Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Auntie Fern!

So, I'm Auntie Fern again. But, leave it to my sister to make it more complicated than it needs to be. Wait... maybe she made it less complicated.

Well, she had an incredibly short labour this morning. So short, in fact, that there was no way there was enough time to get her to the hospital, and paramedics delivered my new niece on the bathroom floor.

Well, it seems everyone is good, but they're going to keep them both overnight at the hospital just in case. So, in December, I'll go see little Rilla (7lbs2) in Ottawa and help my sister bring both her girls home for Christmas.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Saw Jupiter Last Week.

I'm sure a lot of people saw Jupiter last week. It's in the East sky right now, high and bright. It looks like "any other star."
I'm taking an Astronomy class right now, to fulfill the physics requirement to study Speech-Language Pathology in America. There's quite a bit of math involved, which worried me, but like statistics, the math is a necessary evil; a method of description.

UPEI has an observatory high atop the Memorial Building. It houses a 40cm telescope, which is about a foot-and-a-third across, for you empirical folks.

The first night of class, we went up and looked at the Moon. It was wonderful. With that kind of magnification, you can really see depth in the shadows that the sun casts over craters. Also, something that I didn't predict: it is moving at an incredible pace! It only took about a minute for it to traverse the sky covered by the telescope, so the tech constantly had to reposition it for us. I guess if you think about it, if the Moon only takes up 1/2 a degree in the sky and it travels about 180 degrees in a night, that's a lot of distance to put behind you in one night.

Well, Jupiter was perfectly positioned last week, with four of its largest moons visible. I was seeing what Galileo saw when he pointed his telescope to the sky. They were clear and bright and distinct. I tried to see them later that night with a pair of binoculars, but I didn't have enough power.

What really struck me was the beautiful bands of colour on the planet. It reminded me of a polished sandstone ball (pictured left). It was amazing to see that kind of detail, and kind of weird to think of it as anything but a solid. It is hard to imagine a planet so large it has dozens of moons, rings, and enough density to put out its own radiation, but it's only a swirling ball of gas. This week we're learning more about comparisons between Terrestrial planets (like Earth) and Jovian planets (like Jupiter). There's meant to be rain tomorrow night, so the sight of Jupiter will have to hold me over for a while. I think it will.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another One For The List.

So, Zachary Quinto recently came out of the closet. He held off for a long time to prove a point about actor's sexual orientation and the roles they play, but decided there were more good reasons to be a role model than an enigma. Good on him, trying to make people have conversations deeper than idle gossip.

Anyhow, him being gay doesn't change the fact that I still want to do him. It only changes the probability that he would want to do me. (Who says I'm anything but optimistic?)

Thanks to B. Lefebvre for the link & think.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hola, Mormons!

I've been studying pretty hard today. I finished my Astronomy homework early this morning, then I did a Psychology jag, and now I'm poring over my GRE prep book.

I was about 30 minutes into a practice math test when the doorbell rang. Mormons!

I love when Mormon missionaries come to the door. We chatted for some time, and I let them fill in some gaps in my knowledge of their faith, shook their hands and sent them on their way. It was a little naughty, because it distracted me for about a half-hour from my books.

Walking back to the dining room table, where I have stacks of books and ever-growing heaps of spent scrap paper, I thought about Elder Bowen, who told be he would return to Wyoming after his journey and study mechanical engineering. I told him to learn how to write a good paper, because, as a grad student, a lot of the papers I marked written by engineers lacked a certain amount of communicative skill. (Yes, I'm being kind.) I told him to take a composition course, because he was exceptional at communicating verbally and should cultivate that on paper.

Walking back to the table, I thought, "Why didn't I tell him to get an elective in Comparative Religions?" I said the phrase in my head: "Take a great course in Hinduism, or pagan religions, or pilgrimage!"

Pilgrimage. Damn. Why didn't I ever think of Mormon missionary journeys as a pilgrimage? A pilgrimage where a specific destination wasn't specified? That could have been a killer chapter in my Master's thesis.

Finding new facets of my thesis has happened many times in the last 6 years. I suppose we never stop learning. Thinking of all there is to learn out there, I have moments of, "Oh, darn, why didn't I pursue my PhD?" But then I tell myself that I would be studying a much narrower field of knowledge. I would have only been comparing, say, Graceland to Medjugorje, or graveyard pilgrimages to Ephesus, and maybe not been comparing broad selections of pilgrimages (and Pilgrimages) with broad theories of those journeys.

AND: I'd probably still be just as jobless.

Right. Back to the books. This was a nice distraction. I'll let you know how the GRE goes.

PS: I'm pretty proud that I didn't mention The Book of Mormon, which I desperately want to see, or this.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

As If I Have Moths.

Feeling the first chills of the season, I got into my boxes of sweaters that I have recently moved back from Ontario. They were all crushed and musty, so I put them all through the wash. It was only then that I found that three of them had been eaten by moths.

Moths were a problem I had up in Toronto. They absolutely destroyed a winter coat of mine, and, like an idiot, I ignored the blonde flies that were on the wall of my Toronto room. They didn't bite and they weren't drawn to the light in my computer, so I ignored them.

Now, back on PEI with holey sweaters, when I saw those same gd flies again and finally cottoned on to the fact that these phenomena may be connected.

Late on Sunday night, I thought, "Oh. I have a box of yarn in my closet. One hundred per cent wool yarn." I flipped over a small nylon bag holding knitting notions, and yes, I saw cocoon tunnels, squirming larvae, and holey skeins of yarn.

I lost 2 skeins of an alpaca/wool blend for socks, another couple pure wool DK from MacAusland's for mitts, and about 6 hours of sleep.

I was pissed because I saw the flies and didn't make the connections, and that I waited so long to check. Also, the thought of flies procreating in my closet and letting their babies feed on my woolens sicked me right out. I'm POed about the waste of money (even though I tend to be a bit of a bargain hunter) and also POed about the loss of potential in the yarn.

Then I thought, "Oh, no!" I remembered my Turkish rug. My Turkish rug I bought in Turkey. It's a small thing, only a little floor mat, but it's hand-tied wool. It cost me quite a bit, although it took about an hour of haggling with two savvy Turks and about 3 tulip glasses of apple tea to get that price.  I went down first thing Monday and looked in the storage area. I opened the box and saw cocoons, droppings, and still live larvae.

On recommendation of the interwebs, I cooked the lot of it (well, not the sweaters - the damage was done on those) at 175 Fahrenheit for half an hour. It didn't smell as bad as I thought it would.

The squirmies stopped squirming, but now I have to brush over everything and see how chewed things are. For the yarn, it means checking for damage by balling skeins, re-balling balls; for the sweaters, it means some mending and a shabby chic winter [shudder]; and the rug may be a lost cause - I have to wait until the dry cleaners give me their prognosis. Still, worn rugs have a charm, right? Don't they gain the value the more worn they are? Can I extend "worn" to "threadbare" and profit? =sigh=