's magazine cover
Originally uploaded by megincl
Sometimes I can't settle down to serious business. Which is okay. Sometimes. Today it was pictures that were distracting me. And funny picture-editing tools. I grabbed a cool tool off the web that let me make a picture into a faux magazine covor (among other nifty things). This is my first try. Not great, as I didn't get the length of the lines right, but it was fun. And I like imortalizing Q like this!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sick boy.

That about sums up how I've spent my time this past week. Q's been sick. Katie and I have been trying to juggle caretaking and school. And waking many times in the night to a hacking cough. Although not my idea of fun, a cuddly sick Q is nice for a few days, as we spend most of our time together snuggling and chatting. We've discussed school, books, friends, seasons...

More to report on soon, but I wanted to leave you with an image of the sick one. Our number one task when Q is sick is to keep him hydrated. Often I feel like we're jumping through hoops to make it happen. Until Katie remembers the magical camelback!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In the meantime, though...

Here are a few gratuitous pictures of the lovely boy. Thanks for indulging me.


That about sums up how I feel when I try to figure out how to fit everything in. My plate is too full. Or my plate isn't big enough for everything on it. Or I don't have enough time. Or I don't have enough free time. Down time? I seriously can't figure it out. Right now, no amount of scheduling, saying no to things, etc is helping me get everything done. Or at least get everything done such that I don't drop dead with exhaustion.

This isn't, though, meant to just be a complaint post. I really just wanted to come here to say that there are some other "real" posts brewing. That I'm not neglecting this blog as much as it seems like I am. That I'm thrilled when anyone reads it! (Oh, and leave a comment if you visit...I'd love to know you were here!).

So, I'm going to try to move things from a state of neglect to a state of healthy productivity. Consider it a project. And with it will come more and better blog posts. Promise.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just when I'm at the end of my rope....

Q has never been a good sleeper. Ever. It seems, often, that our lives revolve around sleep: trying to help him sleep, being sure he gets enough sleep, compensating when he doesn't get enough sleep. And here he is, 4.5, still needing a nap every day. And needing it badly.

So he goes to school, can't nap there because, well, it's school and not dark and quiet. When he gets home, he crashes. Except today he didn't. Because of a confluence of events, he couldn't fall asleep. I was frustrated. Very frustrated. And not at ALL looking forward to what was to come during the rest of the evening.

He stayed in his room, having some quiet time, listening to stories on the iPod. I heard him puttering around, being quite peaceful. Good. One sigh of relief. I heard him dressing himself and then he came out to ask for some scissors. He wore a blue string tank top (complete with frilly bottom) and shorts. When I went in to get him a few minutes later, he was wearing a purple string tank top. Same shorts. And his four OTHER string tank tops were all hanging neatly off of the drawer pull knobs on his dresser. A bit like an art installation in their array of colors. It was too much! I can't find our camera, but when I do, I'll be sure to post pictures.

I think that my afternoon and mood was revived by this industrious boy who so loves his tank tops, organizing his things, and making it easier. As he said, "Now I don't have to bend down all the way and open my drawer. I can see all of my tank tops right here." Then he stood back, studied them, and proceeded to spend five minutes deciding which one he'll wear tomorrow.

What a boy.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Quick Post: Join this Swap!

I've joined a mystery theme swap (yarn-related) and we need some more players! Your swap partner gives a couple ideas for themes for you to choose from. You then put together a swap package that builds on those themes and send it off! At the same time, someone is doing the same for you.

Care to join?


Check it out here.

That's all for now...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chocolate and Yarn Swap

I'm participating in a chocolate and yarn swap on Ravelry. Can't go wrong with that, eh? It's been fun trying to figure out creative ways to follow through on the theme and make my pal happy. She's a true chocoholic, it seems, so I've been searching out just the right chocolate for her. I also think she's a super-talented knitter, so I've been working hard to find clues as to her likes and dislikes, and to find the just-right yarn to match.

The latter has been tricky. But I think it's all coming together, thanks to TLE! I can't say more without giving away too much.

But this swap thing sure is fun.

In other news, Q is completing his first full week of school tomorrow. I can't believe how much he loves it, how much it has changed him, how it's really rocked our collective family's world. He seems more grown up every day. He speaks with so much sophistication about what they do, seems to have easily learned the routines and the like. And most importantly, he is in love with his teachers. By proxy, we are too.

This growing up thing tugs at the proverbial heartstrings. I miss my baby boy. Yet I revel in this growing-up boy. He is a hoot: thoughtful, curious, kind. Such a learner. I love this next step of the adventure.

