Saturday, November 27, 2010

Home and the Holidays

Thanksgiving is a difficult thing to celebrate when you're unable to go home. This year was the first year that I didn't go back to my parent's house (or grandparent's house, or aunt's house) to celebrate the holiday with my whole family. Being thousands of miles away made it impossible to make the trip, and coming to that realization was difficult. Much homesickness ensued.

I've been thinking about "home" lately, and where "home" is for me nowadays. For the past four years, "home" has been a number of places: dorm rooms aplenty, an old, school-owned house, and my parent's house over summers and breaks. But now that I've graduated from college, I'm not really sure where to call home. I no longer return to my parents' every few months for movies with my mom and late nights with my brother. And I'm no longer shifting from dorm room to dorm room every few semesters. This place, this half-empty apartment, is my home. And it's strange to claim it as such.

What makes a place home? Is it your things? If so, then my home is halfway in Texas and halfway in Indiana. Is it people? Then my home is scattered across the country, even across the world. Is it where you are? Where you want to be? Is it where your heart is, like the saying says?

These days I don't really know where my heart is. I miss Indiana so much that I want to cry at times, but at the same time I'm starting to appreciate and love Texas. It isn't fair to compare the two, which I did for the first few months. I missed my friends from college, as well as family and friends from my church in Indiana. But now that I'm thinking about going "home" for Christmas, I'm wondering if I actually am going home...or just visiting an old place I used to call home.

I feel like I'm starting to call this home. I'm starting to let myself have roots here, people who I call friends and places that I say are familiar. Though the weather here is a strange, though the people often fit squarely into the cliche, though there is far too much football....I think I'm starting to like it here. Possibly even love it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Addressing the recent GLBT teenagers' suicides

This is a topic that has come up on Facebook, in the news, in forums, and now in class, and so I feel like I need to speak up about it, too.
  • This story of the Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after his roommate posted a video of him having sex with another male
  • This eighth grader who shot himself in the head after being bullied for acting gay
  • This Indiana teenager who hung himself after being bullied for seeming gay
These are all recent stories I've read. There are more, many more. How many students are bullied each day for who they are, and don't tell their parents? How many people are insulted each day at work or by someone they don't even know? How many people who are already hurting from bullies make the mistake of reading the comments on news articles that tell them that they are "an abomination?"

I was bullied in middle school (who wasn't?). It wasn't for my sexuality. Looking back, it wasn't for any reason at all, other than I was labeled as "different." I liked to write, I zoned out in class and accidentally stared at other students. I had previously enjoyed school. But in middle school, other girls made fun of me because I hadn't started shaving my legs, because I wore the wrong clothes or said the wrong things. They were stupid reasons. Every day I came home and sobbed into my pillow because I didn't know why these kids hated me. I had no friends in seventh grade. The counselor that I spoke to told me to write down in my notebook what the kids did to me. The kids stole the notebook and made my life more miserable.

But it got better. That is the point that so many people are trying to make to the kids who are being bullied these days. IT GETS BETTER. There is a Youtube project right now that is striving to tell this to gay teens who endure daily bullying. Those who were bullied and harassed for their sexuality in the past are filmed telling teenagers just that: that their lives got better. This video in particular is excellent.

I learned very little academically in middle school. Close to nothing, really (which is another issue...). But I did learn that bullies are not worth your time. I didn't learn it from my mother, who told me every day that they only bullied because they were insecure. I learned it from surviving, from going to school each day and coming home and living my life. And I think that if we show these kids, these teenagers proof that there is life beyond middle and high school...then maybe these suicides will stop. Maybe these kids will make it to the next day, and the next, and the next. I have hope for that.

Monday, September 27, 2010


It's midnight. I'm reading for theology, a chapter called "The Meaning of Revelation." The author is discussing how God is hidden from us, and God has hidden in Christ. And then the quote: "God's hiddenness...."

Except it's midnight, and I've been reading for classes all day, so what my brain reads is: "God's hideousness...."

And for a brief moment, my brain thinks "Well then, that must be why God stays hidden."

Maybe I shouldn't be reading theology at midnight.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I was ambitious earlier this summer and decided to look beyond my lovely, wonderful wool. I bought cotton. Soft, beautiful, wonderful cotton. Better for Texas weather, I thought.

