30 August 2008

Fall Schedule: Ups and Downs

Today I decided to actually take a look at which classes I'm registered for, and what my schedule is going to look like. There are still several changes I have to make during add/drop, but I'm getting a clearer picture. Unfortunately, it's far from the happiest picture in the world.

The biggest change is with Russian. I'm planning on taking Special Topics, which is a 400-level course. It was going to be taught by Kaminer, who I had for first and second year Russian. However, she spent the summer in England, and found a new job (she was only a visiting professor at Oberlin), so she's not going to be around. There's a new Russian professor teaching it, and the topic has changed favorably. (Used to be Women in 20th Century Literature, is now on the reactions of writers to the Revolution and new Soviet regime.) But it makes a conflict.

Some of you might remember that I got really excited in the spring when I realized I could finish off my natural science requirement by taking another computer programming course. Well, the one I'm taking has a lab, which is either Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.

Problem Number One: Wednesday afternoon conflicts with Women's Chorale. Thursday afternoon conflicts with 400-level Russian. Damn.

Tentative Plan Number One: I'm going to talk to Dr. Kerchner and see if we can work something out where I come to choir on Mondays, and maybe Wednesdays if I have time, and look over stuff on my own.

Then! there's the not-so-awesome-but-survivable situation with my history seminar on Stalinism. Basically:

Problem Number Two: It meets Friday afternoon, which is also knitting circle at my LYS.

Plan Number Two: It's not that big a deal. I'll come afterwards. Also, the Fearless Knitting ExCo is going to involve a couple more evenings of scheduled knitting circles, too. It'll be fine.

On the plus side, this opens up some of my mornings for KPing or cooking at the co-op, and leaves some afternoons open to get a lunch crew out of the way. Yeah!


Problem Number Three: Is signing up for 8am MWF strength training a really bad idea? I could do 10am, but it would run right up against another class.

27 August 2008

Wednesday Has Been A Good Day.

Today was good.

It didn't start off the best, meaning that it started at about noon, but hey, sleep is good, too.

Linden and Liz got in yesterday, so they've been around all day, and it's really nice to have some company after spending several days alone in the apartment.

Probably the lowest point were the two times that I had walked to the mailroom to pick up my new license, and realized that I had forgotten either my package slip, or my ID. But I got it eventually, and I like it.

Early this afternoon, Liz and I did a short lower body workout, which felt good. I haven't gotten any exercise all summer that wasn't walking. (Though I did walk a lot.) I'm excited about strength training, and hoping that I can keep up a fairly consistent schedule of it this semester, even though I'm not planning to take the class again. I also have my tennis racket with me. I might take Tennis II. I've got beautiful new shoes that are really good for wearing in the weight room (I haven't worn them outside), and they're supposed to be non-marking, which means they'd be good court shoes, too.

This afternoon, Danielle got back. I ran out to meet her in the very light drizzle of a rain that lasted most of the day. Liz and Linden came back from storage, and everyone except me is still in various states of unpacked-ness.

For dinner, Danielle and I headed to the Feve, to meet up with the group of knitters that meets there twice a month. I saw some vaguely familiar faces, and David (the pastor at my church), and we ate delicious tater tots and sandwiches (I had a BLT with Danimal (spicy) tots), and I had a Rolling Rock, which I think (unless I'm missing something obvious) qualifies as my first domestically-purchased alcoholic beverage. AND I got to show my snazzy new license to the waitress.

THEN (this is where it gets super awesome for me and probably not that interesting for you), David Hill drove me back to the apartment, because he'd brought the three-drawer cart full of woolens that I stored at his and Vicki's house. Yeah! I have all of my yarn back in my possession, and I found space for it in my room. It's easily accessible space, which is even better. And now! I get to reorganize all of my knitting things.


Also, since I've jettisoned a bunch of the Red Heart, etc. that has been in untouched in Minnesota over a year, I think it calls for a recount of the stash numbers.

All around, it's been a good night.

26 August 2008

Russia: the Finale in Pictures

Well, here we go. The rest of the Russia pictures. You won't see any more for a while, but TRUST ME. This was the first, but NOT THE LAST trip to Russia. Maybe next time, you'll get to see pictures of Moscow!

So, here is Emma, and there are several of us not in the shot, trying to figure out how you're supposed to look at the sun in a partial solar eclipse without killing your eyes. We knew there was that thing you could do with poking a hole in a piece of paper and ... we didn't really know the rest. It clearly isn't holding the paper up to the sun and looking at the sun through the hole. We tried that. (We've figured it out by now. There's two pieces of paper...)

So I tried to take pictures of it. Then I tried to take a picture through my sunglasses, which worked pretty well.

Here is the Blagoveshenskii Most', which I walked over to get to school. I like bridge pictures. Brace yourselves for later in the post.

Friends, family, and other people I may or may not know, meet Pushkin.

We had a picnic on this island. So, thing is, there are a lot of stray dogs in Russia. This one, in particular, was kind of friendly. By 'friendly', I mean, he really wanted to jump on our food. So Adams, who is able to befriend any creature with stunning ease, played with him. Emma noted that it looked a little like a scene from 'Little House on the Prairie'.

I saw this truck a few days in a row. All of the letters are letters in English. It takes me about four attempts to pronounce this the way a non-Russian understanding American would. Kind of like that Hecla sign in Pennsylvania.

Adams and Hart, pretending to be in the Russian Navy in their Russian Navy shirts.

Aaaaaaand then, I walked around the night before I left and took 8 million pictures of bridges. Behold.

Dang, I just realized how blurry almost all of these night photos are. Dang. But here's some more anyway...

Don't ask me what these buildings are.

