Why Is This Week So Long?

Seriously, it feels like it’s been going on forever.  How long until the weekend?

I’ve been so sore today.  I started to exercise (gasp) and it’s taken some getting used to.  However, I really want to join the Capoeira club at school next semester so I’d like to try and get in as much shape as possible before then.  I figured out a schedule which I think will work:

Monday: Treadmill Interval Workout — this is an insane workout.  The speed stays at a steady, fast walking pace but the incline goes from 8% through to 12% and then cycles through 3 more times.  It’s some crazy exercise.

Tuesday: Cross-Fit Workout — this one is also really hard.  There’s a warmup that you’re supposed to run through twice before starting the actual workout and that in and of itself is its own workout.  By the time I got to the cross-fit I could only do 5 minutes of the 15.  I figure I’ll work up to it.

Wednesday: Rest Day — no formal exercise but I do my normal amount of walking which is quite a lot.

Thursday: Cross-Fit Workout

Friday: Treadmill Interval Workout

Saturday: I’m thinking I’ll do something like Yoga to work on my flexibility.

Sunday: Rest Day — I’ll probably do a bike ride though

Anyway, I’m really planning to stick to this plan (haha).  Also, I’ve started to eat healthier.  Since coming to college, I’ve stopped drinking soda and sugary fruit drinks.  I’ve also stopped eating junk food of any kind.  Now I’m just working on not eating so much.  I’m the kind of person who will eat anything you put in front of me, no matter how full I am.  That will change.  All in all, I’m very optimistic.

On to the knitting:

I started the striping section on Different Lines just like I wanted to.  I’ve gotten four CC stripes done out of the required 14.  On the right track.  It took a little while to get used to doing short rows since I don’t have much experience with them except for turning sock heels.  Now that I’ve gotten the hang of them, though, the knitting is going very quickly.  I love the yarn, the colors, the feel, the pattern.  I’m loving this project!

 

Tada!!  Please forgive the clutter on my desk.  I didn’t feel like getting up to take the picture.  What?  I’m lazy.

That’s about it for today.  Let’s hope this week ends soon.

There Will Be Pictures

Well, just of my yarn and knitting.  But still!  Pictures!

Before I get to the knitting however, there is much to discuss.  I’ve begun reading Nothing If Not Critical by Robert Hughes and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Hughes manages to both impart a great deal of information about art and artists while still retaining his own voice and opinions, something which I find rare in art criticism.  You know Hughes is good when he says things like “Public belief in Makart’s genius was second only to his own.  Sentimental and bombastic, he was the Julian Schnabel of the Ringstrasse, with the difference that Makart could draw” (Hughes 9-10).  Now, I actually like Schnabel’s work but I totally get what Hughes is saying here.  And he made me laugh.

The great thing about Hughes is that, even if you don’t agree with him (although I often do), he does make you think.  There’s a human voice.  What he says is very relatable.  And his reservations about Contemporary Art are the same reservations that I often have but am unable to express coherently.  As I read Nothing If Not Critical, I find myself thinking, “Yes.  That’s exactly what I was thinking!”  All in all a really great, interesting, and informative read.

As the semester is winding down (less than two weeks of class left and then finals!) most of my classes are winding down.  Part of the reason for my relaxed state right now is that I got a ton of work done ahead of time before Thanksgiving Break so now I don’t have anything pressing to work on.  Getting things done early feels so good I can’t believe I used to be such a huge procrastinator.

The only class that is still kicking my butt (like always) is Japanese.  The sentence structures that we are learning are getting harder and more complicated.  Plus, now we’re actually getting into complex grammar, something I don’t even completely understand in English let alone a foreign language.  That being said, it’s a good sort of complicated.  I’m so excited to be learning this language.  My dream is to live in Japan and I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to making that happen.

Because I have had all this extra time, I’ve been watching some really interesting movies.  Yesterday I watched two documentaries.  One, Urbanized, is about urban planning in this modern day and age.  It brought up issues of overcrowding in cities and the problems with housing the poor in many communities.  It was an hour and a half long and where usually I’d be squirming in my seat (I can’t sit still very long), I was riveted.  Urbanized is a really accessible look at urban planning for those of us who don’t know much about the field.  Plus, some really great architects, like Norman Foster, were interviewed so that was a plus.

The second movie was an hour long documentary about Origami called Between the Folds.  Between the Folds did not focus as much on the history of origami but more on its applications today.  It looked at the artists who create fantastically beautiful origami designs as well as the scientists and mathematicians who use origami to demonstrate some of the most complex formulas, shapes in nature, and equations.  I’m always drawn to origami even though I’m absolutely terrible at it and this film was a really great way to see that origami isn’t just the art of folding paper but also has real life importance.  Plus there were some great shots of really cool origami — always a good thing.

