19 June 2011

Sunday Quick Shots

The half-assed photographing of my first shawl last post, combined with catching up on my back log of Posie Gets Cozy posts made me realize that the main reason I don't post often is because I rarely bring along a camera while I'm out and about. And for me personally, no photos, no blogging.

So I've decided to start using the camera function on my phone for all it's worth, and over the past week or so it has proven itself very useful. As has the retro camera apps that I downloaded. They allow me to take quick shots wherever I am, and while they may not be the highest quality, it still gives me an end product that I like with minimal effort, minimal editing, and no added bulk to carry. By utilizing my phone I'm able to capture moments that I normally wouldn't, such as...

... the ruins of my very first time trying real buffalo wings, something I actually didn't mind.

Two would-be-bird-terrorizers, prepped and pining.

A mournful puppy, wondering why she's not being allowed to greet the small children walking home from school.

A quiet back porch, calling out for someone to visit with a book.

The fact that this week has been a week of firsts with food for me, as I get ready to dig into a wet burrito filled with cow tongue and goodness at Chicano's in Scranton's South Side.

A trip to the region staple ice cream parlor, Manning's.

Or a finally open and inviting pool.

I'm still playing with which app I like better for what, and which filters/cameras I like the look of best, but in the end, here's to a more active, more photograph filled bloggy life.


15 June 2011

First Shawl = Complete.

Well, I finally did it. I have officially finished my very first shawl.

Well... I finally did it months ago. I only just got around to photographing it. And even now I couldn't be bothered to drag out my real camera and fell back on the toy camera app on my phone. Bad photo-blogger, no biscuit.

But regardless of the delay and the half-ass photography (although I do like the look of them), my Traveling Woman is now done, blocked, and has been worn countless times. It's a bit small, so it makes a better scarf than a shawl, but I'm perfectly happy with that. I don't think I'm fashionable enough just yet to be able to pull off a traditional shawl without looking dowdy. A few more paycheck shopping events and I might be though. =)

But for now, I'm quite proud of myself, and though the yarn is not as soft and squishy as I would like (the hazards of using mystery yarn), I enjoyed wearing it for the last few months of winter. I've gotten many compliments on it, and it continues to come in handy, small though it is, on the days I go into the office and the air conditioning is pumping too hard.

So what's the verdict?

Well, I guess it's that I like shawl knitting and they'll probably be making an appearance on my needles once or twice a year from now on. I do think I'll be sticking to smaller shawls for now, as my attention span tends to wander (particularly as my semesters get busy), but I enjoy them while I can focus. I will have to figure out ways to integrate them into my regular winter attire in different ways, but once that's done, I'm sure I'll only be wanting more.


03 June 2011

Fresh Summer Start

Once again, a seasons worth of changes have gone by since the last time I posted. We've gone from March coming in like a lion, and out like a... well... lion.

...to blossoming apple trees and bloom filled hanging baskets. And contrary to what these photos suggest, I watched most of those changes from my office window. With an extra large, extra strong coffee in one hand, a highlighter in the other, a book on the desk, and a lecture plan on the computer screen, I watched the weather turn from snow to rain to wind to sunshine out of the corner of my eye.

But the time spent buried in the repercussions of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the details of the New Deal, the nuances of WWII foreign policy and the horrifying unfairness off the McCarthy trials, the tragedy of Vietnam and the victory of the fall of the Berlin Wall... it was all worth it in the end. My first year as a university faculty member is behind me, and as I relax now for what feels like the first time in years, I can honestly say that I loved every second.

Most shocking to me however is not how much I loved it. I knew from the beginning that I was going to like it, and it was painfully evident by even the second nerve wracking, stomach turningly scary day in August that I really wanted to do this for the rest of my life. That's no surprise. What I did not predict was how much I would learn in the process. About teaching, about communicating, about (as cheesy and cliche as this sounds) myself.

To be honest, I haven't really even had the time to process it all. I suspect it will take all summer for me to work through the lessons I've learned and synthesize how to use them in the upcoming year. And it's something I can't wait to do.

In the meantime however, I've been busy decompressing. The week after final grades are due is always one of the busiest, but most fun of the year for me because of my heavy involvement in our university musical groups. The full university symphonic band/choir perform at pretty much every event commencement weekend, and the week before, we keep ourselves occupied with rehearsals, picnics, and our annual retreat to the lake property the University owns.

Making the transition from student to faculty has been an odd, awkward position for me to be in in terms of my social life, as the majority of the people closest to me are still enrolled. So it felt good to spend a few days surrounded by just friends. People who know me not as professor, but as peer/friend who happens to have started teaching here too. Its easy for me to forget sometimes that just last year I was the one taking the walk that three of my closest friends did this year to get my diploma.

And so I spent my time at the lake just relaxing. Chatting with old friends, reclining in the surprisingly comfortable white Adirondack chairs on the dock, reading some Ian Kershaw (part of a well chosen birthday gift from my boyfriend) as the sun shone, my shoulders burned, and the sound of the lake lapping on the shore eased away the stress of the semester.