Why, oh why did I do it to myself?

I understand now why, whenever they show a cotton mill, the air is full of nasty, nasty cotton bits. It gets everywhere. Stuck on my fingers, my clothes, the fabric from my chair, and in the air. Wool doesn't do that. Wool likes itself. It sticks to itself and doesn't fly around too much.

Since cotton doesn't come from an animal, it doesn't really have fiber length...there are just tiny little bits, less than 1/4 an inch long. Which makes it really really hard to draft and spin.

All throughout the yarn there were big fat slubs and thin strands that would break when they went through my wheel's orifice. I nearly gave up...I felt like I was spinning cotton balls, and couldn't believe they would stay together in the end.

But in the end, when I started to ply it...the cotton charmed me. It's so soft. And the uneven singles were actually turned into a pretty neat looking yarn.

In the end, I was pretty happy. However, I have decided that spinning cotton requires patience, determination, and a good amount of biting back the curses while praying. Or something along those lines. Maybe I'll try it again sometime...maybe.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shalom Cardigan

I know, I know. I'm not supposed to be knitting this much. I should be studying hard and learning all sorts of new things, and telling you all about them. And I promise - I AM learning lots of new, wonderful, confusing things. And I will write about them...when I can wrap my brain around them. Until then, I'm doing a lot of knitting.

I frogged the cardigan I was working on. In the end, it was a bit of a disappointment...there were a lot of shortcomings in it, and I really wouldn't suggest it for a beginner. I'm sure some people would be able to figure it out...but I didn't care to struggle with it. So instead, I found another (free) pattern - Meghan McFarlane's lovely Shalom Cardigan. Here is the direct link to the pattern and her blog if you are interested.

When I went to Knitter's Connection in Columbus, OH this summer, I spoiled myself with some beautiful Briar Rose polywarth roving. Their dyeing is stunning. My mom and friend Hannah have bought their yarn several times, and I've always lusted over it. I was thrilled to find that they sold roving...and had such a hard time deciding! In the end, though, I picked out a lovely blueish greenish wool that reminded me of the pictures you see of Earth from space.

The Shalom Cardigan was perfect for this yarn. I had just a few yards left over, and so nothing was wasted. I managed to spin a lovely worsted-weight, which was a little thin for the pattern, but I used size 11 needles and the gauge was great. If I made this sweater again, I would probably change a few things with the yoke, and add 2 more buttons. I may make it with sleeves.

Here is my end result! I'm very happy. Please ignore the dumb expression on my face....

Will upload more pictures to my Ravelry page later!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rainbow Stitches...finished

I've said this before...but I love this yarn. Kauni is wonderful stuff. Yes, it's slightly scratchy, but that's forgivable when you look at the colors. They fade seamlessly from one shade to the next. I am so happy with this shawl.

The pattern is Stephen West's Boneyard Shawl (Ravelry link). It's very easy and is great if you're interested in showing off the qualities of your yarn rather than your knitting (which I generally am...). I'd definitely make it again with a different yarn. For Kauni, though, it was perfect. The shawl size is perfect, too. I've been carrying it to class, since the rooms area usually kind of cold. I've gotten a lot of comments on it.

With that finished, I decided I should probably start getting rid of all this handspun yarn I now have lying around. I started a cardigan using the pattern Presto Cardigan. I like the pattern so far. I've finished the back and am working on the right front.

I love the yarn separately, and I liked it when I laid the skeins next to each other...but I'm not sure what I think of it. It's very Christmasy. I'm using a maroon merino bought at Sheep Street, a forest green BFL from Miss Babs, and a orange/purple/green Corriedale called "Autumn Leaves" from Fantail Fibres. All were wonderful to spin (though BFL is amazing stuff...)

So I might end up frogging this; I might keep it. I'm not sure yet. I'll finish the front and see what I think. I might change up the striping for the sleeves.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Society, women, and rape

A friend linked THIS on her facebook page, and I thought it should be shared further. It is a very well-written blog post about women and the way society expects them to act, and then the way women act when they are raped. Very interesting, very informative, and very important for everyone to read.