Now on to the knitting:

The Madelintosh Tosh Merino Light yarn and the size 6 needle came in the mail yesterday and I have already begun to knit one of the shawl designs, Different Lines.  It took me about 2 hours to wind all the yarn up (during which time I watched the two movies mentioned above) and then I took off knitting.  Different Lines will be knit in Nightbloom and Citrus (the last two images below).  I’ve done a fair amount (the first picture) and I hope to finish the beginning increasing section tonight so I can begin the stripes tomorrow.  I already have 34 of the 42 stitches so I’m right on track.  The second shawl, Stripe Study Shawl, will be done in the two other colors, Forestry and Wilted Rose.

A word (or many) about the yarn.  I decided to splurge and buy the recommended yarn because I loved the way everyone’s shawls looked on Ravelry.  The deal was sealed when I went onto the Madelinetosh website to choose the colors and saw the yarn.  The colorways for Tosh Merino Light are incredible.  They are so vivid and beautiful. And I love all the names.  It was really difficult to choose just 4 colors and I’m pretty sure I’ll be using this yarn again.  Now that I’ve begun knitting, I can see the appeal.  The yarn is soft, sproingy, and knits up beautifully.  I’m so in love with it right now that I have to stop every other row to admire it.  So far everything is going really well.

In other knitting news, I spent part of this evening cleaning out and updating my Ravelry account.  I have now linked this blog on my page.  I also deleted the projects I wasn’t actually knitting any more, added Different Lines (with a picture).  Then I cleaned out my stash page and started fresh with the Madelintosh yarns (also with pictures).  Same thing with my needles page.  Then I went through my queue and deleted any patterns that I no longer wanted to knit.  I got my queue down from 12 pages to 7 (I tried to be really honest about what I would knit).  And now I’m making a rule for myself to knit everything in my queue before adding anything else.  We’ll see if I can do it.   Anyway, I feel a lot better about my Ravelry page now.

I hope you enjoyed this post and the pictures (even if they were taken with my iPhone camera in my dorm room’s bad lighting)!

What a Break!

Hello,

Sorry I’ve been AWOL the last few days.  I’ve just been having way too much fun with my family and eating way too much food to have time to blog.

The Los Angeles contingent set off early Wednesday and arrived in Orinda in the early evening.  Orinda is a lovely town just outside of San Francisco (only 30 minutes by BART!) and my aunt and her family just recently moved there from Los Angeles.  That evening we got a tour of the new house and had some tasty pizza before falling asleep.

Thanksgiving day, the whole family — me, my mom, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my two little cousins, plus the dog — set off on a walk to explore Orinda.  Because we ended up right next to the BART station, my mom and I decided to set off on our own and head into San Francisco.  We managed to make our way to Chinatown which is one of my favorite areas of San Francisco and is also one of the few areas where everything was open even though it was Thanksgiving.  After walking up and down the very steep streets of the city we headed back to Orinda for a Thanksgiving Day feast.

As always in my family, the food was amazing.  Butternut squash soup, cranberry sauce (my favorite), stuffing, turkey, berry pie.  It was absolutely amazing.  And, because my family is Jewish, there was enough food to feed an entire army.  We all went to sleep very contented that night with our bellies practically bursting.

The next day I went out early for a nice walk to explore more of the area.  It really is beautiful.  It’s difficult to believe that you’re so close to a big city like San Francisco because Orinda is all nature.  After that my mom, my grandparents, and I wrangled up the two kids (6 and 9) and took them off to SFMOMA and give their parents a much needed break.

I have to say, I love SFMOMA.  It’s a small and unassuming museum that has some amazing art.  Not that I saw that much of the art when we went this time because I was too busy running after my 6 year old cousin who was more interested in running up and down the stairs than at looking at any modern art.  Not that I’m complaining — he’s a real cutie and it won’t be the last time I’m in San Francisco.

Upon returning home I had just enough time to take a quick nap (where do little kids get all their energy from) before my uncle’s family — parents, sister, nephews, brother-in-law, and brother-in-law’s mother — descended on the house for another gigantic meal.  My aunt, one of the best chefs I know, used the leftover turkey (of which there was a lot) to make Turkey Tettrazini (I have no idea if I spelled that right).  It was delicious.  Along with that we had two kinds of salad, one plain and one with beets (yum) and homemade pizza (double yum).  And then for dessert there was homemade bread pudding.  Yet again I was stuffed.  After the guests had left we settled down and watched the Maltese Falcon (Humphrey Bogart — triple yum).

Saturday we all piled into the car and drove to Napa.  We went to one winery and had a bottle of wine and then went to the small town of Yountville.  There we went to Bistro Jaunty where we had yet another incredible meal.  I had steak tartare (something that I will always order if given the chance).  My mom, aunt, and uncle all had tomato soup with a bread covering that got all moist and soggy in the soup.  My grandmother had mussels in red wine.  Then for appetizers we had fried smelt, pate, and escargots (Another food I will always order if possible).  Just thinking about the meal is making me hungry.  I ate well this trip.

