Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are we there yet?

It's Thursday (I am known for my brilliant observational style -- can you see why?). This means that there is one more day to go for the week of California Indian Day, and then I go back to my usual overloaded working life, rather than the insanely overloaded working life of the past several weeks. Just so that the folks who told me to get hotel rooms for the dancers tomorrow night can feel good, I hereby report that when I told my friend this morning that we'd reserved four rooms for them, his immediate response was, "That's great!" Clearly, no need to worry. None.

I am busily downloading photos right now so that I can clear my camera's memory card so that I can take pictures of tomorrow night's dancing to post. I know it's not knitting, but it's very cool, and it's a big part of my life, so y'all just have to suck it up.

And speaking of dealing with my strangenesses, I have an exciting linguistic fact to share with you. As background, what is perhaps even more exciting is the fact that one of my students found this fact for me after I was sidetracked in class wondering about it. It has to do with the word penguin. We were transcribing it in class (there are some very interesting variations in pronunciation of that word depending on where you're from), and it occurred to me to wonder what language we borrowed it from. It's pretty clearly not Germanic. Well, it turns out (I am so charmed by this fact I can't stand it), that it comes from Welsh. Welsh! I mean, really. The original Welsh was pen gwyin, meaning "white head", and it was used to refer to the auk (I was very glad to find that out, because I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the Welsh had a word for penguins; my worldview was becoming somewhat upset). This is right up there with finding out, when I was giving a paper in Wales, that the elves in the Lord of the Rings movies are speaking (wait for it) Welsh! Who knew? (Besides every Welsh speaker in the world, of course.)

Now, while I admit not everyone would find the etymology of the word "penguin" as exciting as I do (I truly love the Welsh, and the fact that they gave us such a cool word just confirms their niftyness in my opinion), what's really cool about this is that it means that I've started to suck my students in. In my grammar and syntax class the other day, one student asked about the structure of something another professor had said in lecture (she admitted to being rather embarrassed to have been paying attention to verb forms rather than the lecture, given the innate dorkiness of doing such a thing, but was too curious not to ask; this is as it should be). She actually had nailed the analysis all on her own, too. More and more, they're raising their hands and saying, "I noticed the other day that X was saying Y, and I was wondering why they would do that?" Yes, little observant social scientists in the making. THIS is why I teach. (That, and the hope that someday linguists will rule the world, but that's another story.)

OK, in order to keep this from being a completely knitting-free post, I present you with pictures of my stash bowl. This is where I keep the yarn that I can't bear not to be looking at (the rest of it hides in two big wicker baskets under a coffee table). I just switched out some of the more summery colors for those that are more fall-like. The picture isn't great (the light in my house is either nonexistent or blazing, neither of which is great for pictures). Nevertheless:
This is that same photo without flash:
I'm not sure either one really gets to the beautiful peachy colors of the Nature's Palette sock yarn there on the right, but that's my next pair of socks (Falling Leaves from the Favorite Socks book) just waiting to happen. Aren't they all lovely? Doesn't looking at them just make you happy?

P.S. Thanks so much for the encouraging comments yesterday, I really needed them. I'm still a bit fragile, but I can see that things will get better, and that until they do, I'll be all right.


Anne said...

Yummy yarn colors! I can see why they're out...and also that yours is a dog household rather than a cat household--I can only imagine what fun my guys would have with both the visible stash and the wicker baskets for the non-visible (but not invisible) stash. I love the penguin etymology. A grad school friend of mine has etymology trivia as her answering machine message... I hope that fabulous teaching moment is the equivalent of an intellectual hug, and that following yesterday's prescribed activities helped! I'm still sending you as many positive vibes as I can muster up.

Rabbitch said...

Oh that bowl is yummy.

I really think I have to start decorating with skeins of yarn in bowls all over the house. Kitchen might not be a good idea, though.

And your stash fits in two baskets? You poor thing.