Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I've spent the time since my post about spinning in pointless circles having Deep Thoughts about my Process. (Please feel free to snicker now, goodness knows I did.) There have been some realizations during this contemplation that surprised me a little bit, and that I think will help. For instance, I've been trying this semester to do most of my research reading on the computer; I find articles (as I usually do) through various online databases that I can access through the university, and I can download them and read them. I was making this paperless attempt for a number of reasons, not least because it seems ridiculous to print these things out, but also because since the Upgrade Fiasco of Ought Nine I have not, for the life of me, been able to persuade my computer to see our home printer. This makes printing difficult at best.

But I came to the realization that when I'm reading actual pieces of paper, I can scribble all over them in a way that I can't do on a computer, and in a way that either putting little inserted notes into the pdf, or cutting and pasting quotes and comments into EndNote just doesn't match. It appears that I think differently while writing than I do while typing, and that I end up being able to work out what I want to say about what I'm reading, or how it relates to my research, when I'm reading hard copies and scribbling on them and writing little notes to myself on cut up scraps of paper, and I don't do that when I'm reading on the computer. No wonder I've been feeling frantic about this upcoming presentation. I've been researching and reading and doing what I usually do, and having no thoughts (mind you, it's not like I usually have great thoughts or anything, but generally I think something at some point). It's everyone's worst public-speaking nightmare: standing up in front of a bunch of people in one's intellectual panties. So, I bit the bullet and sent a bunch of documents to Rick to print, and sat down yesterday and worked through half of them and then took myself off for a walk and dang if I didn't have a thought. I'm hoping for another one today.

So that's something. This plan also means that I spend less time sitting at my desk, and more sitting in various other chairs, or even standing at the bar (the one in my kitchen, people, sheesh), which I'm hoping will mean that my leg hurts less. Good all the way around.

Meanwhile, the finishing of the shawl appears to have broken some kind of knitting dam. On Friday, I finished Younger Daughter's socks. She was delighted and wore them all weekend. They had to be forcibly removed (I figure it's OK to wear wool socks more than once, but by the end of two or three busy days on kid feet, it's time for some washing).
(As an aside, those are my feet modelling those socks. My feet. Modelling socks that fit my younger daughter. Not ready.) You can see that the colors didn't line up, which was no problem (in fact, Younger Daughter was delighted to have socks that didn't quite match), except for the fact that the first sock lined up absolutely perfectly with the colors so that the heel flap didn't cause a hard line on the top of the foot. That didn't happen with the second one, which I knew would bother me, so I decided after a few rows of fretting to fiddle a little bit to break up the line, and dropped down on every other stitch to create a slipped-stitch line where the color break happened. I think it helped a little.

I also finished the first of my Anemone socks.
I love this colorway. What you can't see is that there are little bits of a lovely bluey, sagey, green near the blues and purples, and I'm just charmed to pieces every time I knit those bits. It's kind of crazy, but there you go.
I'm about three inches into the leg of the second sock, so with luck I can get them off the needles in the next week or so. I need to slow down a bit on them, because my wrist is hurting quite a lot; for some reason this particular stitch motif causes me to tense up a lot in my right arm.

I also knitted for several hours on Rick's gridiron sock on Saturday morning; I put it onto two circulars, which is not my generally-preferred method for knitting socks, but which really does make knitting a big sock much more manageable (another result of the Deep Thinking about Process). In fact, I was ticking along very nicely until I took a good long look at the thing I was knitting and realized that it was the size of a small person's sweater, and that while Rick's legs are, like those of many mountain bikers, muscular and all, there is no way his calves could possibly be as big as the sock. Riiiip. I'll put them back on the needles again at some point, but right now I'm counting it as one less project on my list of WIPs.

There's more (how come I always think that I shouldn't post because I have nothing to say and then I just natter on and on?), but for now I'll leave you with this.
They just burst into bloom last week, and now the air around our back patio is filled with a deep vibrating humming. It's not just little honeybees, either. Check these guys out. They're longer and fatter than my thumb.
Be afraid.


Helen said...

Yes, paper trumps monitor every time. I don't know how often I've thought I've proof-read something thoroughly onscreen and then when I've printed it there's been a mistake on every page.

I hope you have another thought soon.


