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Moving Day

After nearly two years(!) of blogging here on WordPress, I’ve decided to move my blog over to my own domain.  You can now find me at http://jessinohio.com.  It’s a bit of a work in progress at the moment, but if you’re reading here, I’d love to see you over on the new site. The RSS feed for the new blog is: http://feeds.feedburner.com/jessinohio/feed.

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Does Athens have secret guerrilla knitters?  Jake and I saw this when we were out and about on Court Street last weekend.  That’s a great color on the yarn, isn’t it?  I don’t recall seeing a seam on the fabric, so I’m not sure how they secured it around the tree.  The only ways I know to make a tube like that is knitting in the round, seaming with a needle or grafting.  Can you imagine standing there and kitchene-ing a tube closed, probably in the dark, cold night?  I hate doing it for socks! I must have been quickly seamed or something, but I couldn’t see where the artist did that.

TreeKnitting

Not even sure how they got it around the tree.

Things have actually been rather exciting around here on the knitting front.  I have TWO finished objects to show you, but left my camera at a knitting friend’s house almost two weeks ago.  She seems to share the same memory affliction and has forgotten to bring it to the knitting group.  I finished the Talisman Shawl this weekend and then whipped up a quick slouchy beret that I don’t have a title for yet.  I’ll hopefully be getting the camera back tomorrow though and will regale you with photos of the FOs.  I did take the shawl to the knitting group tonight and it was much admired, to my great appreciation.  Only fellow knitters can really appreciate a lace shawl to its fullest extent.  They even gave me suggestions on how to wear it!

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I heard this story twice in the car today – former professional football player Natalie Randolph was named head coach of the football team at Coolidge High School.  The first time I heard the story, it included an interview with Randolph by NPR host Robert Siegel.

I was happy to hear Randolph report that she’s received support from the Coolidge community, including the players themselves.  It was also great to hear her remark that her main goal is to help her students succeed both on the field and in the classroom.  Near the end of the interview, Siegel pointed out that there had been quite a bit of “cranky” comments on a Washington Post article about her appointment, statements like “‘what’s a woman doing coaching a high school football team?’” I scrolled through the comments and found this gem by “Scoreboard 44″ on the first page [all spelling original]:

One sport, one sport that you really want a man coaching boys in is Football.

Boys need role models. Role models need to be men. We have recently been having this conversation that men have become to feminine in society and are boys don’t have any role models to emulate.

Now we have a woman being hired to coach what is essentially and has alway essentially been, a mans sport. I don’t care what semi pro female team she played for. This is an experiment. And the experiment is on the boys. The emasculation of the US male species, because women say it’s so and okay.

This is one sport, where I am sorry, women have no place in. I’m tired of hearing it…just stop for crying out loud, do females have to participate in everything men do? Does this make it difficult for the players on both teams and the coaching staff of both teams when they play….yes! Why do this? What point is being made here.

One sport..one sport that should be all boys and men coaching. Good Lord. And I don’t want to hear any PC crap about woman should be allowed to coach football just like men.

This is a brutal physical sport that rips the testosterone from guys and puts it on display. There is no place here for an estrogen injection.

I am not sure if this is the article Siegel refers to, since there appear to be a couple in the Post on Randolph, but the comments certainly fit the description.  Comments questioning the ability of a person to coach a sport (or do any job, for that matter) purely on the basis of their gender is the most of obvious kind of sexism.  Were that it always so easy to spot.

I’m not sure why Siegel would choose to refer to this as a “cranky” attitude rather than just call it sexism pure and simple. In the 21st century, it’s less acceptable to be openly hostile to a person because of their gender, but clearly, the attitudes still exist.  Downplaying this hostility by labeling it “cranky” does little to help discourage it, especially since, I suspect, many of those same commenters would not consider themselves “sexist.” I really doubt that Siegel intended to downplay the sexism with his comments, but it’s important to remember that small comments like this are all part of the larger narrative surrounding gender in the US today.  If we can’t even point out the most clear examples of sexism, how do we ever expect to root out sexism in it’s more pernicious forms?

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The Big Red Blob

I’ve been working on a Talisman Shawl for a while now, and it looks very much like a big red blob, hence the title.

Talisman Shawl 3/11

Blobby

The yarn is Misti Alpaca Lace in a great red color that doesn’t exactly show up well in the blobby photos. I’m really pleased with how the shawl is turning out, but I suppose you’ll just have to take my word for it, since it’s not showing up well in photos.

In other news, I went to a “pageant” today where faculty members competed for a crown.  The event was a fund raiser for St. Jude Children’s hospital, and it ended up being a lot of fun.  One of the faculty members did a dead on impersonation of Frank from the Rocky Horror Picture Show for his talent portion.  He had the whole thing down, right down to the accent and the (ahem!) costume.  I didn’t get any photos, but from where I was sitting near the back, he was pretty much a ringer for Tim Curry.  I trust that you can let your imagination do the work.  He even answered the “final question” portion as Frank, rather than as himself.  I doubt you need me to tell you that he was the winner of the pageant.

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On Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin (my alma mater) is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the writing of the lyrics for the school song.  They’re doing a video contest for the best rendition of the song, and some family friends decided to participate:

The Big Ten Network produced a 22-minute video on the history of the song, also available online. It makes me feel all school spirit-y.  I especially love that the composer originally intended to submit the song to the University of Minnesota, but an alum convinced him to send it to Wisconsin.  Take that Gophers!