Did I successfully capture water texture, or no?

ZENIT! Dave has a Zenit scarf now, noting their championhood of 2007. Now he's a real football fan.

My favorite string of Firecones in all of Piter:

The stairwell of the apartment building. Not actually this dark.

The last day: a trip to the Hermitage. Outside.

Inside, with Rembrandt. I overheard a tour guide saying that there are Dutch people who come to the Hermitage just to see this painting. They might even come to Russia to see it. Next time I'm around, I'm going to try to go on a Wednesday so I can see that magnificent peacock clock in full glory. I know it's crowded, but that's got to be cool.

Now we're leaving the Hermitage. This is the big square.

Then I went and took more pictures of my favorite cathedral, the morgue/vegetable fridge cathedral, with pretty mosaics and towers that beg to become knitted hats. Here's more pictures of it. I'm pretty sure it was on about half of the postcards I "sent" to people. (For those of you who haven't gotten them yet - they're coming... via U.S. post.

Some closeups. I love it when architecture is pretty on the outside, too, and not just ornate inside. COLORS!

Meet Popugai. Popugai means parakeet. The parakeet is named Parakeet.

Meet Mish'. Mish' means mouse. The mouse is named Mouse.

Look at these fabulous stickers in the hallway. They're all over the apartment, and they're wonderful. Best decorating job ever.

The kitchen table.

Some more walking around, a few hours before they picked me up to go to the airport. I walked past a wedding reception, and they were pretty riled up and having a good time, and I wanted to tell them congratulations, just a person walking down the street, but I wasn't cool enough to do it.

I bought chocolate!...

Kay, guys. Four more. You can do it. Only wonderful people left (pictured with me, anyway), and some crazy firecones.

Me with my host sister, Inna.

Me with Tatya, one of the tutors.

Me with my head blocking Vika. She led a group about the mass media in Russia. I was really the only student in attendance most of the time, but it was still really neat.

AND. Not actually in Russia. In Germany. Frankfurt airport. GREEN FIRECONES, guys. GREEN FIRECONES.

After that, there's just nothin' more to say.

25 August 2008

Hey blog. It's been a while since we've talked.

Just for Ss & Gs, lets make this a list, kay?

1. A recap of the last two months: Russia was awesome! I have a few more pictures to go up, but I'll get those up in the next couple of days.

2. I have a Kodak coupon, so I can totally get 10 cent prints. Photo party!

3. Here's one more photo to tide you over, though my intent is more Ravelry-related, rather than providing you with information. It involved a leftover tomato that I carried home with me on the metro and made into a (heavily) tomato sandwich. Check out the vertical ratio on this baby:

Enough of Russia (for the time being). Now let's break it down domestic-style:

4. I'm 21. Which is all right. It feels kind of like 20, to be honest.

5. My new license photo doesn't suck!

6. Upon arrival in MN (three hours later than intended don't fly Sun Country out of JFK), I spent four days home with my family in our new house, which I love.

7. Remember the non-Russian non-pie Choco-Pies? Guess who's mother thought it would be funny to buy her daughter two boxes of them for her birthday. It's a good thing she found them at a Korean grocery store. She was going to order them online, if she had to.

8. The Dark Knight, if you haven't seen it, is a really good movie. I biked about 16 miles (round trip) to Amherst to see it this afternoon.

9. I made more vareniki! (= Ukrainian dumplings!) This time, I was smart and didn't stack them on top of each other, so they didn't stick together, and I won't have to cook fistfuls of dumpling matter instead of actual dumplings. Everybody wins! Everybody who eats them anyway. I guess the dumplings don't win.

10. Some friends and I watched 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'. Next summer, you will be able to say that, because you will know that I watched this movie, and then we can listen to Guess Who?, the Who, and Yes, and talk about it.

11. World of knitting: Ravelympics project is a little late. I could be finishing it right now, but I'm blogging instead. I could have finished it earlier, but I made dumplings instead. I only have some ends to weave in, the gathering at the neckline to do, and the single crochet around the neck and armholes. But to be fair, I didn't have the needles with me to start this project in Russia, so I couldn't start until the 11th. And then I was so exhausted/busy I didn't start until the 13th. So I'm not that behind. I joined the race a little late. It's still Sunday in California!

12. I've been seeing lots of people I know in town. Especially today at the Feve! This is always fun.

Well! A dozen things about my life. How is yours?

08 August 2008

"She really needs to sort out her priorities..."

Please tell me someone out there gets that reference.

Anyway. Last week in Russian Choir, I asked if I could record us this week, and then we could have recordings of our songs, which is cool, and makes it easier to remember them, etc. This has been implemented, and as of Monday, we had 11 tracks.

The unfortunate part of this process, is that in order to create space for large Audacity (the program I'm using, as this is being recorded via the built-in microphone on my laptop) files, I've been having to delete files off my computer. I can get them back later, since I've got them on my external hard drive, but I've been deleting mostly music files, since all I lose is the play count.

But today, in an attempt to clear a gig of space quickly, I picked some larger artists, so I could delete several albums at once. So, I feel a little sad:

I just deleted a whole bunch of R.E.M. albums.

My computer can't play 'Losing My Religion'. It can't play 'Exhuming McCarthy'.

This means, that one of these days, I'm going to have to sort some things out, so that the things that are on my computer are actually the things I want, and not just lots of little small files that are a pain to move around.

But that's not happening in St. Petersburg. I'm almost all packed, and will soon commence a day and a half of complete FREE TIME. Basically, I shall wander around, and (attempt to) refrain from buying more books.

Also, I've barely knit this week. But I did read all of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Douglas Adams) in two and a half days. I really need to find time to read more.