Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Harvard Bound

I'm off to Harvard tomorrow night for Howe Cup - the women's collegiate national squash championship. I'm just a little bit excited... we're seeded in Division D, but I'm looking forward to seeing some of the top teams play, and just spending the weekend on campus.

One thing I love about Smith is the random holidays. Take, for instance, Mountain day - the college president chooses a nice fall day upon which to ring the college bells, cancelling class so that students can enjoy the outdoors (my house went apple picking). Today was Rally Day - a chance for seniors to wear their hats and gowns, and for the rest of us, a day off.

After finishing some homework I thought it would be a good idea to graft the toe on the first of Nanny's socks, knit using Paton's Kroy. The yarn gave me some attitude while knitting, splitting and twisting like crazy. I'm not a fan of grafting, but how could things go wrong with Sally Melville's excellent instructions and diagram? Wishful thingking. I would like to blame the yarn for the sock saga that followed...

Things were going along well until I got to the point where I had to go back and tighten stitches. Apparently the yarn had split while grafting, which resulted in a bit of a mess. Then I saw the line of instructions that read: "Be very careful not to split the stitches, or it will be IMPOSSIBLE to go back and tighten."
The next 45 minutes was spent gritting my teeth trying to follow the yarn through the grafted stitches, a process not helped by the dark colors. Then I got the bright idea that, if I cut one of the plies of yarn, I could get around the split stitch. Yeah, good one Jess. I wound up with this:

Sigh. And many frustrating moments later, this:

A cute, sturdy ankle sock for the coolest grandmother ever (seriously, this woman wears Harry Potter toe socks). Just don't mind the messy looking toe. The sweater and Branching Out scarf were temporarily cast aside, as I discovered I could knit socks and read at the same time. Hooray for multitasking! And for that reason, socks may be all I knit for the next few weeks, judging by the large pile of homework looming in the corner...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Ten Top Trivia Tips about Jessica!

  1. South Australia was the first place to allow Jessica to stand for parliament!
  2. In Chinese, the sound 'Jessica' means 'bite the wax tadpole'!
  3. The Jessica-fighting market in the Philippines is huge - several thousand Jessica-fights take place there every day.
  4. Apples are covered with a thin layer of Jessica.
  5. Owls cannot move their eyes, because their eyeballs are shaped like Jessica.
  6. There is no lead in a lead pencil - it is simply a stick of graphite mixed with Jessica and water!
  7. Jessica can remain conscious for fifteen to twenty seconds after being decapitated!
  8. The Church of Scientology was founded in 1953, at Washington D.C., by Jessica.
  9. Plato believed that the souls of melancholy people would be reincarnated into Jessica!
  10. Grapes explode if you put them inside Jessica.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Jazz with Jess

Woo hoo! I can't believe it! I've actually managed to get my own two hour radio show on campus. I've been excited about it all week, and now that it's actually materialized I'm a bit nervous. CBC After Hours always made me want to do a show... and now I can. Yikes. And, they gave me a good time slot, Friday nights from 6-8. I guess I'll have to do a good job. Tomorrow I have to attend a four hour training session, much needed as this is all new to me. Yay! I love it when I learn stuff in University that I never expected to...
No pictures tonight, but there might be a knitting and plant update after this weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Terrific Tuesday

I can't believe it's already Tuesday. Ever since classes started the days have been whipping by... school continues to be interesting. Today I gave a presentation on a paper that reveiwed whether or not exercise has effects on cognitive function. I also found out that we might get to go to Boston to observe a Women in Sport learning cluster.

We had the weekend off from squash, which kindly allowed me to catch up on school work (and knit, of course). I started reading The Penelopiad, in which Margaret Atwood gives the narrative of Homer's Odyssey to the wife of the hero and her twelve slain maids. It's been a while since I've read Atwood, and her literary genius never ceases to impress me. Go Canada!

So, here's a knitting update: on Monday I mailed this to Memaire, hopefully it will keep her warm for the rest of the winter! For the grandmother who doesn't have to endure east coast climate, I've cast on a pair of ankle socks which will be for her birthday (photos on Friday).

I managed to get guage for the Vogue sweater and started on that as well. I think it will be a long-term project, as the twisted rib stitch doesn't seem to go very fast.

Well, I hope everyone had a great Valentine's day (thanks for the cards Mom and Dad, they make me smile) and enjoy the rest of the week.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Physics You Can See

I wish they had let us play with oscilloscopes in first year physics. While I had a firm grasp on the theoretical concepts of electrical circuits, it makes so much more sense when you can see the current on the screen! Wednesday we got to play with resistors, capacitors and amplifiers in Neurophysiology lab. Totally cool. And today in Plant Systematics we read translations from the writings of the very first botanist, Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle. Not surprisingly he mixed superstition with science: if a woodpecker sees you cutting a peony, you will lose your eyesight and get prolapsus ani.

On other academic fronts, I'm really not motivated to do work right now. Maybe I shouldn't be panicked about this, because it's only two weeks into class. Maybe I feel this way because I have no immediate goals. I won't win any scholarships for what I do this year. My GPA doesn't transfer to MUN. I'm not looking for a new job or internship. Of course I have pride in my work and will always do a good job, but I've just stopped feeling obsessive about studying constantly. Any tips on how to overcome this? Will I burn in hell if I give myself some slack?

I am extremely motivated for squash however, but I could ramble on about that for days. My biggest acheivement of the week was figuring out how to fix the mistake I made while knitting this:

The "Branching Out" scarf from knittiy, in Elizabeth Lavold Silky Wool. This is my first real lace project, destined to be mom's birthday present (it's ok, she knows about it). I'm forcing myself to read from the chart as a learning experience, instead of reading the words. However, I wasn't paying attention and started to knit wrong side rows on the right side, which resuled in several rows needing to be torn out.

I also wanted to knit a swatch for the Yoke Sweater from Vogue, until I realized that first I had to wind the 475yd hank of Cascade Eco Wool. By hand. I picked up the wool from Webs; it is environmentally friendly, and student budget friendly. Gee, it even smells natural. Well, it's almost Friday again, have a great weekend!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Getting Settled

Having just returned from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, I am very thankful that Smith is located in Northampton. The tournament was good; although we lost, I probably had my best match of the season. Saturday night we went bowling at "HoeBowl" (the name obviously prompted many wisecracks, especially upon witnessing the local culture) with the men's team from Penn State. Unfortunatlely, I missed a match on Sunday because of injury and sickness. Ironically, I quit playing rugby because I was afraid of getting injured, and now I seem to have a chronic use type thing going on in my wrist. Then I had a scary thought - the month of Januray consisted of nothing but knitting and squash - what if I knit my way into a squash injury? Guilt....

This week was a snap back to reality. I forgot how hard it is to balance squash with school. I finally got my courses all settled away, so this is what I'm left with: Neurophysiology, Plant Physiology, Plant Systematics and Youth Sports. They all seem super interesting, and If on occasion I ramble about class content it's only because I find it exciting, and lack someone to share my nerdy enthusiasm.

The best part about starting a new semester is a trip to the bookstore, resulting in shiny new (or used) textbooks and two brand new yellow highliters:

And for some knitting content, I cast on a scarf upon completion of my socks. This is the third lacy scarf I've knit from Plymouth Yarn's Baby Alpaca Brush. I like this project because it's easy to pick up for a few minutes here and there, knits up quickly, and the yarn is incredibly soft. The scarf won't be for me (I'm not a pink person), so if there are any interested takers just let me know. Happy Monday!