May I just say, that, matchy-matchy is SOOOOOO boring sometimes. Go with your daughter's flow.

I am only offering, not critiquing.

Aiglet said...

My boyfriend and I have long, involved arguments about my firm devotion to a paper calendaring system -- he says it's old-fashioned and doesn't have enough features (notes and links and things). I only answer by pointing out that he forgets commitments a lot more than I do and that any system you use is superior to any other system you don't/won't/can't use.

I think there's something really important about the tactile nature of writing and paper that's good for thinking processes -- perhaps that's also what attracted us to a tactile hobby?

Anne said...

Paper articles = good

(ditto for student essays --cannot deal with the e-mailed kind)

matching socks = okay for some occasions

having thoughts = priceless

Wool Enough said...

"Intellectual panties"? What an image! Caused me to snorf quite loudly whilst reading your post in a public place.

EGunn said...

That's a huge bee! At least it doesn't look like it has aggression issues.

And I completely agree on the printed thing. It's why I have 10 linear feet of binders to bring with me when I move! Can't read on the computer at all...I tried grading term papers that way this quarter, and I had to read each one 4 times to be able to make intelligent comments! I have an Iliad (it's like a Kindle, only cooler), and it works better for some things, but print is still best. If all it takes is a little paper in exchange for thoughts, then yay for paper!

KnitNana said...

An Oscar? Those guys, I think, are wood borers? Maybe I'm off on the bee species, but they look like the guys that bored holes into my mom's wooden railings supporting our side porch.
They seem to leave people alone.

The socks all look great (and I can see that sage-y-ness, it's lovely!)

And I loved the "intellectual panties" visual, too!!! Snort!

Give me paper (and books) anyday.

Gwen said...

I think there are subtle geographic cues on the pages to help us find bits we're going back to look for later. Among other things. Paper is so much easier to flip through too, which would be why we always end up printing our computer charting for the paper charts.

Lovely big bee! Our grape leaves are popping out nicely! And I see a neighbor's wisteria, but it's not nearly as spectacular as yours.

May you have many useful thoughts while you are working.

Alwen said...

There's a reason why my PDA is a Hipster PDA. (More than one reason - the others are that if I drop it on the concrete or into water, it doesn't break or lose all its data!)

I hope to have a thought today, too. :)

Carrie K said...

Bee afraid. Bee very afraid. There. I feel bee-tter. :)

Isn't is odd what actually does set us a'thinkin'? I can research like crazy on the net and set up all sorts of spreadsheets but to get it into my brain, I've got to have pencil in hand.

Nice socks. Why do I always think everyone else's variegated yarns in a pattern stitch look so lovely and mine not?

twinsetellen said...

Once you have the thought, how do you remember it until you get home from your walk?

Maybe if it is a fully formed thought, it sticks around better. I seem to be all thought fragments these days.

Great socks!

=Tamar said...

Yes, the giant bees are wood-borers and they live singly. Good side is they are placid. Bad side is they bore into things like wooden window frames.

Ditto on paper beating the screen. Computer work wasn't real to me until I could print it out.

AlisonH said...

Purple lilacs!

I totally am with you on the writing/paper/computer thing. This is why I always preview my blog before publishing: seeing it in its finished form jogs the brain differently from the in-process version. This is why publishers give authors a chance to go over the manuscript one last time AFTER giving them a version of what each page is going to look like in the finished book. Each different way something is written down=a different way of taking in the same words.

Willow said...

Bumblebees? Big fat bumblebees from hell?

I much prefer reading my books on paper. No Kindle for me, thank you very much.

Bea said...

I wonder if this writing/typing thing is why many authors write out novels longhand first?

Your feet? I thought she was much younger then that?? The socks are cool though.

Interesting about the stitch motif hurting your hand. I want to knit these socks very much. I'll keep that in mind when I do.

I love your wisteria. The bee though? Maybe not so much.

Lynne said...

We dont' have bumble bees in Australia and even honey bees are non-natives. Our native bees have no sting, are solitary and live in tiny holes in the ground or trees. Here is a good sigte if you're interested: http://www.aussiebee.com.au/keyfacts.html

BTW, your Anemone socks made it to my blog - I am sharing some interesting textured knits with participants in the WoTK KAL. Would you like to join us? Your Anemone socks can be your first contribution [and your last if you want!]