And that brings us back to today.  We left Orinda at 6:50 AM to try and beat traffic and beat it we did.  It was relatively smooth sailing and we made it home by 2 in the afternoon.  I was able to take a shower and wash my clothes and by 4:30 I was safely ensconced in my dorm room.

I can safely say that this was one of the best breaks ever.  Sad that it’s over but excited to get back to classes.  Only two more weeks left and then finals.  I can’t believe my first semester is almost over.  Time has just been flying.

Now that I’m back to regular school schedule, I should be able to blog more frequently.  Yay!

Break!

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am that I get the rest of the week of from college.  I love college, I really do.  It seems like the perfect fit for me.  But sometimes it is nice to have some time off.  Usually I spend much of my weekends doing work so they never quite feel like breaks.  For Thanksgiving Break, however, I managed to get all my reading done for next week, so I get to relax as much as I want.  I’m bringing the scarf I’m knitting although I only have one ball of yarn left so I might be finished pretty soon.  I also have The Rape of Europa and I’m bringing along the two Robert Hughes books, Nothing if Not Critical and American Visions.  The Rape of Europa has been relatively slow going right now but I think that is because I read in short snippets.  If I get a nice big chunk of time to read, like in the car on the way to San Francisco, I’ll probably get a sizable amount of book read.  It’s on a really interesting topic, so I’m loving reading it.

I have been listening to some great music recently.  I started using Spotify Radio which is amazing.  I start out with someone I already love, like Bjork, Sigur Ros, Pizzicato Five, or Jun Miyake and then it gives me more artists that I end up loving.  Some of the musicians I’ve found out about are amazing.  One of the groups I’m obsessed with right now is a Brazilian group called Nouvelle Vague.  I am loving their cover of Come On Eileen.  So beautifully done.

Shorter post than usual today.  Last but not least, I’m drinking some awesome tea.  I spent the night at my mom’s so that we can head out earlier in the morning.  My mother makes the best tea, in my opinion.  She knows just how much sugar to put in and it is always perfect.  So I’m pretty happy.

 

Monday

Okay, so I’m not very good at coming up with titles.

Especially not when I’m running on 4 hours of sleep.  I know that 4 hours may not seem so bad to a lot of college students, but for my entire college experience (3 months) I have gone to bed at midnight or before and woken up at 7, getting a solid 7 hours of sleep.  Not last night.  For some reason, even though I was perfectly tired, I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3 in the morning because I was too busy thinking.  My mind was racing.

So I’m typing up this blog post while my laundry is going.  Now normally I do my laundry on Sunday night because I honestly don’t have enough clothes to last me more than a week.  Well around 11:30 last night I realized that I hadn’t started my laundry.  Knowing that I would not be able to stay up for more than 30 minutes I decided to leave my laundry for today.  And then I did stay up for more than 30 minutes.  So now I’m left trying to keep my eyes open until my laundry is done.  It’s proving very difficult especially because not only am I sleep deprived but I have also developed a terrible headache.

I think that part of the reason this is affecting me so much is that I just finished two research papers that I had been working on for about a month.  Even though I’m very relaxed most of the time, I think I was building up stress while I was working on those papers and now that the pressure is suddenly gone I’ve experienced a sort of whiplash that is leaving me more than half -dead.

But yes, research papers are done.  One of them, for my Writing class, was about Shunga, or Japanese erotic art and the other one, for my art history class, was about artistic representations of Asian Tiger Cities.  Both extremely interesting topics.  I love that most of my essays for college have been based on very broad topics so that I can narrow them down to something that I’m really interested in.  It’s a lot easier to right an 8 page paper on something that you find interesting than on something that you could care less.

I’m excited that Thanksgiving Break is coming up.  I just have to get through tomorrow and then I’ll be heading up to the bay area to visit family.  I got as much work as I could out of the way this past weekend so it looks like I’ll be able to relax over this short but much needed break.  After that, however, I will be thinking about topics for two upcoming art history research papers for different undergraduate art history symposiums.  I have a couple ideas floating around but I’ll try and figure some things out.  Thankfully the deadlines for both papers are in January and March, but I’d like to start early.

That’s enough about school.  As part of my effort to relax, I have begun knitting again.  I’m about a quarter of the way through a nice simple 5 x 5 rib scarf.  I just wanted something simple that I could do while watching TV and reading blogs.  I also just splurged and ordered some Madelintosh sportweight yarn for the Stripe Study and Color Affection shawls.  I seem to inherited a love of shawls from my mother.  In any case, I hope that all arrives after Thanksgiving break so I can start working on them.