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Sigh.  It’s official.  I’m not just a knitter anymore, but am now branching out into other crafty stuff.  In this case, I picked up embroidery yesterday.  This was not part of my plan for yesterday.  I went to JoAnn’s in Parkersburg looking for some yarn.  However, a trip down the needlecraft aisle led to a chance encounter with some Aunt Martha’s Hot Iron Transfers (used for embroidery, quilting, fabric painting, etc).  They had a number of cute vintage-type designs in stock as well as a some flour sack towels and all the other supplies that go with embroidery.  The transfers featured a number of different vintage-y designs, but I ended up deciding to get the “Java Break” set.

First Embroidery Project

Cute coffee themed patterns to embroider! I'm going for the bottom middle one next, I think.

Of course, I had to start on this last night, especially since I didn’t find the kind of yarn I was looking for in Parkersburg. Luckily, as with knitters, there are many people out there on the web who have shared instructions and tips for embroidery. You can see some of these in my delicious links over in the sidebar, but I think I’ll do a whole post on beginners embroidery sources sometime. So far, I’ve just been working on outlining the pattern in back stitch, which is ridiculously simple, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done it before. I’m still working on making my stitches more even in length, but I haven’t been having too much trouble with tension on the fabric, thankfully.

First Embroidery Project

My first efforts at embroidery. Not too terrible, actually.

Part of the reason I picked this sort of project up is that I’ve long been amused by the idea of retro style embroidered towels, pillowcases, napkins, and other domestic textiles. I’ve found links to patterns that focus on “days of the week” towels, usually depicting kittens or some other small animal doing chores. I don’t think I’ll be going that cutesy, but I like the vintage style idea.

Along with picking up a new craft endeavor, I also completed a 5k run/walk with Jake and the fraternity he advises yesterday. We only ran a small portion of the route, but did walk the whole thing quite quickly. Luckily the weather has been pretty nice around here, pushing into the 50s and giving us our first taste of spring. After the race, we went to a small restaurant for brunch. I got a not very exciting potato dish, but Jake opted for the Bananas Foster French Toast. Looks amazing doesn’t it? I had a bit, and it certainly was delicious.

Bananas Foster Pancakes

Yum!

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Podcasts for Working Out

I believe I mentioned last month that Jake and I are participating in the Athens Takes it Off weight loss challenge with a few of my co-workers.  We’re about eight weeks into the ten week challenge, and while I wont be running out to buy a new wardrobe any time soon, I’ve seen a decent amount of movement on the scale.  I’ve been pretty good at making changes in my eating habits, but getting to the community center to work out has been a lot harder.  I’m definitely not a morning person, so a pre-work workout is definitely out.  I do try to go after work, but that means I don’t get home until 7:30 or 8 and that makes for a long day.  None of these are really good excuses, but that’s why I’ve been a bit remiss in the workout department.

This week, however, I’ve started to get back into the Couch to 5k running program that I started last fall.  I was actually up to week 8 in October and running over a mile.  I ran a couple times in January and skipped some of the days of the workout, so I finished week 4, workout 1 today, which involves two five minute runs.  It’s not been easy, but I find myself picking up the rhythm much faster than I did the first time around.

Running tends to be more rewarding for me than a simple workout on the elliptical machine because I’ve never been the type of person who runs, except for the flight part of the fight or flight response.  I do really like it though and just need my body to cooperate.  Last fall, I found myself running to some of my favorite tunes, especially those that were motivational in some way.  That did end up getting a little boring though once I got to the longer runs. If I’m going to run for a while, especially on the same track all the time, I need a bit more mental stimulation.  Thank goodness for podcasts.

This American Life is my favorite podcast ever and my first real foray into public radio.  I started listening to it my sophomore or junior year in college when I worked in a series of extremely boring office jobs that involved tedious data entry and filing.  Unfortunately, though, they only have one new episode a week.  Listening to the “Giant Pool of Money” episode of TAL lead me to start listening to some of the Planet Money podcasts.  It never ceases to amaze me that they can take really boring economic concepts and turn them into entertaining stories.  Plus, after listening to them, you feel much smarter.

I’ve started listening the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast recently.  If you’re a history buff at all, I highly recommend this one.  They usually spend about twenty minutes discussing some of the bits of history you either forgot about or just never heard of.  I’m super jealous of whoever makes these podcasts since it sounds like my dream job. History research, all the time, but not the same thing all the time to get boring.  What could be better for a history-loving librarian.  I doubt it’s their only job, but who cares?  It sounds awesome.  I wish I had thought of the idea first…and had enough time/money/tech skills/equipment to produce a professional sounding podcast.

I’ll end here before I get too far off on a tangent. I know there are lots of other great podcasts out there, including knitting podcasts.  I’ve never listened to a knitting podcast, because the idea feels a bit strange.  Knitting seems so visual that it’s hard to imagine just listening to a discussion about it.  I’ll have to check one of the podcasts to find out though, I suppose.  What are your favorite podcasts (knitting or non-knitting focused)?  Do you listen to them when you work out?  Or when you’re knitting?

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