I'll leave you with some of Q's deep thoughts: "Mommy, I love you. And you know that I love you. And I know that you love me. And mamma knows that I love her. And I know that she loves me. And you love mamma. And you know that she loves you. And she knows that you love her." And so he closes the circle and ends by saying. "So much love. Three people in our family and so much love. Hearts full of love."

Need I say more?

The Loopy Ewe

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mystery Theme Swap

I'm so excited to be a part of this swap! I thought I'd put my info here so my secret friend could always come back to find it. And heck, if anyone else is dying to send me something, well, here's a bit of info! ;)

  1. Are you a knitter or crocheter? I'm a knitter all the way. There were a few granny squares back there in 4th grade, but that's a sad distant memory....
  2. Is there a particular type of pattern you would prefer? (sock, scarf, hat, etc.) I'm interested in not super hard sock patterns as well as more jazzy hat patterns (maybe including cables, lighter than worsted-weight yarns, or something like that)
  3. Do you have any allergies that we need to be aware of? (animals, wool, chocolate, etc.) Cats! Oy do they make me sneeze!
  4. Do you have pets? If so, what kind. Nope. Just a 4 year old son. But he doesn't shed or anything.
  5. Do you smoke? Nope.
  6. Do you have an online wish list you want to share with your partner? If so, what is the web address. Ooh, now this is a good idea! But alas I don't have one at the moment.
  7. Are you willing to ship internationally? (Please keep in mind this will raise shipping costs) I don't think so at this point. Sorry.
  8. Is this your first swap? Nope.
  9. Are you willing to be a swap savior? Perhaps, but I think that might push me a bit too much financially.
  10. Ok, now give us some ideas! (Please give at least 3) Mystery theme possibilities: Organization! (It's a new kick that I'm on). Sit back and smell the flowers; aka relax (life not always being so smooth and predictable, I could use a few of those moments). Purple. Simple as that!

I can't wait to get matched up with my pal, to invent a great package based on a theme -- a nice creative outlet. What fun! I'll keep you all updated with teasers, etc.

PS -- Yeah, I know that the picture is unrelated, but it just adds something, you know?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lookin' for sock yarn

Well, the time has come. I must try my first pair of socks. But of course I'm full of questions that I'd love to get answered prior to starting. I think, though, that I might just have to jump in the deep end in order to even figure out what most of those questions are.

But in the meantime, I'm looking for a good sock yarn. There are actually a few reasons behind this. The first is selfish: I'd love to knit these socks with a great yarn, but also one that doesn't break the bank. Second, I would like to get a lovely sock yarn for a swap partner who seems to be enamored with sock knitting, but not being a sock-yarn expert, I'm not exactly sure where to turn. Finally, a second part to my question: Are there local places (Cambridge, MA) where I can procure such yarn? I do so love petting the yarn prior to purchasing. If it must be an online source, so be it, but in person would be oh so lovely. Any suggestions for me?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thinking about Knitting

I've been on a bit of a knitting hiatus recently. Partly I think it's because I've spent tons of time on ravelry checking out everyone's projects, yarns, etc. I can't get enough of it! I also can't believe the beautiful projects that folks have time to whip up and churn out. It's gotten me really excited to try knitting socks. I got my first sock yarn -- Cherry Tree Hill -- recently at my LYS. It's a beautiful blue and green colorway. I'm now mulling over whether to be daring with my first sock project or to take it easy. I think I need a bit of a challenge but am trying to balance the desire for a challenge with the need to not overwhelm myself and quit after one sock, or, even worse, before I'm even finished one!

So, in addition to socks I'm on the brink of starting a few other projects. The Montego Bay scarf, for which I got some amazing sea silk; another pair of glovelets (aka Knucks) for Q; and something with my first Noro -- perhaps a mini felted snack bag for Q, a pair of fingerless gloves or mitts, or even some yoga socks (a pattern I found just today!).

The problem is, I've been on the brink of starting these things for a while, but have I picked up a needle? I think that the madness of Q starting school today, me getting back into school/work gradually this work, Katie finishing up her summer schoolwork and transitioning to her fall semester have set my brain aspin. I can't seem to concentrate on anything long enough to really get into it, and I really like to get into knitting. So for now, it's a time to collect ideas. Then the cool weather of fall will bring with it cozy times to sit and knit. Not to mention the need to decompress from a busy day in front of the TV -- a perfect time for knitting! So stay tuned for some actual in-progress pics and thoughts.

So, in lieu of actual knitting projects, I'll leave you with a favorite pic of mine from our CA vacation. Who wouldn't feel in awe and at peace in such a setting?


After so much time resisting, I decided it was time to jump in. I've found myself writing tidbits about my life in many different places lately and figured this would be a good place to collect thoughts, plans, and reflections. I do hope that you'll enjoy reading and post some responses along the way!

Welcome! Thanks for joining me on this journey...