I have been watching TV on Netflix pretty religiously every night.  For a while I was working my way through Parenthood which was enjoyable but I just decided to switch over to My So-Called Life (I very rarely finish a TV show).  I love Clare Danes in this show.  It’s just a lot of fun and I find it to be less horribly cliched that the high school shows that are one the air now.

I’ve made a rather seamless transition from reading Japanese novels to reading books from other countries and disciplines.  I just finished a really enjoyable book called Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers.  I know it doesn’t sound like a fun read but it really was.  Mary Roach is just a regular reporter and so you felt like she was right alongside you with all the disgusting bits.  All in all a fascinating and very quick read (I finished it in a day).  Now I’m on to The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War.  The topic of German art during the rise and reign of Hitler is very interesting and this book holds so much information.  Even if you aren’t into art history like I am, it makes a great read.  I’ll finish that over Thanksgiving break and I also have two Robert Hughes books American Visions and Nothing if Not Critical.  Robert Hughes is one of my favorite writers of Art History.  He’s really sassy and not afraid to put his own opinions into his discussion of art and art history.  I watched the TV series based on American Visions in 11th grade and loved it so I’m hoping the books will be just as interesting.

After finishing those books, I plan to begin a new reading challenge and that is to read a book from every country in the world.  I read about someone doing this on a blog and think it’s a great idea.  They were kind enough to make a list of books from every country and so I might use that or I might go off on my own.  In any case I’m super excited.

I’m just about done which is a good thing as my laundry is almost done and I’m about ready to drop dead from exhaustion.  The only thing that is keeping me awake at this point is my tea — PG Tips Black Tea.  I had heard PG Tips was good and decided to try it when I finished my stash of tea and found out that CVS was having a sale.  So far I love it.  I really like strong tea so this is perfect.  Two thumbs up.

I’m off to fold my clothes and then hopefully sink into blissful sleep.  じゃあまた。

 

Beginnings

First blog post!  Hooray!

As is made clear by my blog heading, this is going to be a place where I can just write about my day, things I’m thinking of, my crafts, books I’m reading, music I’m listening to.  Frankly I’m sure this won’t be interesting to anyone except me, but I like the idea of writing a blog so here we go.

I guess some introductions are necessary at this point, so I’ve decided to make a list of the things that I’m interested in — both generally and just right now.

  1. East Asia — mostly my interest is in Japan but I’ve recently completed a research paper on Asian Tiger Cities (mostly in China) and so I’ve really gotten interested in all of East Asia and to some extent South East Asia.  Japan, however, will always remain foremost in my thoughts.  I love everything about Japan, but I especially love Japanese art and literature.  I’ve currently just finished about half a year of reading only Japanese literature and am now taking a break (albeit a short one) for other books.
  2. Art History — as you could probably tell from #1, I’m pretty darn interested in art.  I’m so interested, in fact, that I decided to major in Art History in college.  At this point I’m still not sure exactly what kind of art I want to focus on (although it’s looking like it might be East Asian art) or what I want to do after graduation (actually I do know that I want to go to grad school and then get a Ph.D but after that it is all up in the air).
  3. Books — You might also have noticed from #1 that I love reading.  I actually just finished a personal challenge on Goodreads (if you are a reader and do not have a Goodreads account, make one.  It is awesome!) wherein I was to finish 52 books in 52 weeks (i.e. a year) and I did.  And judging by the date of this post, I actually read 52 books in less than 52 weeks.  Yah!  But that doesn’t mean that I will stop reading, far from it in fact.  I have already finished the 53rd book of the year and begun the 54th.  Over the course of my blogging, I will keep whoever reads this blog updated on what I’m reading and what I think of the book.
  4. Music — Before going off to college, I played classical guitar and string bass (yes, the really big string instrument).  And I loved it.  The only reason I stopped is that the music school at USC (Yes, I’m a Trojan.  Yes, I’m proud of that fact.  No, I don’t think football is particularly interesting or important) is pretty competitive and I didn’t want to be a professional musician and that it’s really hard to fit a bass in a dorm room.  So I have transferred my love of playing music to a love of listening to music and seeing music performed.  I will keep this blog updated on the music I’m loving to listen to as well as any concerts or performances I see.
  5. Knitting — I’m actually interested in pretty much all handicrafts, but I’ve been knitting for as long as I remember and am pretty good at it (I believe I can knit anything if I put my mind to it).  That means that I will post stuff about my knitting on this blog.  It won’t happen all the time, because there are times in my life when I don’t feel a desire to knit, but, when I do, I knit a lot.
  6. Tea — Clearly I think tea is important if I put it in the title of my blog.  Tea is my drink of choice (I never really got into coffee) and you can bet that I’m drinking tea at any time of the day and probably be right.

I think those are my major interests.  We’ll see if anything else comes to mind.  And now I will bid thee adieu and get back to my knitting and reading.  And tea.  Mustn’t forget about the tea.