Sunday, September 15, 2013

Coming off hiatus

Wow.  It's been almost exactly four months since I posted.  On the one hand, it feels like it's been forever, so four months makes sense; on the other hand, it just doesn't feel that long, somehow, probably because the time has been very full. 

To give you a brief idea.  We travelled.
Yes, that's looking across the Golden Horn to Sultanahmet.  In Istanbul.  Yes, we were in Turkey during the unrest.  No, we didn't run into any trouble.  Yes, we ended up driving down into the southeast of Turkey, into Mesopotamia (!!), to about fifty miles north of Syria (yes, driving in Turkey is quite an adventure).  No, still didn't run into any trouble.  Yes, it was an amazing experience.  Yes, I'll definitely write more about it in a post that isn't of the catch-up sort - it's worth some discussion.
The Blue Mosque. I absolutely fell in love with the muscular grace of mosque architecture.  There is something about the overlapping layers of domes that appeals to me deeply. 
We visited very old underground cities in Cappadocia (clearly people were not as tall as Rick back then; actually, in Turkey, they mostly still aren't).
And even older Neolithic ruins (that's Catal Huyuk, 10,000 years old); you could see the scorch marks from people's cooking fires.  That absolutely floored me.
Ephesus.  Where I had a revelation when it suddenly hit me who those Ephesians were that Paul was always writing to.  Dude.
We saw very old Turkish spindle whorls (these are from early Troy).
And less-old ones (this one's about fifty years old, and still in use, which is why it didn't come home with me).

We also went to Michigan, where we got to spend some wonderful time with family: my sister- and brother-in-law, and our niece.  I really treasure this time each summer that we've done it; I feel very lucky in my siblings-in-law.  This year, it was all about searching for waterfalls.
The cousins got to spend a lot of time together on the trail.
So did the grown-ups.
There was time for Uncle Geoff to try to teach the girls (and, I confess, me) how to skip stones.
And, you know, the family that goes into underground mines together, stays together!

My last trip took me to Seattle, where I got to spend the weekend with a fabulous group of women, including Erica, and Ellen and Jan (the others are, sadly, blogless, but no less wonderful and amazing and inspiring to me in so many ways), under the tutelage of Susanna Hansson, studying Bohus sweaters.  That, too, is fodder for another post (especially as I am now the proud owner of one of the three Bohus sweater kits that I would like to own, and am getting ready to cast on the yoke; you will undoubtedly hear more about that in the coming weeks and months - and, one fears, years - than you might like), but meanwhile, a taste:
(I fell in love with the one in the foreground there; alas that it is not available as a kit.)

I did knit, among all of that, mostly things which involved a lot of stockinette, and about which I will post next time.  I also came to realize that this seems to be a pattern with me - this avoidance of the computer and, largely, the interwebs, during the summer.  My watchword for this summer has been "mindfulness", for many reasons, and one of the things that I was trying to do was to be mindful of what was going on with me, vis-a-vis the computer.  I have come to realize that, as I am sure is true of many people, there are some things that I find it easier to be disciplined about than others.  Being an introvert, most of those things, for me, involve tasks that do not include engagement with other people.  For example, I can almost always, no matter how tired I am, make myself do background reading for articles I'm writing, or reading for prepping my classes.  I am pretty good, in the realm of knitting, at, say, starting second socks/mittens/sleeves.  I'm even not awful at plugging away at projects until they're finished. 

Among the things that require huge discipline for me to get to is the dreaded email.  I really, REALLY have a hard time with email (I'm even worse about answering the phone, though, and making return calls; I don't like the phone at all).  However, I have come to realize that letting my inbox pile up, especially during the school year, is just a recipe for a sick stomach and disaster.  Especially since becoming chair, I have had to be very disciplined about staying on top of email, about not shunting things I don't want to deal with to the bottom of the pile, never to emerge again - it just doesn't work out well if I want to get the job done with any modicum of success.  So I'm really (pretty) good about it during the year.  And then June comes, and the email rush becomes much less, and everyone knows that academics are "off" during the summer (hahahaha - note I did not list all the academic stuff I did in the last few months), so I kind of let it go, and I find that my natural aversion to the computer comes rising to the top again.

I really have a love/hate relationship with the internet.  On the hate side, it involves things like email (see above), and it really can be a huge time-suck.  I hate walking away from an hour in front of the screen, wondering where the heck the time went and what I had to show for it.  On the love side, I have some really good friends on the other side of that screen, whom I never would have met without being online, and I do miss them when I fall off the face of the internet.  This summer, I definitely erred on the side of falling off.  I think I got a lot of really important work done on and for myself as a result of it, but I also hope that people know that it isn't any kind of statement about how much I value the friendships whose interface is largely online.  I know that I need to find some kind of way to balance both the intensity of my screen time during the academic year (not helped right now by teaching my first-ever hybrid - half online, half in-person - class), and the total avoidance of it during my time off.

So that's it, in brief.  I do have knitting to show in my next post (one new sweater, the Northmavine hoody actually on my body, a wrap, and some socks, plus a few things in progress), and some spinning (my first ever gradient-roving yarn).  Horseback riding continues, and the chickens are (mostly) still with us.  Irish dance continues for Younger Daughter, and Older Daughter is getting ready to take the test for her driver's permit (how did that happen?).  Life continues.


Allison said...

Pammie and I were talking Wednesday about how we missed reading your blog. (Were your ears ringing?) I'm glad you're back!

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Turkey looks absolutely amazing!

Anonymous said...

Loved looking at the full sized pictures, especially the ones in Turkey! What a beautiful spindle. Love the leaf design. Fabulous.

Welcome back to the blogging world. What you write about emails resonates all too well.

Anonymous said...

Loved looking at the full sized pictures, especially the ones in Turkey! What a beautiful spindle. Love the leaf design. Fabulous.

Welcome back to the blogging world. What you write about emails resonates all too well.

EGunn said...

That was a busy summer! Love the photos of Turkey. Those mosques make me see lace!

I have also been avoiding the computer. For me, it's my gateway for getting sucked into work when I don't want to be (there are always more work emails, aren't there?). Sometimes you just need to play hermit for a while. Glad you're back, though!

Lynne said...

Oh my! A driving permit? How did that happen? Like you, I absolutely loathe the phone and am very bad at returning calls. But I love my iPad and can waste many hours doing all manner of things -- reading my Bible and note-taking, reading and commenting on blogs (as I am now), reading and writing emails, keeping my to-do list, finding answers to questions to satisfy my curiosity, watching videos on YouTube, watching the news, listening to music, etc. all without needing to be in one particular place or room! I can even go outside or, with my mobile modem, I can leave home!

It sounds like you had a wonderful summer. Turkey sounds very interesting and I look forward to your detailed post. Enjoy the new academic year.

Mary Lou said...

So glad you are well and just on hiatus. I have been too, sort of. I spend so much time on the machine at work that I do lots of lurking, little commenting and have done precious little posting. Now that the garden season is winding down perhaps I'll get motivated. GREAT photos of Turkey.

Willow said...

I do so understand the whole introvert thing which may be why I too find it easy to finish BOTH socks. And my aversion to the phone? It's just my personality? Oh, good. That's a relief.

I'm glad you're back in blogland though. I've been missing your knitting posts and walking around in the SOCAL hills posts. I'm especially interested in your Bohus sweater!!

Unknown said...

Yea! You're back! I always love your writing.

twinsetellen said...

Um, apparently I forgot to check the blog and hence missed these wonderful posts. Now I am feeling like I need to get back with it! Thank you!